Tag Archives: Buccheri

Commando issues 4943-4946 – On Sale 25 August 2016

Commando issues 4943-49446 – On Sale 25 August 2016

Ice-Cold Combat — Commando No 4943  

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When their Handley Page Hampden bomber was shot down, Pilot Officer Drew Grange and Sergeant Adam Weir were stranded on the icy border between Norway and Russia.

Helped by a couple of civilian hunters, the R.A.F. men were soon embroiled in a fight for survival. Finding an unarmed, abandoned Tiger Moth ski-plane, they took to the skies above the remote, frozen frontier in a desperate attempt to get warn their allies of an imminent Nazi threat.

Story: George Low  Art: Manuel Benet  Cover: Manuel Benet


Ghost Squadron — Commando No 4944

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Flak, machine-guns, searchlights, enemy fighters – these the Nazi pilots knew and could handle. These things were dangerous, all right – but they didn’t turn a man’s blood to ice water in his veins, they didn’t paralyse his hands on the controls in utter, freezing terror…

But the new weapon used by the RAF night-fighters – The “Ghost Squadron” – put the fear of death into every Nazi pilot unlucky enough to come within its range.

Introduction

In this book there are several worthy ingredients which make for a satisfying Commando yarn: We have a glory-hunting pilot – Flight Lieutenant Buck Lee, determined to notch up as many kills as possible in his Mosquito bomber; the story title hints at supernatural activity; and we soon discover that some kind of shadowy, top secret, experimental weapon is also involved.

This is a great adventure, with Boutland’s script brought vividly to life by Quesada’s art and Buccheri’s eerie cover.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Ghost Squadron, originally Commando No 247 (February 1967), re-issued as No 895 (December 1974)

Story: Boutland  Art: Quesada  Cover: Buccheri


Undefeated —Commando No 4945 

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Troubled by a past encounter early in his career, Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander Alec Weston soon became a respected, if intense, skipper. He was determined that his submarine, HMS Undefeated, would live up to her name — therefore he pushed his crew and the vessel hard.

When ferrying a Special Boat Section assault team on a secret mission in the Mediterranean, Alec was faced with a tough decision that affected the lives of that Special Forces unit. Such was the burden of command…

Story: Steve Taylor  Art: Olivera/Rodriguez  Cover: Janek Matysiak


Coward in Khaki — Commando No 4946 

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Men’s characters don’t often change. If a man’s a crook in civilian life, he’ll probably be a crook in the army. That’s how it was with Vic Wardley.

Everyone knew him to be a crook – and a coward as well. So why would an Intelligence Corps Major single him out for a vital job in contact with the enemy?

Introduction

Very generally speaking, Commando usually deals in “heroes” and “villains”, with the battle lines clearly drawn. However, I’d venture that “Coward In Khaki” is an intriguing glimpse into what it might have been like if Commando had veered towards the anti-heroes prevalent in rival war comics like Battle and Action in their mid-1970s prime.

The story title is unscrupulous in its assessment of the eponymous character, Private Vic Wardley — we’re left in no doubt that he is an unsavoury type, to say the least — but perhaps he might change his ways by the time we reach the last page…?

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Coward In Khaki, originally Commando No 1125 (May 1977), re-issued as No 2451 (March 1991)

Story: Mike Knowles  Art: Mones  Cover: Ian Kennedy

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Wot did you read on your holidays?

Besides the Victor (and other) summer specials, I recall that there seemed to be more Commandos in the shops than usual and that some of them were from some months, even years past. According to former editor George Low, DC Thomson’s distribution department used to box up random copies from the firm’s printing works (they owned their own back then) and send them out to newsagents for the summer holiday demand. It must have worked as they did it for many years apparently.

So, I read a lot of extra Commandos in the long holidays, but the best summer reading experience by far was the year I was stuck in bed for a day or two. A pal who was a Valiant man brought round (with some help) about two years’ worth for me to read.

I’d never been so happy to be off-colour.

The latest Commando issues (4935-4938) possibly include one of your holiday reads from way back when. They’re on sale from the 28th July 2016 (UK).


Firebrand! — Commando No 4935Comm_4935_coverMaster

 

Siblings Ian and John Jenkins were both RAF pilots. Ian was the elder, calm and confident. John was younger and hot-headed, a definite firebrand. Based in the North-East of Scotland, they protected the coast against attack from the marauding Luftwaffe.

However, when tragedy struck, John found himself embroiled in a mystery — one that involved death, destruction and even espionage. And it seemed there was a family connection. The firebrand was determined to find the answers…whatever the cost.

Story: Colin Watson  Art: Janek Matysiak Cover: Janek Matysiak

 


Fighter Ace — Commando No 4936Comm_4936_coverMaster

“Flame Squadron” they were called in the RAF But to the baffled pilots of the Luftwaffe they were known as “Flame Devils”.

When an aircraft was shot to pieces, cartwheeling across the sky in a mass of flames, somewhere in that blazing Spitfire a cool fighting brain still functioned, a finger still pressed the firing button. Long after any pilot must have perished, each plane carried on flying.

As the Luftwaffe’s terror grew, one of Germany’s top spies was sent to ferret out the secret of the “Flame Devils”…

Introduction

This curio from 1966 has a vaguely supernatural premise about indestructible Spitfire pilots who can seemingly survive the flames of aerial battle — Commando with a pulp fiction, or even science-fiction, flavour. Then, however, author Boutland’s (first name unknown) [but probably David according to this well-researched piece on Bear Alley] story veers into espionage territory, making it more of a traditional tale — but one that’s certainly well-drawn by Arias and with a moody action cover painted by Buccheri.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Fighter Ace, originally Commando No 206 (March 1966), re-issued as No 843 (June 1974)

Story: Boutland  Art: Arias  Cover: Buccheri

 


Making His Mark — Commando No 4937Comm_4937_coverMaster

When World War II broke out Mark Enfield quit his office job and enlisted in the army. Although enthusiastic, he was quite puny and unfit. Nor was he a very good shot — and many noted the irony that he shared his surname with the famous Lee-Enfield rifle that they used.

He became a target of bullies among his fellow recruits in basic training and this continued when they went into battle.

However, Mark was determined to stand up to his detractors once and for all, especially when his unit was tasked with destroying a strategically important bridge which was in enemy hands.

Story: George Low  Art: John Ridgway  Cover: John Ridgway

 


Burning Skies — Commando No 4938Comm_4938_coverMaster

 

During the war most people served in the same unit all the time. However, Jack Banham was different. He was in an Italian jail, then a front-line trench with the Greek army, then the observer’s cockpit of an Italian biplane. At one time he was even a colonel in the Greek army…

…Or was it the Greek air force? Months afterwards he still wasn’t sure. Not that it mattered, for by that time he was a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm!

Introduction

In some ways it’s a pity that this tale’s original working title wasn’t used. Veteran Commando author RA Montague called it ‘Jack Of All Trades’. This neatly sums up the multifarious activities of our protagonist, Jack Banham — on his journey from being a civilian treasure hunter to a soldier, then eventually fighting in aircraft.

This relentless yarn rarely pauses for breath. Proof once more that Commando’s 63-page format allows a story room to go to unexpected places.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Burning Skies, originally Commando No 1116, (April 1977), re-issued as No 2436 (January 1991)

Story: R.A. Montague  Art: Frederico Maidagan  Cover: Ian Kennedy

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 4907-4910 – published 21 April 2016

Commando Issues 4907-4910 – published 21 April 2016

 

Tough To Kill — Commando No 4707Comm_4907_coverMaster

With the German Blitzkreig in full flow, retreating British forces were headed for the evacuation at Dunkirk.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Campbell — a tough, impulsive Hurricane pilot who wasn’t so good at following orders — had ended up in the brig to teach him a lesson.

His base overrun, Jimmy was determined to fight the enemy with whatever weapon he could lay his hands on — even a cricket bat!

 

Story: David Turner  Art: Vicente Alcazar  Cover: Janek Matysiak

 


Gunboat Jim — Commando No 4908Comm_4908_coverMaster

 

 

“Gunboat Jim” was the nickname he earned in the end. But for a long time before that young Sub-Lieutenant Jim Potter was “Calamity Jim” to everyone.

He could never take the wheel of one of the high-speed flotilla’s boats without running her slap-bang into trouble.

 

 

Introduction

Our endearing eponymous character always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and doesn’t have much luck. Therefore, he is seen as a “Jonah” — a jinx on the high seas.

One particularly obnoxious fellow crewman is convinced that poor Jim Potter will bring down their ship but, since Jim is a true Commando hero, we know that he is made of sterner stuff.

This is a solid, entertaining sea tale, nicely drawn by Sostres.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Gunboat Jim, originally Commando No 213 (May 1966)

Story: Clegg  Art: Sostres  Cover: Buccheri

 


Escape Or Death — Commando No 4909Comm_4909_coverMaster

 

Captain Jon Laker and Lieutenant Rodney Smythe-Simmons were stuck in a remote P.O.W. camp in desolate Poland. Both came from aristocratic families and this made them viable candidates for an important Nazi prisoner exchange operation.

However, when the chance to escape unexpectedly came their way both men knew they had to seize it…or die trying.

 

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

 


 The Long Chase — Commando No 4910Comm_4910_coverMaster

The Sunderland hurtled in like an avenging angel and two depth charges fell from beneath her wings. Seconds later two explosions signalled the end of the U-boat beneath her. Flight-Lieutenant Jack Gregory and his crew were jubilant, for the weary months of training and patrolling had paid off.

But they wouldn’t have been so happy had they known this was only the start of a long chase that would take them the length and breadth of a snow-covered Hebridean island…on foot!

 

Introduction

This is a fantastic air, land and sea story. I love it when Commando combines all three basic genre types and The Long Chase is a master class in doing so with complete success.

The remote Hebridean island here is an excellent, imposing setting for an adventure tale that never lets up. There’s a great script by Bill Fear, a dynamic cover by Ian Kennedy and fellow veteran interior artist Gordon Livingstone delivers stunning page after page, all rendered in his trademark style.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

The Long Chase, originally Commando No 1210, (March 1978), re-issued as No 2515 (November 1991)

Story: Bill Fear  Art: Gordon Livingstone  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Wet And Dry (But Mainly Wet)

There’s a distinctly watery feel to this latest batch of Commando stories (Issues 4899-4902 – On Sale 24th March 2016 in the UK). Until you get to the last one where the Phil Gascoine’s dusty khaki-coloured cover leaves you in no doubt that this is a waterless waste.

But that’s not what struck me most. Not for the first time, this selection illustrates (ho ho) the freedom that the war comic allows the writer when it comes to locations. This bunch have two in the Far East, one in Northern India and a fourth in Greece. Okay so a writer could put their characters in any one of these locations but, given the global nature of war from the 19th Century on, that writer doesn’t have to make up any reason for their characters to be there beyond the Services sending them. And that allows characters the reader can readily identify with, both culturally and physically. And that allows them to identify with the experience of the players is the story.

That identification is of a totally different kind to that experienced when reading of the adventures of another spandex-covered super and lay at the core of most British war comics. The difference between the superhero and the everyman hero.

No prizes for guessing my preference.


Massacre In Malaya — Commando No 4899

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In the arid jungles of Malaya in 1941, British and Commonwealth forces held out against the relentless advance of the Japanese.

Private Josh Combe and his unit were determined to protect the life of a civilian boy who had been left silent, traumatised and alone by the murderous actions of a pair of enemy officers.

In a last-ditch attempt to get to friendly territory they would have to take to the river to survive.

 

 

Story: George Low Art: Olivera/Rodriguez Cover: Janek Matysiak

Preview: Massacre In Malaya


Sailor With Wings — Commando No 4900

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Lieutenant-Commander Jim Treggaron, pilot in the Fleet Air Arm, had the blood of the old Cornish pirates in his veins — or so his men said. Otherwise, he’d never have tried to organise his Swordfish squadron to operate from a little beach in Greece. They were supposed to fly from their aircraft carrier.

However, Jim found a bunch of tough Resistance helpers, a cave full of old RAF fuel and ammo, and a beach long enough for take-off.

The Italian navy was in handy range so zooming into action went the

SAILOR WITH WINGS

Introduction

Peter Ford is undoubtedly one of Commando’s unsung heroes from the earliest days of the title — and is a rare example of an excellent artist who was also a great scriptwriter. In terms of art, one of his specialties was aircraft illustration. Even from the first, dynamic page opposite it is apparent that we’re in for an action-packed, aeronautical treat.

Buccheri’s cover is superb too — although one does wonder if Peter Ford had hankered to supply the cover too and make this book a creative Commando hat-trick!

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Sailor With Wings, originally Commando No 239 (December 1966)

Story: Peter Ford Art: Peter Ford Cover: Buccheri

PreviewSailor With Wings


 

Full Steam Ahead — Commando No 4901

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So, just how did two downed Royal Australian Air Force pilots end up on a secluded Pacific island — as prisoners of a long-forgotten Imperial German Navy unit whose unhinged leader was determined to complete a decades-old mission?

Sergeant Matt Herford and Corporal Ben MacAuley would have to commandeer an ancient, steam-powered torpedo boat in an attempt to escape and warn their superiors of an imminent threat.

It’s a tall tale indeed, fantastic in every sense of the word.

 

 

Story: Stephen Walsh Art: Keith Page Cover: Keith Page

PreviewFull Steam Ahead

 


 

Branded A Coward — Commando No 4902

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The heroic last stand of Lieutenant Hugh Overton in the mountains of the Indian North-West Frontier won even the respect of the enemy tribesmen who had wiped out his patrol to a man.

Yet by his own people Hugh was branded a coward, a deserter who had fled in terror in the face of the enemy, condemning his men to death!

 

Introduction

At first glance you might think that this book has several overly familiar traits that you might expect to find in a Commando story.

An officer wrongly accused of cowardice. Check.

An object – in this instance a silver cigar case – which serves as an important plot-point, or “macguffin“, according to film director Alfred Hitchcock. Check.

A relative of the accused who is determined to find out the truth. Check.

However, thanks to the conviction of all the creators involved, it all still works — no matter how superficially familiar the tropes of the tale itself may seem.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Branded A Coward, originally Commando No 2440 (January 1991)

Story: C.G. Walker Art: Keith Shone Cover: Phil Gascoine

Preview: Branded A Coward