Friday, December 31, 2010

War Picture Library 107 Death Took No Side

Quality! Quality from cover to cover. Quality story, quality artwork - everything about Death Took No Side is superb. Let's start with the main character Private Frank Kendrick. He is the supreme loner. He comes from a broken home and cares for nobody but himself. Even the very mention of family sends him either into a rage or into fits of derision. Until of course he befriends Corporal Jock. Jock also comes broken home except of course he is different - he doesn't hate the world. Just as Frank is starting to feel good about himself, despite being bombed and shot at - Jock is killed in a counterattack intended to make time for the besieged garrison at Tobruk. The attack and Jock's death become pointless as Tobruk had already fallen by the time the counterattack was ordered. Frank then deserts with the intention of either dying alone or not giving up his life for anybody or any cause.
Frank stumbles across an Australian lost in the desert and together they are forced into some harsh choices in order to survive. Frank falls ill and is nursed back to health by his new antipodean friend. Frank isn't very good at keeping friendships (the Australian is killed in vicious hand to hand combat) and he finds himself alone again.

Circumstance then presents Frank with a choice. He can run away again or face a very uncertain future (or that should that be almost certain future) and try and stop the enemy - by manning an anti-tank gun by himself. And that's the last we see of him watching a German tank getting closer. I am a fan of any pocket war comic brave enough to finish a story without a neatly resolved ending.

This is a great story that could have been ruined in so many places. Surely there was an editor somewhere begging for a pair of smiling ghosts looking over Frank as he prepares to take on the enemy single handily. But there isn't and that's what makes this story so fantastic. Also the quality of the artwork is pretty darn good displaying a wonderful and masterful mix of shading, clean lines, white space, detail, animation and composition. The artist even manages to insert a small moment of whimsy among the military clutter and human wreckage in the shape of a small lizard sunning before a destroyed allied tank.

This is a terrific War Picture Library to look out for as it delivers from cover to end.

Yaaah! is like Aaagh! except it's the sound you make when you're stickin' it to the other guy.

What a great bit of ink work! I love it!! There's so much going on in this one panel.

I don't understand. All the good guys are heroes aren't they?

I've had it so tough that getting shot at by Nazis and shouted at by NCO's is a paradise.

What work!

Never has a destroyed Grant (or should that be a Lee) been so lovingly drawn.

This is desperate stuff.

Bloody Australians and their disregard for class.

Time to man up Frank and drink that cup of cement.

Never too late to sing "I did it my way..."


  1. Absolutely stunning, as you say. Some of the best artwork (among often great artwork) in these pocket picture libraries. I have to hunt this one down. Great post!

  2. I'll keep an eye out for you if I see another one around.


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