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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Classic Solano Lopez art in Commando this week

There's another four Commando comics in the shops now. One of them reprints Mad Schultz, a story from 1963 illustrated by Solano Lopez, who passed away recently. Usually associated with DC Thomson's rival publisher Fleetway (where he drew Kelly's Eye for Valiant and Galaxus for Buster amongst many other classics) this 64 page Commando story comes as a welcome surprise.

Here's the info on all four of the current issues from editor Calum Laird...

Commando No 4427: Sons And Fathers

There they stood, back-to-back, Beretta sub-machine guns stuttering as they fought for their lives.
It had been the same many years before as their fathers had battled shoulder-to-shoulder in a heroic but doomed last stand.
Would history repeat itself? Or was there another twist to the tale?

Story: Mac MacDonald
Art: Vila
Cover: Janek Matysiak

Commando No 4428: The Panther’s Claw

After a run-in with his boss’s snooty, arrogant son, young Joe Gallagher quit his factory job. He wasn’t bothered, though, he’d wanted to join the Royal Engineers anyway.
Trouble, however, seemed to follow him wherever he went. But that nothing compared to the danger Joe and his Churchill AVRE crew faced against a ruthless, fanatical Nazi and his squadron of a deadly tanks… THE PANTHER’S CLAW

Story: Peter Grehan
Art: Morahin
Cover: Ian Kennedy

Commando No 4429: Boss Of The Sky

Flight-Lieutenant Alvar Brenner was a real mystery to his fellow fighter pilots in the RAF squadron he flew with. He came from Balkovinia, a country very few of them had even heard of. And when he first went into action with them, he seemed to know every move the German pilots would make — as well as just how their aircraft would perform.
So they all began to wonder where he’d learned all this…and whether he might just be a Nazi spy planted in their squadron…

Introduction by Calum Laird, Commando Editor

A couple of years ago, I found a box of my own Commandos lurking at the back of the garage. Goodness knows how many times I’ve moved them from house to house. When I went through them though, I knew there was one missing.
Like many a Commando reader before me I just could not remember its name so it was a great surprise to stumble into it while looking for something else.
Re-reading it was not a disappointment. The Wilkinson/Mira combination provided an intriguing plot and crisp, accurate line art. Ken Barr has seldom done a better cover for my money. Hidden treasure indeed.

Boss Of The Sky, originally Commando No 347 (August 1968), re-issued as No 1063 (September 1976)

Story: Wilkinson
Art: Mira
Cover: Ken Barr
First published 1968 No 347

Commando 4430: ‘Mad Schultz’ – He Shot The Union jack To Ribbons!

Out of nowhere they appeared, miles behind the front line, falling on undefended convoys like wolves on a flock of sheep. Machine-guns blazed, trucks were blasted to pieces, and men fell in roadside ditches. Then they were gone as swiftly as they come, and yet another British supply column was left a smoking ruin.
They were German guerrilla fighters, trained killers every one, and they were led by a man as fearless and cunning as any. Captain Schultz was his name — special Nazi commando.
Soon the question was on every British soldier’s lips…where will Mad Schultz strike next?

Introduction by Calum Laird, Commando Editor

While we were scouring the Commando archives for the material we needed to put together “Commando: 50 Years a Home For Heroes” the cover of this book was brought out for scanning.
Now, you have to admit that, whatever else it might be, it’s an eye-catching illustration. So, with the doors to the vaults standing open, I had to reach in for the copy and take it away for a read. I had to, you understand, it would have been dereliction of duty otherwise.
The hard-hitting Redbridge story lives up to the promise of Ken Barr’s cover and Lopez’s inside artwork has a dark quality which really suits the story even if his touch is a little cartoon-like in places.
The icing on the cake is that line under the title though, “He Shot The Union Jack To Pieces.” Priceless!

Mad Schultz, originally Commando No 65 (April 1963)

Story: Redbridge
Art: Lopez
Cover: Ken Barr


Dr Andy Oliver said...

I would have dearly loved to get hold of the solenza art issue. But I cant even find copies of the Dandy! Not in supermarkets or even WHSmiths :-(

Lew Stringer said...

I've also noticed that distribution on both comics is suffering again. Even when shops sell x number of copies they can't always get the numbers they want.

I've never understood why suppliers can control what newsagents stock. Seems completely backwards to me! Surely shops should be guaranteed the quantities of stock they order, not have the suppliers determine what they get.

Dr Andy Oliver said...

Well after another 2 newsagents I found one copy of dandy and beano finally in asda. Now reading with my 4 year old boy (it's his firt proper comic). Luckily I have a full run of shiver and shake and monster fun as well. Shame that I cant get the Commando books though :-(

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