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
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
Codeword – “Torch” — Commando No 4888
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…
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
Polish Pride — Commando No 4889
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
Dive And Kill! — Commando No 4890
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…
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