On October 22nd at the Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset, Pat Mills will be talking about his one of his most popular creations, Charleys War.
Quite possibly the single most influential person in British comics, Pat Mills created the strip in the late 70s with another legend, John Colquhoun for the weekly comic, Battle. The strip still stands today as one of the greatest pieces of British writing and was an insight into the subliminal works that Mills continues to produce to this day with characters such as Judge Dredd and Savage. Charley’s War, focussing on a young Charley Bourne who lied about his age to join the war, was a powerful and emotional insight into the atrocities that faced the foot soldier in the First World War. The real beauty of the story was not in its celebration of racking up kills and boasting how many ‘Jerries’ had been shot down that day (which had previously pervaded war comics), but more in the way that it really had only one message; war is bad. Nobody really wins.
If you aren’t familiar with the book, then I heartily suggest you pick up the first hardback and give it a shot. If you are used to American comics, the short strip feel will be unusual at first but you get used to it quickly and it is worth the perseverance to experience the depth of writing Mills put into this strip. The artwork by the late Colquhoun is traditionally British and is immense in its depth, emotion and realism and hard to believe is over 30 years old.
In this lecture, Pat Mills talks about Charley, his partnership with illustrator Joe Colquhoun and how together they created a powerful and moving comic strip. If you can make it, I think it will be definitely be worth your time and effort.