The latest issues of DC Thomson’s Commando, on sale today, 19th June, feature a new author — Kris Roberts — to the title, and, in a strange twist, one of the reprint editions features the first outing of an artist new to Commando in 1964, the brilliant Victor de la Fuente.
“Victor did all right in comics,” notes editor Calum Laird. “Let’s hope Kris does as well.”
Calum also tells us that next month’s Commandos begin this year’s “By Special Request” season, and will feature a brace of cracking stories which might otherwise have lain neglected. “The name Kennedy is significant…” he teases.
Commando No 4715 – The Devil’s Shadow
Story: Alan Hebden Art: Manuel Benet Cover: Manuel Benet
Without peering into a mirror, it’s not often you find yourself looking at your double, but that’s what the quivering Jelly Jakes of the Convict Commandos was doing. He didn’t like it one bit, especially as the man facing him was backed with four T34 tanks and about 20 heavily-armed Soviet infantrymen.
To make matters just that little bit worse, the man whose face he was staring at was justly known as… The Devil’s Shadow
Commando No 4716 – The Iron Sergeant
Originally Commando No 116 (May 1964), re-issued as No 639 (April 1972)
Story: Parsons Art: Victor De La Fuente Cover: Aldoma
When a task was “impossible” — a mission so dangerous that it looked like certain death — the army sent for Trouble Squad. And the man who led this bunch of hard cases was the toughest of them all — Sergeant “Rocky” Flint. He’d trained them, forged them into fighting machines who could force-march twenty miles in three hours, go three days in the desert on a cup of water, and then take on a force of Germans outnumbering them by three to one and smash them to a pulp!
They didn’t call Flint “The Iron Sergeant” for nothing!
“Victor De La Fuente, from whose flowing pen this story’s illustrations come, was undoubtedly on of war comics’ star turns,” says editor Calum Laird of this re=presented story. “This is his first Commando story and it’s a cracker. His style is still developing but all the trademark movement is there. As is the magnificent figure and face work that would become his stock-in trade. Victor illustrated almost 50 Commandos between 1964 and 1972 (his brothers also drew for us) and they are rightly held in high regard.
“The no-holds-barred script by Parsons is just as mighty and that cover! Wow! The restraining hand is almost lost in the blur of action.
“A really well crafted tale all round.”
• You can read more about the late Victor De La Fuente here: www.theguardian.com/books/2010/aug/03/victor-de-la-fuente-obituary
Commando No 4717 – Crisis On Crete
Story: Kris Roberts Art: Vila Cover: Janek Matysiak
Private Dan Vaughn was a bit of a layabout. He didn’t particularly like soldiering and his mate, Private Ian Hicks, was constantly nagging at him to make an effort.
On Crete in 1941, they had a simple task, to transport some ammo in a Bedford truck. But —after an encounter with a low-flying enemy glider — Dan found himself in the middle of a battle, one involving Cretan partisans, crack German paratroopers and the SS.
Lying about was no longer an option if Dan wanted to stay alive!
Commando No 4718 – Baptism Of Fire
Originally Commando No 2317 (October 1989), re-issued as No 3883 (February 2006)
Story: Ian Clark Art: Gordon Livingstone Cover: Ian Kennedy
As boys they had hated the sight of each other, and now they were rivals to command the same RAF fighter squadron. One was a regular officer who knew all the right people…the other was an “upstart”, but he had been blooded against an enemy who gave no quarter.
Either one might end up in charge, but what neither could forget was that in war all the peace-time rules go out the window…survival becomes the name of the game.
“Foremost, a Commando should be a good (fictional) read,” suggests deputy editor Scott Montgomery. “However, it’s a welcome bonus when readers tell us that they learned something too. For example, Ian Kennedy’s stunning cover features a Curtiss Hawk aircraft flying in the colours of the Chinese Air Force. Our British hero serves in an International Squadron, and he’s hot on the tail of a Japanese Claude fighter.
“Although the story is imagined, it has an air of historical and military authenticity which we also certainly strive for…but not at the expense of a good yarn.”
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