The Stringbags

Garth Ennis

Book - 2020

"Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy began World War II with torpedo bombers that could devastate enemy warships and merchantmen at will. Britain's Royal Navy squadrons went to war equipped with the Fairey Swordfish. A biplane torpedo bomber in an age of monoplanes, the Swordfish was underpowered and under-gunned; an obsolete museum piece, an embarrassment. Its crews fully expected to be shot from the skies. Instead, they flew the ancient 'Stringbag' into legend."--

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor Comics GRAPHIC NOVEL/Ennis Checked In
Graphic novels
Historical comics
War comics
Annapolis, Maryland : Dead Reckoning [2020]
Main Author
Garth Ennis (author)
Other Authors
P. J. Holden (illustrator), Kelly Fitzpatrick, 1988- (colourist), Rob Steen, 1964- (letterer)
Physical Description
186 pages : chiefly color illustrations ; 29 cm
  • To Your Lads in Their Enterprise
  • Our Belief in You, My Führer
  • By Either Side That Day.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Ennis again achieves what his best WWII comics, such as Johnny Red: The Hurricane and Night Witches, have done: illuminate a little-known corner of that sprawling conflict and highlight the humanity of those involved in pulse-pounding battles. Ennis showcases Britain's obsolete and widely mocked Fairey Swordfish biplane torpedo bombers (called Stringbags for their ability to carry just about anything), whose durability and slow speed proved advantageous in three real-life battles. Inventing a fictional three-man crew with something to prove as his through line, Ennis takes the chummy and smart-assed trio of Archie, Ollie, and Pops from Britain's surprise assault on the Italian fleet at Taranto in 1940 (whose stunning success inspired the Japanese plan for Pearl Harbor) to the desperate mission to sink Hitler's seemingly unkillable warship Bismarck, and a last-minute assault with little fighter cover on the German Navy's Channel Dash op. Each battle featuring this "small, peculiar force with a reputation for doing the impossible" is drawn in dynamic and detailed page layouts by Holden (the Judge Dredd series) that pair wide explosion-pocked action panels with tight inserts of pop-eyed characters. While realistic about the costs of war, Ennis still imbues his heroes with a hard-to-resist jaunty humor ("spot of aviation, then?"). A real corker of a war comic, this expertly balances research, amusement, and stirring emotion. (May.)

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