Tag Archives: Steve Coombs

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)

Commando Issues 4963-4966 – On Sale 3rd November 2016

Commando Issues 4963-4966 – On Sale 3rd November 2016

 

Deadly Dilemma — Commando No 4963 

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Stranded in Nazi-occupied France, his regiment gunned down, Corporal Bruce Newell is a hunted man. But when he comes face to face with ruthless S.S. Major Erich Benzler – the man who slaughtered Bruce’s friends in the chaos of Dunkirk – Bruce’s mission is no longer one of escape, but of revenge.

As Bruce closes in on his target, he realises his task is a heavy one… is the death of one despotic Nazi worth the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians?

Bruce is truly caught in a…

DEADLY DILEMMA!

Story: George Low  Art: Rezzonico  Cover: Janek Matysiak

 


Yankee Buddy — Commando No 4964 

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When one lone Commando was transferred to the U.S Marines, every eye was on him from the moment they hit the Japanese-held beaches. How was his shooting? How was his nerve? Did he know this stuff? Every bullet-lashed yard was a testing ground for Commando Jacky Dean, who carried the proud reputation of all the Commandos on one broad pair of shoulders.

Jacky might never have passed that test, if he hadn’t found a real buddy amongst the Yanks.

Story: Eric Hebden  Art: J. Fuente  Cover: Cortiella

Introduction

Who’s the tougher – US Marines or British Commandos?

That’s the question on everyone’s lips except our reluctant Commando, Jacky Dean. In a story by legendary Eric Hebden, Jacky is a liar, a deserter and even possibly… a murderer. Hebden pushes the boundaries of what we would consider a Commando hero while J. Fuente’s impeccable interior art cleverly depicts Jacky as a loveable rogue.

Set on the backdrop of the war in the Pacific, the plot rests on Jacky’s chaotic nature and unwillingness to fight ultimately being overcome through his friendship with his ‘Yankee Buddy’, Marine Andy Devlin. Enjoy!

The Commando Team

Yankee Buddy, originally Commando No 204 (March 1966)


 

Black Sun Squadron — Commando No 4965

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Squadron Leader Marko Vida was a talented and fiercely fascist pilot. Backed by the Nazis, Vida and his Black Sun Squadron dominated the skies over Croatia…

…Or so they thought. A Partisan Air Force made up of old, stolen fighters and led by Flight Officer Zlatan Pavic and Flying Officer Petar Milic would not hand over Croatia so easily.

With their planes outclassed and outgunned, things were fraught for the Partisan Air Force. They dared to fight back against the might of the…

BLACK SUN SQUADRON!

Story: Steve Coombs  Art: Carlos Pino  Cover: Carlos Pino

 


The Invaders — Commando No 4966

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More than two thousand years before, the Roman legions had marched into North Africa as invaders, as conquerors. In the twentieth century the soldiers of Italy returned again, and among them was one man who thought himself the equal of the ancient emperors. But he was wrong, for the ancient Romans got the better of him – in their own sinister way…

 

 

Story: C.G. Walker  Art: Llops  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Introduction

From prolific Commando writer C.G. Walker comes this classic tale of obsession, cruelty and survival, set against the stark backdrops of a brutal desert in North Africa and a fierce volcano in Italy. The drama of the story is matched perfectly in the art by fantastic interior artist Llops, who brings the action to life.

The story plays on the tension between past and present, and veteran cover artist Ian Kennedy rises to the challenge with an eye-catching and striking cover, despite his professed dislike of painting horses!

The Commando Team

The Invaders, originally Commando No 1101 (February 1977), reissued as No 2435 (January 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

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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

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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

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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

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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 4915-4918

Commando Issues 4915-4918

 

Nemesis Of The North — Commando No 4915

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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 

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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

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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 – 

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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