Eagles Over the Western Front
The second volume of Eagles Over the Western Front picks up the action where volume one left off: 2nd Lieutenant Harry Hawkes is the pilot of an Airco DH2 with a squadron based on the Western Front in France during the early dogfighting days of the First World War. It is 1916 and the early hopes that "it'll all be over by Christmas" have died in the stalemate of barbed wire and churned mud of trench warfare.
Above the trenches, the aerial action continues as Harry and his chums of the Royal Flying Corps risk their lives against the Spandau's of German Fokkers. Max Immelmann may be dead, but the German Imperial Air Force has other 'Aces' like Oswald Boelcke and Baron von Richthofen cutting a swathe through the British and French airmen in the newly developed Albatross D-1. The Allies respond with the Nieuport, the Sopwith Pup and Sopwith Camel to combat this new menace.
But the action isn't all in the air. On the ground, too, Harry risks his life as he gets caught up in the private wars, deserters, impostors, spies and newcomers who seem to have their own agendas in coming to the Front. With tensions running high back at base and Richthofen's 'Flying Circus' turning the skies into a death trap, every flight could be Harry's last...
Bear Alley Books is proud to continue its release of Eagles Over the Western Front, the classic story of aerial action set during the days of the R.F.C. Created by Mike Butterworth and Bill Lacey and serialised in the pages of Look and Learn in 1971-73, Eagles ran a magnificent 116 episodes. Now, for the first time in thirty years, the complete story will be available in three volumes, with two-thirds of the story scanned from surviving original art boards.
Author Mike Butterworth is better known for writing 'The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire', but his career began many years before as a scriptwriter and editor for the Amalgamated Press's Sun, where penned dozens of stories featuring historical characters (Billy the Kid, Dick Turpin, Robin Hood) as well as creating 'Max Bravo, the Happy Hussar' and 'Battler Britton'. For Comet he wrote authentic historical dramas as well as creating the science fiction adventurer 'Jet-Ace Logan'. Editorially he created the innovative Playhour Pictures, Valentine and the teenage magazine Honey. A prolific novelist, he wrote crime thrillers, bodice-rippers and historicals under a variety of pen-names. Volume two's introduction takes a longer look at Butterworth's career.
Bill Lacey's first strips appeared in 1951, although the best of his early work appeared in the pages of Super Detective Library, where he was the original artist for Rick Random and Blackshirt. Lacey's work appeared in dozens of comics in the 1950s and 1960s, including Mickey Mouse Weekly, Cowboy Picture Library, Knockout, Express Weekly, Thriller Picture Library, Princess, Film Fun, Valiant, Buster, Tiger and Lion; during this time his strips ranged from adaptations of western novels such as 'The Covered Wagon' to weird fantasy classics like 'Mytek the Mighty'. In the 1970s he drew extensively for Look and Learn and for a number of D. C. Thomson's boys' papers, Bullet, Crunch and Buddy.
"Whatever they are about, Butterworth's stories are fast paced and action packed and never repetitive as our hero's friends and colleagues come and go as he moves between squadrons and the series timeline progresses as he flies the newer and better planes that are being supplied to the RFC against differing German opposition. The story rarely feels confined by the original two pages per week publication rate from Look and Learn and Bill Lacey's artwork remains consistently good with a remarkable amount of detail in each panel ... With a wraparound cover featuring World War One biplane combat by Wilf Hardy, Eagles Over The Western Front Volume 2 continues pilot Harry Hawkes' story and while, forty years on from its creation, its format and pacing are very different to modern comics, it shows just how good weekly British comic strips were be when a skilled writer was teamed with an enthusiastic artist."— Jeremy Briggs, Down the Tubes.
Eagles Over the Western Front volume 2 is published in A4 saddle-stitch format, 84 pages b/w with a stunning wraparound cover by Wilf Hardy.
Published on 7 June 2011. Available now.
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