The Fan Page!

Shorty's Diary

Letter from Mike Western
John Wagner Interview
Mike Western Interviews
Covers and Colour
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Welcome to the Darkies Mob fan page ! The aim of this site is to prompt a few happy memories of a classic strip and also to push for a reissue of the story in Graphic Novel form.
UPDATE ! Well there you go - dreams sometimes do come true - 'Darkies Mob' has been completely reprinted recently in the '2000AD Megazine'. Fingers crossed for a book collection re-issue !

I have now posted a stripography for those of you wanting to complete your collections. Watch out for the spoilers.

Mail me your memories or questions on the story & I will put them up on the 'Battle Stations' page!
Captain Darkie

The original strip ran in UK comic 'Battle' between 14th August 1976 to 18 June 1977 (except for a one week break 28 May 1977) and was re-printed in 'Battle Action' between 21 March and 12 December 1981. (Note the 1981 run did not reprint all the episodes and 'snowpaked' out a lot of the gore - see the Stripography for the full rundown!).

Scripted by the genius that is John Wagner, drawn by Mike Western and letters by Steve Potter.

In a nutshell, the story is of Captain Joe Darkie, a mysterious and crazed figure, who finds & leads a rag-tag bunch of British soldiers behind Japanese lines in Burma, transforming them into the brutal & feared 'Darkies Mob' !! The story was gripping, the art was superb & it left me as a 10 yr old reader completely overawed. It had the same effect on me 25 years later!

The story has similarities I think with the classic Vietnam War film 'Apocalypse Now' (released in 1979), with Darkie as a Colonel Kurtz/Marlon Brando figure in many respects. The strip itself was acknowledged to be the basis for 2000AD's 'Bad Company' by Pete Milligan and Brett Ewins. The planet Ararat stood in for Burma in the sci-fi version, with diary-keeping Danny Franks replacing Richard Shortland and of course, Kano as Darkie. The Japs were played by the 'Krool' !

The central mystery of the story was Darkies origin - it was revealed fairly early on that he was not a real Captain in the British Army.The narrator of the story, Private Richard 'Shorty' Shortland, who is the only one who knows this fact, does not tell the others in the Mob because of his admiration/fear of Darkie. The 'Captain's' demonic hatred of the Japanese and their terror at and respect of him add to the intrigue as to his past life.

Bullets for Japs

I'm not going to reveal here Darkies nasty secret or what happens to Shorty in the final episode - you'll have to buy up some old copies of Battle or buy the Megazine reprints !

Hopefully I'll soon be adding a whole lot more great images from the Darkies Mob strip here very soon - focusing on a few more of the characters and incidents in the strip - remember poor old 'Flyboy' and his heroic end ? And when the rice-eating fiends crucified Darkie on top of a tin roof in the baking mid-day sun ?? Well if you don't, it'll be here soon to remind you !!

In the meantime, here is your very own Darkie's Mob Diary for you to fill in and keep ! (from 'Battle' 11th July 1981). Also there's an odd article here on Japanese stereotypes in UK war comics.

Remember to check out the link below for more in-depth looks at 'Battle' characters such as 'Major Eazy', 'Panzer G-Man' and 'Johnny Red'. !!

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The copyright of the images and writings from the comic which have been reproduced on this non-profit making site remain with the publishers Egmont Magazines Ltd.