Here’s the run down on the latest issues of DC Thomson’s Commando (Issues 4811-4814), on sale now in all good newsagents and digital editions. Sorry for the delayed intel this week.
This batch sees a much-demanded re-run for the very first “Ramsey’s Raiders” story, first published in October 2005, and heralds the impending of some new stories featuring the unconventional group of heroes first thought up by former editor George Low, who have fought their way through some 20 adventures in the title, each scripted by Ferg Handley, with the art duties split between Keith Page, artist on the first Raiders instalment, and Mike White, with covers by legendary comics’ artist and Commando cover maestro, Ian Kennedy.
“[George] suggested the ‘Ramsey’s Raiders’ series (though it was only meant to be six issues originally), then we worked up the characters,” Ferg acknowledges in an interview for the official Commando web site.
“Their maverick nature is based on the men of the original SAS, who were real characters (they’re not based on anyone specifically),” he continued. “Sergeant Derek Jarvis happens to be the name of one of my oldest and best friends (and a Scot to boot), and his mother’s surname was originally Ramsey. To be honest, a lot of the Raider’s characters were influenced by characters in movies; Monty is a bit of a David Niven type, for example; while Fitz isn’t a million miles away from Clint Eastwood (who did some fine sniping in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly… and was a taciturn type).”
Commando No 4811 – Fighting Frank
Story: George Low Art: Rezzonico Cover: Ian Kennedy
While London stood stolidly in the face of relentless Luftwaffe bombing attacks, petty criminal and expert safe-breaker Frank Raymond was on the run. He only stopped running when he enlisted in the Army.
Though Frank had joined up as a last-ditch, desperate attempt to save his life, he’d actually found his calling. He even went on to join a tough Special Forces unit — one which would soon have a use for his particular set of skills…
Commando No 4812 – Sky Tiger
Originally Commando No 148 (January 1965), re-issued as No 767 (August 1973)
Story: McOwan Art: Medrano Cover: Ken Barr
He led his squadron into the thick of the fiercest dogfights — and yet he always came back without a scratch. He took fantastic risks, for he seemed to bear a charmed life.
They called him “Lucky” Lane, but even his own men came to hate and fear the young Squadron Leader, because they knew every time they took off, one of them would die. It wouldn’t be Lane, though… for he wore the Tiger Ring…
“The cover of a compact graphic novel (for that’s what Commando is, isn’t it?) can do a number of things,” notes Calum Laird, Commando Editor. “It can illustrate a scene from the story, or a character or try to sum up everything in the story in a single image — like here. Over and above those things, though, the cover should most of all make you want to buy the book.
“Ken Barr’s artwork fulfils than function as much now as it did when it was first seen in 1965 by your then youthful editor. After all, you are going to buy the book, aren’t you?”
Commando No 4813 – Ramsey’s Raiders
Originally Commando No 3854 (October 2005)
Story: Ferg Handley Art: Keith Page Cover: Ian Kennedy
They were a motley bunch — two Scotsmen, one Englishman, one Welshman, one Irishman and an Australian. Led by the unconventional Captain James Ramsey, they were known as the Special Raiding Force, and their job was to operate behind enemy lines in North Africa. They wrote their own rules, and their specially armed jeeps packed a real punch.
They were good at their job — very good — and the Germans had every reason to fear Ramsey’s Raiders!
“I know this ‘By Special Request’ issue is a bit earlier than usual but there are a number of good reasons for that,” says Calum Laird. “First, this story — the maiden Ramsey’s Raiders tale — has had more requests for a fresh airing than any other book during my tenure as editor. As it’s now ten years since the Raiders first broke cover, I reckoned it was time.
“The second (and third, I suppose) reason is that we’re going to issue a pair of brand-new Raiders adventures in the next couple of months so re-living their first raid is a great way to raise the curtain for new and seasoned readers alike.
“ Yes, that’s right, a new pair of Raiders’ stories is heading your way. You’ll enjoy them, I know.”
Commando No 4814 – Past Crimes
Originally Commando No 2375 (May 1990), re-issued as No 4001 (April 2007)
Story: Markham Art: Denis McLoughlin Cover: Ron Brown
When Captain Rod Tyler was sent to the war in Indo-China as a British observer with French forces, he found himself with the losing side in a savage guerrilla-style conflict. Not only that, he became piggy-in-the-middle between a bull-headed Foreign Legion officer and an alleged Nazi war criminal!
Just what had he let himself in for?
“What would happen if a soldier was convinced that one of his so-called comrades was a former war criminal but had no evidence to prove it?” asks Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor.
“That’s the intriguing premise at the heart of this tough tale set during the war in Indochina. The French Foreign Legion’s motto is ‘Honneur et Fidelite’ (translated, perhaps, unsurprisingly, as ‘Honour and Fidelity’) — and the story is about both of those things, where ‘fidelity’ really means ‘loyalty’ or ‘duty’ as opposed to its modern meaning of ‘faithfulness’.
“So, then, ‘Past Crimes’ is a fairly left field entry for Commando but it certainly works, thanks to Markham’s script, veteran Denis McLoughlin’s interior art and Ron Brown’s emerald-hued cover.”
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