Tag Archives: Ian Clark

Commando Issues 4955-4958 – On Sale 6th October 2016

Commando Issues 4955-4958 – On Sale 6th October 2016

 

Midnight Mission — Commando No 4955

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Flight Sergeant Nick Nolan was a reliable, thoughtful type. He yearned to fly a fighter like a Spitfire or Hurricane but his superiors reckoned he “didn’t have enough fire in his belly”.

Nonetheless, he undoubtedly had skills so Nick was selected to transport secret agents and supplies into German-held France. Aboard his Westland Lysander, the pilot never knew what dangers might spring from the darkness – dangers like a marauding Junkers 88 Night-fighter out for the kill!

Story: George Low  Art: Vicente Alcazar  Cover: Ian Kennedy

 


Fortress Of Fear — Commando No 4956

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“Subito! Quickly! Across the road, no noise, no lights — the German lorries come. In them are the captured British Commandos sent to blow up the secret arsenal beneath Castello Santuzzo.

“These men are trained to do what we can never hope to. They must be freed and aided. Who knows, it might be that in return they will make sure that at least one Commando knife slips into the black heart of Kommandant Von Schneider.

“He has tortured and killed too many of us. His time has come. We, the mountain men of the Italian resistance, will make it so.

“So quickly, quietly…”

Story: Spence  Art: Quesada  Cover: Segrelles

Introduction

In order to fight a Nazi threat, a squad of British Commandos form an uneasy alliance with a ragged resistance group hiding in the Italian hills.

What’s different about this book is that the back cover blurb is written in the first person – from the point of view of one of the resistance men. It’s quite a rare occurrence but is certainly effective in conveying immediate drama – and I’m surprised that Commando hasn’t done this kind of thing more often.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Fortress Of Fear, originally Commando No 261 (May 1967), re-issued as No 931 (May 1977)

 


Yuri’s Return — Commando No 4957

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Yuri Muryavev, a retired “Shock Force” Spetznaz Commando, had settled in the UK but, after the collapse of communism, he returned to his Russian homeland. Wishing to do honest work, he took on a job offer to provide security for an aid agency operating in South America.

However, Yuri did not realise that he was in the employ of Anatoly Speck, a sinister Russian billionaire who had plans to wreak havoc upon the world.

Now the former soldier faced a danger even greater than ever before and only he could stop it…

Story: Stephen Walsh  Art: Manuel Benet  Cover: Manuel Benet

 


The Pony Soldiers — Commando No 4958

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Horses against tanks and aircraft? Not a recipe for success, you’d think. But that was the best that was available for a gallant band of guerrillas – men and boys – battling against the Japanese in the Philippine Islands… as they waited for the Americans to return and set them free.

 

 

Story: Ian Clark  Art: C.T. Rigby  Cover: Phil Gascoine

Introduction

We’ve been very fortunate throughout Commando’s 55-year history that our versatile artists can draw anything – from tanks to battleships, aircraft to infantry. But, unlikely as it sounds, a few artists have told us that horses are a challenge to draw well.

As a non-artist myself, I’m not sure why this might be – presumably the amount of detail required to render each beast must be very time-consuming. So I can only imagine how an illustrator might shudder when they read scripts with words like: “A horde of cavalry riders storm across a crowded battlefield…”

However, as you will see, veteran Commando stalwarts C. T. Rigby and Phil Gascoine have risen to the occasion.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

The Pony Soldiers, originally Commando No 2457 (March 1991)

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Commando Issues 4915-4918

Commando Issues 4915-4918

 

Nemesis Of The North — Commando No 4915

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Smolenskaya Ostrov, a small island in the Barents Sea, was feared by the Russians, who had given it a much more ominous name — the Island of Death. This inhospitable place was uninhabited, apart from the packs of the ferocious polar bears who roamed its barren wastes.

Now, “Jelly” Jakes, Titch Mooney and the rest of the Convict Commandos were tasked with preventing the outbreak of a deadly virus — if they could survive long enough to complete their mission.

Story: Alan Hebden  Art: Manuel Benet  Cover: Manuel Benet

 


Duel To The Death — Commando No 4916 

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It was like a duel between two knights of old. Each combatant knew the look and reputation of the other. Only this time, on one side was a giant white Sunderland flying-boat and on the other, a black-hulled German submarine, the U-37. Dick Stapleton and an Aussie crew flew the “Flying Porcupine”; the merciless Nazi, Kapitan von Bloeke, commanded the U-37.

The North Sea convoy routes just weren’t big enough for both of them…

Introduction

Sanfelix’s stunning cover image perfectly encapsulates a truly thrilling sequence from this book (and it’s on pages 10-13, if you wish to skip ahead). Expertly drawn by veteran interior artist Gordon Livingstone, one of our heroes attempts to extinguish an engine fire on the wing of his Sunderland Flying Boat…while it is still in the air.

As far as I’m aware, I’ve never seen anything quite as daring as that in many years as a Commando reader and, latterly, as a Commando staffer. Wonderful stuff indeed.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Duel To The Death, originally Commando No 210 (April 1966)

Story: Tyson  Art: Gordon Livingstone  Cover: Sanfelix

 


Death On The Ground — Commando No 4917

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In 1963, in the skies above a group of remote islands in the South Pacific, many military aircraft disappeared without trace — so many, if fact, that the area became known as the “New Guinea Triangle”.

When R.A.F. Flight Lieutenant Jon Day, and his C.O., Squadron Leader Richard Gibson, became embroiled in the mystery, they discovered that their dangerous foe was on the ground as well as in the air.

The Englishmen would have to improvise and use their wits to survive — even if that meant using captured weapons to bat away enemy grenades!

Story: Steve Coombs  Art: Morahin  Cover: Janek Matysiak

 


Eagle In The Sun — Commando No 4918 – 

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In the air war over Russia Anton Pozetski found life dangerous and confusing. It was easy to identify the enemy — they were the Germans and they shot at you. However, it wasn’t so easy to identify your friends. For a start, the Political Commissar and the Squadron Commander were apt to stab you in the back and they regarded the RAF as enemies.

Life was going to prove even more difficult for Anton when he joined an RAF squadron on active service.

Introduction

All of our artists are very versatile and capable of drawing any subject. However, even after five decades, Ian Kennedy is still usually our first port of call whenever we need an aeronautical cover. So, I imagine that’s what happened back in 1991 when the then-editorial team wanted an illustration featuring a Russian Polikarpov 1-16 using its propeller to shred the tail fin of an enemy Heinkel 111 bomber. Featuring Ian’s usual dynamic style and sense of drama, this is yet another prime example of his legendary work.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Eagle In The Sun, originally Commando No 2497 (August 1991)

Story: Ian Clark  Art: Terry Patrick  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Perspective Matters

Another two weeks, another four Commandos, this time Nos 4891-4894, on sale 25 February 2016 (UK).

Looking at this selection of cover images, the most striking is Do your Duty, where artist Ian Kennedy has courageously chosen to make a pair of grenades the focus of the reader’s attention. The aircraft in the background is simply that, a background — underpainted, too, to make those tumbling grenades stand out. For me, it works very, very well but for two reasons it wouldn’t be nearly so strong without the human head and hand poking out of the aircraft window. First, without those, the grenades hang in space — maybe going up, maybe going down. Second, the human presence flags up that this is a story about people, not inanimate objects, and people stories are always far more interesting.

 


Cossack Vengeance — Commando No 4891

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Once more the Convict Commandos’ latest mission had placed them in grave danger.

The Germans, in league with a Russian traitor and a horde of fearsome, renegade Cossack warriors, had concocted an assassination plot that would turn the tide of the war.

Now all Jelly Jakes and the rest of the Commando team had to do was foil the enemy plan…but that was easier said than done.

 

 

Story: Alan Hebden  Art: Manuel Benet  Cover: Manuel Benet

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/25th-february-2016-collection?issue=4891

 


Break Through! — Commando No 4892

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Time and after time, one British company outsmarted the Germans in Crete. If the Nazis planned a sneak-raid and began it five miles away, the British knew at once — and were ready for them. If a Stuka dive-bombing attack was decided on, they got into hiding an hour before it began. They knew exactly when to counter-attack too.

How was it done? If anyone had told the Germans, they just wouldn’t have believed it. The secret lay in a strange invisible link between Private Bill Roberts and his twin brother, Jack…

 

Introduction

This entertaining, borderline incredulous, yarn from 1966 definitely pushes the boundaries of what we and our readers might think as believable. Nonetheless, at its heart is a clever idea about the mysterious link between two soldier brothers and their determination to succeed on the dangerous mission assigned to them. This is an offbeat Commando, for sure, but I think it’s a good read.

And the front cover…a homage to Sir Michael Caine? His breakout roles in classic films such as “Zulu” and “The Ipcress File” were certainly very popular back then, right in the midst of the Swinging Sixties.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Break Through!, originally Commando No 196 (January 1966), re-issued as No 835 (May 1974)

Story: Skentleberry  Art: Buylla  Cover: Lopez Espi

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/25th-february-2016-collection?issue=4892

 


Do Your Duty — Commando No 4893

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By October 1945 World War II was over but some British forces were redeployed to the island of Java to support Allied troops in a battle with Nationalist guerrillas. The beleaguered men had expected to have been back home by now and some refused to fight. RAF mechanic Danny Cullen was stuck in the middle — he wanted to do his duty but was continually intimidated by those who had downed tools.

Meanwhile, as skirmishes with the guerrillas continued, Flight Lieutenant James Haldane made sure that he carried some grenades in his Auster spotter aircraft. You never knew when you might need them…

 

Story: Steve Taylor  Art: Vila/Muller  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/25th-february-2016-collection?issue=4893

 


Red Alert — Commando No 4894

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Facing the brunt of the massive German invasion of Russia in June 1941 were the lowly Red Army conscripts. Poorly fed, trained and equipped, they were still expected to repel Hitler’s previously undefeated armies…and could expect the harshest of punishments if they failed.

So, join two of these hard-pressed heroes in their trench and see for yourself what it was like…

 

 

Introduction

I hope that, like me, you’re interested in revisiting the early work of one of our current artists. This Eastern Front tale (with a neat, end of the Cold War framing sequence) is drawn by Carlos Pino — whose most recent brand new book was “Polish Pride” (No 4889), published just a fortnight ago in the middle of February.

Carlos’ signature dynamic style is very clear to see here and it is apparent that he is still doing fantastic work to this day. We are delighted, and grateful, that this exceptional illustrator is still happy to draw for us more than a quarter of a century after his 1989 Commando debut.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Red Alert, originally Commando No 2482 (June 1991)

Story: Ian Clark  Art: Carlos Pino  Cover: Phil Gascoine

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/25th-february-2016-collection?issue=4894

 

Nostalgia IS What It Used to Be

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

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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

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/11th-february-2016-collection?issue=4887


 

Codeword – “Torch” — Commando No 4888

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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…

 

Introduction

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

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/11th-february-2016-collection?issue=4888

 


 

Polish Pride — Commando No 4889

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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

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/11th-february-2016-collection?issue=4889

 


Dive And Kill! — Commando No 4890

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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…

 

 

 

Introduction

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

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/11th-february-2016-collection?issue=4890

Commando — By Special Request

Twice a year a pair of Commando issues are chosen from suggestions sent in by readers. The latest “By Special Request” numbers are included in issues 4883-4886 – On Sale 28 January 2016 (UK). All the back cover blurbs read like classic stories from British War Comics. One of these stories is particularly special as it features a cover with an unusually stylised treatment by Ian Kennedy and some beautiful inside art by Cam (no relation) Kennedy.

 


Old Rusty — Commando No 4883

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Dick Avery was a captain in the Merchant Navy. He’d sailed with some of the best — and worst — ships and crews on the seven seas. He reckoned he’d seen it all.

That was before he took command of Old Rusty, an ancient tub with a crew made up of drunks, brawlers and raw seamen of every nationality.

When Dick left Gibraltar he didn’t fancy his chances of ever seeing England again.

But then they ran into a German U-boat, and he wouldn’t have swapped that ship or that crew for the best in the Royal Navy!

 

Introduction

Although veteran artist Ian Kennedy is renowned for his superlative aircraft (and spacecraft) illustration, this cover shows that, naturally enough, he is equally adept at drawing ships and submarines too.

This behemoth of a painting really sets the scene for the wonderful maritime adventure that follows. For me, it’s like The Dirty Dozen at Sea — chock full of memorable characters and action set pieces.

Many thanks to reader Yasmin Akbar for suggesting that Old Rusty should set sail once more.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Old Rusty, originally Commando No 708 (January 1973)

Story: Powell  Art: Gordon Livingstone  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/28th-january-2016-collection?issue=4883

 


The Wreckers — Commando No 4884

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Young Naval lieutenant Dan Blain teamed up with Kang Wu and his cut-throat pirates of the Java Seas to wage all-out war on the warships of Japan. When this pair of modern buccaneers got going, not a single Japanese sailor ashore or afloat could sleep soundly.

 

 

 

 

Introduction

I can almost imagine the pitch for this back in 1966 — “Pirate Commandos”…that’s definitely a winner…

Actually, I’m cheating a little (okay, a lot) — a glance at the trusty Commando records file told me that author Spence’s original working title was indeed “Pirate Commandos”.

However, I do think that the then-current editorial team made the right decision to go with the snappy, more foreboding “The Wreckers”. It really seems to suit this tough, sea-faring tale and Scholler’s menacing, murky cover illustration.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

The Wreckers, originally Commando No 212 (May 1966)

Story: Spence  Art: Alonso  Cover: Scholler

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/28th-january-2016-collection?issue=4884

 


The Black Eagle  Commando No 4885

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Major Heinrich Keil of the Luftwaffe was an ace…and a killer. A mad, evil Nazi whose chief delight was to hunt and kill, whether he was chasing animals on the ground or British pilots in the air.

Now he was going after another British pilot — but this time he was going to hunt him down in the forest…with a crossbow.

 

 

 

Introduction

One of the best things about working on Commando is uncovering fantastic stories from our archive, one that now spans 55 years.

I’d never read this tale as it was published in March 1972, two months before I was born. When I saw that the interior art was by the brilliant Cam Kennedy, whose 2000AD work I had admired in the 1980s, and then realised that it was a fantastic revenge yarn anyway, I knew that we just had to let another audience discover this absolute classic, which features a truly memorable villain in Major Heinrich Keil.

My sincere thanks to reader Roger Worsley, who suggested that we uncage The Black Eagle once again.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

The Black Eagle, originally Commando No 629 (March 1972), re-issued as No 1732 (September 1983)

Story: C.G. Walker  Art: Cam Kennedy  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/28th-january-2016-collection?issue=4885

 


The Wrong Enemy — Commando No 4886

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The Italians fighting in North Africa clashed not only with their British foes, but also with their German allies.

Enzo Lanzini certainly wasn’t happy facing the advance of British armour across the desert, but he certainly was no coward either. It was just that he had seen the way the Nazis operated, and he had come to the conclusion that he was in fact fighting…

…THE WRONG ENEMY

 

 

Introduction

Although a Commando comic must have a solid military premise and plenty of action — at its heart, more important than anything else, it must have a strong lead character. Here we have exactly that.

Corporal Enzo Lanzini is a machine-gunner with a strong moral compass and, since he is Italian, is traditionally seen as the enemy. Right away he has the potential to become a leftfield, classic Commando hero. I hope you enjoy his story.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

The Wrong Enemy, originally Commando No 2474 (May 1991)

Story: Ian Clark  Art: Keith Shone Cover: Keith Shone

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/28th-january-2016-collection?issue=4886