Commando pays tribute to International Women’s Day, with spotlight on new female heroines

Commando 5103: Home of Heroes: The Land Army Marches

Brand new Commando comics from DC Thomson (Issues 5103-5106) are out this Thursday, 8th March, in all good newsagents and via various digital platforms – and some of the new issues feature female heroines in leading roles.

While Commando has had a number of female stars in the past, I think this is one of the first times they’ve featured quite so often in a single tranche of releases, commissioned by editor Kirsten Murray.

“I’m really pleased that one of my last acts as Commando editor was sending not one but two female fronted stories to press at the same time, celebrating women’s contributions during wartime,” says Kirsten, now a freelance copywriter, proof reader and comics editor. “I’m very proud of them both.”

Join the Women’s Land Army and help feed Britain (taking down any Luftwaffe along the way!), crash-land in Holland as part of Operation Market Garden, fly through flak in Norwegian fjords, and join the International Brigades with some British deserters…

Commando 5103: Home of Heroes: The Land Army Marches
Story: Iain McLaughlin | Art: Vicente Alcazar | Cover: Neil Roberts

Isolated in the Norfolk countryside, trapped in a barn with armed Luftwaffe airmen swarming outside, two women decided that, like Mister Churchill said, they’d have to make do and mend. They would never give up hope. After all, they had one advantage over their Nazi invaders: they knew the barn, and the Germans didn’t. That’s when they turned the tables, rigging the barn with a series of traps, turning the hunters into the hunted…

In a tribute to International Women’s Day and celebrating 100 Year of Women’s Suffrage, Iain McLaughlin’s “Home Front” story centres on the Women’s Land Army and their invaluable services to Britain during the war. We can see this adoring tribute to the WLA in Neil Roberts’ period inspired cover, which pays homage to the now iconic posters.

Commando 5104: Gold Collection: Mission of No Return

Commando 5104: Gold Collection: Mission of No Return
Story: Allan | Art: Martin | Cover: Penalva
Originally Commando No. 488 (July 1970)

In September 1944, a group of brave paratroopers crash-landed into Hell itself! Taking part in Operation Market Garden, they were told to hold their positions until the British Army could advance further towards Arnhem. But the British Army never made it to them. Now captured, those who survived those brutal days at the front were taken to the most notorious POW camp in Germany, governed by the ruthless Commandant Wolfgang Von Kiel, who was hated even by his own men.

Martin’s interior art stands out against other illustrators of his time, choosing a more dynamic contrast in his monochrome instead of overcrowding the page with detail – perfectly matching Allan’s straight to the point tale of the now controversial Operation Market Garden.

Commando 5105: Action and Adventure: Flak Run!

Commando 5105: Action and Adventure: Flak Run!
Story: Brent Towns | Art: Paolo Ongaro | Cover: Ian Kennedy

When the Special Operations Executive set their sights on a Nazi heavy-water plant in Norway, there was only one pilot Squadron Leader Bill Travers had in mind for the job – Nancy Peacocke. But, despite being a test pilot for the WAAF with extra-ordinary skills, Nancy has her own reservations for flying the new De Havilland Mosquitos. But, even if Bill gets Nancy back in the cockpit, she’ll have more than her own fears to face on the flak run to the plant…

Paolo Ongaro’s second issue drawing interiors for Commando only solidifies his exemplary skill in comics art, which combined with first time Commando writer Brent Towns’ stellar story, marks another glorious celebration for 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage, as the “Flak Run!” heroine Nancy Peacocke becomes a Commando legend in her own right, taking on Nazis, 2cm Flakvierling 38 anti-aircraft guns, prejudice and her own self-doubt.

Commando 5106: Silver Collection: Soldiers for Hire

Commando 5106: Silver Collection: Soldiers for Hire
Story: Anthony Knowles | Art: Keith Shone | Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 2762 (May 1994)

It was 1934, and Joe Lane and Ian Benson were already sick of the army – but when Ian stabs their Sergeant Major in cold blood, both men were forced to flee! So, unable to return home, and with only military training, the two runaways’ only option was to get to Spain and join the International Brigades. However, it wouldn’t be long before Joe realised what kind of soldier Ian really was…

With crisp, clean interiors by Keith Shone and an eye catching dual-tone cover by Ian Kennedy, Anthony Knowles’ tale of duplicity comes into fruition, stunningly conveying the contrast between these two ‘Soldiers for Hire’.

• The Editor’s Cut: Kirsten Murray reveals how the Commando celebrated International Women’s Day

• Commando Comics are on sale every fortnight in all good newsagents and  Commando #5103 and #5105 are still on sale now for £2 per issue. Commando Comics are available to buy and request in WHSmith and local newsagents.

• Print and digital subscriptions are available worldwide, and can be bought through the DC Thomson website 

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as an editor, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare” for Tian Books. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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