The Winter Warriors by the late David Gemmell is part of one of my favourite group of Fantasy books. It may be heresy to many, but I am not a fan of Tolkien, I struggle with Peake and I just about get by with Moorcock, but Gemmell’s stuff just hits the spot for me. And the quote that I have taken from the book that I first mentioned is something that I think is truly something that I never wish to happen to anyone. I always want to have a dream to chase, but that does not mean that I don’t want to ever catch some of those dreams.
One of those dreams that I have been chasing has been part of me since I was 10 years old. And that dream was born on Christmas Day 1978. We always got one annual each year and that year, my reading monster was satisfied by finding the current Warlord annual with the cover art by a really talented guy. I knew the style as the artist had drawn the covers for most of the Victor annuals that my brother had.
So this picture of a jeep with three Commandos coming full pelt out of a railway tunnel with all guns blazing had already lifted my spirits on that dark Christmas morning and had even made me forget that the fire had not been put on. (In houses before central heating, this is a very important thing to happen. Because our house, at that time, without a fire going was best described as a walk-in freezer!) And before you ask, this is the copy that I got all those years ago.
The Union Jack Jackson story that led off the annual certainly held plenty of promise. Carlos Cruz doing his usual brilliant work on that story had already captivated me, but then. Oh my God. Then came a story which I knew was complete tosh as it featured a Gloster Meteor in a dogfight with a Messerschmitt 262 during World War Two. Did knowing it never happened detract from my love of the story? Not by a jot. But what it did do was fuel a 37 year hunt to find the artist and to get him to sign his work. Over the intervening years, I came close to completing this hunt, albeit unknowingly, but I still came close.
However, on Saturday 5th March 2016 at Dunfermline Comic Convention, I eventually managed to put book and artist together and was able to catch at least one dream. I know it gives a lot of laughs to some of my friends in how much I will spend my time and money in adding to my comic collections, but to me, today was golden, as I got the Killer Kane story autographed by a truly gifted artist.