Monthly Archives: June 2016

Happy Birthday…

…to the UK’s most prodigious and last surviving war story title. Born on 27th June 1961 Commando remains basically unchanged. Basically but not completely. The paper is better, there’s more colour, the Commando nameplate has been modified; there’s even a new typeface. It’s what hasn’t changed that’s important to me, though. The stories are still well thought-out and generally have a moral (in the loosest sense) in them. The characters remain well drawn and the plots properly thought through.

I don’t know about another 55 years (I won’t be around) but I’ll raise a glass tonight and another when the old warhorse gets to 5,000 issues. Less than a year now.

Issues numbered 4927-4930 go on Sale in the UK on 30th June 2016.


Survive The Somme — Commando No 4927Comm_4927_coverMaster

Private Joe Dugdale was one of many men thrust into the heart of a battle which would go on to be remembered as the most horrific of all time.

When the Battle of the Somme commenced in July 1916, no-one could have known it would drag on for five months and that there would be an eventual death toll of over one million.

Although Joe bravely faced the hell of the trenches every day, he was unaware that his Sergeant held a grudge and wanted rid of him for good.

It looked unlikely that Joe would…

SURVIVE THE SOMME

Story: Richard Davis  Art: Rezzonico  Cover: Ian Kennedy

 


Phantom Frogmen — Commando No 4928

Comm_4928_coverMaster

Corporal Stan Norton and Sergeant Ted Clark — Commandos, frogmen, mates.

But the ruthless Commando rule — if a man gets hurt, he gets left behind, whoever he is — looked like splitting them.

Ted was lying hurt in a well-guarded German army hospital. Stan was on his own in an enemy-occupied city.

But Stan said to blazes with the Commando rules. Ted was in there and he was just naturally going in to get him out.

Introduction

This is tough Special Forces story. A “men-on-a-mission” classic, it is superbly drawn by Rodrigo, especially when, naturally enough, the action goes underwater. His thick, dark inks really give the impression of the murky depths of the ocean and the eerie final resting place of a downed Lysander aircraft.

However, once we get back on to dry land we are straight into all-guns-blazing mode for a Commando tale that never lets up until the final page.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Phantom Frogmen, originally Commando No 233 (October 1966), re-issued as No 871 (September 1974)

Story: Redbridge  Art: Rodrigo  Cover: Segrelles

 


Biplane Alley — Commando No 4929Comm_4929_coverMaster

Tom Wills was desperate for adventure and wanted to be a pilot during World War II. Unfortunately, his flying skills were not up to scratch and he ended up as a clerk in the Pay Corps.

However, he seized upon the opportunity to join a ragtag group of flyers led by a maverick World War I veteran. Major Richard Joyce used ancient biplanes from the Great War to harass German and Italian forces in the North African desert. In their Gypsy Moth planes, armed only with long-fused bombs and Webley revolvers, Tom and his comrades literally went under the radar on these daring night raids against the enemy.

Story: David Heptonstall  Art: Keith Page  Cover: Keith Page

 


Revenge Of The Shadow — Commando No 4930

Comm_4930_coverMaster

 

The mysterious hooded figure hiding in the undergrowth was intent on vengeance — against SS Colonel Hans Meyer and his pack of “Wolves”.

He had already killed several of them silently and swiftly with his crossbow. Now if he could get inside the house, the evil leader of the wolf-pack would only have a few more moments to live…

 

Introduction

I do enjoy it when a Commando tale begins in one genre and swiftly changes tack. In this case, we appear to have a traditional air story featuring a couple of plucky Lancaster pilots but it immediately morphs into a taut Resistance piece set in occupied France.

Top class script, interior and cover work all come seamlessly together here for a memorable action story with a little bit of mystery thrown in, too.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Revenge Of The Shadow, originally Commando No 1126 (May 1977), re-issued as No 2452 (March 1991)

Story: Cyril Walker  Art: Ibanez  Cover: Ian Kennedy

 

Advertisements

Commando Issues 4923-4926 – On Sale 16 June 2016

Commando Issues 4923-4926 – On Sale 16 June 2016

 

 Scrapper’s War — Commando No 4923Comm_4923_coverMaster

As World War I raged in the trenches of Europe another, more unusual campaign was going on in British and German East Africa.

British Lieutenant Trevor Waite and his South African counterpart, Dirk Van Ormer, had taken charge of “Scrapper”, a derelict steamer which they would pilot against sleek German Navy torpedo boats. Not only that, they also had to contend with a nasty Commanding Officer who would gladly see Scrapper put on the scrapheap once again!

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

 


Space Pilot — Commando No 4924Comm_4924_coverMaster

One day he was Flight Lieutenant “Topper” Brown — a young, unremarkable pilot and the idea of him becoming an ace was far-fetched.

Then he was shot up and crash-landed. Out of the flames rose a new Topper — a pilot who could flay anything with wings; an ace who could outwit the Luftwaffe and who could hold a Spitfire in flaming shreds together long enough to clear the skies of Nazis.

However, his mates said Topper wasn’t like himself these days. In fact they suspected he wasn’t even human anymore!

Introduction

This offbeat outing from June 1966 is certainly different from traditional Commando fare and that’s why I thought it deserved another airing. Although the story of potential extra-terrestrial influence upon an average British pilot does stretch credibility a tad, it’s done with such panache that any accusations of being far-fetched are easily forgiven. Fantastic script, art — Medrano’s interior line work simply is stunning — and cover perfectly combine here for a wonderfully oddball yarn.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Space Pilot, originally Commando No 217 (June 1966), re-issued as No 863 (August 1974)

Story: Alan Hebden  Art: Medrano  Cover: Buccheri

 


The Flying Cowboy — Commando No 4925Comm_4925_coverMaster

John “Bronco” Bronson was a ranch hand in Arizona who became interested in fledgling flying machines such as the Wright model B.

With World War I at its peak in Europe, the American wanted to do his duty, even though the United States had not yet joined the conflict. He enlisted with the Royal Flying Corps and soon was at the controls of a Bristol F2B aircraft duelling with enemy Albatros fighters high above the trenches of the Western Front.

Bronco was unique…the War’s only flying cowboy!

Story: Bill Styles  Art: Vicente Alcazar  Cover: Janek Matysiak

 


Doomed Squadron — Commando No 4926Comm_4926_coverMaster

Sammy Baker’s Ventura Squadron had everything going for it — brand new planes, top-line aircrew, the lot. So how come they got hacked out of the sky on nearly every air raid? The answer was obvious — there had to be a spy on the station, telling the enemy when the raids were coming.

But who was the spy? And how quickly could they find him? Because until they did, every raid was doomed, right from the moment of take-off!

Introduction

Our hero is Sammy Baker, a dependable bomber commander in the best Commando tradition. However, poor Sammy is upstaged by Van Dyke — a surly goat with a penchant for chasing pilots and chewing on their caps. The horned squadron mascot definitely steals the show (as well as any R.A.F. headgear that he can). However, despite these high jinks, there is a still a fairly serious espionage tale at the heart of this book.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Doomed Squadron, originally Commando No 1198 (February 1978), re-issued as No 2499 (September 1991)

Story: R.A. Montague  Art: Giralt  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Commando Issues 4919-4922 – On Sale 2 June 2016

Commando Issues 4919-4922 – On Sale 2 June 2016

 

Seeing Red — Commando No 4919

Comm_4919_coverMaster

Second Lieutenant Wesley Muldoon was a gifted but hot-headed U.S. air force pilot. Before being called up he had studied politics at university and held unpopular communist beliefs.

Seizing a chance to ferry an aircraft to America’s Soviet allies, Muldoon was delighted to see Russia for himself. Soon he even became part of a Russian squadron, flying his Airacobra P39 aircraft against the Luftwaffe hordes.

However, despite his idealised views, Muldoon realised he could not trust all of his new “comrades” and that danger lay ahead.

Story: Shane Filer  Art: Rezzonico  Cover: Ian Kennedy

 


Half-Pint Commando — Commando No 4920

Comm_4920_coverMaster

It was a Commando raid with a difference. Among the elite soldiers, fighting right alongside with a tommy-gun was a boy of only sixteen who wasn’t even in the army!

When the Commandos found young Terry Nelson stowed away on their landing craft, it was too late to do anything but give him a gun and take him along — and the boy gave those hardy warriors no cause to ever regret it.

 

Introduction

I can only imagine that there was a fair amount of trying to anticipate reader wish-fulfilment when this story was first published 50 years ago. Perhaps not, but I guess that most fans would’ve loved to find themselves in the shoes of Terry Nelson — the sixteen-year-old hero who stows away on a landing craft during a daring Commando raid.

Yes, I’ll admit the premise might be stretching credibility a tad but that’s fine with me every now and again. We’re all about delivering exciting adventure and action and this tale certainly fits that criteria.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Half-Pint Commando, originally Commando No 225 (August 1966)

Story: McOwan  Art: Segrelles  Cover: Hall

 


A Soldier’s Legacy — Commando No 4921 

Comm_4921_coverMaster

Private Steve Kirby was very skilled and more than ready for the tough basic training that he and his fellow new recruits had to endure in the spring of 1944.

Eventually the instructors wanted to know why Steve seemed to have an advantage over everyone else. The dedicated conscript revealed that has father had been an infantry corporal in World War One and Kirby Senior had taken it upon himself to train his son in military drills and techniques, should they ever be needed.

However, Steve soon discovered that his father’s legacy was not always a welcome one and, of course, no amount of training could truly prepare anyone for combat…

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

 


 Trial By Combat — Commando No 4922 

Comm_4922_coverMaster

The Patwari Rifles was a proud regiment, one of the Indian Army’s finest fighting units. So when one of their platoons disappeared in Burma, evidently having deserted to the Japanese, the regiment’s shame was fierce.

There was only one thing to do — the guilty men had to be brought back to prove themselves in battle against the enemy. If they were to die honourably doing it, so much the better — for that was the way of the Patwari Rifles. Death with honour was better than the disgrace of a court-martial.

Introduction

One of the interesting things about selecting stories from our archives is finding out the working titles of these classic tales. Of course, some were perfunctory — so that staff could keep a track of the latest “Submarine” or “Machine-Gunner” script.

“Trail By Combat”, though, had the wonderfully lurid working title of “Slaves Of Kali” — and it certainly tied in well with Ian Kennedy’s fantastic cover, which features a shadowy rendition of the Hindu deity. However, the then-editorial team undoubtedly made the right decision as the eventual published title reflected the actual theme of the story more succinctly.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Trial By Combat, originally Commando No 1124 (May 1977), re-issued as No 2467 (May 1991)

Story: R.A. Montague  Art: Castro  Cover: Ian Kennedy