Garth Ennis Presents – Battle Classics

battleclasscisOn this side of the pond, we get lots of War World II stories from the press and Hollywood, but not much from the British POV.  Comic book writer Garth Ennis (Preacher, Hitman) with Titan Books gathers an incredible collection of World War II comic book stories from the British perspective.  “Battle” was published weekly from 1975 to 1988 and left a mark in British comic book history and gave comic book talents like John Wagner, Mike Western, Cam Kennedy, John Cooper, Alan Hebden and David Hunt freedom to tell honest life and death tales from World War II.

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“… I believe HMS Nightshade to be its writer’s most important work:  it is about something that counts.  It is not about fantasy of future lawmen, interplanetary bounty-hunters, or assassins in a game of murder.”  Garth Ennis, Garth Ennis Presents Battle Classics

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British comic book writer John Wagner maybe known creating Judge Dredd and his graphic novel “A History of Violence”, but his team-up with artist Mike Western also left an impression in comics. Through the eyes of Royal Navy sailor George Dunn, he recounts his World War II tales on-board the HMS Nightshade.  Designed in the 1930s, the HMS Nightshade was a Flower-class Corvette escort ship with a crew on 85 men.  During the war, the ship protected Allied supply ships, troop carriers, merchant ships and tankers from German U-boats, warships and fighter planes of all kinds.

The next collection of Battle stories is from writer John Cooper and artist Alan Hebden with “The General Dies At Dawn.”  A legendary solider in the Third Reich, General Otto Von Margen is sentenced to death for cowardice and treason.  In his prison cell, the General awaiting death by firing squad, recounts his World War II stories to his jailer.  The last collection is a couple of short World War II stories by the amazing Cam Kennedy and a story by Dave Hunt.  Cam Kennedy’s artwork is incredibly detailed and rich, it puts modern comic-book artist to shame.  Also with each section we get Garth Ennis take on these storytellers and background on the comics.

These black and white comics tell not fantasy tales, but the nitty gritty life of soldiers at war, the pain and lost, and the horrors of war.  Over 30 years have passed, now these Battle comic stories are reprinted.  The Battle tales showcase the talents of John Wagner, Mike Western, Cam Kennedy, John Cooper, Alan Hebden and David Hunt.  Battle Classics is a taste of British comics history and inspired the likes of writer Garth Ennis.

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Hardbound Trade:   Garth Ennis Presents – Battle Classics

Publisher:   Titan Books

MSRP:  $29.95USD

Available:  Now

Comments

  1. I grew up on these. Actually, Battle was produced as a direct competitor to another war comic, Warlord (which I also read): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warlord_(DC_Thomson) As if that weren’t enough, there were also two little comic books out every month called Commando, which were also very popular: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commando_Comics
    Looking back now, I can’t believe how much of my childhood was spent reading about war and conflict!

    • As a kid I grew-up with Marvel and DC Comics, so reading this collection is eye-opening. I have to mention Garth Ennis really put his insights and thoughts as he wrote the Foreward, Introductions, and each individual collection from these comic-book creators.

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