BBC Scotland has a new, short interview with Charley’s War co-creator Pat Mills on their web site this morning, in which he offers an insight into writing the strip… and why he believes how mechanised warfare – machine guns, zeppelins and planes – made World War One the world’s first science-fiction war.
Set for the most part in World War One and its immediate aftermath, Charley’s War ran in the war comic Battle, the entire initial run written by Pat Mills and drawn by the late Joe Colquhoun.
The strip, which has been collected in 10 volumes by Titan Books, with Omnibus editions on their way later this year follows young Londoner Charley Bourne’s fight to survive in the trenches of the Western Front. (The story has also been published in colour in France).
Although a follow up series set in World War Two was also published, again drawn by Joe, it was not written by Pat and at present there are no plans for any publication of that part of the story.
“John Wagner and I did not want Battle to glorify war, andCharley’s War is an anti-war story,” said Mills. “I think that in the 1970s and 80s it was legitimate, more so than it is today, to describe the Great War as a tragedy, a mistake and criticise the incompetence of generals. In 2014, revisionists have been trying to improve the image of the generals.”
The interview and art featured comes ahead of the launch later this year of an exhibition of Charley’s War art at the Abbot Hall Gallery in Kendal, Cumbria, as part of the activities surrounding this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival.
Although Pat won’t be at that event, there are a number of Great War-related events planned over the Festival weekend (17th – 19th October).
• Lakes International Comic Art Festival: www.comicartfestival.com
• Charley’s War Web Site (fan run, originally created by Neil Emery, but with Egmont support): http://charleyswar.sevenpennynightmare.co.uk
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.