Battle Action Special will revive a number of strips that ran in the original weekly comic, including battle stories (one featuring ace pilot Johnny Red), spy tales, and the post-apocalyptic “Kids Rule OK,” for which O’Neill will be the artist. Other artists involved include P.J. Holden, who collaborated with Ennis on The Stringbags, as well as Judge Dredd artists John Higgins and Patrick Goddard and Batman artist Chris Burnham. The 96-page hardcover will be released to the direct market in June and bookstores in September.
This is the second project Ennis has taken on for Rebellion recently; he is also writing Hawk the Slayer, the comics sequel to the 1980 film (see “Garth Ennis to Write ‘Hawk the Slayer’ Series”).
Action was created by writer Pat Mills and published by IPC, whose catalog Rebellion acquired in 2016 (see “Rebellion Acquires Fleetway and IPC Group Archives”). It was designed as an edgier version of the action comics that were popular at the time and featured war stories as well as the shark-attack series “Hook Jaw” and other types of action stories. The first issue was published in February 1976, and it was immediately popular with readers, but the violent content also caused a stir. The controversy attracted the attention of the national media and newsagents threatened to boycott it, to the point where the October 23, 1976, issue was pulped and the comic was relaunched a month later with less edgy content. A year later, the tone-down version merged with another IPC publication, Battle.