Rebellion is trailing the release of a collection of Death Squad, the tough war series that began in Battle-Action in July 1980. Written by Alan Hebden and illustrated by Eric Bradbury, with additional stories from at least one Eagle annual by Carlos Ezquerra, the collection is currently scheduled for release in August next year.
An all-out all-action, complete-in-one brutal war story starring “the deadliest band of fighters on the Eastern Front”, “Death Squad” was, say Rebellion, hugely influential on Preacher and The Boys creator Garth Ennis – and is described by writer Alan Hebden as a sort of “German Rat Pack“, noting artist Bradbury “was one of the rare artists who did hardware and characters with equal verve.”
“This was originally intended to be the start of a 5 or 6-part story,” Alan recalled in 2017, “but it took on a life of its own and turned into a 21-part ‘Death Squad’ saga.”
During World War Two, the Eastern Front was hell on Earth. German Punishment Battalions were thrown into the thick of the conflict where they were expected to fight well and die hard. In these harshest of conditions only the strongest warriors survived.
Enter the Death Squad – Grandad, Swede, Licker, Gus and Frankie. Alone, they were failures and outcasts… but together, they were one of the most formidable combat units the Russians ever faced!
Alan Hebden, who wrote “Death Squad” as “Mark Andrew”, created a wide variety of classic comic characters for a wide variety of titles, including Major Eazy and El Mestizo with artist Carlos Ezquerra, and Fighting Mann and Wardog for, with artist Cam Kennedy, all for Battle, also writing strips such as “Crazy Keller”
Alan’s numerous other credits include creating Meltdown Man for 2000 AD and writing strips such as “Return Of the Mean Team”, “Planet of the Dammed” “Tharg’s Future Shocks“, the comic strip adaptation of Harry Harrison’s “Stainless Steel Rat”; “Comrade Bronski” and “News Team” for Eagle – and many, many more.
During a long and highly regarded career that began on Knock-Out in 1949, Eric Bradbury‘s many credits included “Mytek the Mighty”, “The House of Dolmann” and “The Black Crow” for Valiant, “Phantom Force 5”, “The Leopard from Lime Street” (inking Mike Western’s pencils) and “Maxwell Hawke” for Buster, “Von Hoffman’s Invasion” for Jet, and “Cursitor Doom” for Smash!
He was one of the mainstays of Battle Picture Weekly in the 1970s, drawing such strips as “Joe Two Beans”, “Coward’s Brand on Bradley”, “Crazy Keller”, “Death Squad”, “The Fists of Jimmy Chang” and “Invasion 1984“, and also drew “Hook Jaw” for Action. His 2000 AD credits include “Invasion”, “The Mean Arena” and “Rogue Trooper”, as well as numerous “Tharg the Mighty” stories and “Tharg’s Future Shocks“, and he also “Von Hoffman’s Invasion” for Jet, “Black Max” for Lion and Thunder, and “Doomlord” for the revived Eagle and “The Dracula File” for Scream.
• You can pre-order Death Squad here on AmazonUK
• Read Lew Stringer’s post on Death Squad on his Blimey! blog
Thanks to Lew Stringer for spotting this upcoming release
Battle-Action and “Death Squad” © Rebellion Publishing Ltd
Categories: British Comics, British Comics - Collections, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News
I don’t recall this being in Eagle annual at all – it’s in the 1982 Battle annual and maybe others. but I haven’t checked yet – a job for tonight!
1990 Eagle Annual according to online sites