Thursday, 2 December 2010

Battle and Valiant - 13th November 1976

With us snowed in here in the village, it means no work and plenty od spare time. So, while the Sprogs are watching "The Muppets Christmas Carol", thought i'd pick a couple of issues out of the box completely at random and have a peruse.
First up, another Battle read for me.
It's an odd cover, made up of stark black and white images, with a lot of pretty prominent dotting for shading. All three look like they're copies from somewhere else - its obvious that's an Ezquerra Eazy but the One-Eyed Jack and D-Day Dawson look almost like they've been photo referenced, though gawd knows from where.
Three strips of note this time:
"Major Eazy" is the start of a three-parter, having the guy up against deep desert bandits operating out of a secret oasis. Its classic stuff with classic art by Carlos. This is my favourite - love how the centre section is the only area with solid panel lines and the way they're composed to contain Eazy being ambushed, with some lovely widescreen one's giving a real cinematic feel to the sequence. Can just see the panel of the bandits up on the dune top on the big screen.
A straight out action episode from "Darkies Mob", with the fellas attacking an air base. Again, Mike Western is using the panel to direct the reader - here these odd shaped panels really do seem to be focusing the reader towards the guy on fire (who seems to be reacting quite calmly, being his face is falling off).
Lastly we have the never really talked about "Solder Sharp". Which is odd as its pretty entertaining stuff with "Charlies War" quality art from Joe. Guess editorial and the readers didn't really take to having the main character being so unsympathetic, what with him being a coward, cheat and thief. But the funs in the scrapes he gets in to and out of. Here we have him tied down by the soviets (painful), his chest cut, then a cage of rats plonked down on him, the idea being they'll be so inflamed by the smell of the blood that they'll eat through the wooden floor of the cage to get to him.
Arnie gets out of this one by spinning the wheel he's on over to the fire, then putting his arm in it until the rope burns through. A true "you couldn't do that in a kids comic now" sequence if ever i saw one.
A nearly there "Aaaiee!" from a desert bandit being shot at by Easy. Guess it'd have been fuller if he's actually been hit.
A 100% "Aieeee!" from a blown up Russian in "Panzer G-Man". Well done that soldier.
A one E too many "Aieeeee!" from a similary blown up German a few panels on.
And at the end of the strip we have a positive glut of them - a "Aieeeee!" from a Russian being shot AND on fire, a cut-off "Aiee!" from his mate next to him and then the really rather brilliant "BATUSH-AIEEEEE!".

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