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Saturday, 21 December 2013

Titan Books: Garth Ennis Presents - Battle Classics

Garth Ennis Presents - Battle Classics
Contributors: John Wagner , Cam Kennedy , Alan Hebden , Mike Western , John Cooper , Garth Ennis
B/w comic strip
Hardback: 256pp
Dimensions: 296 x 220mm
ISBN: 9781781167410
Publication date: 9 January 2014
RRP £19.99 BUY NOW

Comics writer Garth Ennis,  selects his favourite stories from the seminal 1970s British boys’ comic Battle. Included in this fantastic volume for the very first time is the complete HMS Nightshade, and the never-before-reprinted The General Dies At Dawn.

With insights and introductions by Ennis himself, this collection of war comic rarities is not to be missed!
I am far less interested in what Garth Ennis has to say, but a fan of British weekly war comics needed to offer some kind of introduction and Ennis is a fan.

What can I write? Titan Books has cornered the market in producing beautifully produced and packaged collections.  

I have written before how newspaper strips such as James Bond or Modesty Blaise could suffer in the printing process –the perils of newsprint.  The same equally applies to the weekly comics such as Battle. I have some of the strips in this collection in their original weekly format. Printing from the next page has seeped through, the “solid blacks” are far from solid and, of course, with age, the paper the comics are printed on has become even more delicate –and it wasn’t that good back in the day. Here the pages gush with lovely solid blacks –all balanced out well on the page as only true pros like Mike Western, John Cooper and Can Kennedy could.

If I have one complaint it is that no one has ever collected Mike’s The Leopard From Lime Street together in one book.  The other –really MAJOR- complaint is that we simply do not have enough collected work from one of the greats of British comics –John Cooper.  Coop needs far more of his work collected together. “The General Dies At Dawn” is a now almost forgotten classic –and I do mean classic- and here you have it printed in true quality.

This is true, gritty and hard war action comics at their best –and even US creators such as Wally Wood were inspired by British war comics.

To those wannabe comic artists I’d say study these strips. See how they were quality and all drawn by hand –no computer in sight. LEARN the skills of drawing the way a real man draws (spits out chewed tobacco and gets dirty look from cat).  Until you’ve the ink stains on your fingers and the taste of India ink on your biscuits or sandwiches you aint a real man (or woman –we don’t want to get into trouble here).  Waking up to the smell of drawing ink early in the morning. Better’n napalm.

A bit too late for Christmas maybe but this is one of a delayed gift to give a comicker. A great, hefty collection that is a must by!!

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