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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Commando classics - By Special Request

Breaking from the usual balance of two new/ two reprint Commando releases, this week's four editions are all reprints from the 1970s. "These are “By Special Request” — the quartet chosen by Commando readers as their best-remembered stories" says editor Calum Laird. "There were more than these four suggested (far more!) but these came up again and again so they made the grade."

"We have the chance to do this again early next year so we’ll carry over the other suggestions and throw the floor open once again."

Here's the details of the four comics, with info from Calum...


It is said that if the British troops at Waterloo had used longbows instead of muskets they would have won the battle far more quickly. In the hands of an expert the longbow is a fearful weapon with its accuracy, range and rate of fire. And it is almost completely silent.
Tim Rollins was an expert, and he passed his knowledge on to his secret group of French Resistance fighters. From now on, not one of the enemy soldiers in his area of France could ever feel safe.

Introduction by Calum Laird, Commando Editor
When I decided to ask Commando’s readers to choose some favourite titles for another airing I wasn’t sure what reaction I’d get. Would they be interested in the idea, were our stories lodged in their heads and, if they were, would they know their names?
I was not disappointed, though, they came up trumps. Not only did they know all the details they were only too keen to help. In fact there were so many suggestions that we’ll have to do this again. This story was suggested over and over so it must have caught the imagination. I wonder how many of you knew it was written by Mary Feldwick, one of our handful of lady contributors? No doubt you recognised Ian Kennedy’s cover artwork, but did you know it was one of his personal favourites. With inside art by Ibanez, it is obviously a tale to remember.

Legend Of The Longbow, originally Commando No 1354 (September 1979)
Story: Mary Feldwick
Art: Ibanez Cover: Ian Kennedy.

Commando No 4432: V FOR VALOUR

All over occupied Norway the sign appeared — a big letter “V” hurriedly painted on buildings, walls…even on German vehicles! To the watching world V stood for victory — the eventual destruction of the Nazis and all they stood for. But to those who knew how often the Norwegian patriots risked imprisonment, torture, even death, V had another meaning…

Introduction by Calum Laird, Commando Editor

This classic tale of two very different brothers was a popular request. Maybe it was Gordon Livingstone’s dynamic inside art or the dramatic tension of Penalva’s menacing cover. Or perhaps Cyril Walker’s well-spun plot. Whatever the reason, I enjoyed reading it again and I hope you will too.

V For Valour, originally Commando No 672 (August 1972), re-issued as No 1828 (September 1984)
Script: Cyril Walker Art: Gordon Livingstone Cover: Jordi Penalva.


Since 1713 the mighty Rock of Gibraltar has been British, a massive stone fortress guarding the Mediterranean. But in World War Two, the Nazis had plans for capturing the Rock and knocking out the garrison by using deadly nerve gas.
And all that stood in the way of the Germans was one lance-corporal and one small Barbary ape.

Introduction by Calum Laird, Commando Editor

I was surprised that this title cropped up so often as animal stories aren’t Commando’s most popular line. However, with a colourful story by Eric Hebden, an even more colourful cover by Ian Kennedy and inside artwork by Cam Kennedy, it’s easy to see why it was a winner.

Boss Of The Barbary Apes, originally Commando No 568 (July 1971)
Script: Eric Hebden Art: Cam Kennedy Cover: Ian Kennedy

Commando No 4434: NEVER GIVE IN!

Hungry, cold and desperate, Bert Rankin crept forward. The thunder of the tropical storm covered the sound of his careful footsteps. Any second now he would strike the first blow in his mission to wrest Mindos Island back from the Japs. For Mindos was HIS island. He would never let them keep it. He would never give in…

Introduction by Calum Laird, Commando Editor
In all our readers’ suggestions, several creators’ names popped up over and over, showing how well they’d fired their imaginations. Jordi Penalva, whose dynamic cover this brings menace and movement to a static picture in a way that was all his own. With a story from the masterly Eric Hebden and illustrations from Franch, this is a classic Commando tale of the burning desire for revenge driving the hero to almost superhuman efforts.

Never Give In!, originally Commando No 654 (June 1972)
Script: Eric Hebden Art: Franch Cover: Jordi Penalva


Tony Howson said...

Interesting that three of the choices are from an 18 month period between 71-72. Maybe a lot of the voters were my age. Having said that, can't believe that younger me missed out on that Barbary Apes cover. Puts me in mind of Odhams' "Laird o' the Apes" serial from the relaunched Smash! a couple of years earlier.

I am so buying this tomorrow !

Mike said...

Haha, I have the original issue of V for Valor. I was actually looking at it a few nights ago wondering if anybody would vote for it in the "get your favourites reprinted!" 'competiton'!
Hmm, I never did poke in my own vote for the fantastic Division of the Dead. Oh well.

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