Garth Ennis And Rebellion Bring Back ‘Battle’ And ‘Action’ This Summer – Complete with Signings

by Richard Bruton

The new Battle Action Special from Rebellion comes out this June, 96 pages packed with classics from the classic 70s Brit Comics titles, all written by Garth Ennis, who’ll appear at comic signings to promote the release.

The Battle Action Special is a 96-page hardcover with seven brand new stories – all written by Ennis, that bring back the very best of the groundbreaking and highly influential Battle and Action comics from the 1970s. And in support of the release, Ennis and various collaborators will be appearing on a signing tour in London and Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.

Basically, it’s Ennis doing what he loves and does so very well, bringing war comics back to the modern-day, full of the spirit and action of those British ’70s originals, with both Battle Picture Weekly and Action a magnificent example of the changing face of British comics in the ’70s.

Battle Picture Weekly was created in 1975 by writers and editors Pat Mills and John Wagner and introduced a new grit into war comics, with strips full of anti-heroes and misfits. And of course, it was soon followed in 1976 by Mills’ creation of the controversial Action – and, in 1977, the trail-blazing sci-fi of 2000 AD.

Regular cover by Andy Clarke and Dylan Teague

In the brand new Battle Action, whether behind the regular cover by Andy Clarke and Dylan Teague or the 2000 AD web shop exclusive cover from John Higgins and Sally Jane Hurst, you’ll get seven great strips written by Ennis with art from Kevin O’Neill, Keith Burns, Mike Dorey, John Higgins, Patrick Goddard, Chris Burnham, and PJ Holden.

What you’ll be getting runs a little like this:

A retired/not quite retired Kevin O’Neill revisits Kids Rule O.K., the strip by Tom Tully and artist Mike White that meant Action was pulled from the newsstands and pulped in 1976, then heavily censored for its all too brief return. So it’s O’Neill’s art, visceral, gloriously raw, meets the tale of kids gone wild in a post-apocalyptic landscape, and one that promises to wryly comment on the political storm that erupted during its original run.

Ennis returns to the skies with artist Keith Burns and colourist Jason Wordie, with Johnny Red facing off with Nazi airman, Skreamer of the Stukas, and we meet meeting Captain Nina Petrova, whose all-woman bomber squadron wreak havoc on the Eastern Front, with art by Patrick Goddard and colours by Jason Wordie. Then it’s back down to Earth with one of Ennis’ favourites, Hellman of Hammer Force who bears down on American Major Jeb Rider of Glory Rider in Tunisia, drawn by the legendary Mike Dorey.

Blunt instrument of British Intelligence Dredger returns and doles out justice – of a kind – on the mean streets of 1980s London, courtesy of John Higgins, with co-colours by Sally Jane Hurst. Crazy Keller’s 100mph madness returns with art from Chris Burnham and colours by Len O’Grady. And to round things out, Ennis reunites with his artist from The Stringbags, PJ Holden, with the return of The Sarge to Italy of 1944.

The Battle Action Special is released to comic shops in June in the UK and July in North America, and book stores in September.

The two signing events lined up thus far are at Gosh London on 11th June and Northern Ireland’s Enniskillen Comicfest on Saturday 18th June.

Ennis, veteran artist Mike Dorey (Hellman of Hammer Force, Ro-Busters), artist John Higgins (Watchmen), and colourist Sally Jane Hurst (Judge Dredd) will be signing copies at Gosh Comics on Saturday 11th June. Taking place from 1pm to 2pm, the signing will be held at the central London store (1 Berwick Street, London, W1F 0DR).

Ennis will then be a guest at the Enniskillen Comicfest in Northern Ireland on Saturday 18th June. Taking place at St Macartin’s Cathedral Hall, Halls Lane, Enniskillen from 10.30am until 5pm, Ennis will be joined by Mike Dorey, and artists Keith Burns, PJ Holden (The Stringbags) and Patrick Goddard (Judge Dredd).

Web exclusive cover by John Higgins

PJ Holden – The Sarge

(John Higgins – Dredger)

Patrick Goddard – Captain Nina Petrova and her all-woman bomber

Johnny Red versus Skreamer of the Stukas – Keith Burns

(Mike Dorey – Hellman of Hammer Force)

Chris Burnham – Crazy Keller

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