Tag Archives: Alan Hemus

Whodunnit?

Issues 4991 – 4994 , the latest quartet of Commandos (try saying that after three pints of Old Trumper), go on sale on 9th February 2017 (UK).

As is usual, all the creators are named. As is also usual, some are only identified by their second names, for the perfectly good reason that when the stories were originally drawn, no credits were published, and one name sufficed for record-keeping purposes. As long as the artists and writers were paid, they probably didn’t care too much.

On the one hand this can be deeply frustrating for anyone who wants every detail they can possibly amass on the comics. On the other hand it’s a fine excuse for those who like to delve into comics history to go raking on the web for more info. The trouble is, that info often throws up more questions than answers.

In the late-60s, the artist Segrelles is one of many identified by one name only. A Google search soon throws up his first name as Vicente. But wait, reading his biography and looking at his samples, he doesn’t seem quite the right fit. Did he, like some others, change his style between comics and “fine art”? 

Perhaps not, because his cousin Eustaquio was also a comics and “fine art” artist. Maybe he was responsible for Legion Of The Lost, Colonel Scarface, Blood Of Heroes, etc. See what you think. Here are a pair of pages from Legion Of The Lost:

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Vicente or Eustaquio?

Once we’ve sorted that out, we need to move on to which of the De La Fuente brothers illustrated which stories and which of the Hebdens (father and son) wrote which stories.

Or maybe you just want to read them…


Achtung, We Surrender – Commando No 4991

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In 1940, small time crook Ned Turpin claimed to be the descendant of the infamous highwayman, Dick Turpin. He, with his partner -in-crime, Bert Bloomer, had no intention of involving himself in the war…or at least he didn’t until he was caught robbing notorious East London gangsters, the Bailey brothers.

Shipped off to France to avoid the Baileys and time behind bars, Ned and Bert found themselves on the front line in a war they wanted no part of. The advancing Germans had heard many cries on the battlefields but now they would hear the screams of…Achtung, we surrender!

Story: George Low  Art: Keith Page  Cover: Keith Page


 Legion of the Lost – Commando No 4992

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The Foreign Legion breeds tough men. Sergeant Steve Millar was tough – he needed to be.

He was stranded in the desert with a fortune of gold. He knew he would be attacked by Germans, Italians and marauding Arabs. And for company he had four legionnaires – killers all – with the smell of gold in their nostrils.

Story: Mepham  Art: Segrelles  Cover: Segrelles

Introduction

Mepham’s tale of the legendary Foreign Legion challenges the intense Espirit de Corps traditionally established by the Legion’s units. With enemy forces surrounding our heroes as they cross treacherous desert conditions, it is essential that they work as a team. Their journey goes to plan until the Legionnaire’s Code of Honour is disrupted by an irrefutable force: gold.

Mepham brilliantly explores the soldiers’ fight for survival, and the unfortunate consequences of greed, in this thrilling tale. Illustrated wonderfully by the talented Segrelles, Legion of the Lost is an epic adventure through the desert to find where man’s wealth really lies.

The Commando Team

Legion of the Lost, originally Commando No 311 (February 1968)


Barbed Wire Battlers – Commando No 4993

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Seaman Andy Walker had been a loner all his life. From his beginnings at the orphanage to his posting in the Royal Navy, Andy struggled to be accepted…

But Andy’s isolation worsened when he was captured and put in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. Once his jailers learnt he could speak their language, he was singled out and, from his fellow prisoners’ perspective, given special treatment.

It would take everything Andy had to prove he was no traitor, no Japanese pet…to prove that he was one of them. That he was a Barbed Wire Battler!

Story: George Low  Art: Rezzonico and Morahin  Cover: Janek Matysiak


 Ground Strike! – Commando No 4994

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The Bristol Beaufighter packed an awesome punch with its arsenal of machine guns and cannons. Turned against an enemy, it was a lethal weapon of war.

But one Beaufighter pilot, Andy Shaw, knew to his cost that it could be just as deadly against a friendly target hit by mistake…

Story: Alan Hemus  Art: Terry Patrick  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Introduction

Alan Hemus does it again in this outstanding Commando outing! Hemus’ storytelling is at the top of its game with his two heroes, Andy and Harry, caught in a web of uncertainty.

They shoot up a launch, convinced it’s an enemy E-Boat, but their superiors believe they have actually sunk one of their own rescue craft. Their moral dilemma looms over them until the climax. The tension Hemus draws out in the plot is matched by the scratch lines of Terry Patrick’s interior art. This all topped off with another amazing Ian Kennedy cover!

The Commando Team

Ground Strike!, originally Commando No 2518 (November 1991)

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“The Rattle Of The Thompson Gun”*

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.

Agreed?

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

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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

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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

Introduction 

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

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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

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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!

 

Introduction

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

Commando Issues 4947-4950 – On Sale 8th September 2016

Commando Issues 4947-4950 – On Sale 8th September 2016

 

The Experts — Commando No 4947

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Lieutenant Doug MacKay was a no-nonsense agent of the Special Operations Executive – used to doing things by the book.

When tasked with uncovering vital intelligence plans from a Nazi safe deep behind enemy lines, the unyielding operator did not expect to be paired with Private Alex Drake, a former criminal but an expert safe-cracker.

Drake was under no illusion that if ever it looked like they might be captured, his SOE mentor would rather kill him in case he cracked under interrogation. It was an uneasy alliance, to say the least.

Story: Ferg Handley  Art: Carlos Pino  Cover: Carlos Pino

 


The Golden Gun — Commando No 4948

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A real hero’s gun.

A Colt .45, the long barrel gleaming with gold plate, cunningly engraved. The butt of ivory, the whole weapon as perfectly balanced as a bird and on a hair trigger.

Many a time cowboy film star Brad Landon had got himself out of a movie tight corner with a lightning draw and the bang-bang of a blank from the Golden Colt. But now he was Lieutenant Brad Landon, British Army, and in the thick of the Dunkirk retreat. The draw had to be faster, and the golden gun was spitting real lead instead of blanks…

Introduction

Unusual, almost fabled objects such as our eponymous handgun have been a Commando staple throughout the decades. They are a good device for propelling a plot forward and also, as you’ll see here, a handy way to geographically move the story along too – from a rearguard action at the beaches of Dunkirk to the arid deserts of North Africa.

The late Ken Barr’s rendering of the Golden Gun itself is wonderfully lurid and dramatic too. It’s almost as if this book was tailor-made for the Gold Collection itself.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

The Golden Gun, originally Commando 249 (February 1967), re-issued as Commando No 903 (January 1975)

Story: Newark  Art: Alonso  Cover: Ken Barr

 


Flying Feud — Commando No 4949

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As a tail gunner on an Avro Lancaster bomber, Sergeant Lex Duffield was used to danger in the sky.

However, more even danger soon appeared in the unlikely form of a fellow Lanc rear gunner – the reckless and short-tempered Sergeant Tommy Deakin – and inevitably they clashed.

Fate soon intervened and they faced a threat neither could possibly have imagined – and they would just have to work together to survive.

Story: George Low  Art: Jaume Forns  Cover: Ian Kennedy


Master Spy — Commando No 4950

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A good spy never gets caught. He tries to become so much part of the enemy set-up that he’s never even suspected…until it’s too late. And, even then, the best of the breed always have an escape route — even although it’s back into the lion’s den!

 

 

 

Introduction

I’ve always maintained that espionage is fairly difficult to tackle successfully in comics because, as a genre, it tends to involve lone characters telling us what is going on in their heads via lengthy thought balloons.

However, author Alan Hemus takes advantage of our 63-page format to give us an excellent set-up and back story for our hero, Georg Hofmann. We get a chance to see what motivates him to risk his life as he works under deep cover amongst an insidious enemy.

Master Spy has a great script and art, all perfectly topped off by Ian Kennedy’s stunning cover.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Master Spy, originally Commando No 2489 (July 1991)

Story: Alan Hemus  Art: Rezzonico  Cover: Ian Kennedy

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