Here’s the rundown on the latest issues of DC Thomson’s Commando (Issues 4755-4758), on sale now in all good newsagents and digitally for iPad and iPhone.
Commando No 4755 – Clash At Cambrai
Writer: George Low Artist: Keith Page Cover: Ian Kennedy
On the morning of the 28 June 1914, two pistol shots fired in a Sarajevo street plunged the world into war.
Three years later the awful struggle had changed the face of Europe, and warfare, forever. First the machine gun and then the aircraft had brought the machine to the battlefield. Now it was the turn of another product of the arms industry to make its presence felt — the tank.
And caught up in all this was a young aircraftsman who had managed to get himself inside a tank. Question was, could he get out again?
“As a tribute to those who served during the years 1914-1918 — on the Home Front or at the Front Line — Commando has produced a series of stories of characters caught up in the tumult of the First World War,” editor Calum Laird reminds us. “None of them are real people but we’d like to think that the experiences they have will not be a million miles from what actually happened to so many.
“Of all the ground-based weapons developed during the war, the tank has probably had more influence on warfare than any other. But the early tanks were almost as dangerous to those inside as outside. Bullet ‘splash’, ‘spall’ and poisonous fumes from their engines combined to make a truly hellish experience for the crews toiling inside their metal walls. Every one of them was a hero… as you shall see.
“I hope you enjoy this and the other stories in the series as much as we have.|”
The series continues in two weeks with “Assault In The Alps”, Commando No 4759.
Commando No 4756 – Dead Of Night
Originally Commando No 141 (November 1964), re-issued as No 727 (March 1973)
Story: Brunt Art: Gordon Livingstone Cover: Ken Barr
Before he joined the RAF, Tim “Whirlwind” Wade was Britain’s ace racing driver. Positively unbeatable, he was Stirling Moss and Jim Clark rolled into one.
When he became the deadly air gunner in a super-fast Boston bomber, it seemed that even in war his life was to be dedicated to speed.
Who would have believed that such a man had one great fear in his life — a fear of speed! A fear that was to make him a hero…
“In case you hadn’t noticed, both our classic re-issues this time come from the pen of Gordon Livingstone, a staff artist who could turn out a complete Commando in four weeks,” notes Calum Laird. “If that doesn’t sound impressive, you’re probably not an illustrator.
“Compare this 1964 book with No 4758 – “To The Death” – and you’ll see how the style was refined over 25 years without losing its quality core. It’s a style distinct to one artist only.
“Style is little without substance and Brunt’s script provides that in spades with several plot strands spun together in a fabric of conflict and distrust. It’s a very successful partnership I’m sure you’ll agree.”
Commando No 4757 – Hand Of War
Story: Alan Hebden Art: Jaume Forns Cover: Janek Matysiak
After a year in India surveying railway routes, Royal Engineer lieutenants Tom Faraday and Freddy Chillingdon reckoned a hiking holiday in the country round Salzburg would be just the thing to break their journey home.
But this was 1914 and the whole area was alive with plot and counter-plot. Little wonder, then, that helping a stranger being attacked would lead them into the grasp of the … HAND OF WAR!
Commando No 4758 – To The Death!
Originally Commando No 2304 (August 1989), re-issued as No 3867 (December 2005)
Story: Cyril Walker Art: Gordon Livingstone Cover: Ian Kennedy
An unreasoning hatred, triggered by an enemy pilot’s code of honour in the First World War, festered through the years — to erupt once more in a desperate duel in the skies above France in the Second World War.
And the outcome was an unexpected as it was deadly…
“Happily retired since 1999, Gordon Livingstone was one of Commando’s stalwart artists, drawing hundreds of stories from the title’s beginning in 1961,” notes Deputy Editor Scott Montgomery. “This 1989 book is a shining example of the distinctive line art that made him such a hit with Commando fans throughout the decades, myself included.
“If you’d like to compare it to Gordon’s earlier work, look no further than this month’s Gold Collection classic — “Dead Of Night” (No 4756, originally No 141, from 1964). It’s interesting to see that even in the earliest days of his career Mr Livingstone’s work was just as memorable as it is here. Wonderful stuff.”
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Art and covers featured © DC Thomson