This bundle of giggles spotlighting The Punisher’s British cousin probably falls outside Whitbrook’s view of the Marvel Universe (but he could always surprise us). I just got my copy of Lew Stringer’s Combat Colin No 1, which collects the comedy adventure strip originally published in Action Force in the late Eighties. This self-appointed guardian of justice is kind of like Nick Frost’s Mike - but 12 years before Spaced graced our screens. Actually, Mike might be a little sharper.
Stringer has been a prolific contributor to British comics for more than the 30 years Combat Colin has been around. He made a mark with Tom Thug in Oink! and since then has drawn for Fleetway, DC Thomson, Marvel, Viz and others.
His Combat Colin strip provided light relief against Marvel UK’s take on the rebranded Action Man toys (not dissimilar to the GI Joe comic published by Marvel US). Stringer originally called his creation Dimbo after Rambo, but accepted editor Steve White’s suggestion that it be called Combat Colin.
He also got to realise his ambition of moving the strip from a gag-a-week to a serialised adventure akin to Mike Higg’s The Cloak (I’m going to have to jot down a few lines on that Smash! spy someday).
The reprints are in black and white and the first issue assembles everything from Colin’s first appearance in Action Force no 5 to issue 50. Future issues will feature installments from Transformers. There are a few annotations to reflect changing attitudes on some of the strips.
I think so far, Combat Colin is only available by mail-order on Lew Stringer’s Blimey comics blog, along with some other titles.
(Mulling over whether or not I should buy a copy for an old friend, called Colin, who joined the Army after reading a recruitment ad in Valiant?)