Well, that first set of articles seemed to go well, so as it seems to be something you all like, I may as well continue on in the way that I intend to go on. I intend to feature the cover, any art of interest to myself, any stories that either come to an end or are just beginning and any features that are not being repeated anywhere else. Until the early 1980s, that meant a fair whack of back cover articles and some of them were really rather nice too.
Now, I realise that I have made an assumption in that you readers will know why the back cover articles began to slow down towards the end of the 1970s and almost completely disappeared in the 1980s. The answer was simple economics as a publisher could either sell the back page for a full colour advert or resist the lure of the filthy lucre and raise the cover price instead. I think most of you can guess what way most publishers went and to give you an idea of what Warlord was advertising, here is the back cover from issue 620 dated 9th August 1986.
However, that issue is 12 years in the future and I am supposed to be concentrating on issue 2 that was published in October 1974. And the cover to issue 2 is another exercise in frustration for me as I have seen it so many times, but I just can’t name the artist.
The story that this cover refers to is a text article featuring some lovely Jim Watson artwork, but more on that anon.
Union Jack Jackson sees him and his buddies take part in an amphibious landing and fighting their way through Japanese held positions while being on guard against sniper attacks.
I told you Carlos Cruz produced a lot of good work for Warlord and it just keeps getting better.
Phalanx Code: 3C7C
Once again, the next story is Bomber Braddock with art by Keith Shone. As this story arc is developing, it appears that Braddock is carrying out a bombing campaign to interdict the German efforts to create heavy water in Norway, which was to be a critical element in the efforts of the Third Reich to create an atomic bomb. Who said that reading comics couldn’t be educational?
Phalanx Code: 0C20E
Another part of what gave a comic character was how it expressed its’ identity through the letters page. As a comic barely a week old, it was difficult for any comic to spring fully formed, so I think that the editorial team may have cheated a little by going through the mail bags of the other comics in the Boys’ department and used the most warlike tales for their letters page. And for the first few weeks for Warlord, the Letter Page was Fire Away!
However, a rumour does persist that some editorial teams “helped” their letter pages along by writing suitable entries until the fuller post bags started to come in. However as this blog thinks the best of people, I am betting on Pete Clark and Bill Graham chatting with their oppos in the other editorial departments to pass on letters that better suited Warlord than Victor, Hornet, Hotspur or Wizard.
But what comic can do without filler pages? We have already had Fire Away, but who can resist some Bill Ritchie cartoons?
And as much as I enjoy Bill Ritchie’s work, I have to smile at the half page touting for submissions to the letters page below his cartoons. I know at the time, the prizes being offered were quite decent, but now they seem quite insubstantial.
The next story is the next episode of Weapons In Action with the Boys Anti-Tank Rifle. This was an effective weapon in the early part of the war against the thin armour of the early Panzers and the Armoured Fighting Vehicles but became obsolete when the Panzer III’s armour was upgraded.
In this story, gentle giant, Private Pettifer finds his perfect weapon in the Boys Anti Tank weapon. Even once it was scrapped, Pettifer eventually found another while fighting in the North Africa campaign. Iam leaning towards saying that the artist is Doug Maxted but I can’t say with any degree of certainty.
Phalanx Code: 0C2E0C3E
The Wingless Wonder is now needing to be supplied and the crew raid a local garrison for fuel. One friend believes that the artist could be Jose Ortiz but after looking at his work on The House of Daemon for Eagle, I can see why he would think that as there is a certain similarity about the faces but I just can’t see it being Ortiz myself. Here is a picture from each for comparison.
Phalanx Code: 0C6C
Once again, we have a true story text article illustrated with some spot illustrations and as the art is by the incomparable Jim Watson, I cannot resist reproducing the entire article.
I can’t rarely resist any of Jim’s art so I will take every opportunity to show it off to all and sundry. It’s interesting to see that this is an occasional series as the ending banner says In Two Weeks rather than the usual Next Week!
Phalanx Code: 0C60C
And talking of Jim Watson, we get the bonus of him doing the art for Codename Warlord. In this episode, Warlord has to rescue a top Norwegian scientist, Professor Svenson, from the clutches of the Nazis.
And for the second issue in a row, I have to give Warlord the best line of the issue with the line from the first panel featured.
Phalanx Code: 0c8C
Moving on to the next story, we have Spider Wells going through basic training during World War One and one of his fellow recruits discovers that Spider is afraid of confrontation due to Spider’s belief that he can kill someone with his punches.
As a result, Spider ends up forced into a boxing match. I am looking at the art and I am sure that I should know the artist, but I just can’t name him!
Phalanx Code: 0C0C
Next in the comic is the next episode of Young Wolf, the story of young Bill Samson and his youthful exploits. In this issue he manages to save a British train from ambush by the local marauders and saves himself from being sent to England.
Again, this is an artist that I should be able to name, but I can’t. This is going to be a familiar refrain throughout this blog!
Phalanx Code: 0C0C
And somehow, the staff managed to find the room to add in one more story as we have the starting episode of The Long Walk which is another story illustrated by Carlos Cruz. This is the story of how a Top Secret bomb-sight and its’ inventor are shot down and how the inventor declares that the crew must try to get the sight back to friendly lines rather than destroying it.
I find the plot of this story to be a bit far-fetched as it was unlikely for a piece of equipment to be rescued from behind enemy lines by the aircrew that were shot down as they found it hard enough to be stuck behind enemy lines let alone with a piece of Top Secret equipment that they had to keep safe from the enemy. But for the sake of a story, I will happily suspend belief, especially as long as I get to enjoy art as good as this.
Phalanx Code: 1C0C43E
And to finish off, we have the back cover highlighting the free gift that would be presented with issue 3 of Warlord.
To finish off, we have a Phalanx Code of 4C2E81C66E which certainly seems to show a lot more Axis forces deaths, but as we can see, a lot of the enemy deaths are implied rather than explicitly shown. I wonder what gems the next issue will bring for us to enjoy?