On this day: Battle with Storm Force, 23 January 1988
On this day, 23 January 1988 … the last standalone edition of Battle disappeared from the shelves of British newsagents*. Battle had served an impressive tour of duty lasting nearly thirteen years, but now its masthead, Johnny Red, the paramilitaries of Storm Force and further reprints of Pat Mills’ and Joe Colquhoun’s Charley’s War were off to join Dan Dare and Doomlord in Eagle – essentially IPC’s last adventure comic standing.
It’s often said that war comics, and comics in which war featured heavily, such as Battle, Action and Valiant, and DC Thomson’s Victor and Warlord, proved successful in the 1960s and 1970s because they were published for kids for whom the Second World War was only one generation in the past, its veterans still many among us. By the mid- to late-1980s, it was a less significant part of children’s cultural awareness; ‘war’ was starting to mean something very different to Cold War kids. This may be one of the reasons for Battle’s eventual decline. A decline in the juvenile comics market in general must have been signifcant also, and in this excellent article for The Quietus Steve Earles suggests that a turning-point for Battle was its dalliance with toy tie-in strips during its Action Force era: 'You now had the shameful situation of creators, some of whom had actually been in the army, trying to breath life into stories based on moulded plastic.' The article is also worth reading for a great Pat Mills interview in which he discusses Battle, Dave Hunt, Gerry Finley-Day and Joe Colquhoun.
*All of my ‘On this day’ posts are based on the date printed on each comic’s cover, which is the off-sale date rather than the date of publication.