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The Stringbags Hardcover – Illustrated, May 20, 2020
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Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy began World War II with aircraft 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 undergunned; an obsolete museum piece, an embarrassment. Its crews fully expected to be shot from the skies. Instead, they flew the ancient "Stringbag" into legend.
Writer Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys, War Stories) and artist PJ Holden (Battlefields, World of Tanks: Citadel) present the story of the men who crewed the Swordfish: from their triumphs against the Italian Fleet at Taranto and the mighty German battleship Bismarck in the Atlantic, to the deadly challenge of the Channel Dash in the bleak winter waters of their homeland. They lived as they flew, without a second to lose--and the greatest tributes to their courage would come from the enemy who strove to kill them.
Based on the true story of the Royal Navy's Swordfish crews, The Stringbags is an epic tale of young men facing death in an aircraft almost out of time.
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--Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Award: 2020 BRONZE Winner for Graphic Novels & Comics
"I recommend this book if you are into any WWII history - especially focusing on English or flight warfare in general. This story brings you right into the action and portions of the lives of the aircrews and their superiors. Go to your local comic book store and order a copy of The Stringbags today!" --Sequential Tart
"The Stringbags is Garth Ennis doing what he does best-telling in-depth war stories full of historical detail along with some fiction. P.J. Holden provides some fantastic art as well and the whole book is a lovely read. 5 out of 5 stars." --The Newest Rant
"A real corker of a war comic, this expertly balances research, amusement, and stirring emotion." --Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"This may be the best war comic to come out in years." --ICv2
"The story is divided into sections based on three major actions in which the planes participated; Archie, Ollie, and Pops are involved in each. The action culminates in an attack on the German battleship Bismarck that evokes an emotional reaction on behalf of the trio and the war's real-life combatants. While its story is sympathetic and exciting, the book also contains fascinating details related to military equipment, strategy, and tactics, and its sense of history is satisfying. The art renders the uniforms, airplanes, and weaponry of the time with accuracy. Battle scenes are visceral and heart-pounding, showing the horror and confusion of war. An afterword separates the book's facts from its fictions, explaining the creative liberties that were taken with the story. The Stringbags is a triumphant graphic novel about World War II heroism." --Foreword Reviews
"This is a wonderful book in a format that can easily be read and understood by younger generations." --Navy Wings Heritage Trust
"The Stringbags -- biplanes flying through WWII, underpowered, undergunned, whose crews never expected to become heroes in a plane that was never expected to become the stuff of legends. Garth Ennis and PJ Holden's Stringbags takes three of the most famous missions and ties it all together through the exploits of a trio of fictional Navy airmen -- Ennis is on top form doing what he loves and Holden delivers career highlight artwork." --Comicon
"The Stringbags is absolutely stunning. Stitching together Taranto, the Bismarck and the Channel Dash together through the experience of a single crew was a masterstroke. And the art is awesomely good. Gorgeous. It really is a hell of a book." --Rowland White, author of Into the Black and Harrier 809
"The Stringbags centers on the Fairey Swordfish biplane; the outmoded, unfashionable fighter plane that nevertheless helped turn the tide of second World War dogfights. It's rugged, well-executed action, recalling the classic tropes of mid-century British war comics, brought thrillingly to life via the clean, compelling art of fellow Belfast man, PJ Holden." --The Irish Times
"For fans of World War II stories, this book is highly recommended. The mixture of historical facts, technical accuracy, and, relatable protagonists works well." --Social Blunderer
"An epic tribute to little-known heroes, featuring frenzied depictions of midair combat by Holden." --Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Beautifully presented worthy of anyone's attention." --DOWNTHETUBES.NET
"The Stringbags is even better than I'd hoped…. Each part of Stringbags has text exposition, giving historical context, sometimes bridging between scenes; it's great text too. Ennis writes history with a mix of enthusiasm and flair--he takes it seriously, explaining his creative choices with facts in the afterword (because he too seems to recognize the potential of the project)--so even as you wait to find out what's happening to the heroes, you don't really want the lecture to end. Ennis is concise and fact-filled, with an intention of making those facts count not fill…. It's fiction with straight non-fiction tangents. It's awesome." --The Stop Button
"This well-written and beautifully-illustrated graphic novel tells of the courageous exploits of 'Stringbaggers' in the triumph against the Italian fleet at Taranto, against the mighty German battleship Bismarck in the war for the North Atlantic to the deadly challenge of the Channel Dash as Germany tried to sneak a fleet through the English Channel to Norway." --On the Bookshelf with Doc Kirby
"A reserve crew in a hopelessly outdated biplane attacking the might of a battleship convoy in the early days of World War II. The Stringbags is, like the best well-researched military history, delivered with genuine heart, something Garth Ennis excels at. A gripping underdog tale filled with spectacle and tragedy, featuring career-best art from PJ Holden." --Rob Williams, author of Judge Dredd and Unfollow
"The Stringbags artfully meshes fiction into a factual narrative, bringing to life the story of an oft-overlooked combat force in WWII. An entertaining read, even to those who are already aware of the Swordfish's wartime feats." --Nick Moran, AKA 'The Chieftain'
"The art of storytelling lies in drawing readers in, making them hungry to know what comes next. The Stringbags has that in abundance. Intending merely to take an exploratory glance, I couldn't stop reading. A fascinating, engaging and well-researched script that you'd expect from Garth Ennis augmented by admirably clear and atmospheric art from PJ Holden, beautifully coloured by Kelly Fitzpatrick. Highly recommended for lovers of damn good stories." --John Wagner, co-creator of Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog
About the Author
PJ Holden is a Belfast-based comic artist. Best known for his work for 2000AD on Judge Dredd, over the last twenty years he's also drawn Rogue Trooper, Robocop/Terminator, James Bond: M, World of Tanks, and Battlefields. He is the co-creator of Dept. of Monsterology and Numbercruncher. He is married to Annette and has two children, Thomas and Nathan.
Kelly Fitzpatrick is a Hugo nominated comic book colorist and illustrator. She has worked on everything from Kickstarter and indie publications to DC graphic novels. Kelly spends all of her free time doting on her dog, Archie as well as training dogs, doing yoga and aerial acrobatics, and self-publishing her own books.
Rob Steen has lettered comics for all major comic book companies. He is also the illustrator of the children's book series Flanimals, written by Ricky Gervais, and Erf, written by Garth Ennis.
- Publisher : Dead Reckoning; Illustrated edition (May 20, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 192 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1682475034
- ISBN-13 : 978-1682475034
- Item Weight : 1.68 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.3 x 0.6 x 11.1 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #450,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Absolutely recommended to anyone that wants to know what it was like to go into battle in aircraft slower than many private cars, If you want to know more, read To War In A Stringbag by Charles Lamb. This author obviously did, to his credit. The artwork and lettering is outstanding too. I'm not an expert on comics, but this one knocked me for a loop!
My father flew stringbags among other aircraft while he served in the FAA during WWII. So, for me, it's great to see the aircraft not forgotten and to make the plane the hero and those that served.
Top reviews from other countries
There are a number of excellent cartoons of Swordfish and naval vessels, accurately drawn with enthusiasm, but many pages have drawings that can only be described as generic biplane.
The notes at the back of the book make it clear that the author has done his research,possibly best part of book. The fictional relationship between the crew is farcical, and the idea that a senior officer would swear at another officer in front of an enlisted man is beyond belief.
The book clearly established the courage, and determination of the Fleet Air Arm, but no one as inept as this fictional crew would have passed basic training,let alone be posted on board Illustrious.
On whole i enjoyed book,but I'll buy anything with Swordfish in title.
It is too juvenile for the adult reader and unnecessary swear word,only once granted, makes it difficult to recommend as a primer.
Good attempt, but can't say it converts me to graphic novel.
I will keep mine as part of my Swordfish library, but if you're still interested perhaps best in kindle version
Page 167 is glued to the hardcover so I can't see how this wasn't noticed before shipping. The publishers need to do a better job of quality control.
I wish there were a lot more English language books like this. It is an unconsidered art form in the UK.