This site is currently very much work in progress. I'll be adding more scans as and when I can, as well as profiles and interviews with the writer and artists, plus in-depth looks at all your favourite 'Johnny Red' characters - including a 'Nina Petrova' pin-up section (and yes I know how sad that is..)
Issue 100 of 'Battle' (29th Jan 1977) saw the start of 'Johnny Red', written by Tom Tully and drawn for the first two years by Joe
Colquhoun, after that by John Cooper. The story was to run for an incredible five years, although there was an undoubted drop off in quality towards the end.
19 year old Johnny Redburn had been dishonourably discharged from the RAF for striking an
officer as an air cadet, after a crash in training. (Strangely, the story changed to "accidentally killing a superior officer" in later episodes).
He became a
'galley-rat' in the merchant navy and wasn't seeing any action, when fate lent
a hand. While out at sea with a Convoy bound for Murmansk in September 1941 his ship was hit while under attack from a German Stuka . The ship
was going down but it did have a Hurricane on its Catapult launch pad, however the pilot had been killed in the bomb blast. Johnny
secretly replaced him and took off !
He proceeded to destroy a couple of enemy aircraft
before flying off to the Russian mainland and meeting up with a Russian fighter squadron, the Falcons.
From then on Johnny was flying with the Falcons against the Krauts over the Eastern Front, usually dodging bullets from enraged Soviet Commissars in equal portion to German fighters !
He was further handicapped by being caught in a blast from a booby-trapped stove - from then on, a sliver of wood lodged behind his eye was always causing blindness and blurred vision at crucial moments...