Sunday, 13 December 2009

Darkie's Mob


I was never that into the british war weeklies back in The Bronze Age. Mags like Valiant and The Victor, although I bought them occasionally just seemed, well....kind of old fashioned. Full of strips that were rooted in a late '50's idea of what comics should be, they simply weren't as sexy as the american comics. Even Battle, John Wagner & Pat Mill's war anthology that began in 1975, had it's fair share of plucky Tommy's taking on Jerry under fairly dull artwork ( or so it seemed at the time. ) But there were glorious exceptions. Battle was a conflicted beast, midway between the traditional boys comic feel of The Victor and the all-out anarchy of Action, ( and by extension, paving the way for the insanity of 2000AD ). As well as the brutally realistic Charley's War, and the anti-establishment japes of Major Eazy, Battle also mined it's own field in visceral, fuck you war strips: Like Darkie's Mob.

If Major Eazy was british comics' answer to Kelly's Heroes, then Darkie's Mob was surely it's version of Apocalypse Now. As brutal, vicious, unrelenting & uncompromising as it's lead character, Darkie's Mob was the legend of Captain Joe Darkie, a hate-fuelled, stone-cold rat bastard of a hero who, through fear and intimidation, molds a squad of stragglers in the Burmese jungle into ' the most savage fighting force the japanese have ever known. '
But Darkie is not entirely what he appears to be, and the revelation of his mysterious past is part of what drives the story. Like a lot of war mags at the time, there is a breathtaking amount of casual racism, ( I doubt you'd even get away with the title these days! ) but here it kind of fits. Joe ain't a good guy by any stretch of the imagination, making Sgt's Rock & Fury look like loud-mouthed fakes every blood-drenched step of the way.
Titan are about to release collected editions of both Darkie & Eazy, and I'm gonna be snapping 'em up, but for now, here's the opener. Don't fear the japs! Fear Me!











7 comments:

  1. A nice comic strip and great art.A fine story.

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  2. does anyone remember the names of the battle strips staring a despatch rider who welded piat on either side of his motor bike to fight the nazis or the german soldier who was hunted by vampires on the russian front.has john wagner started work on shortys mob.

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  3. in a run of issues we were treated to free gifts which included a fold-out colour poster of the d-day landing followed by tranfers of british and german soldiers.if any copies still exist.i would like to see the picture scanned and be able to use the drag and drop for the soldiers.

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  4. anyone else still resentful that 2000 a.d. stole battle thunder.would you agree battle was the superior comic.what was the pecking order of buying comics in the seventies.battle.warlord.action.did your money stretch to victor and bullet.was roy of the rovers a girls comic.

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  5. what small arms weapons was in your action man arsenal.i owned a camouflaged bazooka with a brass colour rocket.a red army dp-28 light machine gun with round drum.a british l1a1 self-loading rifle with the barrel broke off.my sterling sub-machine gun magazine and flare pistol became casualties of my mothers hoover.i found a german mauser rifle which the owner had used the barrel as a chew toy.

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  6. I've never forgiven my dear old mum for throwing away the hundreds of issues I'd collected from the very begining...

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  7. sad to say my collection of battle comics was used to burn garden waste(bad decision,i know).i remember a winter school jumble sale of the seventies.i recall how the school lights lit up the darkness as i walked knee deep in snow.taking the same route i took in the day.i trailed behind the rest of the family.the jumble was a aladdins cave of albums and comics (50s,60s,70s) throughout the years.

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