Monthly Archives: February 2016

Perspective Matters

Another two weeks, another four Commandos, this time Nos 4891-4894, on sale 25 February 2016 (UK).

Looking at this selection of cover images, the most striking is Do your Duty, where artist Ian Kennedy has courageously chosen to make a pair of grenades the focus of the reader’s attention. The aircraft in the background is simply that, a background — underpainted, too, to make those tumbling grenades stand out. For me, it works very, very well but for two reasons it wouldn’t be nearly so strong without the human head and hand poking out of the aircraft window. First, without those, the grenades hang in space — maybe going up, maybe going down. Second, the human presence flags up that this is a story about people, not inanimate objects, and people stories are always far more interesting.

 


Cossack Vengeance — Commando No 4891

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Once more the Convict Commandos’ latest mission had placed them in grave danger.

The Germans, in league with a Russian traitor and a horde of fearsome, renegade Cossack warriors, had concocted an assassination plot that would turn the tide of the war.

Now all Jelly Jakes and the rest of the Commando team had to do was foil the enemy plan…but that was easier said than done.

 

 

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

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/25th-february-2016-collection?issue=4891

 


Break Through! — Commando No 4892

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Time and after time, one British company outsmarted the Germans in Crete. If the Nazis planned a sneak-raid and began it five miles away, the British knew at once — and were ready for them. If a Stuka dive-bombing attack was decided on, they got into hiding an hour before it began. They knew exactly when to counter-attack too.

How was it done? If anyone had told the Germans, they just wouldn’t have believed it. The secret lay in a strange invisible link between Private Bill Roberts and his twin brother, Jack…

 

Introduction

This entertaining, borderline incredulous, yarn from 1966 definitely pushes the boundaries of what we and our readers might think as believable. Nonetheless, at its heart is a clever idea about the mysterious link between two soldier brothers and their determination to succeed on the dangerous mission assigned to them. This is an offbeat Commando, for sure, but I think it’s a good read.

And the front cover…a homage to Sir Michael Caine? His breakout roles in classic films such as “Zulu” and “The Ipcress File” were certainly very popular back then, right in the midst of the Swinging Sixties.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Break Through!, originally Commando No 196 (January 1966), re-issued as No 835 (May 1974)

Story: Skentleberry  Art: Buylla  Cover: Lopez Espi

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/25th-february-2016-collection?issue=4892

 


Do Your Duty — Commando No 4893

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By October 1945 World War II was over but some British forces were redeployed to the island of Java to support Allied troops in a battle with Nationalist guerrillas. The beleaguered men had expected to have been back home by now and some refused to fight. RAF mechanic Danny Cullen was stuck in the middle — he wanted to do his duty but was continually intimidated by those who had downed tools.

Meanwhile, as skirmishes with the guerrillas continued, Flight Lieutenant James Haldane made sure that he carried some grenades in his Auster spotter aircraft. You never knew when you might need them…

 

Story: Steve Taylor  Art: Vila/Muller  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/25th-february-2016-collection?issue=4893

 


Red Alert — Commando No 4894

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Facing the brunt of the massive German invasion of Russia in June 1941 were the lowly Red Army conscripts. Poorly fed, trained and equipped, they were still expected to repel Hitler’s previously undefeated armies…and could expect the harshest of punishments if they failed.

So, join two of these hard-pressed heroes in their trench and see for yourself what it was like…

 

 

Introduction

I hope that, like me, you’re interested in revisiting the early work of one of our current artists. This Eastern Front tale (with a neat, end of the Cold War framing sequence) is drawn by Carlos Pino — whose most recent brand new book was “Polish Pride” (No 4889), published just a fortnight ago in the middle of February.

Carlos’ signature dynamic style is very clear to see here and it is apparent that he is still doing fantastic work to this day. We are delighted, and grateful, that this exceptional illustrator is still happy to draw for us more than a quarter of a century after his 1989 Commando debut.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Red Alert, originally Commando No 2482 (June 1991)

Story: Ian Clark  Art: Carlos Pino  Cover: Phil Gascoine

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/25th-february-2016-collection?issue=4894

 

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Nostalgia IS What It Used to Be

They say nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, but I beg to differ.

I started reading Commando in the late 60s and, along with The Victor, it was my regular comics reading. Oh, sure, I read others — too many to list — but nowhere near as regularly. After a long-ish break, I came back to Commando in the 90s and was pleased to see that, although it had moved on in story treatments — no Roman legionaries or science-fiction spacemen in the 60s! — it was, essentially, in the same place as before.

Now it’s the “last man standing,” it’s the only theatre to find my heroes from back in the day. No, not the servicemen, but the artists and writers whose work filled my boyhood hours and whose names I now know for sure. These issues — 4887-4890 on Sale 11th February 2016 (UK) — prove the point. Where else would you find Victor De La Fuente’s artwork alongside Ian Kennedy’s, Carlos Pino’s and Ken Barr’s? Or stories by “The Major” Eric Hebden and Commando‘s former editor George Low?

The new boys are good but for unqualified nostalgia you can’t beat the old school — even if you are reading on an iPad.

 


 

Out Of Time — Commando No 4887

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It seemed that the Grossin brothers couldn’t be more different.

Marc was a mild-mannered watchmaker — the occupying German garrison had used his skills to mend various timepieces dotted around their base.

Meanwhile, his younger brother, Bernard, was a member of the local French Resistance and he had begun to wonder if Marc was getting too friendly with the Nazis.

That was the least of Bernard’s worries, though. During a shoot-out at a ruined churchyard, he wondered if he was finally…

…OUT OF TIME

Story: George Low  Art: Rezzonico  Cover: Janek Matysiak

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/11th-february-2016-collection?issue=4887


 

Codeword – “Torch” — Commando No 4888

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One man held the key to the operation called by the codeword — “TORCH” — the huge Allied invasion of North Africa. His name was Pete Macrory, a Canadian in the Royal Engineers — and nobody trusted him an inch.

To find out why, and what made Pete tick in his own peculiar way, you had to go way back to General Wolfe’s attack on Quebec in 1759. That’s when a distant ancestor of Pete’s, young Jock Macrory, was involved in a deadly adventure of his own…

 

Introduction

I don’t think I’ll be spoiling things for you, as there is a big clue in the title, when I reveal that this story features Operation “Torch” — the real life British/American invasion of French North Africa in the winter of 1942.

However, people often mistake Commando for some kind of history book but this is not the case. Although we use authentic military events as a backdrop (and strive not to be wildly inaccurate regarding their use), we will always have fictional principal characters placed among them, ensuring that the stories are works of the imagination, with scope for action and adventure.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Codeword – “Torch”, originally Commando No 220 (July 1966), re-issued as No 859 (August 1974)

Story: Eric Hebden  Art: Victor De La Fuente  Cover: Ken Barr

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/11th-february-2016-collection?issue=4888

 


 

Polish Pride — Commando No 4889

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When their unit was wiped out in the Blitzkrieg that heralded the beginning of World War II, Lieutenant Bartek Abramski and Sergeant Jakub Brejnak reluctantly found themselves on the run from the Germans.

These proud Uhlan cavalrymen were determined to survive and live to continue their fight another day. As time wore on, though, the chances of this seemed increasingly slim. However, when they teamed up with a downed pilot, a fellow Pole, it looked like they might have a chance to escape the clutches of the enemy…

 

Story: George Low  Art: Carlos Pino  Cover: Carlos Pino

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/11th-february-2016-collection?issue=4889

 


Dive And Kill! — Commando No 4890

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It took nerves of steel to survive in the deadly skies over war-torn Europe…Pilot Officer Chris Bennet had proved that. Or so his fellow pilots thought. They reckoned he was the bravest guy they knew.

But even steel can break, and so could Chris…

 

 

 

Introduction

I reckon we could call this story a “bromance” — even though it was published long before that particular word came into widespread, everyday use.

Its main focus is on the friendship between two pals — who have known each other since their university days — and how they cope with the tumultuous pressures of being RAF pilots at the height of the Battle of Britain and beyond.

Naturally, both men are very different. David Gouldie’s quiet introspection is a neat counterpoint to Chris Bennet’s dashing showmanship — but it seems that he really is putting on a show…

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Dive And Kill!, originally Commando No 2470 (May 1991)

Story: Ian Clark  Art: Terry Patrick  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/11th-february-2016-collection?issue=4890