Charley's War: Hitler's Youth by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun

Book Review by Johnny Chess | 23 Nov 2011
  • Charley's War: Hitler's Youth
Book title: Charley's War: Hitler's Youth
Author: Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun

Charley’s War was a seminal comic strip which followed Charley Bourne, a young soldier, throughout the whole of the First World War. This collected edition of a series of editions of the comic subverts the premise somewhat, in that it follows a German soldier, and in that that German soldier is Corporal Adolf Hitler, who really was a message runner in the German army at this time. The Hitler presented here isn’t far off the Hitler of later, and this does make his character a little too obviously like the man he’d become. However, there are many nice touches too, like the way it shows Hitler to be disliked by his own colleagues, and also in the way Charley is on sniper duty, and is given a certain German runner as a target. We know Charley can’t succeed, but we can’t help hoping. The black and white art is brilliantly, suitably, gritty, and the story avoids either taking its subject too lightly or sensationalising battle. There is even a written essay at the start of the book about Hitler’s activities during the First World War, and it’s a suitably intriguing piece of writing. It is a short collection, but it’s well worth a look. [Johnny Chess]


Out now. Cover price £14.99. Published by Titan Books