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Gerry Finley-Day

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Gerald D. Finley-Day, born in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, in 1947, started out as a sub-editor at DC Thomson before going freelance, and in 1971 was the originating editor of IPC's girls' weekly Tammy. Realising that girls loved being made to cry, he cranked up the cruelty that his heroines had to endure, with great sucess. Strips he wrote for the title include "The Camp on Candy Island" and "Ella on Easy Street".

In 1974 he was drafted in by Pat Mills to help develop characters for Battle Picture Weekly, launched the following year, for which he wrote "Rat Pack", "The Sarge", "The Bootneck Boy", "D-Day Dawson", "Day of the Eagle", "Sergeant Without Stripes" and many others. He had a particular penchant for creating honourable German heroes, including "Fighter from the Sky", "Panzer G-Man", "Sea Wolf", and perhaps the best known, "Hellman of Hammer Force, which started out in Action and transferred to Battle after Action was merged into it. Other strips he wrote for Action include "Green's Grudge War" and "Dredger".

He was one of the mainstays of 2000 AD, writing "Invasion", "Dan Dare", "Ant Wars", "Harry Twenty on the High Rock", "Fiends of the Eastern Front", and a couple of early episodes of "Judge Dredd", and was their go-to guy for future war stories, first with "The V.C.s", and then his most enduring character, "Rogue Trooper", which still features occasionally, written by other writers, although Finley-Day returned to write a new Rogue Trooper story, "Dead Ringer", in 2010, his first work in comics since 1985. He also wrote "Blackhawk" for Tornado, and several strips for Eagle, including "Saddle Tramp", "Sergeant Streetwise", "Jake's Platoon", "The Hand", and episodes of "The Collector".

Many editors, while praising the quality of Finley-Day's ideas, complain about the state of his scripts and the amount of work that had to be done editorially to make them comprehensible to an artist - especially as, in the early days, many of the artists were foreign. David Hunt, former editor of Battle, describes them as "a mass of creative overflow". Some of the "Betelgeusian" language spoken by Tharg, 2000 AD's alien figurehead, actually came from Finley-Day's typos.

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