Tag Archives: Spence

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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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

Still Going Commando…

…after 54 years. Yes, that’s right. From its first issue on 27th June 1961, Commando has provided action and adventure in a handy pocket size. Though the paper used for pages and covers got thicker around five years ago, the format has not changed and it’s none the worse for that.

The first issues of 2016 are Nos 4879 – 4882. Here’s what acting Editor Scott Montgomery had to say about them.

And by the way, the cliched “Going Commando” has been used to get it out of my system…for now!


Banquet Of Blood – Commando No 4879

Comm_4879_coverMaster_small Budapest, 1945.

Why is Doctor Jane Mallory poised to attack her cowardly colleague, “Jelly” Jakes?

The answer is at the heart of the latest mission for the Convict Commandos. They must uncover a dangerous secret which turns normal soldiers into crazed, ravenous hordes capable of killing anything — or, indeed, anyone — who gets in the way of their desire to eat.

Is this the Commandos’ most terrifying adventure yet? Jelly definitely thinks so!

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

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/14th-january-2016-collection?issue=4879


Showdown! – Commando No 4880

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Everybody had thought a lot of Inspector Harry Andrews of the Malayan Police. He was a real man, all guts. Pity he had been captured and probably killed by the Japanese when the invasion over-ran his outpost. He’d put up quite a fight, though.

Then, there was his brother, Colin — just a war correspondent, not a fighting soldier. He’d never be half the man Harry was, they said. Even though he got himself on a desperate mission to the district in Malaya where his brother had disappeared…but they didn’t really know Colin Andrews…

Introduction

Our premier Gold Collection title of 2016 kicks things off in spectacular style, with a reassuringly gritty jungle tale. This book is brimming with action and intrigue which never lets up.

Spence’s script is expertly drawn by Cecil Rigby with his usual aplomb, while Lopez Espi’s cover is a masterclass in pulp illustration.

I hope you enjoy this story and are looking forward to many more like it throughout the year.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Showdown!, originally Commando No 227 (September 1966)

Story: Spence  Art: C.T. Rigby  Cover: Lopez Espi

 http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/14th-january-2016-collection?issue=4880



Death Drop – Commando No 4881

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In 1944, Allied forces in Southern Italy met fierce resistance from the German defenders who fought bitterly from the cover of the mountains and hills.

When a British airborne unit were tasked with landing behind enemy lines and hampering the German escape, this seemed straightforward.

However, Captain Roy Hopkins soon found out the hard way that nothing ever went according to plan. He and his men would have to fight every step of the way if they were to complete their mission…

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

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/14th-january-2016-collection?issue=4881


 

Another Tight Spot… – Commando No 4882

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Andy Leslie had known all along that he would have to face danger when he volunteered to serve with the Parachute Regiment. That had turned out to be the way of it, Andy battling his way clear from one tight spot after another with the famous Red berets.

Nobody had ever warned him that he might end up in the sea, bobbing about in a dinghy. There was nothing predictable in any day of Andy’s war…

 

 

Introduction

Welcome to the premier Silver Collection issue of 2016.

This fast-paced tale of the continuing adventures of a Parachute Regiment soldier was drawn by the late Ricardo Garijo. Another Tight Spot was actually his first Commando book – the first of over 90 issues that he completed before his death in October 2009. His final book, The Winter Warriors (No 4257), was published posthumously in December of that year.

An exceptional talent, this influential and hugely popular Argentinian artist is much-missed to this day.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Another Tight Spot…, originally Commando No 2469 (May 1991)

Story: Alan Hemus  Art: Ricardo Garijo  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/14th-january-2016-collection?issue=4882