Bought some Victor comics on ebay from 1966…
In 1966 I was 11 and couldn’t wait each week for that flop on the doormat. Inside there was all manner of boy friendly content, from Alf Tupper ‘Tough of the Track’ the fish and chip eating long distance runner, to Magnus the Muscle Man and Scrapper Grey the door to door log cutter salesman who was set to become lightweight boxing champion of Britain. The main event however was always on the full colour cover. I would scan this when it first arrived but leave it until last to devour the heroic and often gory details.
Basically, if you’re not of a certain age and familiar with this long gone publication, you might not know that each week it recounted some great deeds from one of the world wars. The missions and the actual events were obviously dramatised for effect, but what I’d forgotten (or not really noticed at the time) was the gung-ho style in which these events were told. Back then I thought the Victor was a very serious publication, the cover stories particularly profound, and I had the impression they were accurate and respectful.
I am struck by one in the pile I have acquired. Our lads discover a map on one of the ‘japs’ that shows the agreed Japanese rendezvous point in the jungle. It ends in what could pretty much these days be described as a massacre. It’s all jolly stuff and the comments from our gallant lads during battle are flippant and off the cuff in a way that I can’t imagine for a moment is anywhere near the actuality. At least I hope not, though admittedly I wasn’t there.
Initially I am surprised I swallowed all that hero stuff quite so completely and devoured this gore-fest each week – but maybe I’m just soft. I am forever thankful that I have never had to go to war and grateful I can’t talk with the authority of one who has been damaged by it.
…Then I watched the YouTube of Gaddafi’s capture and did have a bit of a flashback. The Victor on acid…a slo mo celebration of a despotic termination, low resolution video that looked like a party – lots of red…shouting, celebration… a festival of gore. Bit like a comic. Wow. Go history go…
In 1966 Americans had their Vietnam. With nothing comparable at the time this side of the Atlantic, we looked back to the ‘glory days’ of WW2. Americans also had superhero comics – we had the Victor – supermen in tin hats.