Aristocrats of War #9 – Charley’s War

Hands Down the Best War Comic

So over the last couple of weeks I have been reading a series called Charley’s War. I can’t begin to say enough good things about it. Honestly, it reminds me of the first time I picked up a volume of Calvin and Hobbes. Easy to read and hard to put down!

Dark, grisly, matter of fact, humorous and quite possibly the most matter of fact and gritty depiction of trench warfare ever put into graphic form. Actually I will change that last sentence and say warfare in general. If you have time for only one thing to read, give Charley’s War a try. (The art is something to behold as well.) You won’t be disappointed!

Originally printed as a comic strip form, it is easily digestible and binge-able. Charley’s War first appeared in Issue #200 of Battle Action (Battle Picture Weekly) and ran for seven years. The series was reprinted in issues of Judge Dredd Megazine starting with issue #211, and followed the same format as the original. It also has the added bonus of some background and information on the series and creators. If you want to take it on slowly and methodically this would be the way to go. I wish I would have done it this way so I could get the feel of waiting for the next issue to come out. Isn’t that feeling great! Titan Books has also released reprints in the format of 112 page hardcovers, of which there are 10 currently. Regardless of the formats see if you can find a way to read Charley’s War!!!

Charley’s War was written by Pat Mills, who created 2000 AD and the concept behind the character Judge Dredd. The series of comic strips details the horrors faced by Charley Bourne in the Battle of the Somme. Being underage Charley lies about his age and the young, gullible, do-gooder is thrust into the battle. 

Joe Colquhoun, best known for Johnny Red provided the over the top and simplistic artwork that sets the mood perfectly. I’m not sure anyone else could have pulled it off. 

The series is written in 3 page chunks (as 3 pages were published in each Battle Action Magazine), they begin with a synopsis and the panels usually are accompanied with a letter written to Charley’s parents. That is one of my favorite parts, as you see the two perspectives and accounts Charley details to his family.

Give Charley’s War a read and let me know what you think about it and until next time, keep your head down and Get Some!



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