Monthly Archives: January 2016

Commando — By Special Request

Twice a year a pair of Commando issues are chosen from suggestions sent in by readers. The latest “By Special Request” numbers are included in issues 4883-4886 – On Sale 28 January 2016 (UK). All the back cover blurbs read like classic stories from British War Comics. One of these stories is particularly special as it features a cover with an unusually stylised treatment by Ian Kennedy and some beautiful inside art by Cam (no relation) Kennedy.

 


Old Rusty — Commando No 4883

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Dick Avery was a captain in the Merchant Navy. He’d sailed with some of the best — and worst — ships and crews on the seven seas. He reckoned he’d seen it all.

That was before he took command of Old Rusty, an ancient tub with a crew made up of drunks, brawlers and raw seamen of every nationality.

When Dick left Gibraltar he didn’t fancy his chances of ever seeing England again.

But then they ran into a German U-boat, and he wouldn’t have swapped that ship or that crew for the best in the Royal Navy!

 

Introduction

Although veteran artist Ian Kennedy is renowned for his superlative aircraft (and spacecraft) illustration, this cover shows that, naturally enough, he is equally adept at drawing ships and submarines too.

This behemoth of a painting really sets the scene for the wonderful maritime adventure that follows. For me, it’s like The Dirty Dozen at Sea — chock full of memorable characters and action set pieces.

Many thanks to reader Yasmin Akbar for suggesting that Old Rusty should set sail once more.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Old Rusty, originally Commando No 708 (January 1973)

Story: Powell  Art: Gordon Livingstone  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/28th-january-2016-collection?issue=4883

 


The Wreckers — Commando No 4884

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Young Naval lieutenant Dan Blain teamed up with Kang Wu and his cut-throat pirates of the Java Seas to wage all-out war on the warships of Japan. When this pair of modern buccaneers got going, not a single Japanese sailor ashore or afloat could sleep soundly.

 

 

 

 

Introduction

I can almost imagine the pitch for this back in 1966 — “Pirate Commandos”…that’s definitely a winner…

Actually, I’m cheating a little (okay, a lot) — a glance at the trusty Commando records file told me that author Spence’s original working title was indeed “Pirate Commandos”.

However, I do think that the then-current editorial team made the right decision to go with the snappy, more foreboding “The Wreckers”. It really seems to suit this tough, sea-faring tale and Scholler’s menacing, murky cover illustration.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

The Wreckers, originally Commando No 212 (May 1966)

Story: Spence  Art: Alonso  Cover: Scholler

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/28th-january-2016-collection?issue=4884

 


The Black Eagle  Commando No 4885

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Major Heinrich Keil of the Luftwaffe was an ace…and a killer. A mad, evil Nazi whose chief delight was to hunt and kill, whether he was chasing animals on the ground or British pilots in the air.

Now he was going after another British pilot — but this time he was going to hunt him down in the forest…with a crossbow.

 

 

 

Introduction

One of the best things about working on Commando is uncovering fantastic stories from our archive, one that now spans 55 years.

I’d never read this tale as it was published in March 1972, two months before I was born. When I saw that the interior art was by the brilliant Cam Kennedy, whose 2000AD work I had admired in the 1980s, and then realised that it was a fantastic revenge yarn anyway, I knew that we just had to let another audience discover this absolute classic, which features a truly memorable villain in Major Heinrich Keil.

My sincere thanks to reader Roger Worsley, who suggested that we uncage The Black Eagle once again.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

The Black Eagle, originally Commando No 629 (March 1972), re-issued as No 1732 (September 1983)

Story: C.G. Walker  Art: Cam Kennedy  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/28th-january-2016-collection?issue=4885

 


The Wrong Enemy — Commando No 4886

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The Italians fighting in North Africa clashed not only with their British foes, but also with their German allies.

Enzo Lanzini certainly wasn’t happy facing the advance of British armour across the desert, but he certainly was no coward either. It was just that he had seen the way the Nazis operated, and he had come to the conclusion that he was in fact fighting…

…THE WRONG ENEMY

 

 

Introduction

Although a Commando comic must have a solid military premise and plenty of action — at its heart, more important than anything else, it must have a strong lead character. Here we have exactly that.

Corporal Enzo Lanzini is a machine-gunner with a strong moral compass and, since he is Italian, is traditionally seen as the enemy. Right away he has the potential to become a leftfield, classic Commando hero. I hope you enjoy his story.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

The Wrong Enemy, originally Commando No 2474 (May 1991)

Story: Ian Clark  Art: Keith Shone Cover: Keith Shone

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/28th-january-2016-collection?issue=4886

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Still Going Commando…

…after 54 years. Yes, that’s right. From its first issue on 27th June 1961, Commando has provided action and adventure in a handy pocket size. Though the paper used for pages and covers got thicker around five years ago, the format has not changed and it’s none the worse for that.

The first issues of 2016 are Nos 4879 – 4882. Here’s what acting Editor Scott Montgomery had to say about them.

And by the way, the cliched “Going Commando” has been used to get it out of my system…for now!


Banquet Of Blood – Commando No 4879

Comm_4879_coverMaster_small Budapest, 1945.

Why is Doctor Jane Mallory poised to attack her cowardly colleague, “Jelly” Jakes?

The answer is at the heart of the latest mission for the Convict Commandos. They must uncover a dangerous secret which turns normal soldiers into crazed, ravenous hordes capable of killing anything — or, indeed, anyone — who gets in the way of their desire to eat.

Is this the Commandos’ most terrifying adventure yet? Jelly definitely thinks so!

Story: Alan Hebden Art: Manuel Benet Cover: Manuel Benet

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/14th-january-2016-collection?issue=4879


Showdown! – Commando No 4880

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Everybody had thought a lot of Inspector Harry Andrews of the Malayan Police. He was a real man, all guts. Pity he had been captured and probably killed by the Japanese when the invasion over-ran his outpost. He’d put up quite a fight, though.

Then, there was his brother, Colin — just a war correspondent, not a fighting soldier. He’d never be half the man Harry was, they said. Even though he got himself on a desperate mission to the district in Malaya where his brother had disappeared…but they didn’t really know Colin Andrews…

Introduction

Our premier Gold Collection title of 2016 kicks things off in spectacular style, with a reassuringly gritty jungle tale. This book is brimming with action and intrigue which never lets up.

Spence’s script is expertly drawn by Cecil Rigby with his usual aplomb, while Lopez Espi’s cover is a masterclass in pulp illustration.

I hope you enjoy this story and are looking forward to many more like it throughout the year.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Showdown!, originally Commando No 227 (September 1966)

Story: Spence  Art: C.T. Rigby  Cover: Lopez Espi

 http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/14th-january-2016-collection?issue=4880



Death Drop – Commando No 4881

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In 1944, Allied forces in Southern Italy met fierce resistance from the German defenders who fought bitterly from the cover of the mountains and hills.

When a British airborne unit were tasked with landing behind enemy lines and hampering the German escape, this seemed straightforward.

However, Captain Roy Hopkins soon found out the hard way that nothing ever went according to plan. He and his men would have to fight every step of the way if they were to complete their mission…

Story: Ferg Handley  Art: Keith Page  Cover: Keith Page

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/14th-january-2016-collection?issue=4881


 

Another Tight Spot… – Commando No 4882

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Andy Leslie had known all along that he would have to face danger when he volunteered to serve with the Parachute Regiment. That had turned out to be the way of it, Andy battling his way clear from one tight spot after another with the famous Red berets.

Nobody had ever warned him that he might end up in the sea, bobbing about in a dinghy. There was nothing predictable in any day of Andy’s war…

 

 

Introduction

Welcome to the premier Silver Collection issue of 2016.

This fast-paced tale of the continuing adventures of a Parachute Regiment soldier was drawn by the late Ricardo Garijo. Another Tight Spot was actually his first Commando book – the first of over 90 issues that he completed before his death in October 2009. His final book, The Winter Warriors (No 4257), was published posthumously in December of that year.

An exceptional talent, this influential and hugely popular Argentinian artist is much-missed to this day.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Another Tight Spot…, originally Commando No 2469 (May 1991)

Story: Alan Hemus  Art: Ricardo Garijo  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/14th-january-2016-collection?issue=4882

Sergeant Jock Reporting For Duty

Growing up in post-war Britain, children — boys particularly — couldn’t avoid the cultural legacy of the nation’s involvement in the Second World War. Whether factual or fictional, films, TV dramas and books set in WW2 were everywhere.

In more concrete (plastic) form there were kits of the tanks, planes and ships used in the conflict — not to mention bags of model soldiers. Of course these offerings covered all nationalities involved in the war — well, you had to have an enemy, didn’t you?

Nowhere was this fixation on the years 1939-45 more obvious than in my favourite medium — comics. From Action to Warlord there was a ready ration of WW2 available on, generally smudgy, newsprint from 1945 until the early 90s.

By the time of the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, the only survivor regularly appearing in British newspaper shops was DC Thomson’s Commando series. Though more generally referred to as a “library”, this pocket-sized graphic novel was the final representative of the line of British war comics. Even today it continues to provide “action and adventure” set in a host of different wars.

So, the war comic is but a shadow of its former self and yet it still has a place in the minds of many brought up on a diet of Cadman, Kampfgruppe Falken and Charley’s War. This blog is unashamedly dedicated to the era of British War Comic — past, present and future.

Sergeant Jock