Here’s the lowdown on the latest issues of DC Thomson’s Commando (Issues 4787-4790), on sale from today in all good newsagents and in various digital formats.
While we were researching the latest British comic sales figures, we were impressed by the discovery from DC Thomson marketing information that this last surviving “Pocket Library” title sells some 17,000 copies per release and has a readership of 98,000 (PDF link). We’re assuming that’s 17,000 copies per the four issues published at a time, but that’s still a good figure in this day and age and testament to the hard work of the editorial and creative teams working on this long-running title.
Commando No 4787 – Deadly Drop
Story: George Low Art: Olivera Cover: Janek Matysiak
After a “friendly fire” incident cost the lives of his comrades, Private Ron Allan clashed violently with a fellow paratrooper, Corporal Alec Brown, the man he held responsible.
Tensions were still high between them when, en route to a drop zone, history repeated itself. Alec’s Horsa glider smashed into Ron’s sending both spiralling downwards.
Alec’s life was now in as much danger from his supposed colleague as it was from the Germans — provided they both survived the drop to the hungry sea below…
Commando No 4788 – Giant Killer
Originally Commando No 153 (February 1965), re-issued as No 771 (September 1973)
Story: Brunt Art: Peter Ford Cover: Ken Barr
It was a blood-feud in the skies — a fight that began in the First World War between a British ace in a string-bag of a plane and the commander of a huge German Zeppelin…
It had to be settled in World War II by their sons; sleek Spitfire pitted against merciless Messerschmitt 109, their guns chattering a song of death.
“Don’t be fooled by Ken Barr’s cover — this is not a First World War tale,” notes Calum Laird, Commando Editor. “That Zeppelin that only just fits on the cover is soon replaced by a Bf109; the SE5 becoming a Spitfire. With Peter Ford in charge of the inside art, that means you’re in for a treat as his flying scenes are so well-rendered.
“His ground scenes are just as good and those of you with good eyesight (or magnifying glasses) may just be able to make out some little extra details in the backgrounds of the scenes. Check out the walls of the crew room and perhaps the notepad on the ground controller’s desk.
“Better not forget Brunt’s “sins of the fathers” script, without which none of this showmanship would be possible. Thank you, sir.”
Commando No 4789 – Frozen By Fear
Story: Ferg Handley Art: Rezzonico Cover: Janek Matysiak
Most jungle firefights are fought over short range and are over in a few minutes. Vision is limited and snap shots at targets are the order of the day.
Australian Army Corporal Jerry Warner was caught up in one such skirmish. With night falling and his life in jeopardy, he blazed away, knocking down attacker after attacker. Then he was blown unconscious by a mortar blast.
He survived but that night continued to haunt him — and he couldn’t work out why!
Commando No 4790 – Flak Fever
Originally Commando No 1102 (February 1977), re-issued as No 2428 (December 1990)
Story: R.A. Montague Art: Gordon Livingstone Cover: Ian Kennedy
Flieger Abwehr Kanone — a German mouthful that was shortened to “flak”, a word dreaded by every Allied pilot. It meant anti-aircraft guns, those multi-barrelled cannon and deadly 88-millimetre guns that could blast attackers out of the sky. Every important target in Nazi Europe bristled with them.
Mosquito pilot Terry Franklin had met his fair share of flak and it terrified him. Yet here he was in a new squadron whose job it was to attack only the most difficult targets!
“I imagine that if a current Commando author submitted the idea for ‘Flak Fever’,” suggests Scott Montgomery, Commando‘s Deputy Editor, “he or she might begin by writing something along the lines of, ‘Our hero is a pilot with PTSD…’
“Because of our modern-day familiarity with military terms such as the one mentioned above, we now know that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious condition which Armed Forces personnel acknowledge could happen to any one of them.
“However, back when this story was originally scripted, in the mid-1970s, the fictional hero believes that he has simply lost his nerve, and that his own perceived ;cowardice” is something that he must hide. It’s an interesting story point, but it is not laboured, and seems all the more realistic for it.
Don’t Miss Out on our Exclusive Commando Subscription Offer!
If you’re looking for a gift for a British comics fan, downthetubes has an EXCLUSIVE discount on a subscription to DC Thomson’s Commando comic, simply by ordering through the DC Thomson Online Shop using our special discount code.
If you follow the link above, the discount is automatically applied – you do NOT need to enter the old DTT “COMDT” promotional code. Ignore the discount field on the check out page, too.