Sunday, July 3, 2011

War Picture Library 135 The Big Arena

Shirts off and Australians. Why do the two always go together? Without fail Australian war picture comic troops are always keen to throw off their kit and show off their chests. The other typical traits of Australians in these stories are their disregard for authority and their fearless fighting ability and spirit.

War Picture Library 135 The Big Arena follows a pair of battle hardened and battle weary Aussie blokes who decide they need a rest from fighting and decide to go absent without leave. Even the officers understand and allow them to skip off for a short break. However  the spit and polish by the book just out from Australia provost sergeant major doesn't understand how things really work in the shooting war and he is determined to bring the two battle weary malingerers into line even if has to cross enemy lines to do it.

Naturally, through a series of adventures, the sergeant comes to fully understand the two heroes and it is only a matter of time before he is brought under the spell of the bromance. Finally he learns how things work in a shooting army.

Australians in pocket war comics never fail to impress. They're always smiling, always shooting and willing to give it a go. They also tend to be larger than mortal men and this is certainly true in The Big Arena where two of the main characters are easily breaking 6'6'' if not bigger.

This is a big story of men from a big country in another big country during a big war.

You're about to eat my cold steal you accursed Australier! And don't laugh at my skinny legs.

When most Spandau teams go out of business they usually have a sale first.

Ginger Meggs grows up and goes to war.
This is a great plan. I can see how this is going to work.

This tank crew looks like the right age for tank crew - a bunch of young punks.

You know you're a part of the Commonwealth because everybody has got different hats.

You don't see a lot of blokes from India in these things - but it's good to see two of them relaxing.

This sergeant is big enough to play lock for the Wallabies.

Passes? Passes? We don't need no stinkin' passes.

Oh the desperation.

Good degree of concern, dread and anticipation in this panel.

Australians will always create an opportunity to take off their shirts.

You think? I thought it was a lost tribe of Mongolians on their final stretch home. Boy did I get that one wrong.

The desert is a big place.

When things go bad...
...they go really bad.

Under the Southern Cross I stand. A sprig of wattle in my hand. 'Stralya! You Bloody Beauty!


  1. All that and art by Hugo Pratt to boot.

  2. Thanks for the heads up on Hugo Pratt. I really like those teenage tankers and the way he can change his style to match the situation.
    Many Thanks!

  3. I'm trying to identify the original English FLEETWAY PICTURE LIBRARY of a Spanish version titled "Desiertoi en llamas" ("DFesert in Flames") that appeared in Spanish in November 1961. I have "Desert Fueries" and "Blood on the Sand" ut it's neither one (nor "Burning Sands" that came after the Spanish version. My question is if I can send you an e-mail with a couple of pages attached. Perhaps by identyfin=g the artist, I can narrow my search. Thabks a whole bunch. Cheers, Carlos A. Altgelt (

  4. Hey Carlos
    Yes please send me the email and I'll see if I can help.

  5. Carlos,
    I found the one you are looking for...
    it is War Picture Library 93 Force of Arms.


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