Your help needed character defining stores within BAF urgent

Discuss the original adventures of the Red Shadows and Action Force!
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Your help needed character defining stores within BAF urgent

Postby Dave Tree » 18 Mar 2015 23:15

Title says it all, this is highly relevant to project going but sadly cannot disclose more details, however, which classic Battle Action Force stories do you think went beyond the story and delved into the characters themselves?
Were you ever driven towards a character?
Or perhaps:
Given the weekly few page format and the intended audience, do you think there was no character development?
There was no continuity due to different writers or lack of bigger picture/ story narrative from Palitoy

Please let me know your thoughts, we all have our favourite stories, we all have our favourite toys, but was there any real expansion on the characters and in what stories do you feel that took place?

Cryptic no?
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Re: Your help needed character defining stores within BAF ur

Postby Chopper » 18 Mar 2015 23:32

You could write a book on the subject, any of the Codename series would be pretty in depth. Very few wandered off course.
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Re: Your help needed character defining stores within BAF ur

Postby Dave Tree » 18 Mar 2015 23:42

Did any stick out as particular favourites?
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Re: Your help needed character defining stores within BAF ur

Postby Chopper » 19 Mar 2015 00:57

I got to know Shark while I was colouring it, that stands out. I always liked the recondo/flash/ripcord training story (operation snakebite) but, iirc, it did break continuity when Codename:Flash came out - according to Operation Snakebite that was the first time Flash used modern laser weapons as he came straight from the Para's. Codename:Skyraider was impressive with the Baron mystery. Kraken I loved too, not just because I coloured it, it was a great story. It showed more about the Major than anyone else.

Standout stories for me,

The Hacienda Hit, Codename:Beaver, Codename: Tracker, Jungle Terror, Death in South America, The ground Zero/Zartan stories, Assault on Atoll Z. And, of course, the obvious ones like Claymore and bloodhound.
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Re: Your help needed character defining stores within BAF ur

Postby The Baron » 19 Mar 2015 07:02

The Black Major strip is an obvious choice, Red Jackal too but any of the origin strips would qualify.

Of course World Enemy Number One for the Baron's transition. Operation Snakiebite built up the the new AF team nicely. Revenge of the Red Shadows set the scene for the rogue Shadows.

009 Codename Shark
010 Codename Sky Raider
013 The Black Major
016 Codename Quickfire
020 Codename Tracker
022 Codename Beaver
023 Red Jackal
028 Codename Kraken
031 Codename Moondancer
033 Codename Stakeout
034 World Enemy No. 1
035 Top-Sergeant Duke
036 Operation Snakebite
037 The Baroness
040 Gung-Ho
041 Revenge of the Red Shadows
051 Storm Shadow
058 Major Bludd
061 Laser Trooper

Do things like the Datafiles qualify? Feel free to use any of the comic scans for the project!
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Re: Your help needed character defining stores within BAF ur

Postby The Baron » 19 Mar 2015 07:04

Also, Jungle Terror was a smooth transition from Desert Strike to add the wave 2 Z Force characters :)
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Re: Your help needed character defining stores within BAF ur

Postby Chopper » 19 Mar 2015 11:43

because we didn't have the figures I never associated the stories like that. It would have been pretty cool.
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Re: Your help needed character defining stores within BAF ur

Postby The Baron » 19 Mar 2015 13:15

Yeah, I think they were ahead of the curve. I remember thinking who's is this Gaucho guy? And then a week later saw the TV ad and photos for the new range.
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Re: Your help needed character defining stores within BAF ur

Postby Dave Tree » 19 Mar 2015 13:30

Cool thank you guys, Chopper brings up an interesting point, do you feel the characters were consistent from one story to the other?

The Black Major origin story is one of my favourites for example, and sets the scene for the path he chose, but I don't think it was ever referenced to again he former Action Force?

Like I said, this is not so much a question of the great stories, more about the characters themselves, could Desert Strike have easily been SAS for example? Was the writing generic enough on the characters that it could have been anyone, or was there any evidence that there was real character development?
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Re: Your help needed character defining stores within BAF ur

Postby The Baron » 19 Mar 2015 14:32

Again, the best example is the Black Major, as he broke out of the toy packaging and became his own character (and to an extent Red Laser too but we never saw his origin sadly) by leading the renegade Shadows after the Cobra takeover. He was referred to as John Shepherd when he confronted Cobra Commander in Revenge of the Red Shadows. Red Jackal / Destro also took his own path outside of the cardback bios.

Thinking about it the SAS strips Operation Bloodhound and Operation Claymore strongly established the team characters, what with Stakeout's nickname for The Baron 'His Nibs' and the comic-created character Haggis. In fact I'll go out on a limb and say that it's often the 'redshirt' characters who are given a spark of individuality, such as Sergeant York from Desert Strike, Nelson from Operation Sealion, Mex from Gung-Ho or JJ from Battle for the Skies.

It's even more apparent with the villains; Nightmare from Codename Tracker, Sultan from Red Jackal and the mad scientists in The Hornets Nest and School For Snakes. There are often a host of comic-created supporting characters in the origin stories too, Laser Trooper being a good example. One exception is River of Serpents where we meet an entirely fictitious AF Hovercraft crew who survive the strip!

But to be fair there is some fairly generic storytelling where characters could easily be swapped as you say - especially in the Annuals or Summer Specials stories. I hate to say it so soon after his death, but my main criticism of John Cooper's art is that he often drew characters with the same face, Operation Spearhead being a prime example.

Some of the foreign-language characters have distinguishing features, such as Recondo calling everyone 'Cobber' but other than casual stereotyping it can be quite lazy. I will say that the writers were always faithful to (and clearly took character influence from) the Palitoy bios and cardbacks.

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