Sneek Peek: Great War in Comics Exhibition, featuring “Charley’s War”, “White Death”

Great War in Comics Exhibition, Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal 2014

 

Marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, Kendal’s Abbot Hall Art Gallery (currently exhibiting an incredible exhibition on British Surrealism) and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival are bringing together for the first time the work of three internationally-acclaimed artists – Joe Colquhoun, Charlie Adlard and Ivan Petrus – who have shed new light on this conflict through the medium of comic art.

The “Charley’s War” side of the exhibition has been part of this exhibition I’ve been involved in, assembled thanks to tremendous help from Joe Colquhoun’s daughter, Jane, Moose Harris (who kindly hosts the semi-official “Charley’s War” web site and has been instrumental in providing new scans of Joe’s art for various collections of the strip in recent years). “Charley’s War” writer and co-creator Pat Mills has also given the choice of art in the exhibition his blessing.

Here’s a couple of pages of the art from “Charley’s War” and “White Death” that will feature, snapped when I viewed the final choice last month, so apologies in advance that they’re not the best photographs. (All the more reason to visit the exhibition to see it in person!)

 

This Battle cover is one of the choices of "Charley's War" art by Joe Colquhoun for the Abbot Hall Gallery "Great War" Exhibition (28th September - 6th December 2014). "Charley's War" © Egmont UK

This Battle cover is one of the choices of “Charley’s War” art by Joe Colquhoun for the Abbot Hall Gallery “Great War” Exhibition (28th September – 6th December 2014). “Charley’s War” © Egmont UK

 

A German airship over London. Art by Joe Colquhoun. "Charley's War" © Egmont UK

A German airship over London. Art by Joe Colquhoun. “Charley’s War” © Egmont UK

 

Western front combat during World War One. "Charley's War" © Egmont UK

Western front combat during World War One. I chose this page as it reflects Pat Mills research as well as Joe’s art. His depiction of the use and suffering some 500,000 plus horses went through on the Western Front was written years ahead of War Horse. “Charley’s War” © Egmont UK

 

Charley’s War has been described as ‘the greatest comic strip ever created’and from 1979 until 1987 formed a unique collaboration between pioneering writer Pat Mills and acclaimed war artist Joe Colquhoun. The comic strip rarely flinched from providing a frank portrayal of the horrors of war, with Colquhoun willing to subvert traditional techniques of comics’ illustration by opting for heavy inks, messy backgrounds and stark facial expressions to depict an exceptionally dark atmosphere.

 

One of Charlie Adlard's striking pages form "White Death", written by Robbie Morrison. "White Death © Robbie Morrison & Charlie Adlard

One of Charlie Adlard’s striking pages form “White Death”, written by Robbie Morrison. “White Death © Robbie Morrison & Charlie Adlard

 

Set in the Alpine trench war of 1914-1918, White Death is a powerful story of conflict at a simultaneously personal and national levelCharlie Adlard is best-known as the artist on the record-breaking television series The Walking Dead. Yet this early collaboration with writer Robbie Morrison is arguably one of his finest works. Using just charcoal and chalk on gray paper, his drawings convey the fear, horror and desolation of war.

Ghosts of Passchendaele, launched in 2014, is the third book of a graphic novel trilogy by Ivan Petrus featuring Belgian, British and French soldiers and their true stories from the First World War. Painted in bold, dark, muddy colours, his art powerfully invokes the iconic post-war Passchendaele landscape. Ivan was at last year’s Comic Art Festival and his work is truly incredible… but you’ll have to get to the exhibition to see it!

• Great War in Comics – 28th September – 6th December 2014, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Cumbria. Tel 01539 722464; Fax 01539 722494; Email info@abbothall.org.uk. Web: www.abbothall.org.uk

• How to get to Abbot Hall

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: British Comics, Classic British Comics, Comic Art, downthetubes Comics News, Exhibitions, Featured News

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