Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Published on this day 30 August

War Picture Library 467 Fire Call (30/08/1968)
War Picture Library 468 The Price of Glory (30/08/1968)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Stone the crows! That was close!" Private Tim in War Picture Library 220 The Atlantic Wall.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cover of the Week War Picture Library 222 Road to Berlin

Same story as the Battle Picture Library version - but does the cover make it any more exciting? Published 6 years apart the War Picture Library cover is possibly more exciting but not as stylised as its younger brother. However this cover is definitely more comic book style in appearance.
I guess because it is brighter it might be more likely to be picked up and purchased. Also the dual action renders, mixing of graphic styles and direct type font makes this cover very exciting. There's no doubt that there's plenty of things that go 'bang' in the following enclosed pages.
Bouncing around in a tank would not have been fun and the three exposed crewman in that Churchill do appear very determined to get on with it. Likewise the three Germans manning that gun also appear to be very determined to stop that tank.
War Picture Library 222 Road to Berlin is bright and exciting and worth picking up. It says all the right things so it gets 10/10.
Just how many perfect 10s are out there?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Quote of the Week

"It is an American aircraft! Take it's number comrade!" An angry Soviet soldier in Air Ace Picture Library 240 Havoc Over Russia.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

War Picture Library 222 Road to Berlin

Have you ever been passed over for promotion? Should you be leading and not following? Why have you missed out?  Is the system against you? Is the old boys club not working in your favour? Is the affirmative action programme failing you? Or perhaps...just maybe you're not good enough. Could it be that the job went to the better (sorry ladies) man? That, pretty much, is the story behind War Picture Library 222 Road to Berlin.

This is actually a pretty good story for a number of reasons.
First there's the bonehead at the centre of the Road to Berlin who goes through most of the story needing to drink a cup of cement. Don't worry he comes good in the end.

Also most pocket war comics tend to pay lip service to the real events in World War Two however this one has a reasonable account of the Battle for Arnhem. Also for the tread heads there are some great panels of British armour. I got the feeling that this story may have been completed by at least two artists because the style seems to change from panel to panel. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, or that I'm right, it's just my observation.

So get your orders, get in your tank, harden up and hit the road!

When too many riding pants are not enough.

 He thought a rude word!

 Nice tank.

...and let that be a lesson to you.

Route-Taping! Arrrghh! I've not heard that phrase in many years...

 Anything in war is fair - particularly if you have the biggest pants.

What a great looking panel.

Not to be outdone the Germans had big pants of their own. However their grip of tactics was fatally flawed. Wouldn't it have been better to block the path with the enemy's dead?

Able-One has a tash that means business.

...are you sure that Aaagh! is not coming from inside the Tardis.

Nice panel. Nice detail.

Another nice panel.

Proving yet again that a wrought iron balustrade is no protection against a 95mm howitzer.

Great panel for those who like to swan about.

Published on this day 21 August

Battle Picture Library 21 The Mark of the Beast (21/08/1961)
Battle Picture Library 22 Fort Blood (21/08/1961)
Battle Picture Library 23 Day of Wrath (21/08/1961)
Battle Picture Library 24 Shoot First? (21/08/1961)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

No way blood, I'm done flying today...

A big thank you to ghost of a flea for finding this.

Published on this day 20 August

Battle Picture Library 69 Hit Back (20/08/1962)
Battle Picture Library 70 Aim to Kill (20/08/1962)
Battle Picture Library 71 Macey's Mob (20/08/1962)
Battle Picture Library 72 One Must Die (20/08/1962)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Published on this day 19 August

Air Ace Picture Library 398 No Escape (19/08/1968)
Air Ace Picture Library 399 Renrgade (19/08/1968)
Air Ace Picture Library 400 The Big Punch (19/08/1968)
Air Ace Picture Library 401 Peanut Express (19/08/1968)
Battle Picture Library 357 Fight or Die! (19/08/1968)
Battle Picture Library 358 Hell's Heroes (19/08/1968)
Battle Picture Library 359 The Last Stronghold (19/08/1968)
Battle Picture Library 360 Inferno Island (19/08/1968)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cover of the Week Battle Picture Library 304 Road to Berlin

Store wear, tape, staples and tears be damned! This cover is brilliant. The cover for Battle Picture Library 304 Road to Berlin is wonderfully dark, moody and desperate. Will that Churchill make it through to Berlin or will it be stopped?
This terrific cover just goes to show the variety and skill that Fleetway could call upon for artwork. This cover is the stuff of real 'graphic drama' and in my opinion too good to be used for the cover of a comic book.
For those who need to be informed, I know I was because I had to look it up on the world wide web, that hindmost is a proverbial phrase indicating that those who lag behind will receive no aid.
Look beyond the ratty cover and hard life this Battle Picture Library had to endure before coming into my possesssion. Road to Berlin deserves 10/10 and that's what'll get! 10/10.

Published on this day 17 August

Air Ace Picture Library 525 Target Japan (17/08/1970)
Battle Picture Library 165 Desert Scourge (17/08/1964)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Achtung! An attack!" some nameless Tiger tank occupant who is about to be turned into toast in War Picture Library 131 Line of Fire

Published on this day 16 August 1965

Air Ace Picture Library 254 Dog-Fight!
Air Ace Picture Library 255 Spot-On Attack
Air Ace Picture Library 256 Torpedo Away!
Air Ace Picture Library 257 Bombers' Lair

Monday, August 15, 2011

Published on this day 15 August 1966

Battle Picture Library 261 Roll of Traitors
Battle Picture Library 262 Mission for Fools
Battle Picture Library 263 Desert Prize
Battle Picture Library 264 Spirit of Defiance


Sunday, August 14, 2011

War Picture Library 111 The Red Duster

Even though most of the ships in the The Red Duster manage to stay on top of the water it still remains a good story. The scrap metal tally is only two vessels for each side, the Germans lose a submarine and a battleship and allies lose only two merchantmen. However it is the mistrust between the services, exemplified by a couple of briny old sea dogs and their young proteges arising from the natural tension between the independence of the merchant marine and the spit, polish and discipline of the Royal Navy. The Germans and their relentless need to take over the world are only a convenient excuse to the keep the story moving along.

There are of course an anomaly or two that I have trouble getting to grips with.

The cover doesn't match the contents. I was expecting a bofors, at every turn of the page, slapping away at Stukas as the convoy runs the gauntlet. But there are no Stukas. In fact there are no aircraft to be seen – either flying or crashing into the sea. War Picture Library 111 The Red Duster is concerned with surface actions and proves (yet again) that the Germans lost World War 2 because their skill at arms was second rate. For example a fast moving British Cruiser can target and hit a U-boat with relevant ease – yet the equivalent German vessel, with all the time in the world, couldn't hit and destroy a lumbering freighter.

Yet again the bad guys prove to be hopeless and it makes you wonder why they started something they had no hope of finishing.

This is really a good story if you can get over the German Navy being as effective as the Imperial Navy in Star Wars at being able to hit a target.

In case you are wondering, like I was, the “Red Duster” is the name given to the red merchant marine flag.

 Nice tattoo

 Good detail to the harbour

Two old guys! You don't often see that.

 Face to face.

They are sailors after all...

I have one of these maps with arrows on my wall at home.

 A woman!

 I really like this panel.

Another great drawing.

 Listen to him. Don't say those things!

 It's great being a bloke!

Take that you brute.

Giggle. Snort.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Quote of the Week

"No, you don't Fritz!" Private 'Curly' Briggs in War Picture Library 221 H-Hour.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

War Picture Library 270 At Bayonet Point

Take one ancient blade. Find it, lose it and then find it again somewhere in the desert. Throw in a bit of greed, a bit of ambition and a little bit of misunderstanding. Bring it all together in a world wide event happening locally and you have the essence of War Picture Library 270 At Bayonet Point.

It's good to see a bit of sword on shield action with the story opening occurring during the crusades. It is here where we meet the blade that when in the hands of Englishmen drives them insane with blood lust. It doesn't have the same effect on Arabs but they are happy to be rid of it when it turns up in their possession.

Just to make things interesting there's also a war on and when the blade ends up, as a bayonet, in Private Ritchie's possession he becomes a cold blooded reckless killer. Ritchie becomes a virtual one man army intent on winning the war with cold steel. However when he learns that a potential promotion might be blocked his thoughts turn from killing the enemy to killing anyone who stands in his way.

Also to spice things up from time to time the ghost of the Crusader who fell under the spell of the blade when it was a sword at the begining of the story pops up from time to time. The ghost crusader feels bad about his legacy and he does what he can to try and protect Ritchie from being gunned down by the Germans. 

I don't know why I have a soft spot for supernatural artifacts in pocket war comics when they turn up.
Yes I know it's all very stupid but I really like this story.

The old baleful influence that spans centuries! That would explain a lot of things.

If you think about how long it takes to swing your aggressive manner, as if you were holding a sword, would really have the time to say all of that?

I really like the worried look on the horses face.

You're just making that up to make me feel bad!

A change of style from crusading times.

Don't worry ugly dude. If it makes you feel better I think you and your friends are the most honest bunch of cutthroats I have ever met.

Shouldn't that be "Vorwaerts! Vipe out ze Englanders". Honestly! They speak perfect English one moment and the next moment you can't understand a word they're saying.

Nice tank.

He's talking about your teeth sand man.

Beefy, muscular Germans shooting off their big guns.

It's only a war. You'll get over it. I know you'd do the same for me...

Ya Otto you are right! We don't stand a chance. Here are the three of us, well hidden and with the element of surprise against only ein Englander. Should we surrender now or just get it over and done with and get ourselves killed?

It appears that tenacity is not enough against a pair of English knees.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cover of the Week War Picture Library 131 Line of Fire

The enemy bullets plough the field. It's very clear what's going on here! Do or die! on War Picture Library 131 Line of Fire. The Brits are making their way up that hill, they are being shelled, they are taking loses, their Captain is down but on they come!
There's a lot of good foreground detail going on. There are those blades of grass, the tear in the netting of the downed officer's helmet cover and have a look at that Sergeant's hand. But then there's just a touch too much detail for my liking, the smoking Sten and the bullets (spandau no doubt) stitching up the turf. Also the placement of that lovingly drawn Sergeant's hand looks like it's about to swat the Fire off the cover. However despite my prejudices this cover is a 8/10.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Quote of the Week

"To heck with discipline, Brig. That's not the way we fight in this outfit. I relax with my men, and I fight right alongside 'em too!" Major Rudge, Fourth Battalion 216th Queensland Militia in War Picture Library 163 Hell's Heroes.
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