I managed lunch at the Supreme Being & Templar today, Q’s ever changing shifts as a monster-hunting-tank-grrrl such that I was able to sneak out for a pint and a best-not-ask pie. But you know how it is sometimes when you’re alone in the bar with a book and a half hour only, there’s always someone without the first and a lot more of the second that wants you to know his opinion. Scruffier even than I and old enough to claim his children’s pensions this old soldier launched into his war stories whilst I still had my pulled glass up and still checking for small fish within. I listened because you have to, until coming to his story about making a German Obert shave him in Italy I began to recognise who this must be.
He didn’t deny it. It was there when I looked closely, a sort of shrivelled In Like Flint and still in the same mountain cap. Back in the 70s and the Battle comic alongside Action (and to a lesser extent Warlord) was what we read. This was before Starlord, 2000AD and the very last gasp of war comics on rough newsprint. If you know of whom I speak then like me your parents were either born around, picked over the rubble in or in a few cases served during WWII. It was deep in the psyche of every young boy. We had Airfix kits and a bucket of tiny plastic soldiers. We had to one degree or another, Action Man. And we had Major Eazy.
Major Eazy rather typifies Battle. Somewhat left-field these stories weren’t just Sgt. Pluck, the Hun To Fuck but included stories involving German characters too (albeit honourable, Sharpe-style heroes who would be hated by the SS whilst they saved cor-blimey Tommies or beat up the French). Rat Pack was the only serious rival to Major Eazy, who would sleep when he wasn’t fighting, wore a leather jacket and looked like James Coburn. Carlos Ezquerra drew every central character in any strip he illustrated to look like James Coburn, and since he designed Dredd I don’t see what the mystery is regarding who it is beneath the helmet.
So I listened with respect because this then was Major Eazy, and where Major Eazy went the nasty SS would be bound to follow. Although never Panzer G Man, who was an honourable sort wrongly accused and who had to fight to clear his name, as well as an awful lot of Russians.
No one English though.