Monday, November 29, 2010

War Picture Library 85 Break-Through

Not the worst war picture library ever written but it could win an award for being the most tedious.

There just isn't any emotional energy in this story as it just plods along going from one incident to the next. There's nothing wrong with the background to the story as desperate attacks and counterattacks follow each other and the narrative is never too far away in reminding the reader about the harsh cost of war in human lives. The main characters have all the right attributes for a good story; two of them are front line veterans, another is the tough but fair athletic military policeman and in a supporting role there is an immoral and treacherous coward.

All the fragments are there for a reasonable if not good story but they just don't come together. It would require some exceptional artwork to lift Break-Through to an acceptable level - but sadly it isn't there. However on a positive note the charging Tommy on the cover is ready defeat the Hun with a yell and blinding blaze of white webbing is pretty damn good.

The cover alone however cannot save Break-Through. This is one of those stories that makes it into the "er not the best" catergory. The more I read Break-Through the more I found myself turning each page in desperation waiting for something dramatic to happen. I think I uttered "AAAAGH!" out of absolute frustration more times than I would like to admit.

You're accused of eating all the cream buns...
This is supposed to be a tough detention camp. The man on the extreme left appears to be singing a song and the two on the extreme right are having a good old chat while checking out each other's thighs.
Another game of Risk! in progress.
Funny isn't it? They'll charge at enemy machine guns, run headlong at enemy tanks and fight in deadly hand to hand combat. But step on one sharp stone and all of a sudden its "ouch!"
His troops call him the Mexican.
If one of your comrades was killed by two escaping prisoners wouldn't you administer Rule 303? Or in the German's case Rule 7.92.
Why not now? Or in four days? Or how about a week from Thursday?
That would have to be the worst armoured car ever produced. With designs like that it just goes to show why the Germans lost the war.

Curiously the Man of Lamancha poster survived the inferno and is now available on eBay.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Battle Picture Library 68 Seize-and Hold

Englishmen shooting Englishmen? Sergeants shooting their own officers? Based on actual events (yeah right!) Seize-and Hold grabs and contains your attention through a well-constructed flashback storyline and some nice crisp artwork.

It all starts with a courtroom drama where Sergeant Curtis stands accused of murdering his own squad in order to save his own life. As evidence is given by each witness in turn the events of that fateful day are disclosed and the truth is eventually revealed. This is a tidy story as each witnesses' evidence builds on the details of the previous witness. There are even a few red herrings thrown in this Battle Picture Library - well as many that can swim around in 64 pages.

Curtis's war turns into one huge guilt trip when he discovers, Lieutenant Welch, his new platoon leader, is the younger brother of the respected but ultimately psychotic and now very dead Captain Welch. Why the guilt trip? Because Curtis blew Captain Welch away in what could be best described as a battlefield gangland shooting, that is to say up close and personal. Curtis of course has no choice but to pull the trigger as the nutso captain was about to embark on a prisoner killing spree. It's not the morality of the situation that worries Curtis. Even though Captain Welch running around shouting "Kill Kill" and then delivering on that promise to the unarmed prisoners is more shocking than concerning. What really worries Curtis is that he and the rest of his men stand a good chance of being captured and then getting the same treatment from the enemy. So hence the reason for gunning down Lieutenant Welch's older brother.

In trying to absolve his guilt, Curtis becomes obsessed with making sure the younger Welch survives the war. This leads to the incident where Curtis stands accused of deliberately placing his squad in harm's way for his own survival.

A pocket war comic worth getting a hold of, if not just for the cover of the paratrooper with the grenade firmly in his grasp, pin clenched between his teeth and gritty determinism in his eyes. Also worth getting to see a British officer being a murderous swine - behaviour that is usually only attributed to the Hun.

For those who take an interest the inarticulate cry Seize-and Hold has quite a number. Among the many interpretations there are AAAGH, AIEEE..., AHGHH!, AAGH!, UGGGH!, and an AAAHHH...

 Everybody deserves a friend.
It was another Thursday evening game night and as usual Barney would always take forever during his turn of Axis and Allies

 That's one really ugly dude in the foreground.
...and I think I got him - but I wasn't sure. So I fired again.
 Caution - Loonie English officer on the loose.

German army experiments in supine levitation are moderately successful.

I just want to make sure that I got them!

You know...despite the death and destruction and explosions and having most of my platoon killed right around me this war thing just isn't doing it for me anymore. 

And a mighty fine AHGHH---.

A strange little panel.

Dead guys in a field and a short AAGH!
Kiss me you fool. You know you want to and you know I want you too.

What a guy! If I had one like that I'd have it out too.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Free Pocket War Comic with Free Postage to One Lucky Winner.

That’s right! One lucky reader of Pocket War Comics will win an original issue of War Picture Library 295 Operation Doomsday (published 1965) from my personal collection. I will also pay for postage.

What’s the catch?  I want more Followers!

Only Followers can register to enter the random draw by stating in the comments section below that they want to participate. I will then select one lucky winner and send them Operation Doomsday.

I reviewed Operation Doomsday in April of this year.

By entering the random draw you agree to the following terms and conditions:
  1. The comic I’m giving away is used. It will NOT be in mint condition. These things have been around for 40 years or so and have had a hard life.
  2. I can change these terms and conditions at any time.
  3. Only Followers of Pocket War Comics ( are elligible to win.
  4. Only one entry per Follower will be counted.
  5. I reserve the right to remove any entry at anytime at my discretion.
  6. I will pay for postage only. Customs duty, taxes and other government or government agency charges are the winner’s responsibility.
  7. If the postal service loses the comic then that’s a problem.
  8. I will not pay for insurance. We can figure something out if you must have insurance.
  9. I will need a mailing address in order to post the comic to you. I will only ask for this if you win. If you don’t want to give me those details then I can’t send you anything.
  10. I reserve the right to cancel the random draw at any time.
  11. If your name is One Lucky Winner you will still need to enter the draw like everybody else.
  12. Registration closes at midnight 21 November 2010.

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