Garth Ennis Battle Action Special signing events announced

Writer Garth Ennis will head up two special signing events in the UK to mark the direct market release of the Battle Action Special from Rebellion Publishing – one in London, one in Northern Ireland.

Battle Action Special 2022 - Final Cover

As previously reported, the 96-page hardcover special (Diamond code: APR221759) lands in comic book stores in June in the UK and July in North America. It features seven brand new stories – all written by Ennis, the mind behind The BoysPreacher, and war comics such as The Stringbags and Sara  – reviving some of the most popular strips from the groundbreaking and highly influential Battle and Action comics from the 1970s.

“For the record, this is the Battle Action Special,” Garth previously told downthetubes. “It has seven stories, most taken from the period of or following the merger between Battle and Action. One story, “Kids Rule Okay”, is included for the purposes of commentary on what caused Action to be cancelled and then folded into Battle

Ultimately, the point of the Special is to celebrate the work of the writers and artists who helped make both comics so good, separately and together.

Ennis will be joined by just some of his collaborators on this landmark hardcover, which captures the spirit and action of the originals that helped change the comic book industry forever.

Ennis, veteran artist Mike Dorey (Hellman of Hammer ForceRo-Busters), artist John Higgins (Watchmen), and colourist Sally Jane Hurst (Judge Dredd) will be signing copies at Gosh Comics on Saturday 11th June. Taking place from 1.00pm to 2pm, the signing will be held at the central London store (1 Berwick Street, London, W1F 0DR).

Ennis will then be a guest at the Enniskillen Comicfest in Northern Ireland on Saturday 18th June. Taking place at St Macartin’s Cathedral Hall, Halls Lane, Enniskillen from 10.30am until 5pm, Ennis will be joined by Mike Dorey, and artists Keith Burns, PJ Holden (The Stringbags) and Patrick Goddard (Judge Dredd).

Battle Picture Weekly was where a revolution in British comics began. Created in 1975 by writers and editors Pat Mills and John Wagner, it introduced new grittiness into IPC’s comics with its cast of anti-heroes and misfits. Its bombast and energy sparked a sea-change in what comics could do, leading to Mills creation of the controversial Action and the globally influential 2000AD.

The Battle Action Special celebrates the merging of this landmark title with its controversial stablemate, Action, a combination that took the two comics to even greater heights. Now, forty years after the original, some of the cream of British comics talent are bringing these classic characters back to life.

Behind a brand new cover by Andy Clarke (Batman and Robin) and Dylan Teague (Madi), artist Kevin O’Neill revisits “Kids Rule O.K.”, the highly controversial strip by writer Tom Tully and artist Mike White that saw the weekly comic, Action, ripped from newsstands and pulped in 1976, then heavily censored for its all too brief return. Fresh from the end of his acclaimed League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series with Alan Moore, O’Neill brings his visceral and intense style to this tale of kids gone wild in a post-apocalyptic landscape, while wryly commenting on the political storm that erupted during its original run.

Meanwhile, take to the skies with artist Keith Burns and colourist Jason Wordie, and witness the air duel of the century as ace fighter pilot Johnny Red faces off against Nazi airman Skreamer of the Stukas.

Infamous German tank commander Hellman of Hammer Force bears down on American Major Jeb Rider of “Glory Rider” in Tunisia, drawn by the legendary Mike Dorey (Ro-Busters).

Blunt instrument of British Intelligence Dredger returns and doles out justice – of a kind – on the mean streets of 1980s London, courtesy of John Higgins, with co-colours by Sally Jane Hurst.

Take on the 100mph madness of Crazy Keller by Chris Burnham (Batman) and colours by Len O’Grady, before meeting Captain Nina Petrova, whose all-woman bomber squadron wreak havoc on the Eastern Front, with art by Patrick Goddard and colours by Jason Wordie.

And roll out into Italy in the heat of 1944 with “The Sarge” as Ennis reunites with The Stringbags artist PJ Holden.

• Battle Action Special by Garth Ennis et al goes on sale in June 2022 from before arriving in traditional book shops in September

Read Paul Trimble’s interview with Garth Ennis about the new Special right here on downthetubes

The Sarge Volume One is out on 12th May, collecting stories from Battle by Gerry Finley-Day (Writer) and Mike Western (Art)

• Check out our Action micro site, compiled by Moose Harris

The Sarge Volume One
By Gerry Finley-Day (Writer) and Mike Western (Art)
Out: 12th May 2022, Hardback, 144 Pages, £19.99
ISBN: 978-1786186331

THEY DEPENDED ON THE SARGE. AND THE WORLD DEPENDED ON THEM.

British Sergeant Jim Masters, a veteran of WW1, has to protect and lead his inexperienced platoon during the Second World War.

From Dunkirk to North Africa, the might of the German Army face the ultimate adversaries when Masters and his boys spring into action – Nothing can substitute experience!

One of the most prolific writers in the comic’s history, Gerry Finley-Day holds a special place in many 2000AD fans’ hearts as the creator of classics like “Rogue Trooper”, “Fiends of the Eastern Front” and “The V.C.s”, as well as “Harry 20 on the High Rock” and “Ant Wars”. A keen “ideas man”, Finley-Day’s concepts of the horrors future warfare had in store were key to both Rogue and The V.C.s’ continuing popularity, ensuring that their recent return to the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic was well-received. Finley-Day also scripted episodes of “Judge Dredd” and “Dan Dare”, and co-scripted much of “Invasion!” (and entirely scripted the prequel story, ‘Disaster 1990!’).

Widely regarded as one of the best artists to ever grace the British comic industry, Mike Western began his career on Knockout, having already spent time working for GB Animation. During the 1950s he shared art chores with Eric Bradbury on the popular western strip Lucky Logan. In 1960 he moved onto TV Express where he drew “No Hiding Place” and “Biggles”. Buster and Valiant followed, where Mike found himself drawing long-running strips such as “Wild Wonders”. In the 1970s, he was very prolific, illustrating Buster’s Leopard from Lime Street and several key strips for Battle, including “Darkie’s Mob”, “The Sarge” and “HMS Nightshade”. Mike also made an impact on the iconic Roy of the Rovers, illustrating the newspaper strip which ran in the Daily Star during the 1990s.

Hellman of Hammer Force
ISBN: 9781781089422
Released: 9th December 2021
Price: £12.99
Pages: 112
Format: Standard paperback and webshop exclusive hardcover
Dimensions: 276×210 mm

This isn’t your grandad’s war comic – never had there been an anti-hero like Hellman of Hammer Force! One of the major highlights of the controversial 1970s comic, Action, Major Kurt Hellman is a Panzer commander in the 1940 German invasion of Belgium. But this man is no Nazi – he avoids taking life wherever possible, all while facing foes without and treachery within! 

Collected for the first time, and from the very beginning, this groundbreaking series of thrilling combat is written by Gerry Finley-Day (Rogue Trooper) and drawn by Mike Dorey (Ro-Busters).

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.



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