Back in the sixties and seventies British comics were very much orientated towards stories of the Second World War. For many of our parents, grandparents Uncles and neighbours the shadow of the war hung over us all. I was aware of the effect the Nazi's had on my family most of whom went to Auschwitz. Two uncles who managed to survive still had their numbers tattooed on their arms.
The story of resistance to the Germans were very much in vogue. The country was rightly proud of its stand against the most hateful regime in history. The pinnacle of that stand was the Battle of Britain where a handful of British, Empire and Allied pilots stood against the Luftwaffe.
Running from 1978 to 1985 Battle Picture Weekly was a very different type of war comic. It started producing much more gritty and realistic war stories including having a look at troops from the other side. One of it's features which is clearly of it's era was a letter pages where readers sent in details of their family members experiences of the war.
Developed by comic creators Pat Mills and John Wagner Battle went on to inspire a whole new generation of comics including the short lived but controversial Action and the still surviving 2000AD today published by Rebellion who have managed to purchase the rights to a huge back catalogue of British comics material.
This is the latest in their now almost monthly publishing programme of "specials" based on old British comics in a variety of formats though unlike the originals (which used cheap newsprint) these are produced in colour on high quality paper.
There are nine war stories, mostly about World War Two starting with one of Battle's original features Ratpack and ending with a tale of the German's Death Squad on the eastern front. One of tales is a serious piece produced in conjunction with the charity War Child.
The US Civil War gets a look in with an adventure featuring Battle regular El Mistizo and Vietnam appears in Bravo, Black Lion.
In line with the comics of the day there are text features on the Battle of Britain itself and one page features on British planes used in the conflict.
Overall this is an excellent read and a trip down memory lane for the older reader. Hopefully this will be the first of many specials over the coming years as Rebellion brings back British comics. And about time to. DC Thomson please note.
Available from all good newsagents and direct from: 2000ad.com