I’ve been into British comics for about three years now. And what a ride it’s been. It’s exciting because you’re unlocking a whole new world, with its own superstar creators. And you get to experience it for the first time. But where do you start? How do you jump in? Here are some top recommended British publications to get you started.
A big cornerstone of British comics is really war comics. Or comics regarding the wars the British have been in. Which is of course is a lot. But Charley’s War is something else entirely. It’s a commentary on one of the worst wars in human history, World War I, in terms of casualties and sending men to their deaths for no reason at all. It’s written by Pat Mills, a superstar in the British comic scene who was instrumental in bringing about a lot of publications such as 2000AD. And Joe Colquhoun brings a crisp added realism to the situations and equipment used. Charley’s War is really a good place to start for any aspiring British comic collector.
Also it’s worth noting, that Charley’s War is published by Rebellion’s Treasury of British Comics line that has been extraordinary in reviving, discovering, and publishing almost lost British creations. It’s incredibly important and it’s worth supporting this initiative by buying their books.
Shako is a good example of the absurdity of 2000AD. And it’s also just a lot of damn fun. Written by Pat Mills and John Wagner it follows a Polar Bear who swallows a secret capsule and the CIA is tasked to hunt him down. It’s also interesting as an American to see a British perspective on how American policy was developed during the Cold War. You get characters such as Jake K Falmuth and Buck Dollar. It’s gory, silly, but also weirdly relevant.
Another publication in the Treasury of British Comics line. When going down this rabbit hole you’ll also discover Carlos Ezquerra, THE artist superstar in British comics and not really well known in the States. He was also the co-creator of Judge Dredd, and sadly passed away last year. El Mestizo is a great introduction to him and to Alan Hebden. El Mestizo follows El Mestizo, an ex slave, who is active during the civil war. He doesn’t take sides and ends up running missions for both sides. It’s very over the top, but American readers will recognize many themes and be amused by British commentary on our history. It’s a beautiful book, there’s a beginning an end, and it’s Ezquerra’s work is just amazing.
Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth (Uncensored Edition)
Probably the most definitive and famous Judge Dredd story ever. Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth was one of the first overarching, epic stories that was meant to change the landscape of the 2000AD publication. Written by Patt Mills, John Wagner, and Chris Lowder and drawn by Brian Bolland and Mike McMahon, yes, it’s also a history lesson of comic greats.
If you can subscribe to 2000AD or pick up the bundle packs through your Previews catalog. If you really want to get into British comics this is the way to go. You’re treated to stories week after week, and the level of creativity and originality and world building is astounding. Do yourself a favor, not only support the 2000AD line but also your local comic book store.
I hope you enjoyed my top recommended British publications to get you started in the world of British comics. Interested in learning more about British comics? Then please visit my British Comics category page.