Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ron Turner's SPINBALL WARS (Battle-Action 1978)

The artist Ron Turner delighted comics readers in the 1950s with his superb science fiction strips such as Space Ace and Rick Random, and in the 1960s with his colour work on The Daleks for TV21. By 1978 he was illustrating The Spinball Wars for Battle-Action, and I'd like to show you a sample of that today. This episode is from Battle-Action dated 7th January 1978.




The Spinball Wars had begun life as Death Game 1999 for Action in 1976, changed to the less violent Spinball when the comic was toned down, and later became Spinball Wars to suit the war-themed Battle Picture Weekly when it and Action merged in 1977. Though not as gory as the early issues of Action had been, Battle-Action was still more brutal than most comics, as you can see from this strip with someone being riddled with bullets, his corpse staring blankly at the reader. Ron Turner's style would have perhaps been too slick for a traditional war strip but it was ideal for the futuristic Spinball Wars

Hopefully, now that Rebellion have the rights to this old material, perhaps we'll be seeing collections of Death Game 1999 and Spinball Wars in the future?

7 comments:

SID said...

The Spinball Wars was one of the main reasons why I got Battle-Action. I thought Ron Turner's artwork was great. I particularly loved his Judge Dredds and his earlier Rick Random.

Lew Stringer said...

These issues of Battle are great aren't they? I bought a run a while back and I'm looking forward to reading them as I wasn't buying Battle in the 1970s.

SID said...

The 70s saw some pretty good comics. I wasn't a fan of war comics but I got hooked when Battle and Action merged. I always thought it was a mistake when it was later aimed for a younger audience and changed to Battle Action Force.

varszava_vavava said...

Yes he was a good artist. Spinball Wars was pretty good. Perhaps better than the first Spinball storyline - def better than the rather dull one when Action returned after its ban.

Lew Stringer said...

Sid, presumably sales were falling so they felt that tying it in with a merchandised product was the way to slow down its inevitable cancellation. It worked for a while anyway.

Thanks, Varszava. That does seem to be the case.

SID said...

Maybe, Lew. But aiming the comic at a younger audience I think also neutered the comic. Possibly if they allowed it to evolve/grow like 2000AD?

Lew Stringer said...

That would have been ideal, Sid, having more stories in the tone of Charley's War. Unfortunately it was probably too late by then as they'd lost a lot of the older readers. 2000AD was unique in that it attracted the attention of fandom from the start, as well as being able to gradually grow with its younger readers. That said, I doubt even 2000AD would be here now if Rebellion hadn't bought it.

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