Charley’s War: Stripography and Timeline – Annual and Special Stories

The Annuals and Summer Specials

Pat Mills tells us he didn’t write any of the annual or special stories, and  Joe rarely drew the Annual or Summer Special stories either, due to time constraints drawing Charley’s War in his working week.

Here is a list of the annuals and Specials and who drew what and when. Comments by Neil Emery.

Annuals

1981
Writer: Unknown Artist: Cam Kennedy

Neil’s Notes: The unmistakable Cam Kennedy drew this story, and all the rifles and uniforms are well researched and drawn. It’s a story about shellshock, and it’s a bit wishy washy. Features the letters home idea.

1982
Writer: Unknown Artist: Joe Colquhoun

Neil’s Notes: One of only two that Joe drew, seven full pages in full colour. It’s a little looser and untidy in places due to obvious time constraints but excellent none the less. A rather unlikely yarn of slapstick type mishaps concerning Charley hanging onto the tail of a Sopwith Camel as it has a dogfight (?!)

1983
Writer: Unknown Artist: Joe Colquhoun

Neil’s Notes: The other Joe Colquhoun story, again in full colour across seven pages. It’s set in a hotel in a captured Village, and two stray German soldiers who are sheltering two little peasant french kids. Charley lets them go. Great artwork.

1984
Writer: Unknown Artist: Cam Kennedy

Neil’s Notes: Cam Kennedy again, and again a good effort research wise. The story concerns the press being told not to take pictures of dead/dying Tommies. It’s only partially correct in terms of its facts.

1985
Writer: Unknown Artist: Mike Western

Neil’s Notes: Joe Colquhoun provided a full colour coverto the annual but this Charley’s War story is drawn by Mike Western and is spoiled by badly researched German uniforms and weapons. The story is crap to be honest – pithy nonsense about a captured tank.

1986
Writer: Unknown Artist: Unknown

Neil’s Notes: A terrible story all round, shouldn’t have bothered at all.

1987
Writer: Unknown Artist: Unknown

Neil’s Notes: The same artist as above – and the same writer, judging by the quality of the script

1988
Writer: Unknown Artist: Unknown

Neil’s Notes: A very odd this one, it’s a text story about a composer soldier called Copeland who looses three fingers of his right hand and decides to do a kamikazee attack on the German lines… hmm, my thoughts exactly. The unknown writer is under the ridiculous illusion that the British were losing 10,000 men a day (the script notes “Charley was unaware of these figures, of course” – and so were we!).

But here’s the strange bit: it’s graphics are culled mainly from the first day of the Somme artwork by Joe Colquhoun from the 1979 cover ‘Over the top’. However, if you look at the frames either side of the text it’s obvious that these were done for the story because they show the hapless Copeland complete with sheet music, and behind him Charley carrying his wounded officer as described in the text. This means that Joe drew specifically for this annual and it came out the year after his death.

We think it was one of the last pieces of work he ever did, which is quite interesting. If anyone knows the story behind this please contact us.

 

Charley's War: Art by Cam Kennedy
Charley’s War: Art by Cam Kennedy

Summer Specials

1979
Writer: Unknown Artist: Cam Kennedy

Neil’s Notes: Cam Kennedy with his inimitable ink and wash style, some nice artwork and well researched. A shame about the story about a carrier pigeon.

1980
Writer: Unknown Artist: Cam Kennedy

Neil’s Notes: Cam Kennedy again with some even better artwork. The story is about a dispatch rider.

1981
Writer: Unknown Artist: Unknown

Neil’s Notes: A terrible story from the artist who drew Spinball Wars for Battle

1982
Writer: Unknown Artist: Geoff Campion

Neil’s Notes: Some very nice artwork from the late, great Geoff Campion. Well researched as well, very good looking pages. I liked Geoff very much as it goes. Story about a messenger dog who gets killed, hmmm…

1983
Writer: Unknown Artist: Cam Kennedy

Neil’s Notes: Cam Kennedy again and again very well done, story crap again

1984
Writer: Unknown Artist: Mike Western

Neil’s Notes: Darkie’s Mob artist Mike Western draws this one and no disrespect to him, but it’s very poor indeed and very badly researched – he even draws the German coalscuttle helmets with the picklehaub spike as well. The story is awful — all the supporting characters seem to be called Smudger or Spud (!) hmmm.

1985
Writer: Unknown Artist: Mike Western

Neil’s Notes: An awful, sentimental script.

1986
Writer: Unknown Artist: Mike Western

Neil’s Notes: Tragic all round this one. The story is now set in World War 2 for the first time.

1987
Writer: Unknown Artist: Mike Western

Neil’s Notes: Oddly, we;re back in the First World War. That doesn’t help the story though.

1989
Writer: Unknown Artist: Unknown

Neil’s Notes: Text short story set in World War 2, although not short enough. Side panels drawn by the worst artist since Tarzan took up pastels.

1990
Writer: Unknown Artist: Unknown

Neil’s Notes: Unknown artist who has tried (not totally unsucsessfully) to copy Joe’s style. Almost gets away with it if it wasn’t for the awful script

1991
Writer: Unknown Artist: Unknown

Neil’s Notes: Last ever Charley’s War to grace any page of a comic, drawn by the guy who used to do Hunters Si6 in Battle Action Force, an Italian sounding name that eludes me. It’s OK, but nothing special – an awful script and flogging a long dead horse sums it up.


Charley’s War created by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun

CHARLEY’S WAR ™ REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, COPYRIGHT ©  REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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