The French edition of Charley’s War Volume 3 will be on sale in French stores on October 15th.  It’s astonishing and very gratifying that such a series should sell so well in France.

But this latest edition has something extra, never seen in the British editions. Selected pages in colour!  They were in a half-tone on the Titan version, but now they can be seen for the first time as they originally appeared in the pages of Battle.

Although they were coloured by an in-house artist, and not by Joe Colquhoun, they are generally sympathetic to Joe’s line work.  More importantly, now they’re printed on the excellent high quality glossy paper the French are renowned for (Grumble, grumble that the French always have the edge on us!), the colour pages look a lot better than on the original, good old British bog paper.

So here is a selection of my favorite pages in colour (apologies for the poor home-scan quality),  Including the scene where a British bobby – memorably – has a “Take Cover” sign written on him in French.  Does that only seem funny to us Brits?

La Grande Guerre de Charlie, Vol 3. By Mills & Colquhoun (Delirium)

La Grande Guerre de Charlie, Vol 3. By Mills & Colquhoun (Delirium)

La Grande Guerre de Charlie, Vol 3. By Mills & Colquhoun (Delirium)

La Grande Guerre de Charlie, Vol 3. By Mills & Colquhoun (Delirium)

The publisher, Delirium has done a truly excellent job on this version with very careful and thoughtful French interpretations on English words in the art.  My thanks and congratulations to them.

BTW… Later volumes of Titan Book’s editions of Charley’s War are now often shot from Joe’s original pages, so you can really see the beautiful detail in his artwork.

14 thoughts on “CHARLEY’S WAR IN COLOUR!

  1. The colouring artist of Charley’s War was John Burns. Not in-house, John was freelance and absolutely always brilliant every episode without fail.
    Terry Magee, ex-Editor of Battle Weekly

  2. hi
    just a short note to say that charley’s war volume 10 is the last one to be publish by titan.
    charley war begins in the next stage in world war two, which his son join the army and charley join shortly after, they both escape dunkirk in the 1940s etc.
    it a pretty the last volume of charley wars won’t be printed yet.
    will the other episodes of charley’s war seen print as the other 10 volume have.
    i like to see the entire episode of charley’s war in world war 2.???
    john kealy.

    • The reason CW doesn’t continue in WW2 is because I, Titan Books and the many original Battle readers I consulted all felt the story was not in the spirit of CW – which is why it flopped when it originally appeared. The artwork is excellent, as always, so I’m sure it will be reprinted later – maybe in a collection of Joe’s art. But it’s not faithful to the spirit of CW which I explain in more detail in the final volume.

  3. I do not understand the notion that instigating legal action would halt the publication of Charley’s war. The threat of legal action invariably causes the weaker party to back down and offer a financial settlement. You appear to have been very confident of the strength of your case. Legal action might have caused delays…? But…

  4. Fascinating – if in a way depressing – stuff. It would be pompous to say ‘on behalf of readers everywhere’, but I know I’m not alone – thanks for letting us have Charley’s War reprinted in a format that will be easier to pass on to generations to come.

    I was always more from the mainstream audience that you talk about than fandom – I only went to my first convention last year, with my one year old! But comics have a big place in my life, in growing up, in opening my eyes to the world. For me the best comics touch the reader in head, heart and ‘jones (not in a sexual way, but an atavistic one). They get you thinking, they get you caring for characters, and they make you feel things, take you right into the action or the conversation or the place – that magical teleportation trick that not every comic creator has. Charley’s War was one of the best at that.

    So it is always sad to hear about the capitalistic machinations in the background – ripped off writers and artists living in penury whilst The Company hatches, matches and dispatches based on graphs and the fickle tastes of fat-fingered old men with their conservative opinions and their office politics.

    And yet… Out of that tension still came great art, great stories, and great memories for readers. Frankly it makes the head spin!

    Oh, and it was thanks to you (and Alan Mitchell) that I first heard about Steve Biko, Azania, Earth First!, monkeywrenching and, erm, Chumbawamba. Call that a ‘win’!

  5. As a reader I would certainly welcome an ‘Art of JC’ Charley’s War volume (perhaps in French-style full colour!) collecting together the odds-and-sods outwith the main story, because there were some just amazing illustrations. Some of Joe’s Annual work seemed to hark back to his more humorous gigs of the 50s and 60s, or Splash Gorton in the 70s. No bad thing, from an aesthetic point of view! But I certainly respect what you say about giving the proper, PM-JC story space to breathe.

    Whilst there is a part of me that would be interested in the WW2 story getting reprinted, everything I remember about it points towards it being a pointless exercise – more about completism than story or character or even art. It’s simply not ‘Charley’s War’. Maybe if it was remastered with the main character renamed, under a different title… Ooh – can of worms!

    Out of curiosity, did you ever speak to Scott Goodall about this whole thing? And who was the commissioning editor for it, would that have been Dave Hunt or Terry Magee,or someone else?

    Related: how about a blog post on creators’ rights, and the sorts of constraints writers and artists find themselves under, particular in British comics? You’ve already mentioned some of these themes in the Dredd posts, but it still feels like a taboo for many people working in comics. You, Leo Baxendale and Alan Moore are the ones I would say have been the most vocal over the years (to my ears, anyway) – yet things still don’t seemed to have moved on much from the days of Leo’s court case!

    • Terry Magee was the Battle editor at the end. Dave Hunt at beginning of CW. I had said I wouldn’t carry Charley into WW2 – which I wanted to do – unless they could provide me with a small budget to interview British Legion vets as I needed fresh material that would challenge the cliches about WW2. Even though it was the number one story they refused. If you find that strange, just look at my past blog entries. On previous a occasion, when I was overworked, the managing editor suggested I drop Charley’s War in preference to write lesser stories. They really didn’t know what the f**k they were doing and/or they wanted to f**k things up. Draw your own conclusions. The fact that the serial died so quickly in WW2, despite Joe’s great art, tells you everything. Not least how discerning the readers were. Dave Hunt would never have let it happen. No, I never spoke to Scott about it. There would have been no point and it would have made no difference. It was sad for Joe personally because it meant he ended his days drawing some other inferior crap story they gave him. Shame on those responsible for not treating a brilliant artist with the respect due to him.

      Thanks for your encouragement on the subject of rights. Oh, yeah – I’m vocal! I will certainly say more. But how’s this for starters…
      Neither Joe’s widow or I have received a penny in royalties from Egmont (who claim copyright) for all the volumes of Charley’s War that are currently in print and selling well with even a French edition which also sells very well. When Titan started the reprints, I wrote to Egmont requesting royalties on my behalf and on behalf of Joe’s estate. They said no. At that time, I had no contact details for Joe’s family and I suggested to Egmont that they should try to trace them and advise them about the reprints. Or – if they couldn’t be traced – his estate royalties should be passed as a donation to a WW1 fund. They declined. I then had the choice of fighting them in court for royalties due, where I would have won under EEC law, but it would have meant blocking all those beautiful volumes from appearing in print. I believe it was more important that such an important anti-war story was published and it’s a decision I’ve never regretted. Subsequently, I made contact with Joe’s family and thus Titan Books also have contact with them. Joe’s family have been very supportive in supplying original pages for reproduction. I’m sad that there’s no remuneration for them from Joe’s brilliant work. I’m also sad for me!

      • I’ve read (in Judge Dredd the Mega History and Thrill Power Overload) how, after Fleetway was sold to Maxwell, John Wagner confronted John Davidge about the lack of royalties from reprints, and Davidge introduced royalties. Was that not retrospective, or did it only apply to 2000AD, or only to Wagner?

      • That’s correct. It carried through into Egmont. But it only applied to 2000AD. When I confronted John Davidge about Charley’s War – which had been reprinted in Battle and in specials – he just went very quiet. Egmont did pay royalties on 2000AD stories, but – I suspect – because they needed us all to sign off on the first Dredd movie where their ownership title was weak. I insisted everyone involved should be credited on that film and they agreed. Our names all turn up in microtype before the Dolby sound.

  6. You lucky people across the water, Rémy!

    Whilst I welcome the English language hardbacks getting the whole story back into print, I feel that the reproduction hasn’t always done justice to the artwork as we first saw it in Battle. For all its pub toilet bogroll qualities, the rag paper of the original comics was really lifted up by simple colours, whereas the greyscale of the Titan reprints sometimes flattens and obscures the beautiful lines of Joe Colquhoun. (My first Battle was one with a full-page front cover by John Cooper, of Johnny Red and some Cossack dude stripped to the waist, tied together with rope, duelling with sabres – I can still picture Johnny’s hairy chest and a bloody wound, in garish colours! Perhaps not the most intricate colouring, but memorable.)

    I’m sure the two softback Titan volumes of the late 80s/early 90s had much better, cleaner reproduction as well.

    Anyway, to Mr Mills: any news on what Titan are planning for the future? Will they be collecting together – for example – the various stand-alone strips from Summer Specials or Annuals? Or even the WW2 story..? Do they even talk to you or the Colquhoun family about their intentions?

    • I’ve told Titan that Charley’s War should end at the end of WW1, and they’ve agreed to respect my wishes. I need the story to keep a distance from the Annuals and the WW2 version, which are not in the true spirit of my original. I think they could be published in some different collection, such as ‘The Art of Joe Colquhoun’, and that would be fine.

      Agree with you totally about greyscale!

      • Just a quick question for Mr.Mills concerning the end of the titan reprints: you have requested the end finishes at the end of WW1, but will the reprints include the campaign in Russia in 1919? As so brilliantly captured by Joe’s artwork…

  7. On the 15th of October I will be in my bookstore! Yes, I agree, it’s an excellent job done by Dellirium, I have read both Titan version and the French one (my mothet tongue) and the translator has found the true spirit of your words.

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