Tag Archives: Mario Morahin

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:

screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-12-31-48   screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-12-30-27

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

Comm_4991_coverMaster.jpg

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

Comm_4992_coverMaster.jpg

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

Comm_4993_coverMaster.jpg

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

Comm_4994_coverMaster.jpg

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)

Advertisements

Another Year, Another 104 Commandos

2017 is a big year for Commando comics; this, their 56th year of production, will see the arrival of their 5000th issue. That surely puts them at the top of the comics’ numbers pile. The countdown begins with this set of four – Nos 4983-4986, on sale 12th January 2017 (UK).

It makes you wonder what the secret of their longevity is, and how much longer they can last. After all, the Second World War, which is Commando’s stock-in-trade, only lasted (thank heavens) six years. Later wars don’t seem to have the same appeal so surely the well must run dry at some stage. Or perhaps not.

Putting that aside for the moment, how has Commando managed to carry on when the last British War comics — Warlord and Battle — sank in the mid-80s? Paul Cockburn in Comic Heroes Issue 30 tries to answer the question by speaking to a few of the people involved. Rather alarmingly, however, the article ends with a comment from DC Thomson’s heritage titles editor Kirsten Murray, “Despite Commando being 55 years old, we feel its potential is still largely untapped, so keep your eyes peeled for lots of exciting Commando this year.” That smacks a bit of the “Great News For All Readers” announcements your favourite 70s comic carried just before it was merged with another title.

Let’s hope that’s not the case as Commando and The Beano don’t seem a very good fit. Let’s also hope that we don’t have to keep our eyes peeled, let’s hope whatever they do hits everyone square in the eye so it can’t be ignored.

The “last man standing” must be helped to remain upright.


The Sentinel – Commando No 4983

comm_4983_covermaster

Over thousands of years ago, the Tyrrhenian horde besieged the tiny island of Rhodes. Although the Rhodian warriors were outnumbered, they were not afraid, as they were led by their General Theron and his friend, Nereus. But little did Theron know, his biggest enemy slept within the confines of his own camp.

By 1942, Theron had become a legend – the location of his tomb a mystery that plagued archaeologist Gennaro Soccino. Conscripted into the Italian army stationed in Rhodes, Soccino became obsessed with finding the resting place of Theron and…The Sentinel.

 Story: Steve Coombs  Art: Morahin  Cover: Ian Kennedy


 

The One They Couldn’t Catch – Commando No 4984

Comm_4984_coverMaster.jpg

Moto the Clown paused, sweat running from his face. He was about to walk along a steel wire, fifty feet above ground, suspended between two giant pylons. This had always been the climax of his circus act.

But Moto wasn’t in the circus ring now. This time there would be no applause from the audience. The only sounds he could expect to hear was the harsh crackle of Schmeisser machine-pistols.

Story: Powell  Art: Sostres  Cover: Ken Barr

Introduction 

This unusual outing from October 1967 is a little different from a traditional Commando adventure, which is what makes it such a rare gem worthy of another airing! While the story about a clown who joins the army does push the boundaries a smidge, how many other Commandos could boast such a plotline? A marvellous script, art – Sostres’ interior line work is simply spectacular, and Ken Barr’s whimsical yet enticing cover combine seamlessly to create this delightfully zany yarn.

The Commando Team

The One They Couldn’t Catch, originally Commando No 289 (October 1967)


 

Mountain Strike – Commando No 4985

Comm_4985_coverMaster.jpg

Lieutenant Alan Barkley was tasked with assembling a team to embark on a special ground mission, deep behind enemy lines in Burma. These soldiers would face gruelling conditions, putting their skills to the test, all whilst carrying a 3.7-inch calibre howitzer up treacherous mountain peaks.

Rookie medic, Ben Ellis, did not expect to be enlisted for this task, and his fellow soldiers questioned his capabilities. But they soon found that venturing into enemy territory with a deadly weapon in tow takes courage and cunning to survive.

Story: Ferg Handley  Art: Jaume Forns  Cover: Janek Matysiak


 

Very Important Passenger – Commando No 4986

Comm_4986_coverMaster.jpg

Ferrying a VIP to England from North Africa might sound like a simple enough mission, but not when it’s a worn-out old bomber only fit for the scrapheap that you’re given to do the job.

And it doesn’t help when your Very Important Passenger panics at the first sign of an enemy aircraft…or when he pulls out a revolver and points it at your head!

Story: K.P. MacKenzie  Art: Terry Patrick  Cover: Terry Patrick

Introduction 

Accusations, air raids and an unpredictable passenger creates the foundations for this soaring tale. Despite completing dangerous air missions, transporting an unusual stranger may just be Frank Roach’s most difficult challenge yet. A tale of trust, filled with action from start to finish, Very Important Passenger is brought to life by Terry Patrick’s wonderful artwork.

Sit back and enjoy as we take to the skies with Frank “Finny” Roach and Sergeant Judd Stott in K.P. MacKenzie’s high-flying adventure.

The Commando Team

Very Important Passenger, originally Commando No 2453 (March 1991)

Commando Issues 4975 – 4978 – On Sale 15th December 2016

Commando Issues 4975 – 4978 – On Sale 15th December 2016

 

Flying Blind — Commando No 4975

Comm_4975_coverMaster.jpg

Sergeant Owain Howell was too headstrong for the RAF. Charged with insubordination, he found himself consigned to the ground crew, servicing the planes he had once hoped to fly. Travelling with his crew to Africa, he was shot down and stranded in Italy.

Squadron leader Leonard Brinkley, on the other hand, was a cool and experienced pilot. However, after a raid went disastrously wrong, Leonard found himself a Prisoner of War; unable to see, and unable to escape.

Together, they embarked on an audacious plan to rescue their teammates and return to Britain. But escaping the enemy is no mean feat when you’re… Flying Blind.

Story: Alan Hebden  Art: Morahin  Cover: Janek Matysiak

 


The Stolen Lanc — Commando No 4976

Comm_4976_coverMaster.jpg

Tom Cornish flew Spitfires and had lightning reactions to match. His brother, Mike, flew a Lancaster bomber, and was as safe and steady as a rock.

Too bad that Tom had a nasty habit of referring to “flying tramcars” and “lumbering Lancs”, or saying fighter pilots needed twice the skill and courage of bomber crews. To him bombing was about as risky as delivering milk.

Mike was so mad that he invited Tom aboard the Lanc for one of those “milk runs”.

Story: David Boutland  Art: Domingo  Cover: Ken Barr

Introduction 

The introduction of the Lancaster bomber in World War Two would change the face of air warfare, bringing with it enduring competition between bomber crews and fighter pilots. Such attitudes are brilliantly explored in David Boutland’s epic tale of sibling rivalry, as he perfectly captures the frustration of fighting for recognition.

The story of Mike and Tom Cornish is brought to life by Domingo’s striking artwork, not only capturing the fast-paced action, but establishing a fraught relationship between the brothers with subtle looks and body language. Framed by Ken Barr’s stunning cover art, The Stolen Lanc recognises the importance of the Lancaster bomber crew and the incredible risks they took on each of their missions.

The Commando Team

The Stolen Lanc, originally Commando No 271 (July 1967), reissued as No 951 (July 1975).

 


Strange Encounter — Commando No 4977

Comm_4977_coverMaster.jpg

Cadogan Strange thought he’d heard the last of the arrogant Major von Hunsdorff after Russian troops had thwarted the Major’s attempt to flee across the Pamirs to the Turkish Front. But a Prisoner of War camp could not hold Hunsdorff for long, and his escape brought these two foes face to face once again.

Desperate to use Afghanistan’s forces against the British, Hunsdorff defies orders from Berlin and leads his men towards Heart in an effort to seize power. With a score to settle and peace to maintain, it is up to respected veteran Cadogan Strange and his newfound ally, Lieutenant Frank Gibson, to stop the rogue German troops from reaching their target – before it’s too late!

Story: Alan Hebden  Art: Morahin and Rezzonico  Cover: Ian Kennedy

 


The Cairo Secret — Commando No 4978

Comm_4978_coverMaster.jpg

A vast city, teeming with millions of people of all nationalities. Here in Cairo were spies, informers, saboteurs, as well as crooks, thieves, and assassins. Here many a dangerous plot was hatched, here much money could be made, and quickly. Here too, sudden death lay waiting…

 

 

 

 

Story: Lomas  Art: Gordon C. Livingstone  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Introduction 

When reluctant soldiers Len Potter and Tim Bates deserted the army to seek their fortune in Cairo, they could never have guessed that they would become central figures in sparking an uprising against the British. The Cairo Secret is a classic tale of twists and treachery, tapping into the revolutionary tensions in Egypt during the Second World War, and proving there was action – and danger – to be found far from the front lines.

Lomas’ cast of unpredictable characters teamed with Gordon Livingstone’s wonderful art creates an undercover story which throws us straight into the action, refusing to slow down until the very end.

The Commando Team

The Cairo Secret, originally Commando No 1130 (May 1977), reissued as No 2460 (April 1991)

 

 

Commando Issues 4959-4962 – On Sale 20th October 2016

Commando Issues 4959-4962 – On Sale 20th October 2016

 

Home Front Terror — Commando No 4959

commando_4959_covermaster

Wounded on a daring operation in Occupied Norway, Commando Sergeant Jeff Tain was sent home to England to recuperate.

Jeff’s younger brother, Dave, was a police constable, investigating a black market racket when dead bodies unexpectedly started showing up.

The siblings were convinced that something more sinister was going on… an assassination plot involving German spies!

Story: George Low  Art: Morahin  Cover: Janek Matysiak

 


Blood Of Heroes — Commando No 4960

commando_4960_covermaster

Sergeant Butch Walker was a veteran with 30 years of fighting service in the British Army – and now they said he was too old to fight.

Boy soldier Jimmy Walker, Butch’s nephew, had barely one year of square-bashing to his credit. They said he was too young to fight.

But no matter how hard they tried, nobody could keep those two away from the front line for long. For in the veins of both ran the blood of heroes.

 

Story: Eric Hebden  Art: Segrelles  Cover: James

Introduction

The impressive art of Vicente Segrelles [more likely his cousin Eustaquio] appeared in fifteen Commando books, beginning with “Desert Fury” (No 232) and ending with “Silence The Guns!” (No 1454). All were published between 1966 and 1980.

A Spaniard, his interior work had a dramatic, fluid style with plenty of thick, black inks. Señor Segrelles also handled some Commando covers – although not on this occasion, that equally impressive piece of art was done by the mysterious ‘James’.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Blood Of Heroes, originally Commando No 259 (May 1967), re-issued as No 915 (March 1975)

 


The Stone Forest — Commando No 4961

commando_4961_covermaster

Clarke Johnson was a reconnaissance pilot during America’s clash with Mexico in the early 20th Century. His aircraft grounded, Clarke found himself in an uneasy alliance with an Apache-born former U.S. Cavalryman and together they were fighting Pancho Villa’s Mexican revolutionaries.

Things looked bleak – as bleak as the eerie burial site that hid a treasure that men were willing to kill for. They would have to fight to survive and uncover the secret of…

The Stone Forest!

Story: Steve Coombs  Art: Keith Page  Cover: Keith Page

 


Raid By Night! — Commando No 4962

commando_4962_covermaster

Tactics had changed, machines had improved, but Group Captain Roland Bird knew from his Great War experiences that efficiency came with practice and attention to detail. His new command could expect a hard taskmaster, especially the crew of Wellington S-Sugar, who had crashed his car at their first meeting.

 

 

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

Introduction

Regular Commando readers know that Ian Kennedy is renowned for his legendary aircraft covers – although, of course, he can draw anything and everything. Ian himself has a passion for aeronautical illustration that has become his trademark and he has drawn over 1000 Commando covers.

His painting here is of a slightly more esoteric plane than we’re used to – a Handley Page 400, which was flown by pilots in the newly-formed Royal Air Force, as well as the Royal Naval Air Service late in World War I. The image may not be of something as immediately recognisable as a Wellington or a Lancaster but we still have that sense of drama and dynamism inherent in this amazing artist’s work.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Raid By Night!, originally Commando No 2461 (April 1991)

 

 

Commando Issues 4951-4954 – On Sale 22 September 2016

Commando Issues 4951-4954 – On Sale 22 September 2016

 

Battle of the Black Crow — Commando No 4951

comm_4951_covermaster

The Black Crow was a pirate ship, sailing the seas south of Cuba and tussling with Navy vessels from many different countries.

Two young crewmen, Flinn Scott and Charlie Reeves, longed to jump ship — as they missed their Scottish homeland so much. However, soon came the chance to get their hands on some treasure — but they were not the only buccaneers interested. The Tartarus, a British privateer ship and its captain would destroy anyone who got in their way of their haul.

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

 


Atlantic Killer — Commando No 4952

comm_4952_covermaster

A swift trail of bubbles — if you see it and a roar like a thousand express trains crashing — if you hear it. That’s all the warning you get when a torpedo hits home.

Lieutenant Commander Dave Miller lost his destroyer just like that to Kapitan Karl von Sturm, top Nazi U-Boat ace known as the “Sea Wolf”. The way things were going, Dave was liable to lose another ship…unless he got to the “Sea Wolf” first.

 

 

Introduction

This is a tough, sea-faring tale which has a personal vendetta between two arch enemies at its heart. Veteran interior artist C.T. Rigby draws maritime action incredibly well — his thick lines are almost like the inky depths of the Atlantic itself and are wonderfully atmospheric, especially whenever a U-Boat is submerged.

The late, sadly-missed Ken Barr also provides a dynamic cover illustration which does its job perfectly — giving the reader a solid indication of the action contained within the book’s pages.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Atlantic Killer, originally Commando No 260 (May 1967)

Story: Newark  Art: C.T. Rigby  Cover: Ken Barr

 


For The White Eagle! — Commando No 4953

comm_4953_covermaster

The Order of the White Eagle was Poland’s highest military decoration. Captain Janusz Libarcki wore his medal with pride as he fought the Red Army and the Germans during World War II, even though he eventually became a prisoner-of-war.

However, when Germany turned against her Russian allies, Polish prisoners such as Janusz and his lieutenant, Lech Szost, became conscripts of the Red Army on the horrific Eastern Front. It seemed that their brutal Russian officer despised them as much as he did the Nazis. Nonetheless, the Poles were determined to honour their fallen comrades and their homeland…

FOR THE WHITE EAGLE!

Story: Philip Madden  Art: Rezzonico/Morahin   Cover: Janek Matysiak

 


 Deadly Triangle — Commando No 4954

comm_4954_covermaster

 

Shooting up unsuspecting British trucks in a captured Hurricane was just one of the dirty tricks played by Erich von Werner – a pilot hated by his own men as much as by the British.

The feeling was mutual, particularly for Luftwaffe pilot Carl Lutz and Ted Bull of the RAF – two men linked by fate to Werner to form a strange and deadly triangle.

 

 

Introduction

This rollicking air story sets a fair pace and I’m sure it might hold a record for the number of times that any of our three main characters have to abandon their aircraft and bail out after a dogfight. It’s just as well that interior artist José Maria Jorge was such a master of aerial action; I imagine that this script would have been tailored specifically for him. His attention to detail was astounding and many other Commando artists were huge fans of his wonderful work.

The same can, of course, be said about our equally legendary cover artist, Ian Kennedy – who delivers yet another action-packed, dynamic illustration.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Deadly Triangle, originally Commando No 2466 (April 1991)

Story: C.G. Walker  Art: J.M. Jorge  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Commando Issues 4915-4918

Commando Issues 4915-4918

 

Nemesis Of The North — Commando No 4915

Comm_4915_coverMaster

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 

Comm_4916_coverMaster

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

Comm_4917_coverMaster

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 – 

Comm_4918_coverMaster

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

Don’t Go Changin’?

As Commando rolls on towards its 55th birthday in June this year, it’s safe to assume that it doesn’t sell in the numbers that once it did, and yet it endures, doling out hot rations of action and adventure every two weeks. But here’s the thing, would it sell more if it changed to be more in line with the other comics on offer today? Is it just trading on nostalgia and a habit-buying by its readers?

That’s a discussion for a separate place, for now we can be grateful that it provides good stories of a bygone era with a bygone sensibility. Along with its size, that’s a Unique Selling Point.

Commando Issues 4895-4898 – On Sale 10th March 2016 (UK)


Home Front Heroes — Commando No 4895

Comm_4895_coverMaster

The crew of a Boulton Paul Defiant night-fighter were puzzled. Why was an Airspeed Oxford trainer aircraft flying above England under cover of darkness? The gunner wondered if perhaps something secretive was going on.

How right he was. But there was no way that he could have known that the Oxford was being flown by a German crew, and was an integral part of an audacious plan by the Nazis to snatch back one of their spies.

At times the Home Front was almost as dangerous as the Front Line.

Story: George Low  Art: Mario Morahin  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Preview: Home Front Heroes

 


The Great Escape — Commando No 4896

Comm_4896_coverMaster

Ted Malloy knew him as Corporal Don Granger of the Australian Army, his best pal, young, dark-haired and full of spirit.

The Kachins, a Burmese tribe, knew him as “Urgu” — their Holy Man, chief and river god, tall with a lined face, bronzed skin, a mop of snow-white hair, and no memory of any past.

Ted and Don were the only two men ever to escape from “Death Valley”, the dreaded Japanese labour camp, where men died by inches under the blazing sun and the whips of the guards.

The tale of how Ted got clear and how Don became Urgu truly is a thrilling one.

Introduction

It did not come as much of a surprise to learn that a Commando book carried this title. It appeared a mere two-and-a-half years after the cinema release of director John Sturges’ classic prisoner-of-war movie in July 1963.

However, this story has only appropriated the movie’s title as the setting and content are completely different. In fact, with its jungle tribes and allusions to river gods, our tale probably owes more to the fantasy fiction of author H. Rider Haggard, but given a gritty, World War II twist.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

The Great Escape, originally Commando No 198 (January 1966)

Story: Spence  Art: Victor De La Fuente  Cover: Scholler

PreviewThe Great Escape

 


The Mortar Boys — Commando No 4897

Comm_4897_coverMaster

Brothers Vic and George Adams were part of a Pacific Expeditionary Force mortar team. They had been tasked with engaging the Japanese on Mono Island in the South Pacific.

Their superior officer, Lieutenant Jeff Danten, was not keen on mortars, seeing them as a waste of time compared to a decent machine-gun. It didn’t help that Danten was also impatient and reckless, too eager to get into battle without decent tactics.

It looked like the Mortar Boys had more than just the enemy to worry about…

 

Story: Mark Blackham  Art: Vicente Alcazar  Cover: Janek Matysiak

Preview: The Mortar Boys

 


Fight To The Last — Commando No 4898

Comm_4898_coverMaster

 

When Fred Burke made a vow to his dead mate that he would fight to the last to see the war won, it wouldn’t be his fault if the Allies lost, for Fred was a man of his word. So in Fred’s book anything went — like breaking out of a prison camp for a start, then after commandeering a civilian vehicle, battling alongside the partisans to hold a vital bridge. Fred just went on fighting and fighting…

 

Introduction

This is a relentless tale where Lance-Corporal Fred Burke is driven by a promise made to his best friend that he will never give in until the War is won.

It’s a testament to the work of all the creators involved that, despite the fairly straightforward premise, our hero is so full of determination that we can’t help but admire his integrity and courage and are with him every step of the way.

Therefore, in terms of script, art and cover, Fight To The Last remains a classic, textbook Commando to this day.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Fight To The Last, originally Commando No 1108 (March 1977), re-issued as No 2443 (February 1991)

Story: N. Allen  Art: Mones  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Preview: Fight To The Last