Battle Picture Weekly

Battle Picture Weekly

Cover to first issue
Publication information
Publisher IPC Magazines
Schedule Weekly
Format Ongoing series
Publication date March 1975 – January 1988
Number of issues 673
Creative team
Writer(s) Gerry Finley-Day
Pat Mills
Tom Tully
John Wagner
Artist(s) Carlos Ezquerra
Mike Western
Collected editions
The Best of Battle: Volume 1 ISBN 1-84856-025-7
Darkie's Mob ISBN 1848564422
Johnny Red ISBN 1848560338

Battle Picture Weekly, at various times also known as Battle Action Force, Battle and Battle with Storm Force, was a British war comic book magazine published by IPC Magazines from (issues dates) 8 March 1975 to 23 January 1988, when it merged with the new incarnation of Eagle. Most stories were set in World War II, with some based on other conflicts.

A notable feature of the comic, suited to its era of circulation, was its letters page with readers sending in stories of their fathers' and grandfathers' exploits during the First World War and the Second World War, often in an effort to win a nominal star letter prize. The comic at various times printed colour pinups of tanks, planes, ships, etc. in the centrefold or the back page (inner or outer).[1]

Publication history

In 1974, in response to the success of the D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd war comic Warlord, IPC hired freelance writers Pat Mills and John Wagner to develop a rival title. Mills and Wagner brought in fellow freelancer Gerry Finley-Day to help develop stories. Dave Hunt was made editor. Doug Church also was very involved as a 'Creative Editor' on covers, layouts, features. When the title proved a success, Mills went on to create Action and 2000 AD, while Wagner was asked to revive Valiant. The attempts to breathe new life into Valiant were unsuccessful, and it was merged with Battle in October 1976.[2] For some time afterwards the merged comic was entitled Battle Picture Weekly and Valiant. Action also merged with Battle on 19 November 1977, the resulting comic being named Battle Action. In 1979, Terry Magee was appointed editor while Dave Hunt became editor of the new "Eagle". Barrie Tomlinson was the Group Editor and Gil Page was the Managing Editor. The Director of the Youth Group was John Sanders. In 1982 the comic was retitled again, to Battle. Assistant Editor(for most of Battle comic's life): Jim Storrie Art Editors included Roy Stedall-Humphrys and Peter Downer Editorial assistants included Barrie Clements, Roy Preston, Richard Burton Art assistants: Tim Skomski, Martin Goldring The details are:

Tie-in with Action Force

From 1983 through to 1986, the comic ran a series of stories relating to the Palitoy range of action figures, Action Force. The Action Force characters initially guest-featured in a comic strip serial in Battle for four weeks in July 1983. The strip proved to be so popular that a further five promotional mini-comics were included free with every IPC publication in the weeks to follow. On 8 October 1983, Action Force joined the pages of Battle full-time and the comic was retitled Battle Action Force.

Eventually, in line with the increasing popularity of the toys, the focus of the comic moved towards Action Force (at the expense of some of the longer-running and more traditional wartime stories) and providing the back-stories to the action figures in circulation at the time.

During 1984 to 1985, Palitoy increasingly used the comic as a promotional publication, running competitions, mail-in offers and fan-club elements of the Action Force toy range through its pages. As Action Force itself transmuted to its G.I. Joe equivalent (see Action Force – Third generation), the comic took on the role of providing continuity with regard to the diverging storylines and characters. By the end of 1986, Palitoy had lost the Action Force licence to Marvel UK and the comic was again re-titled first as Battle (1986) and then Battle with Storm Force (1987) prior to its eventual merger with Eagle (1988).

Notable stories

Notable stories included:


Garth Ennis has stated that Battle was "one of my favourites as a kid and a big influence on my own work. I used to enjoy Darkie's Mob, Crazy Keller, Hellman, Cooley's Gun, the later Rat Pack stories, Death Squad, The Sarge... the list is endless" and he wrote a letter to the comic pointing out an error in tank identification.[5]

In November 2015, the BPW character of Johnny Red was revived by writer Garth Ennis and illustrator Keith Burns for a new 8-part mini-series published by Titan Comics. [6]

Collected editions

Some of the stories are being collected into trade paperbacks by Titan Books:

Charley's War has been reprinted in a collection of hardcover volumes by Titan. Then in 2010, they began making more hardcover collections available including:

From 1 April 2009, Egmont UK (who now own the rights to Battle picture strips) in conjunction with W H Smith announced 4 special reprint collections from their stable, including a collection of Battle strips. (The other collections are Roy of the Rovers, Misty and Buster).[7]

See also


  1. When buying second-hand copies, these should be checked, as the pictures may have been removed from the comic.
  2. History of Battle at Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. Darkies Mob: John Wagner interview, 3 September 2002
  5. The Reader's Letters Page, Battle Stations
  7. "Egmont bringing back mag classics | Licensing Industry | News by". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011.


External links

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