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Author Topic: War Picture Library: Battle of Britain Ian Kennedy  (Read 589 times)

Tjm86

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War Picture Library: Battle of Britain Ian Kennedy
« on: 16 April, 2020, 09:21:41 AM »
So the latest volume of this collection appeared early this morning.  I have to be honest, anything with Ian Kennedy's artwork is a no-brainer but his war stuff is doubly so.  The web-shop exclusive hardback edition is not only justified but arguably the only respectable option.  Choosing matte rather than glossy paper brings out the best in Kennedy's work.  All round then as a quality book it ticks all the boxes.

The repro quality does it justice as well, considering the age of the material and the fact that it has been enlarged from its original size IIRC. The old Air Ace Picture Library books were the same size as the estimable Commando books.  The detail is pretty clearly retained and it requires careful attention to notice the ever-so-slight blurring effect of the enlargement.  Lines just feel a little thicker at times and not quite as crisp as we've become used to from Kennedy in more recent years. 

Considering that sizeable portions of the tales involve night action there are very few places where detail is lost to blacking.  Mind you that might be more down to the original material than the repro.  I suspect that silhouetting in quite a few of the dusk scenes is actually intentional on Kennedy's part.  It would be interesting to track down a copy of the original publications and do a side-by-side comparison.  I suspect that in truth this edition is likely to come out quite favourably though.

The writing is very much of its age (sixties) with two tales of personal rivalry, incompetence and redemption.  The key characters are ostensibly all officer types, one of Pat Mills' key gripes of the core features of much of the era's writing.  I say 'ostensibly' though because as this is a couple of Kennedy books the real characters are the aircraft.  Spits, Hurris, Beaufighters, Defiant's, a Wellington and a Wapiti are the heroes of the pieces.  The Heinkels and Messerschmidts are the villains although the Man from Whitehall and assorted senior orifices do feature to a lesser extent.

Realistically speaking the hyperbole of the blurb is actually quite accurate: "this is an enthralling collection of dogfights and heroism featuring daredevil pilots and the lengths they go to sort the German Luftwaffe attacking Britain."  The two tales, "Steel Bats" and "Never Say Die" rattle along at a breathtaking speed, so much so that many of the flaws in the tales are lost in the 'fog of battle' so to speak.

All round then as an example of the potential of the archive that Rebellion has amassed to restore past material to its former glory this is a sterling effort.  For those of us more familiar with Commando than Battle Picture Library it opens up the possibility of a rich seam to be mined so to speak.  Certainly I'm now very tempted to look more closely at some of the other volumes.

broodblik

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Re: War Picture Library: Battle of Britain Ian Kennedy
« Reply #1 on: 16 April, 2020, 09:27:51 AM »
I bought this purely that it is Ian Kennedy. I have not read it but anything with Ian's art is a must get.
Old age is the Lord’s way of telling us to step aside for something new. Death’s in case we didn’t take the hint.

The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.

Colin YNWA

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Re: War Picture Library: Battle of Britain Ian Kennedy
« Reply #2 on: 16 April, 2020, 09:56:58 AM »
Fingers crossed mine is winging its way to me (pun entirely intended) and reading this has got me very excited.

I think there's a future volume with Hugo Platt art as well... or did I dream that?

Tjm86

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Re: War Picture Library: Battle of Britain Ian Kennedy
« Reply #3 on: 16 April, 2020, 02:37:43 PM »
The Hugo Pratt volume is already out.  Released back in February.  Now on order along with a couple of the humour titles for the nipper courtesy of the 50% subscriber discount.

broodblik

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Re: War Picture Library: Battle of Britain Ian Kennedy
« Reply #4 on: 16 April, 2020, 02:47:58 PM »
No I think this is the one Colin is referring to War Picture Library: Battler Britton. It will be available digitally on the 9th of July and only available in print next year June
Old age is the Lord’s way of telling us to step aside for something new. Death’s in case we didn’t take the hint.

The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.

Tjm86

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Re: War Picture Library: Battle of Britain Ian Kennedy
« Reply #5 on: 16 April, 2020, 04:46:02 PM »
Ah, gotcha.  I did see that one on the list of future releases.  Would be interesting to see some of the early stuff on the character.  I loved the recent series with Colin Wilson artwork.  That guy is up there with Kennedy for his highly detailed tech work as his work on Rogue Trooper demonstrated (of which I am now a proud owner of a page from Dix-1 that shows how much it is even better up close so to speak).

Hopefully Rebellion will relent and do a web-shop exclusive HBK.

[go on, give the needle a shove, it's stuck again ...]

Colin YNWA

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Re: War Picture Library: Battle of Britain Ian Kennedy
« Reply #6 on: 17 April, 2020, 05:19:47 PM »
Mines landed and have to say its utterly glorious.

Now is it just me or is Air Marshal Fenner Ron Smith... no that's just me reading too much into this right and the majesty that is Ron Smith just looked like a certain archetype and there is easily seen in such character... but come on this looks like him or what!

Proudhuff

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Re: War Picture Library: Battle of Britain Ian Kennedy
« Reply #7 on: 09 June, 2020, 05:14:19 PM »
Got my hardcover and loved it, some of the pages are genius chiaroscuro works of art and an expert example of less is more, IF you know just where to take a line for a walk.
Highly recommended.
DDT did a job on me