It’s a shame we’re living in a world that’s constantly brandishing itself as politically correct, else comic strips like Baker’s Half Dozen may still be the regular feature on magazine shelves they were last century. This reprint, courtesy of Egmont, almost reads like a giant middle finger to political correctness, and is a brilliantly blistering reminder of just how entertainingly mad comic books used to be.
Baker’s Half Dozen collects the running war strip of the same name from the Speed comic published throughout the 1980s. The strip itself tells the story of a motely band of Allied soldiers led by the maniacal Sargent Baker making their way across captured land to safety. But with so many Nazis, assassins and traitors afoot, can Baker’s Half Dozen make it through in one piece?
Artist Mike Western is the only person whose name can be attached to the strip, as the writer’s name appears to be lost in history. Nevertheless, Western’s sketchy, black-and-white artwork has an urgency that fits the bludgeoning pace of the story perfectly. The story may well have been penned by TV Century 21/Look-In scribe Angus Allan, but there’s not much info besides that. However, that lack of info makes Baker’s Half Dozen all the more interesting to read.
Throughout the 74 pages of politically incorrect entertainment (and one text story from a Speed annual), there’s much to marvel at. The plot is as ruthlessly rattling as Baker himself and the characters have an absurd, 2D charm to their personalities. But if anything, Baker’s Half Dozen is a spellbinding reminder of how innocent comics used to be, despite their rather deadly content. Furiously good stuff, and a reprint well chosen.
INFO: BAKER’S HALF DOZEN / AUTHOR: UNKNOWN / ARTIST: MIKE WESTERN / PUBLISHER: HIBERNIA COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW