c.1977?/1978 | age 9 That’s it. Make sure she’s dead before you even rescue her. Luke’s nose looks a bit sideways? Like an Irish TV newsreader (or is that just their weird lighting? I’ve never been able to decide).

Cor, brill, action for Boys!

Warlord annual 1977

For Boys 1977. Brill!

This is very old. It has to be late 1977 or early ’78. See the funny looking dart-like flash from the gun? (funny John?—everything looks funny) See it—pointing down, and er, sideways? I just realised where that came from!

In ’77 I was doing that type of muzzle-flare. I was just thinking about today’s strip downstairs and I remembered and old Warlord annual cover. And… I’ve just dug it out: there’s the weird muzzle flare! My wife is amazed at the obscure—and unimportant things I can recall from the distant mists of time. No, not the item to get in the supermarket, nor the important phone call; but things of no consequence like, Bruce Boxleitner. He was in Bring ’em Back Alive, and Ron Ely was in Tarzan.”

comic - smoking cigar

‘Smoking Cigar’ of ’77 (8 or 9 yrs)

Anyway, I think I used the effect in an earlier comic too… hold on I’ll just have a look. I’m actually going to look for it now—this is live folks. Hang on… crap scanner’s on the blink.

Minutes later: Here you go!

It’s a daft comic, centred around a German soldier. You have to understand that I liked the Germans the most because they had the best looking gear. My sister would say “But they were flamin’ ‘orrible them Nazis!” But I suppose that’s another reason why Star Wars struck a chord with me: the baddies looked so like the German Army. Adventure for boys was still largely centred around World War II in 1977. Once again, George showed how clever he was.

Plotting #101-b

I never planned the stories, but just made them up as I drew them. Dad said “John, if you decided on the story first—it’d be much better.” Or words to that effect.

He was right. Perhaps if I’d stayed in Scotland in 1977 my pal Niall B (a 9 year old military expert) might have written the war stories and I would have illustrated them! I wonder if we’d still have a creative partnership today?


Neil Baker (see comments below) made a witty remark which sparked this:

wonky stormtrooper helmet