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Author Topic: Darkie's Mob  (Read 2377 times)

milstar

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Darkie's Mob
« on: 29 April, 2021, 10:06:41 PM »
Didn't know where to put this topic so I decided to start the new thread here.

Has anyone read this series from the mid 1970s? Recommendations, commiserations...? As I understood, it was pretty controversial back in the day. So, is it worth getting it?

Thx in advance.
Reyt, you lot. Shut up, belt up, 'n if ye can't see t' bloody exit, ye must be bloody blind.

Colin YNWA

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Re: Darkie's Mob
« Reply #1 on: 29 April, 2021, 10:28:16 PM »
Its well worth reading. One of Battle's finest. Be warned it is of its day and so some of the language isn't cool, but accept that as of its time and place and that the comic is from a boys war comic and you'll have a blast.

John Wagner at his gritty best and sublime art from Mike Weston, whats not to love. The hardcover from a few years back (I thought we had a thread about it but can't find it) is well worth picking up.

Rogue Judge

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Re: Darkie's Mob
« Reply #2 on: 29 April, 2021, 10:46:49 PM »
Darkie's Mob is awesome. I read a lot of war comics and this series is one of my favorites.

Here is a link to a recent MCBC podcast: https://megacitybookclub.blogspot.com/2021/04/154-darkies-mob.html

rogue69

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Re: Darkie's Mob
« Reply #3 on: 29 April, 2021, 11:21:08 PM »
It's a good story with great artwork, there was a version in the megazine a while back where they tried to correct the language, but you have to understand not only the time it was first printed but that's how the soldiers would have spoken at the time the story was set.
If you want to read what other fans have been saying about Darkie's Mob recently check out the Battle Fans page on Facebook

Richard

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Re: Darkie's Mob
« Reply #4 on: 30 April, 2021, 12:14:22 AM »
Darkie's Mob was reprinted in the Megazine, 202 to 210, with the dialogue revised to remove the 1970s racism. I can't really remember it, but it was by Wagner so it's probably good.

AlexF

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Re: Darkie's Mob
« Reply #5 on: 30 April, 2021, 08:02:45 AM »
It has a notably similar overall narrative thrust to the first series of Bad Company:
it's narrated by a young newcomer who writes letters home, but the focus is on Darkie, the gruff, sometimes murderous but also highly competent and intelligent leader who has some mysterious connection to the enemy that is revealed towards the end.
Week to week the episodes were basically jungle war action shenanigans (mostly set in Burma, I think?), with perhaps a bit more than usual questioning of the morality involved in certain actions, and exploration of the relative attitudes of different soldiers to the requirement to kill.
I'd never heard of it untl it ran in the Megazine, when I enjoyed it very much. Can't say they successfully edited out the anti-Japanese racism, beyond changing a few words - but as has been said, during war, people are encouraged to be VERY racist, it's part of the situation, really.

Barrington Boots

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Re: Darkie's Mob
« Reply #6 on: 30 April, 2021, 09:03:33 AM »
As a big fan of Battle I recommend it very highly. Mike Western's finest work imo.
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Dark Jimbo

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Re: Darkie's Mob
« Reply #7 on: 30 April, 2021, 09:34:32 AM »
... you have to understand not only the time it was first printed but that's how the soldiers would have spoken at the time the story was set.

Yes, it's a funny one, and weirdly comic-specific. A historical novel, film or TV series set in WW2 that has a few instances of soldiers being less-than-PC towards their foes is probably never going to face too much criticism for that.

The VCs saying 'chinky' and Ro-Jaws calling Hitaki a 'nip'... pretty problematic. But allied soldiers fighting the Japanese in the jungles of Burma...?
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milstar

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Re: Darkie's Mob
« Reply #8 on: 30 April, 2021, 09:50:54 AM »
Darkie's Mob is awesome. I read a lot of war comics and this series is one of my favorites.

Here is a link to a recent MCBC podcast: https://megacitybookclub.blogspot.com/2021/04/154-darkies-mob.html

Yeah, I saw recently that post post here, with the link, which sparked my interest in the comic.

As for the language, I read that Wagner regrets it now, but I thought "what the hell". In a battle, you can't rely on kindness.
I noticed people call it very violent stuff, which is sold to kids (boys) lol.

Anyway, off to Amazon.
Reyt, you lot. Shut up, belt up, 'n if ye can't see t' bloody exit, ye must be bloody blind.

Colin YNWA

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Re: Darkie's Mob
« Reply #9 on: 30 April, 2021, 09:58:11 AM »
The problems from strips like Darkie's Mob can be (and I'll avoid specifics here as I can't quite remember how bad this is or isn't in that series) not so much the language directly at different characters from cultures as that can reflect the time contemporary to when the strip is set. Rather its the language used and portrayal of the characters from those cultures.

 

I, Cosh

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Re: Darkie's Mob
« Reply #10 on: 30 April, 2021, 10:13:31 AM »
... you have to understand not only the time it was first printed but that's how the soldiers would have spoken at the time the story was set.

Yes, it's a funny one, and weirdly comic-specific. A historical novel, film or TV series set in WW2 that has a few instances of soldiers being less-than-PC towards their foes is probably never going to face too much criticism for that.
Any argument about historically accurate dialogue in kids war comics falls at the first hurdle because none of them are swearing like the fucking troopers they are.

Have mixed feelings about this. Any work of art or entertainment is a product of the social attitudes of its time as much as its creators own ideas. So, on the one hand, I don't think editing out stuff like this is particularly useful as you're partly denying to a future reader that it ever happened. From that point of view actually leaving it as is and having this conversation about it is greater evidence of progress. On the other hand, I'm not the one being abused in the dialogue.

Colin's point about the stereotypes of those characters is perhaps more important but othering the enemy to make them seem inhuman and only to be destroyed is the entire purpose of wars and armies.

Conclusion: “And I propose to you that if we are to pay our sincere respects to the hundred lost children of San Lorenzo, that we might best spend the day despising what killed them; which is to say, the stupidity and viciousness of all mankind.
"Perhaps, when we remember wars, we should take off our clothes and paint ourselves blue and go on all fours all day long and grunt like pigs. That would surely be more appropriate than noble oratory and shows of flags and well-oiled guns.”
We never really die.

milstar

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Re: Darkie's Mob
« Reply #11 on: 30 April, 2021, 11:01:28 AM »
Anyway, off to Amazon.

Temporarily out of stock.
Oh well, gotta quell my hunger for Battle stories with Invasion 1984.
Reyt, you lot. Shut up, belt up, 'n if ye can't see t' bloody exit, ye must be bloody blind.

Colin YNWA

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Re: Darkie's Mob
« Reply #12 on: 30 April, 2021, 11:15:33 AM »
Anyway, off to Amazon.

Temporarily out of stock.
Oh well, gotta quell my hunger for Battle stories with Invasion 1984.

There appears to be copies at Forbidden Planet

https://forbiddenplanet.com/49579-darkies-mob-hardcover-titan-edition/

pictsy

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Re: Darkie's Mob
« Reply #13 on: 30 April, 2021, 11:55:21 AM »
... you have to understand not only the time it was first printed but that's how the soldiers would have spoken at the time the story was set.

Yes, it's a funny one, and weirdly comic-specific. A historical novel, film or TV series set in WW2 that has a few instances of soldiers being less-than-PC towards their foes is probably never going to face too much criticism for that.
Any argument about historically accurate dialogue in kids war comics falls at the first hurdle because none of them are swearing like the fucking troopers they are.

Have mixed feelings about this. Any work of art or entertainment is a product of the social attitudes of its time as much as its creators own ideas. So, on the one hand, I don't think editing out stuff like this is particularly useful as you're partly denying to a future reader that it ever happened. From that point of view actually leaving it as is and having this conversation about it is greater evidence of progress. On the other hand, I'm not the one being abused in the dialogue.

Colin's point about the stereotypes of those characters is perhaps more important but othering the enemy to make them seem inhuman and only to be destroyed is the entire purpose of wars and armies.

Conclusion: “And I propose to you that if we are to pay our sincere respects to the hundred lost children of San Lorenzo, that we might best spend the day despising what killed them; which is to say, the stupidity and viciousness of all mankind.
"Perhaps, when we remember wars, we should take off our clothes and paint ourselves blue and go on all fours all day long and grunt like pigs. That would surely be more appropriate than noble oratory and shows of flags and well-oiled guns.”

Good points here.

I feel one should be careful about dismissing these issues as being of their time or being realistic.  FYI I didn't read Darkie's Mob.  I started the Megazine reprint, said "yikes!" to myself and didn't carry on reading it.

If the story explored the nature of war and the dehumanising of the "enemy", then there is certainly value to be had, as it is engaging with the problem.  If it doesn't, it is the problem.  It's just the thing.  To be pedantic, the very nature of fiction negates realism.  For instance, all the mundanity and inaction is excised for the sake of a paced narrative (usually).  There are also choices as to what realistic aspects to include and what not to include re. the point about swearing.  Darkie's Mob didn't need the racism and the fact soldiers can be racist in and of itself does not justify the racism. 

It being of it's time is rather dismissive of the problems as well.  Even in the 70's there were anti-racist and civil rights movements.  As with today, there wasn't one unified social attitude and also as with today, the voices of those marginalised are not given the same volume as those that marginalise.  It is not a product of it's time, it's a product of ignorance. 

I think it's fair to say that John Wagner was writing in a time when he didn't know better and I think it is good that he recognises the problems now that he does know better. 

Whether it should be changed to remove the racism, I don't know.  It's already out there with the racism.  Still, those who it harms might like to enjoy the story without feeling attacked by it.

I couldn't get into Darkie's Mob, myself, but I have enjoyed lots of other problematic media.  It's kinda inescapable, really.  I guess if you like the old boy's comic style of writing* of a military conflict in a real world setting with a story that has parallels with Bad Company, you'll probably like Darkie's Mob.

I also hope no one feels like I'm calling them out with my post.  My experience with Forum so far has been largely positive in these regards and I've not had much call to doubt you are all fine people.  I just want to point out the potential certain takes have of developing into apologia because I think it has value in discussions of this nature.

*This was the other reason I stopped reading.  I find the style hard to read so I need a big sell to get me through it.  Struggling to read something offensive isn't fun for me.

Woolly

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Re: Darkie's Mob
« Reply #14 on: 30 April, 2021, 12:12:07 PM »
Pictsy has summed this up perfectly for me.
Honestly, I'd recommend Charley's War over anything else. That story knows damn well who the 'bad guys' are (ie: warmongers, capitalists, and the upper classes.)

Darkie's Mob just doesn't have anything to say other than 'Jimmy J*p.'