There’s an outbreak of “Tommy Guns” and Stens on the covers of these Commandos –Nos 4987 – 4990 on sale 26th January 2017 in the UK. WW2 was the sub-machine gun’s war – think also PPSh-41 and MP38/MP40 as well. The Thompson and the MP38 were quality guns, made to fine tolerances and cost a small fortune. The Sten and the PPSh were churned out by the thousand and were cheap as chips.
The Soviets probably issued more sub-machine guns than anyone else but even so the rifle remained the usual infantryman’s weapon on all sides.
But war comics aren’t bothered with that sort of detail. Their covers have to be punchy, full of action and movement. And nothing gets that across like a blazing sub-machine gun. If someone counted the numbers of SMGs compared to rifles on war comics covers they’s probably get a proportion in direct opposition to what the situation really was.
So, a big blazing gun is the thing to have on a cover. And an explosion. And action that smashes towards the reader.
Right, so why does an editor allow the artist who painted the cover of 4990 break all the rules we’ve just settled on?
First, the artist hasn’t actually broken the rules he’s just stretched them a bit. There are guns blazing on that submarine, and they’re firing at the reader. The bullets are striking the tug in the foreground and it in turn is pulling the reader towards the action.
The second reason is that it was executed by Jeff Bevan and, when it came to ships, boats or submarines, he really could get away with anything such was his craftsmanship. (Sorry, pun not intended.)
*From “Off To Dublin In The Green” as often sung by The Dubliners. Quoting this does not signify any political affiliations, just a fondness for stirring songs.
Operation Arrowhead — Commando No 4987
In the fourteenth century, the English bowmen were the scourge of French knights. The machine-gunners of their days, the bowmen used six-foot long bows to fire long arrows with three-inch wide arrowheads to pierce the hearts of their enemies.
One such arrowhead was found six centuries later in a field in France by Private Len Mason. This chance encounter saved Len from being gunned down by the enemy.
Surrounded by the bodies of his squadron, Len wondered why he had survived the brutal attack. Was the arrowhead a good luck charm or was it simply a coincidence?
Story: George Low Art: Carlos Pino Cover: Carlos Pino
Blaze of Glory — Commando No 4988
A squad of Commandos set out to deliver one RAF Flight Lieutenant to an address in German-held Norway. Mark Ritchie was his name – and desperately daring was his nature. The trick was to get him there alive…
Story: Wilkinson Art: Buylla Cover: Alvaro
Following a devastating crash, claustrophobic RAF test pilot, Mark Ritchie, didn’t expect to be chosen for an immediate mission to accompany a Commando squad into the heart of Nazi-occupied Norway to steal a never-before-flown aircraft prototype.
Wilkinson’s fast-paced story brilliantly captures Mark’s battle to prove his worth, creating dramatic tension between the pilot and the Commandos. The story is perfectly complemented by Buylla’s mastery of ink, as his visuals lead us from the cockpit of an unarmed plane, across vast seas, and deep into enemy territory. This is one action-packed adventure that’s not to be missed!
The Commando Team
Blaze of Glory, originally Commando No. 299 (December 1967)
Tromsø — Commando No 4989
The Tirpitz was one of the most feared battleships of the Second World War. A forty-two-thousand-ton titan of the seas, the RAF’s brave and desperate attempts to destroy it became notorious.
Lesser known was the story of Erik and Olav, scientists turned SOE agents, and their role in the battleship’s fate. Their lives inextricably linked with brutal Nazi Major Herman Klinger, see how they came to take their revenge in the barren town of… Tromsø!
Story: Colin Watson Art: Keith Page Cover: Keith Page
Pirate Patrol — Commando No 4990
Nick Borley cursed the day he had been switched from commanding a fast motor launch to take over an antiquated schooner. And never more so than now as they ran before a storm, the sails and rigging in tatters after the Luftwaffe had paid a call.
Up ahead lay the hostile enemy-held coast and at Nick’s elbow was the grinning, bearded pirate who had started all this trouble. And he wasn’t finished yet!
If you’re looking for a swashbuckling tale of heroism and maritime madness, venture no further than Pirate Patrol! Veteran writer, Alan Hemus is at the top of his game in this seafaring thriller. Hemus creates a great anti-hero in the form of Barney Lee, a loveable rogue with interesting views on the Second World War erupting around him. His counterpart, Lieutenant Nick Borley, is the perfect straight-laced man to counter balance Barney’s disorder, and both are expertly depicted in Keith Shone’s excellent interior art.
The Commando Team
Pirate Patrol, originally Commando No 2455 (March 1991)
Story: Alan Hemus Art: Keith Shone Cover: Jeff Bevan