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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Up And At 'Em! (War Picture Library collection 3)

Released 6 April 2009, Up And At 'Em! is the third volume collecting the best of War Picture Library. Published by Prion, it follows the successful release of two earlier volumes, Unleash Hell and Against All Odds.

Contents

Rough Justice (WPL X214, Oct 1963) Art: Larry Horak; Script: Norman Worker
Strike Silent (WPL 218, Nov 1963) Art: Luis Arcas; Script: James Edgar
The Secret Enemy (WPL 242, May 1964) Art: John Gillatt; Script: Donne Avenell
Counter Attack (WPL 283, Mar 1965) Art: Gonzalez; Script: A. Carney Allan
Trail of the Avenger (WPL 229, Feb 1964) Art: Gino D'Antonio; Script: Norman Worker
Devil's Island (WPL 227, Jan 1964) Art: Vittorio Cossio; Script: Norman Worker
The Iron Cross (WPL 202, Jul 1963) Art: Victor de la Fuente; Script: Norman Worker
The Long March (WPL 206, Aug 1963) Art: Ramon de la Fuente; Script: G. R. Parvin
Operation Doomsday (WPL 295, Jun 1965) Art: Gino D'Antonio; Script; Douglas Leach
Undaunted (WPL 292, Jun 1965) Art: (Ortiz studio); Script: Norman Worker
Sound the Alarm (WPL 212, Oct 1963) Art: Victor de la Fuente; Script: A. Carney Allan

Synopsis

Fix bayonets! Stand by to go over the top with the third volume of blood-and-glory combat stories from the War Picture Library. This selection promises to take you from the mud and thunder of the trenches to the sweat and suffering of the jungle in a series of adrenaline-fuelled picture stories that represent the cream of War's 25 years of publishing.

To display the amazing comic-book art that brought these stories so vividly to life to its best advantage, each adventure is reproduced here 25 percent larger than in the original War Picture Library editions, drawing you even further into the action.

Whether you are a seasoned campaigner, or whether this is your first experience of War, Up And At 'Em! will have you marching shoulder to shoulder and dodging bullets with some of the toughest fighting men ever to storm the pages of a comic book!

Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars "A book that's worth reading and taking a little time to appreciate what our boys of the past and present are doing in preserving peace and democracy that we all often take for granted ... It's hard to pick a favourite but mine will have to be "Rough Justice" it shows that it wasn't just the public school boys and those from a decent background that joined his majesty's armed forces but for the few who did wrong and came good in the end!"—Amazon.co.uk

9 comments:

Comicology said...

Steve, I always wanted to collect these bound editions, especially when you are editing them.

But, isn't the size and the package, unworthy to be in a true comics collectors kitty. It's too hard to maintain it, let alone to read without damaging the same.

I wonder, would Panini be thinking about introducing the format which was adopted by Best of 2000 AD Hard Cover edition recently. It was also handsomely priced, much below the War Picture Library Collections.

ÇómícólógÝ

Steve said...

Not quite sure what you mean. The War Library collections are all 7" x 9" format flexibacks. The latest has over 650 pages and contains 11 full-length stories for which Amazon are charging £8.

The Best of 2000AD was a considerable shorter book (380 pages) -- currently available on Amazon for £11.99 (and at £20, pre-discount, was never cheaper than the War Library collections).

And, like most hardback books, these collections can certainly be read without damaging them.

peter said...

I love these collections, I think that Steve has done a simply superb job in concentrating on the early years of these comics and in terms of storytelling and dynamic artwork they totally eclipse the Commando collections which for some strange reason have avoided the earliest issues and concentrated on the later, more PC stories.

The reproduction values (which are somewhat compromised as the original interior artwork is no longer in existence) has greatly improved and this latest collection is one of the best so far in terms of representing the artwork for these amazing comics.

My only concern is that now the stories selected are from issues circa WPL 200 where the page count dropped to 56 as opposed to 64 pages. Nothing wrong in that, and nothing wrong with the stories either, it's just a bit alarming that there are still some real classics from the earlier issues that now seem to have been passed over. There's several Gino D'Antonio masterpieces, most notably "Battle Drop" which was so stunning in terms of the artistry (not to mention the Carney Allen script) that it was the premier source of swipes for other artists for both covers and interiors for years to come.

Add to this classic tales such as "Enemy Engaged", "Voice of the Guns", "V-1", "McMain's Marauders", "Open Sights", "The Green Hell", "Three - Two One Zero", "Tough As They Come", "Convoy", "The Iron Fusiliers", "Zero Hour", "Those in Peril", "The Brave and the Damned", "Roll of Honour","Blitzkrieg", "Fix Bayonets" - well I could go on but these are just so superb that they shouldn't be overlooked before getting to deep into issues 200 and over.

But other than that - Great Stuff!

Anonymous said...

Forget about the format and selection of material. Both are fine.

The only problem with these books is the unbeliavable LACK OF CREDITS!

Shame on Prion for it!

peter said...

Well I've got to say I agree with you 100% about the lack of credits, but there's nothing Steve can do to redress that as regards the books themselves although he is addressing the problem via this excellent blog.

Nothing he can about the format either, which I think is perfect as it is.

But the selection of stories is something that Steve can respond to and really all I'm doing here is flagging up some of the most memorable of these which have so far been omitted from the collections thus far published.

Steve said...

Peter,

Books like these always suffer from the publicity department's desire to label everything "The Best". There are many other factors involved in choosing a story: quality of story and art is only one. I try to make sure there's a diverse selection of art styles, that there's some action in the air and at sea as well as on land, that the battle zones vary, that there's not too much repetition of famous events (like D-Day), that there's not too much repetition of plots (coward makes good, lost brothers reunited, grunts vs. idiot officers, just to take three examples) -- I try to take all this into account when I'm putting the contents together so that the reader gets a variety of tales in a variety of styles.

The move into the 200s was deliberate on my part. Soaring costs have meant less pages, so I picked from the later, shorter tales so we could squeeze in 11 stories rather than 10 (which we were limited to on other volumes such as the Rick Random).

Without wanting to sound glib, it's all about giving the general reader the best experience we can so that they come back and demand a fourth volume, and a fifth, and a sixth.

But to answer your specific point: unless other factors intrude, there's no reason why some of the titles you mention shouldn't make their way into future volumes. They haven't been forgotten!

peter said...

Ahhhh ... there's still hope then Steve - wonderful! But on a more general note I think that these collections are really superb in terms of the stories you have selected and I'm really pleased to see how the reproduction standards have improved so significantly since the first volume.

Can't wait to see what you've selected for us in "Aces High" the much anticipated Air Ace collection.
There's some really amazing stories there to choose from including Ian Kennedy's tour de force "Day of Reckoning", which is still one of the most engaging reads ever to appear in these remarkable little books. It was one of a couple of issues that he managed to sign although in the case of this story one of the studio bodgers had been assigned the task of obscuring his signature on the "offending" pages but the traces still show on the printed copies.

Steve said...

Peter,

No "Day of Reckoning" but 10 stories by 9 artists because I couldn't resist putting in two by Kennedy. As I said previously, there may have been circumstances which meant that the other two were better choices for the book than the story you mention, not wanting to duplicate a theme or a location being the most likely.

I'll wait until closer to the release date to list the stories in full but, just to whet your appetite, the nine artists are: Luis Bermejo, Kurt Caesar, Joe Colquhoun, Ian Kennedy, Solano Lopez, Leopoldo Ortiz, Ferdinando Tacconi, Mike Western and Juan Zanotto. Not a bad line-up, if I say so myself.

peter said...

Sounds like an unbeatable line-up Steve! Well if shed loads of this first volume sell that will mean that "Day of Reckoning" will make volume 2 (please?). The other story that Kennedy was so pleased with that he did (successfully) sign eight pages, was "Fighter Fighter". He, as you know had wanted to become a pilot but due to a nasty ear infection was unable to fulfill that ambition, and drawing these comics was a kind of cathartic experience for him. He really did put his all into those early issues.

Anyway can't wait to see what you've chosen for us Steve!