Tag Archives: Phil Gascoine

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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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

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