In which the blogger attempts to convince the reader who suspects that "Charley's War" is not for them that it very much is;
It's easy for the latecomer to think that Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun's Charley's War isn't for them. A black and white boy's comic told in three and four page chapters which was published weekly for more than six years some three decades ago? If the setting, genre and format doesn't put the neophyte off, then the length of the whole project just might. Even the weight of expert opinion quite rightly raving about the strip's importance and quality can seem a touch off-putting. There's an air of received opinion and worthiness which can gather around Charley's War's reputation, and that can clash with what at first glance might appear to be little more than a boy's comic about the First World War. A superior boy's war comic, of course, but a boy's war comic all the same.
This week's post in The Year In Comics series - here - is an attempt to reassure anyone who's new to Charley's War that it really is one of the finest comic strips that there's ever been. I was a relative late-comer to the virtues of it myself, and it's something which I regret. Yet it can be hard to see what all the adulation and enthusiasm is about when faced with a single page, or even a chanced-upon chapter, of Charley's War taken at random. Heresy, perhaps, but I suspect that it's true all the same. I wish that I'd had somebody to explain not just that Charley's War is a brilliant comic strip, but also that it can be a challenging one to initially get to grips with.
Of course, I hope it's a piece which those folks who are familiar and passionate about the strip might enjoy too. I've certainly tried to make sure that that's so. But more than anything else, I was simply trying to find a way of speaking about Charley's War which didn't entirely retread what a great many others have already written, and written well. Charley's War is, after all, quite probably the greatest British comic strip there's ever been, and it deserves to be treated with the appropriate measure of respect. No nerves then. None at all.