How Commando publisher DC Thomson pioneered wartime family drama in comics

Long before “Charley’s War” in Battle, and the latest Commando mini-series, “The Weekes’ War” Dundee-based comics publisher DC Thomson pioneered the idea of seeing war through the eyes of different members of the same family in comics – all serving simultaneously on different fronts, including a sister on the Home Front.
The Heroes of Paradise Rd.” ran in the then tabloid-format Beezer back in 1961, running for 46 issues from No. 284 (cover dated 24th June 1961) to No. 329 (5th May 1962).
A title perhaps better known for its humour strips, this World War Two story featured stunning artwork by Ron Smith, who worked on several DC Thomson titles down the years, as well as 2000AD.
Beezer - The Heroes of Paradise Road
Beezer - The Heroes of Paradise Road

An episode of the Beezer adventure strip, “The Heroes of Paradise Road”

Here’s part of another episode which shows how the series managed to link life on the home front with dramatic events like Hitler’s invasion of Russia, giving Ron Smith the chance to provide a spectacular comparison with Napoleon in the process.
Beezer - "hereos of Paradise Rd" - Napoleon
As Colin Noble documented in the first part of his three-part series on Ron Smith’s career back in 2015, this was not the only time Ron Smith delivered some cracking wartime pages for DC Thomson.
Other work includes the “For Valour” series in the 1968 Beezer annual and the “Into Battle” series for the 1967 Beezer annual.
Here’s one of Colin’s favourites – a splash page from the “At War” series  that featured in the 1964 Beezer annual.
With thanks to Philip Rushton for the heads up on “Heroes of Paradise Road” (© DC Thomson)

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