The Fan Page!

Welcome to the HMS Nightshade fan page !

This site is currently very much work in progress. I'll be adding more scans as and when I can.

The 200th issue of 'Battle', dated 06/01/79, carried 3 new on-going series. Alongside the classic Pat Mills scripted 'Charley's War' and the instantly forgettable 'Glory Rider' was a story about Royal Navy Corvette K70 - 'HMS Nightshade'.

Written by John Wagner and drawn by Mike Western, the same combination that had earlier produced the awesome 'Darkies Mob', the new strip never quite attained its predecessors heights, but was still a hugely enjoyable story which shone with Wagner's distinctive style and deep sympathy for men at war.

Each episode was introduced by old George Dunn, who told the story of the plucky little ship he served in as a young man to his grandson, who was always eager to hear more.

Old George was pretty much a self-portrait of artist Mike Western btw !

I'm guessing here but I have a suspicion that the story was influenced by the big sucess at the time (as far as I can recall) of the WW2 Navy books written by Douglas Reeman. In particular, his early story 'The Destroyers' reminds me a lot of the mood & tone of 'HMS Nightshade'. (Still I could be completely wrong about that!)

The art on 'HMS Nightshade' is rather curious in that in most weeks stories the art is excellent for the first two pages but then takes a nose-dive in quality for the last two pages.
The answer appears to be that Mike Western inked his own pencils on the the initial pages but due to time constraints another artist had to ink his pencils on the final two pages.
Mike said this about it in an interview in 1987:-
"I tried the same idea later {i.e. not inking his own work}, on a four-page story for BATTLE , but it wasn't successful, as I was inking two pages and a younger artist inked over my pencils on the other two. But the difference in the appearance of the page was too obvious. Some of the blacks got lost and a sort of grey overall effect lost the bite. My previous story, "Darkie's Mob" had run like cream but this was a three-pager and all inked by me. I do feel that it is important for the pencil, to be carried through by the same hand for a satisfying ink job."

HMS Nightshade was reprinted in 'Battle Action Force' in 1986 - I'm not sure of the dates, but it seems to have run through most of that year.

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