If you’re a fan of the Battle strip “Johnny Red”, then you may be interested in a page of art from the strip on sale on eBay, drawn by the legendary John Cooper.
Bidding has already reached over £400 for the page, first published in Battle with Storm Force Issue 617, cover dated 28th February 1987, an issue that also included strips (some reprint) such as “Invasion!”, “Charley’s War”, Slaves of the Web”, “Storm Force”, “Death Squad” – recently collected by Rebellion – and “Fighting Mann”.
John Cooper, who died in 2015, worked on “Johnny Red” from 1979 to 1984, producing over 1100 pages of art throughout his 303 episodes in the weekly comic, summer specials and annuals. His run on the strip was later reprinted following Battle’s merger with the revived Eagle.
“This is a great example of John Cooper’s art style,” notes downthetubes contributor and comics archivist Richard Sheaf in a post on his Boys Adventure Comics blog. “Plus, Johnny’s in almost every frame!”
“John was arguable the artist most identified with ‘Johnny Red’,” noted archivist Moose Harris, who paid tribute to the artist when he passed away in 2015.
“Johnny Red”, a story that centres on a RAF pilot, seconded by accident to the Russian front during World War Two, a tale inspired by true events, was one of artist John Cooper’s favourite strips, the story usually written by Tom Tully.
The long-running and hugely popular strip was initially drawn by Joe Colquhoun, followed by John Cooper, and, later, Carlos Pino (and some others).
Titan Books published some of the series in story sequence over four collections, and sister company Titan Comics released an all-new mini series written by Garth Ennis, with art by Keith Burns.
Update – Sunday 7th February 2021 – the page sold for £670
With thanks to Richard Sheaf for spotting this item