Charley's War Vol. 1: Boy Soldier: The Definitive Collection Paperback – 19 April 2018
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Pat Mills's storytelling was ahead of it's time, and has lost none of it's impact.
Between them, this is a superb telling of one boy's life in a terrible cconflict.
Excellent value for the price, and two more volumes to look forward to.
Boy, was I wrong ! For starters the book itself is gorgeous. Great size, excellent quality cover and printing paper with all the colour covers of the era included to give that little extra.
As for the story, there is really not much to tell, except this : every comic fan or book fan should have this in their library. It's really that good. Clever, engaging and thought provoking, it takes you inside the trenches and the madness of the least known World War, without feeling outdated or bland, thanks to its awesome black and white art style and its quite modern storytelling.
I'm definitely coming back for more on volume 2 !
I was also strongly attracted to how it was drawn. I had never taken art classes and just knew I liked the style of it. I used to copy some of the images into an art pad and gradually worked out for myself what did and didn’t work with a piece of art. Joe’s drawings played a pivotal role in my initial development as a self taught artist to the extent that several years later I took an exam out of curiosity to test myself and was awarded an honours grade. Thank you Joe and Pat for the story and inspiring me to pick up a pencil and draw!
What I had not fully comprehended the first time around, was the fantastic writing, sublime artwork and the level of detail and honesty for portraying the absolute horror of WWI, that the strip actually conveyed.
This revised first volume, 'Boy Soldier' sympathetically charts Charley Bourne's introduction to the meat grinder of WWI, as he sees his first action of the war, at the Battle of the Somme. The change from innocent boy, to jaded veteran, in those few weeks, is both engrossing and heartbreaking.
Cannot wait to order and the read the next two volumes.