Victor Comic and me (3)

I would be the first to admit that Victor could sound a little clichéd on occasion:

But the British always overcame every problem. Only two British guns and 132 German tanks. Don’t worry! We’ll get ’em all! And make sure you don’t miss any!!

Tank recognition classes can now put their knowledge into practice. The men who drew these tanks had probably seen them for real:Disaster strikes. But the British are used to recovering from disaster and muddling through. Norway. Dunkirk. HMS Hood. Greece. Malaya. Singapore. Tobruk. Countless cricket matches against Australia. Penalty shoot outs in football. God knows, we’ve had the practice:Let’s be honest. A great many of the comic’s drawings  have something hackneyed, or even ridiculous, hiding away inside them. Not to mention exaggeration. Whoever saw a hole in a ship that big?Still, at least the German officer in the next frame doesn’t say “to ze vaterland” :Contrast the British approach below. In the kayak, two commandos, who are perfectly well aware that Hitler’s personal order was that if they were captured, they would be shot. This was the “Kommandobefehl” which you can read about here. The man on the submarine, though, might as well be offering to take their letters to the Post Office for them. “Right! Thank you! And could you see if they are still selling those cough sweets I like? Just get me a couple of packets, would you, old chap?”

More irreverence next time.

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14 Comments

Filed under History, Humour, Literature, Personal, Writing

14 responses to “Victor Comic and me (3)

  1. Penalty shoot-outs? Against the Germans? 🙂

    • Not those Germans. Our Germans. In fact any opponents in modern penalty shoot outs. Apparently in all football history, the senior and Under-21 England teams have won two shoot outs and lost 12. That’s why I included it in the list of English disasters. Along with the cricket against Australia, these two are the children of Dunkirk and Singapore.

  2. How sad that even comics were based on war. *shakes head*

    • Comics were not the “funnies” of the newspaper. They were graphic stories and reports in many cases.

    • I think it was a generation issue. The parents of the boys reading comics in in the 1960s had all been in the war, and boys expected tales of this sort. We ourselves as little boys were expecting a war at any minute. Every month the nuclear attack siren in our village would be sounded so that we all knew the sound and would know that if it ever sounded for real, our last two minutes on earth had already begun.
      And Mr Gray is quite correct too. There were other comics with no war stories and lots of jokes, but publications like ‘Victor’ were trying to tell us something about our country’s recent glorious past. This would involve true stories of great bravery, and other invented characters who were like real people but even more exciting, a bit like Rambo or Bruce Willis nowadays. It all served to reassure us that we British were not a bunch of deadbeat bankrupts who had saved the world in 1940 but had lost the world’s greatest empire five years later.
      And children needed telling about this perhaps most of all. All they knew about was scarcity and empty shops. Food rationing in England only stopped in 1954 after 14 years, and that was something as basic as meat and bacon!

  3. I think that chap is rather optimistic with his repair time estimate!

    • Absolutely. The mechanics on airfields could work wonders with some repairs, but that is rather a large hole. Sometimes ships with extensive front end damage could be towed backwards to port if a proper tugboat was available but that might only be at two or three miles an hour. I personally think that that ship would not have been used for at least six months if not longer. They might even have broken it up and re-cycled it as a much more useful U-boat!

  4. Good old British ‘stiff upper lip’ always wins through! Sadly not in penalty shoot outs though – they just cry!

    • It all comes from the modern belief put out on school sports days that it doesn’t matter if you don’t win, that it’s OK to underperform. Added to that is an upper class belief which comes from well before the First World War that it’s not the done thing to practice, that gentlemen don’t do that kind of thing, it’s rather vulgar and so on. Put the two together and you have a team who don’t practice their penalties enough and when they miss, are immediately forgiven and awarded a big sum of money to do an advert on TV.

      • Hit the nail in the head there John. We keep saying in the staff room that we, as a nation, are creating a generation of children who have no resilience and no understanding of failure. The numbers of sulks are on the rise!

  5. In Afghanistan in 2002 there was an American who singlehandledly manned an 81mm mortar. I think Roden Cutler VC did similar feats.

    • And it’s so sad that there is no popular publication nowadays where boys can read of such unbelievable bravery. Nowadays all the stories of “bravery” they hear are just the exploits of other gang members. And “heroes” on our TV are young men who deliver pizzas when it’s raining.

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