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On this day, 8 March 1980: Battle Action

On this day, 8 March 1980: Battle Action

 Cover artwork: Carlos Ezquerra

Cover artwork: Carlos Ezquerra

On this day, 8 March 1980 … Today marks the anniversary of the fifth birthday issue of Battle (and therefore of issue one itself, which I reviewed last year). Like so many editions of Battle Action from around this time, it’s another top-drawer cover, once again by the masterful Carlos Ezquerra (just how many stunning covers did he produce for Battle and 2000AD?) – dynamic, dramatic, pulpy and utterly in our faces. It’s a blockbuster movie poster of a cover, accurately capturing the passion and fervour of the comic at this time.

Battle had enjoyed a successful first half-decade and had developed from a comic telling stories primarily of honour and bravery in conflict into something more edgy, gritty and horrific. Charley’s War by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun played an important part in this process after it began its six-year run in January 1979, while longstanding popular heroes such as Johnny Red and The Sarge, and anti-heroes such as Rat Pack (look at that gloriously dirty Eric Bradbury art below) kept war-fascinated young readers thrilled week after week.

 The first issue of Battle Picture Weekly, 8 March 1975

The first issue of Battle Picture Weekly, 8 March 1975

 Charley’s War: Pat Mills (writer), Joe Colquhoun (artist)

Charley’s War: Pat Mills (writer), Joe Colquhoun (artist)

 Charley’s War: Pat Mills (writer), Joe Colquhoun (artist)

Charley’s War: Pat Mills (writer), Joe Colquhoun (artist)

 Charley’s War: Pat Mills (writer), Joe Colquhoun (artist)

Charley’s War: Pat Mills (writer), Joe Colquhoun (artist)

 The Sarge: Scott Goodall (writer), Phil Gascoine? (artist)

The Sarge: Scott Goodall (writer), Phil Gascoine? (artist)

 The Sarge: Scott Goodall (writer), Phil Gascoine? (artist)

The Sarge: Scott Goodall (writer), Phil Gascoine? (artist)

 Rat Pack: writer unknown, Eric Bradbury (artist)

Rat Pack: writer unknown, Eric Bradbury (artist)

 Rat Pack: writer unknown, Eric Bradbury (artist)

Rat Pack: writer unknown, Eric Bradbury (artist)

 Johnny Red: Tom Tully (writer), John Cooper (artist)

Johnny Red: Tom Tully (writer), John Cooper (artist)

 Johnny Red: Tom Tully (writer), John Cooper (artist)

Johnny Red: Tom Tully (writer), John Cooper (artist)

 Johnny Red: Tom Tully (writer), John Cooper (artist)

Johnny Red: Tom Tully (writer), John Cooper (artist)

 War Dog: Alan Hebden (writer), Cam Kennedy (artist)

War Dog: Alan Hebden (writer), Cam Kennedy (artist)

 War Dog: Alan Hebden (writer), Cam Kennedy (artist)

War Dog: Alan Hebden (writer), Cam Kennedy (artist)

 Kommando King: Gerry Finley-Day (writer), Geoff Campion (artist)

Kommando King: Gerry Finley-Day (writer), Geoff Campion (artist)

 Kommando King: Gerry Finley-Day (writer), Geoff Campion (artist)

Kommando King: Gerry Finley-Day (writer), Geoff Campion (artist)

 At Your Command!: Jim Watson (artist)

At Your Command!: Jim Watson (artist)

On this day, 9 March 1985: Whoopee

On this day, 9 March 1985: Whoopee

On this day, 7 March 1970: Scorcher

On this day, 7 March 1970: Scorcher