Tag Archives: Sostres

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 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