Thursday, June 10, 2010
They don’t make ‘em like this anymore; some might say this is just as well. Darkie’s Mob appeared originally in the British anthology title Battle, back in the 1970s. It told the story of Captain Joe Darkie, a British army officer who took over a unit of stragglers and led them deep into the Burmese jungle to pursue a savage campaign against the Japanese. The great conceit of the story was that it was supposedly a true story, based on a diary found surrounded by corpses at the scene of a horrific battle. So the reader is set up for a grim tale in which everyone dies.
This comic reflects the unenlightened attitudes of its time with a creepily racist attitude to the Japanese, who are presented, initially at least, as depraved savages in a manner that would no longer be acceptable. But for all that, the story really has something. The gradual killing off of the characters, the neverending mood of grim foreboding, and the levels of violence completely beyond what you would expect in a story aimed at ten year olds all make this one of the most memorable strips I have ever read.