“Charley’s War” artwork does not come onto the market very often and Pat Mills stories of World War One’s Charley Bourne, brilliantly illustrated by Joe Colquhoun, first published in Battle Picture Weekly, have legions of admirers, so it’s no surprise some recently offered at auction sold for a good price.
From a conservative estimate of £250-300 an action piece featuring Charley and rebel French soldier Blue rocketed to £1320 at the recent Compalcomics auction.
Three more consecutive, grouped “Charley’s War” pages, accompanied by their Battle-Action comic front cover layout and they soared to a triple estimate £2450.
If you’d like to see original art from this ground-breaking, critically acclaimed comic strip (much of the art returned to Joe post publication thanks to Pat), then head to the Tank Museum in Bovington, where there is some on permanent display. The whole World War One series has been collected by Titan Books. The strip is now owned by Rebellion and we have a full sub section devoted to the strip here on downthetubes.
Comic art collectors were clearly out in force for the auction – one of four held each year by the London-based company. Artwork for the “Timeslip” comic strip by Mike Noble, originally published in Look-In, sold for £720.
A Broons original artwork page signed by Dudley Watkins may also have had Pa singin’ he belongs to Dear Auld Glasgow Toon – but £680 took it back to a collector from Edinburgh.Rare British comics were also part of the auction of course, which we trailed here on downthetubes. An issue of Tiger Number One, published in 1954, featuring the first appearance of Roy of the Rovers, with its free gift Space Gun and 5 out of six Flying Saucer projectiles shot to £940 reflecting the rarity of this highly contested lot.
Early issues of The Dandy and a 1940s Magic-Beano book, also commanded high prices, and a The Beano comic Number Two is a rare item, with only eight copies known to exist, so even in its well-worn condition the copy offered doubled its lower estimate to £1220.
US comics in the auction also did well for the most part. A copy of X-Men Giant-Size #1 mutated to £300, the special featured the first “modern” X-Men story (published in 1975!), written by Len Wein and illustrated by Dave Cockrum.
There were still, of course, bargains to be had. A copy of Gold Key’s US Secret Agent sold for just £16, the buyer aware more than others that the comic was in fact the adventures of Danger Man, the hugely successful black and white TV series starring John Drake as the eponymous hero, coolly played by Patrick McGoohan. The show was re-named Secret Agent for its initial US broadcast.
• If you’d like to see original art from the ground-breaking, critically acclaimed comic strip” Charley’s War” then head to the Tank Museum in Bovington, where there is some on permanent display. The whole World War One series has been collected by Titan Books. The strip is now owned by Rebellion and we have a full sub section devoted to the strip here on downthetubes.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.