Tag Archives: Powell

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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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Commando Issues 4967-4970 – On Sale 17th November 2016

Commando Issues 4967-4970 – On Sale 17th November 2016

 

Goulash Grenadiers — Commando No 4967

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Wrong time, wrong place and wrong soldiers. Mistaken for SAS, Abe, Cyril and Mike were in trouble. Being captured behind enemy lines was a nightmare for any British Soldier. But these men weren’t just any kind of soldiers…they were cooks.

Pressed working alongside Wehrmacht cooks, Abe, Cyril and Mike were left in a sticky situation. Tensions were close to boiling point until the power of Yorkshire puddings helped six men, enemies by war, become friends in catering.

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

 


Hoodoo Ship — Commando No 4968

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At long last, Sub-lieutenant Roy Palmer and merchant captain Brian Miller had found the island supply base from which U-boat packs slipped anchor to attack Allied convoys in the South Atlantic.

But, only after they’d been adrift for days with two boatloadas of tired, unarmed men. They didn’t even have a radio to pass on the vital news.

What could they do? Not much at all it seemed, until Roy found an ancient cannon and remembered a tale about red hot cannonballs…

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

Introduction

Powell’s thrilling storytelling, coupled with the unusual title of this issue, makes Hoodoo Ship an exciting and rambunctious read!

Playing on the classic trope of a suspicious seaman, Powell invokes the tense atmosphere of a ship with more than a little hoodoo going on. Objects go missing, the boilers are sabotaged and the crew is attacked by an unseen, ghostly assailant…or so it seems.

The star of the script is Powell’s perfect villain, Oberleutnant Franz Von Reitz. He’s unforgiving, merciless and calculating – everything you love to hate in a Commando villain. He keeps our hero on his toes and makes Hoodoo Ship a truly bewitching book!

The Commando Team

Hoodoo Ship, originally Commando No 255 (April 1967)

 


Yuri: On the Run — Commando No 4969

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Yuri Murayev, ex-Spetznaz Commando, thought that his troubles were behind him. But he hadn’t reckoned on Anatoly Speck, the sinister Russian billionaire who had made it his business to destroy the former commando.

Framed for murder, and on the run, Yuri finds himself in a deadly cat and mouse game, wanted by both the Russian underworld and his old friends in the SAS. With bullets flying, and the casualties mounting, it’s up to Yuri to clear his name before it’s too late!

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

 


The Diamond Smugglers — Commando No 4970

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When you want an agent to penetrate an enemy-occupied country and stay free long enough to do a tricky job, you ned someone who’s used to getting around without attracting attention. Who better than a man who smuggled diamonds in and out of that very country for years?

But there’s a difference between peace-time and war. Before, the worst that could happen to him was to be put in jail. Now, if he was caught, he faced certain death!

 

Story: Bernard Gregg  Art: Llops  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Introduction

This brilliant adventure follows two friends divided and reunited by war and adversary shapes us, and is brought to life with stunning visuals by classic interior artist, Llops. For our heroes, Jan and Tom, the Second World War offers them a restored friendship, and a renewed sense of heroism and purpose. For ferocious Nazi officer Driebrick (another brilliantly drawn, snarling Commando villain), however, the war is a gateway to greater treachery.

Add to this thrilling rivalry and riveting artwork, another atmospheric cover from master artist Ian Kennedy, and you have a recipe for a truly gripping yarn!

The Commando Team

The Diamond Smugglers, originally Commando No 1138 (June 1977), reissued as No 2468 (May 1991)

 

 

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