Thursday, July 03, 2014

'Special Request' Commando issues out now

Latest info from the front line. (DC Thomson's Commando office.) All of this week's issues are reprint as part of their occasional 'Special Request' series, but there's some good material in there including a rare story illustrated by Sandy James (more commonly known for his IPC work on Johnny Cougar). 

Commando issues 4719-4722 – On Sale 3rd July 2014. Click on the links to read a short extract from each issue.

Commando No 4719 – Two Men Went To War…

At an Allied HQ in Italy, an American officer was being held under guard. He had been tried and found guilty of treason and at dawn he would face the firing squad.
   Miles away the only two men who knew he was innocent were charging through the night to his rescue, shooting their way through the Nazi lines in a Cromwell tank.
   And soon the sun would rise…


There’s something about the name Kennedy that has a special appeal to Commando readers; which is why there were so many requests to see this book (and some of its brothers) one more time. In this case the Kennedy is Cam who was displaying his own brand of linework behind one of Jordi Penalva’s typically all-guns-blazing covers. Cam’s line, movement and characterisation are all here — qualities that would make him one of the best comics artists ever.
   But an artist is nothing without a script and Allan’s gives plenty of scope for illustration. If you want to compare this with commando No 4720 — another espionage story — you’ll see how two writers can take the same theme…but make it different.
   Go on, buy them both!

Calum Laird, Commando Editor

Two Men went To War, originally Commando No 556 (June 1971)

Story: A.C. Allan
Art: Cam Kennedy
Cover: Jordi Penalva

Commando No 4720 – Blood Red Dawn

What kind of a man would sell his own comrades to the enemy? That was what Lieutenant Dick Woolston had to find out — and FAST, before any more Long Range Desert Group patrols were ambushed and murdered by the Nazis.
   Someone within the group was betraying them at every turn — but who? Dick had been a plain-clothes man at Scotland Yard before the war. But never before had he had to get his man and fight a war at the same time.
   Here is a different kind of a mystery story — with blood.


When this story first saw the light of day, Commando’s tag line was “War Stories In Pictures”. And that certainly describes this tale of treachery amongst the rolling sands of the North African desert as our hero, Lieutenant Dick Woolston, seems to be at war with everybody — The Germans and his own side alike.
   At first glance this tale seems very similar to Commando No 4719 (if you’ve not bought it yet, you should — it’s a belter) but as you read, you appreciate how two writers can take the same basic premise and twist it to make it their own. Cortes’ artwork certainly helps — dark, brooding stuff well-suited to a tale of espionage.
   Ken Barr’s cover is certainly not dark or brooding but it’s definitely warlike. Which is where we came in.

Calum Laird, Commando Editor

Blood Red Dawn, originally Commando No 109 (March 1964), re-issued as No 615 (January 1972)

Story: Burns
Art: Cortes
Cover: Ken Barr

Commando No 4721 – Sky Shark

The Japanese made a big mistake the day their bombs wrecked Tony Grant’s transport plane. For they left Tony stranded on a Burmese airfield with a bunch of wild, undisciplined American pilots and their Curtiss fighters.
   So what happened? Tony joined the Yanks and gave them some new ideas on how to win the war. Soon the very sight of these planes was enough to make the toughest Japanese quake in his boots.


   They say it’s dangerous to revisit things you remember from long ago, especially in childhood. Things change so much that you are almost always disappointed. So, when Alan Williams suggested re-issuing this story as part of our By Special Request season, I had reservations as I’d read the book often as a child — and enjoyed it so much — that I was sure it was going to be a let-down.
   Fortunately this was not the case as the team of Brunt, James and Porto deliver a cracking story which was just as sound as I remembered. Phew!
   On this showing, it’s a pity that Sandy James only ever illustrated two Commandos and Porto did but three covers. Gordon Brunt, though, wrote around 35 stories. If they’re all as good as this, they should be in the next request season.

Calum Laird, Commando Editor

Sky Shark, originally Commando No 451 (January 1970), re-issued as No 1291 (February 1979)

Story: Gordon Brunt
Art: Sandy James
Cover: Porto

Commando No 4722 – Matilda On The March

Alone, cut off from the rest of her squadron, the Matilda trundled on. She had survived the dangerous hours of daylight, but now the desert night had fallen. And, in the darkness, who could tell friend from foe?


If you’re a fan of artist John Ridgway then you’re in for a treat. Although he still draws brand new Commandos for us, here is an excellent example of his early work — published a decade before he became very well-known for illustrating the likes of Marvel UK’s Doctor Who, Judge Dredd for 2000AD and DC Comics’ occult thriller Hellblazer in the United States.
   It’s perhaps no to learn that surprise that John has an engineering background, as his depiction of the eponymous Matilda tank, and other military hardware from the Desert War, is first-rate. 
   The Lomas script and Ian Kennedy cover are first-rate, too — this is vintage Commando.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Matilda On The March, originally Commando No 933 (May 1975), re-issued as No 2259 (March 1989)

Story: Lomas
Art: John Ridgway
Cover: Ian Kennedy

1 comment:

Hibernia Comics said...

Some great art, if I see these I will pick them up. Thanks for letting us know!

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