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Battle Picture Weekly
Cover to first issue.
Publication information
PublisherIPC Magazines
Publication dateMarch 1975 – January 1988
No. of issues664[1]
Creative team
Written byGerry Finley-Day
Pat Mills
Tom Tully
John Wagner
Artist(s)Carlos Ezquerra
Mike Western
Joe Colquhoun
Eric Bradbury
Collected editions
The Best of Battle: Volume 1ISBN 1-84856-025-7
Darkie's MobISBN 1848564422
Johnny RedISBN 1848560338

Battle Picture Weekly, at various times also known as Battle Action, Battle Action Force, Battle and Battle with Storm Force, was a British war comic book magazine published by IPC Magazines from (issues dates) 8 March 1975 to 23 January 1988, when it merged with the new incarnation of Eagle. Most stories were set in World War II, with some based on other conflicts.

A notable feature of the comic, suited to its era of circulation, was its letters page with readers sending in stories of their fathers' and grandfathers' exploits during the First World War and the Second World War, often in an effort to win a nominal star letter prize. The comic at various times printed colour pinups of tanks, planes, ships, etc. in the centrefold or the back page (inner or outer).

Publication history

In 1974, in response to the success of the D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd war comic Warlord, IPC hired freelance writers Pat Mills and John Wagner to develop a rival title. Mills and Wagner brought in fellow freelancer Gerry Finley-Day to help develop stories. Dave Hunt was made editor after eight issues.[2] Doug Church also was very involved as a 'Creative Editor' on covers, layouts, features. When the title proved a success, Mills went on to create Action and 2000 AD, while Wagner was asked to revive Valiant. The attempts to breathe new life into Valiant were unsuccessful, and it was merged with Battle on 23 October 1976.[3][unreliable source] For some time afterwards the merged comic was entitled Battle Picture Weekly and Valiant. Action also merged with Battle on 19 November 1977, the resulting comic being named Battle Action. In 1979, Terry Magee was appointed editor, while Dave Hunt later became editor of the new Eagle in 1982. Barrie Tomlinson was the Group Editor and Gil Page was the Managing Editor. The Director of the Youth Group was John Sanders. In 1982 the comic was retitled again, to Battle.

The details of title changes are:[4]

Tie-in with Action Force

From 1983 through to 1986, the comic ran a series of stories relating to the Palitoy range of action figures, Action Force. The Action Force characters initially guest-featured in a comic strip serial in Battle for four weeks in July 1983. The strip proved to be so popular that a further five promotional mini-comics were included free with every IPC publication in the weeks to follow. On 8 October 1983, Action Force joined the pages of Battle full-time and the comic was retitled Battle Action Force.

Eventually, in line with the increasing popularity of the toys, the focus of the comic moved towards Action Force (at the expense of some of the longer-running and more traditional wartime stories) and providing the back-stories to the action figures in circulation at the time.

During 1984 to 1985, Palitoy increasingly used the comic as a promotional publication, running competitions, mail-in offers and fan-club elements of the Action Force toy range through its pages. As Action Force itself transmuted to its G.I. Joe equivalent (Action Force – Third generation), the comic took on the role of providing continuity with regard to the diverging storylines and characters. By the end of 1986, Palitoy had lost the Action Force licence to Marvel UK and the comic was again re-titled first as Battle (1986) and then Battle with Storm Force (1987) prior to its eventual merger with Eagle (1988).

Notable stories

Notable stories included:


Garth Ennis has stated that Battle was "one of my favourites as a kid and a big influence on my own work. I used to enjoy Darkie's Mob, Crazy Keller, Hellman, Cooley's Gun, the later Rat Pack stories, Death Squad, The Sarge... the list is endless" and he wrote a letter to the comic pointing out an error in tank identification.[9][unreliable source]

In November 2015, the character of Johnny Red was revived by writer Garth Ennis and illustrator Keith Burns for a new 8-part mini-series Johnny Red: Hurricane published by Titan Comics.[10]

In August 2018, Rebellion issued a new 3-part comic series Sniper Elite: Resistance by Keith Richardson and Patrick Goddard, a spin-off from the PS-4 game Sniper Elite. The story, set in German-occupied France in 1941, included an appearance by the Rat Pack, original characters from Battle Picture Weekly.[11]

In September 2020, Rebellion released a 100-page special issue of Battle under its Treasury of British Comics imprint. Entitled Battle of Britain Special, it featured ten new stories by various writers and artists. Several characters from past issues of Battle were revived including El Mestizo, written by Alan Hebden and a Rat Pack story by Garth Ennis. Other stories featured new characters and settings including War Child by Dan Abnett, a story produced in association with the charity War Child.[12]

In June 2022 Rebellion published a hardcover Battle Action Special with new stories featuring characters from both comics, written by Garth Ennis and with various artists.[13]

Starting in May 2023, Rebellion published a five-issue series of Battle Action, with each issue featuring two complete stories.

Collected editions

Some of the stories were collected into trade paperbacks by Titan Books:

Charley's War has been reprinted in a collection of hardcover volumes by Titan. Then in 2010, they began making more hardcover collections available including:

From 1 April 2009, Egmont UK in conjunction with W H Smith announced 4 special reprint collections from their stable, including a collection of Battle strips.[14]

In 2018, Rebellion publishers began a new imprint called Treasury of British Comics, which featured reprinted collections of strips from various past British comics. So far, eight titles featuring stories from Battle Picture Weekly have been released:

See also


  1. ^ "The Eaglution of British Comics, part 1" by Michael Carroll
  2. ^ Judge Dredd Megazine #452 (2022), p. 58
  3. ^ "A Brief History of Battle Picture Weekly". Captain Hurricane's Best of Battle. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  4. ^ Branding: Battle Picture Weekly by Michael Carroll, 2 June 2019, at
  5. ^ "DARKIES MOB". BATTLE STATIONS!. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Action 2020 Special — the return of Hellman of Hammer Force by Garth Ennis and Mike Dorey". 27 March 2020.
  7. ^ "A Brief History of Johnny Red". Falcon Squadron. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  8. ^ Terence Magee: Interview, A Resource on Jinty website (May 13, 2014).
  9. ^ "The Reader's Letter Page !". BATTLE STATIONS. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  10. ^ Arrant, Chris (23 October 2015). "GARTH ENNIS Goes Back To War In JOHNNY RED". Newsarama. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Sniper Elite: Resistance". 21 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Preview: 'Battle of Britain Special' Brings Back a Classic Title with All-New Comics and More - COMICON". 12 September 2020.
  13. ^ Down the Tubes (retrieved 15 June 2022)
  14. ^ Loveday, Samantha (24 March 2009). "Egmont bringing back mag classics". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
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