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Monday, 21 September 2015

Orion Publishing Group: Sven Hassel's Wheels of Terror
Sven Hassel and Jordy Diago
Orion Publishing Group
29 x 21 cms
Full colour
Page count: 128
ISBN: 9780297609766
Publication date: 01 Oct 2015

Sven Hassel's iconic war novel, WHEELS OF TERROR, is brought vividly to life in this graphic novel, illustrated by Jordy Diago.
A graphic novel adaptation of Sven Hassel's classic war novel, WHEELS OF TERROR, illustrated by Jordy Diago.

Stationed on the Eastern Front and now equipped with armoured vehicles, Sven Hassel and his comrades from the 27th Penal Regiment fight on remorselessly . . . All of them should be dead: life expectancy on the Front is measured in weeks. But Sven, Porta, the Old Un and the Legionnaire fight to the end, not for Germany, not for Hitler, but for survival.

From the blistering cold to the horrors of tank warfare, WHEELS OF TERROR is a sobering depiction of war's brutalities, and the violence and inhumanity that the history books leave out.
Biographical Notes

Sven Hassel was born in 1917 in Fredensborg, Denmark. He began writing LEGION OF THE DAMNED during his time as a prisoner of war. His 14 Second World War books draw on his own encounters and experiences as a soldier, and have been published in more than 50 countries. He peacefully passed away in Barcelona in 2012, where he had resided since 1964.

Jordy Diago is an artist, illustrator and photographer from Spain.

 It must be me because I expected that, having such great source material to base a graphic novel on...well, that a better artist might have been found.

I think that if this is the best artist Orion could find then we are lost.  The story is still gripping, though, obviously, adapted from a rather chunky novel and Hassel's novels were almost obligatory reading back in the 1960s/1970s.  Even old soldiers remarked "It's as nasty as the real thing".  No complaints there. In a way. however, the final words in this adaption just left me saying "oh. Right". Nothing.

The UK has a fine tradition of having the best war comic illustrators -or did- whether from the the UK like John Cooper or Mike Western or from Europe and South America.  So I have to ask "why Diago?" The faces are grotesque, out of proportion and being honest the heads would need to be deformed to wear helmets the way the characters in this book do. Even figures are not the best.

It just looks so amateurish -if this were a Small Press effort I might be a little kinder but this is supposed to be a professional company and book.  I note no one seems to take credit as the editor of this book which means either there was none or whoever did the job failed miserably.

This book does not live up to its publicity.  The more I go through it the worse it seems and for me that is not good. To say I am very disappointment is the best I can write.

If you see a copy check it out -you may totally disagree with me but I hope this is the first and last adaption of Hassel by Diago.

Sorry for quality of images but I quickly photographed pages rather than go through laborious scanning.


  1. Oh. And I was looking forward to this. Still... I'd like to have a look at it one day just to see how the grotesque figures gel with the story. I don't hold out too much hope after your comments - but, sometimes, hope is all we have. Take it easy, Terry. Take it slow, and keep the 'black dog' at bay.
    I'll try and put together something light for you to have a look at ASAP. Comics... great for the soul.

  2. Thank you for that additional material. I'll study it at length.