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Monday, 28 December 2015

Victors Victories

The boys and teens comics of the 1950's, through to the 1970/80's, were aimed at our patriotic fervour (when it was still considered OK to be 'patriotic', and not 'racist' or Imperialist). These comics were filled not just with tales of adventures in the far flung corners of the empire (as was, or just recently relinquished), but other parts of the globe.

Locations such as the Sahara, Arctic, Steaming Jungles, or even the new frontier of Outer Space; All regularly featured in the stories, and the heroes from Dan Dare, through to Biggles, all sank into our boyish imaginations, and indeed the national consciousness.

But the tales which most often grabbed my attention were the comics accounts of 'real life' war stories ..... images of how George Crosses and Victoria Crosses were won, flashed across our retina (with appropriate exclamations of 'Hande Hoch Jerry' or 'Achtung' and 'Schnell Schnell'), as we scanned the pages, our imaginations fired up, and our chests swelled by these stories.

The Hotspur Book For Boys - The Charge of The Scots Greys at Waterloo

But as illustrated by the Hotspur Book For Boys of 1967, my personal favourites were when they pulled out all the stops .... these were the comic annuals specials, where the cover artwork could be stunning (or at least that’s how as a ten year old I saw it). These could be themed by war, or campaign, and recounted epic moments in British military history ....

These particular examples are themed on the Napoleonic war campaigns, when our greatest enemy before the Kaiser and Herr Hitler, was the French General and Emperor, Napoleon. The Battle of Waterloo spawned much of the artwork and accompanying stories, but other lesser known battles from the Napoleonic campaigns were also covered (including some Naval battles .... it was, and was treated as, a global war, just without the Americans).

The Victor Annual - Waterloo Scots Greys
The Victor Annual - Alexandria 1801 - The Gloucesters
The Victor Annual - San Vincente 1812 - Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

Personally I think these are still great images, although I am now old enough to realise that they were heavily influenced by Victorian depictions of the same battles, or events from those battles .... they are still iconic.

What’s that?

Yes, looking at them through the prism of eyes that were once a ten year old boy, my heart still pounds to the sounds of the drums and hooves .... and yes my chest fills with pride at our former martial glories, but then I never succumbed to the mealy mouthed patriotism of today.

4 comments:

  1. Great pictures that took me back a few years more than I care to think about. Where have the years flown?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad some one likes them as much as me. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  2. REALLY NICE THANK YOU FOR POSTING ....WORDS WELL SAID ALSO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you my friend. I hope they brought back a few childhood memories.

      Delete

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A middle aged orange male ... So 'un' PC it's not true....