Tag Archives: Victor De La Fuente

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

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Nostalgia IS What It Used to Be

They say nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, but I beg to differ.

I started reading Commando in the late 60s and, along with The Victor, it was my regular comics reading. Oh, sure, I read others — too many to list — but nowhere near as regularly. After a long-ish break, I came back to Commando in the 90s and was pleased to see that, although it had moved on in story treatments — no Roman legionaries or science-fiction spacemen in the 60s! — it was, essentially, in the same place as before.

Now it’s the “last man standing,” it’s the only theatre to find my heroes from back in the day. No, not the servicemen, but the artists and writers whose work filled my boyhood hours and whose names I now know for sure. These issues — 4887-4890 on Sale 11th February 2016 (UK) — prove the point. Where else would you find Victor De La Fuente’s artwork alongside Ian Kennedy’s, Carlos Pino’s and Ken Barr’s? Or stories by “The Major” Eric Hebden and Commando‘s former editor George Low?

The new boys are good but for unqualified nostalgia you can’t beat the old school — even if you are reading on an iPad.

 


 

Out Of Time — Commando No 4887

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It seemed that the Grossin brothers couldn’t be more different.

Marc was a mild-mannered watchmaker — the occupying German garrison had used his skills to mend various timepieces dotted around their base.

Meanwhile, his younger brother, Bernard, was a member of the local French Resistance and he had begun to wonder if Marc was getting too friendly with the Nazis.

That was the least of Bernard’s worries, though. During a shoot-out at a ruined churchyard, he wondered if he was finally…

…OUT OF TIME

Story: George Low  Art: Rezzonico  Cover: Janek Matysiak

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/11th-february-2016-collection?issue=4887


 

Codeword – “Torch” — Commando No 4888

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One man held the key to the operation called by the codeword — “TORCH” — the huge Allied invasion of North Africa. His name was Pete Macrory, a Canadian in the Royal Engineers — and nobody trusted him an inch.

To find out why, and what made Pete tick in his own peculiar way, you had to go way back to General Wolfe’s attack on Quebec in 1759. That’s when a distant ancestor of Pete’s, young Jock Macrory, was involved in a deadly adventure of his own…

 

Introduction

I don’t think I’ll be spoiling things for you, as there is a big clue in the title, when I reveal that this story features Operation “Torch” — the real life British/American invasion of French North Africa in the winter of 1942.

However, people often mistake Commando for some kind of history book but this is not the case. Although we use authentic military events as a backdrop (and strive not to be wildly inaccurate regarding their use), we will always have fictional principal characters placed among them, ensuring that the stories are works of the imagination, with scope for action and adventure.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Codeword – “Torch”, originally Commando No 220 (July 1966), re-issued as No 859 (August 1974)

Story: Eric Hebden  Art: Victor De La Fuente  Cover: Ken Barr

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/11th-february-2016-collection?issue=4888

 


 

Polish Pride — Commando No 4889

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When their unit was wiped out in the Blitzkrieg that heralded the beginning of World War II, Lieutenant Bartek Abramski and Sergeant Jakub Brejnak reluctantly found themselves on the run from the Germans.

These proud Uhlan cavalrymen were determined to survive and live to continue their fight another day. As time wore on, though, the chances of this seemed increasingly slim. However, when they teamed up with a downed pilot, a fellow Pole, it looked like they might have a chance to escape the clutches of the enemy…

 

Story: George Low  Art: Carlos Pino  Cover: Carlos Pino

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/11th-february-2016-collection?issue=4889

 


Dive And Kill! — Commando No 4890

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It took nerves of steel to survive in the deadly skies over war-torn Europe…Pilot Officer Chris Bennet had proved that. Or so his fellow pilots thought. They reckoned he was the bravest guy they knew.

But even steel can break, and so could Chris…

 

 

 

Introduction

I reckon we could call this story a “bromance” — even though it was published long before that particular word came into widespread, everyday use.

Its main focus is on the friendship between two pals — who have known each other since their university days — and how they cope with the tumultuous pressures of being RAF pilots at the height of the Battle of Britain and beyond.

Naturally, both men are very different. David Gouldie’s quiet introspection is a neat counterpoint to Chris Bennet’s dashing showmanship — but it seems that he really is putting on a show…

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Dive And Kill!, originally Commando No 2470 (May 1991)

Story: Ian Clark  Art: Terry Patrick  Cover: Ian Kennedy

Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/11th-february-2016-collection?issue=4890