Saturday, 27 May 2017
By the late seventies most of the comics I knew as a kid had gone. Lion had been merged with Valiant as had Smash, last of the "Power" range of comics along with TV21. In turn Valiant had been absorbed by newcomer Battle. Such was the way with British comics. Mergers were a way of bringing readers from a flagging title to another comic which featured "the best" of both.
A "new wave" of comics were hitting the stands as Fleetway/IPC tried to compete with Marvel UK in a changing world. Battle and Action were two such comics.
Action was a controversial title that had to be suspended" after just 36 issues due to its controversial content. Questions were even raised in Parliament. When it returned the stories were toned down and it was never the same again and lasted just under a year with 50 further editions before it was merged with Battle.
Action requires an post all of it's own one of these days....
Battle was a hard-hitting war comic which featured such oddities as Johnny Red, the tale of a pilot wrongly dismissed from the RAF who found himself fighting on the Eastern Front with a Hurricane fighter as part of the Soviet Air Force.
The combined edition contained what the "paper" called the "big seven". Spinball Wars, Dredger, Hellman, Major Eazy, The Sarge and of course Johnny Red.
I wasn't able to pick up the first merged issue so have started the run with the second issue and have to say it's a good comic updating the "boys comic" genre to a modern age.
Battle went on to last 664 issues before being absorbed by the second volume of the Eagle in 1988.