Thursday, 1 February 2018

Charley's War


Having nothing interesting to report, I thought I'd keep the entries going by bringing this to your attention. Because I once purchased a few Dr Who miniatures from them Forbidden Planet send me regular weekly updates on new merchandise. Among this weeks collection of Marvel Superhero comic books and others I noticed this book.

For those of less mature years, and possibly non UK viewers, I should tell you that this is a comic strip that originally appeared in the weekly comic 'Battle'' starting in 1979 with young Charley Bourne lying about his age to enlist in the army, and works it way fairly chronologically to the British intervention in Russia after the armistice.

I have the original book versions, all ten volumes, and re-read them fairly regularly, even though they are not necessarily easy reading. The strips are sometimes heavy going, as the stories do not glorify the war in any way. They seem to show the mud, blood and ferocity of the Western Front in all its horror. They also show the stupidity and arrogance of officers, the pressures of war, with soldiers suffering mentally and physically. There are even nods to real figures. In one strip there is a recognisable figure in the foreground while in the background are a couple of officers saying "...private Adolf Hitler is the best runner in the unit...". During one of the stories we digress to following one of Charley's brothers in a naval battle.

The series ends in 1933, when Charley is unemployed, like many others at the time. He is walking down the street having just met his old sergeant ruminating on the futility of the War and that politicians must have learned their lesson, while on the corner a newsvendor is shouting that Hitler has just been elected German Chancellor.

Ah well, now back to the model railway track laying.

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