Honouring the legendary Spanish comic artist Carlos Pino, Commandos 5679 – 5682, on sale from today, Thursday 14th September 2023, are a one-off reprint set dedicated to the fan-favourite Spanish artist.
The set was asked for specifically by readers – and Commando was only too happy to oblige.
All the issues were specially hand-selected by Carlos himself as his favourite Commando comics he’s ever illustrated.
Commenting on the launch of this new set on the Facebook Battle Fans group, Carlos thanked readers “who have followed my work at Commando for so many years, for your sympathy and indulgence with my drawings.
“Without you this profession would have no meaning. Thank you all very much, friends. I hope to continue shooting, in the trench, in the air or at sea. A toast!”
Born in Madrid on 7th September 1940, and still working on Commando today in his eighties, Carlos Pino is a nearly self-taught artist. His early work appeared in Spanish magazines of the late 1950s and the 1960s, such as Three Amigos and Duwarin. He became more prolific after teaming up with fellow artist Vicente Alcázar in the 1960s. Their work included mainly war stories, for the magazine Chío (1967) and then for the British market.
Either with Vicente or without him, Carlos Pino worked on titles such as TV Century 21 (later, TV21), working on strips such as “Star Trek”, for example), and War Picture Library.
They entered the US market with the help of artist and editor Gray Morrow and they eventually moved to the United States in the mid-1970s.
Carlos worked for Red Circle Productions (on Sorcery), Archie Publications (Super Cops, Mystery, Madhouse), Marvel (Monsters Unleashed) and Charlton (Space: 1999).
When Vicente and Carlos’ careers diverged, Lambiek notes Vicente continued to work for US publishers, while Carlos focused on the British market working on SF and war serials for Fleetway, on titles such as Battle Picture Weekly, 2000AD, Starlord, Speed and Mack. He also worked in advertising.
His work for DC Thomson included art for Victor and, of course, the long-running Commando, starting with No. 2302, Marooned!, published in August 1989, providing interior art, with Jeff Bevan on cover duties.
Since November 1993 to today, Carlos has provided the artwork for the covers and the interior art for most of the issues of Commando he’s worked on, with a few exceptions – as detailed on this page on Vic Whittle’s invaluable British Comic Libraries site.
Paying tribute to Carlos in 2017 here on downthetubes, then Commando editor Calum Laird noted “his cover roughs are as dynamic as his finished art and he has a very good eye for what makes a cover image.
“Not all interior art illustrators can pick out the scene in the story that ‘sells’ the tale and manages to lay it out for maximum shelf presence. Bear in mind he’s doing it in a language that is not his own, too.
“Over the years, he’s brought to life many a character and you’re unlikely to mistake one for another in any given story as he has the gift of making them all different.
“Their expressions have just the right amount of ‘cartoon’ when necessary, and boy, can they shift when needed.
“You name it he can draw it, and very well indeed. Go on, go and look at his work if you’re not convinced! He doesn’t just draw action either. [My predecessor] George Low recalled some spectacular gremlins and ghouls for children’s tales based on local Spanish folkloric legend.”
Commando 5679: Home of Heroes – Demon Driver
Story: Alan Hebden | Art and Cover by Carlos Pino | First published in Commando 2345
The flickering flames, the searching burst of German bullets, the creaking of the old bridge. It all added up to dangers to be overcome, no doubt about it.
But for Corporal Tony Wiggins the biggest threat was in his own head where a demon lurked which, so far, he had not been able to control. And if he failed again, the Germans were going to wreak havoc!
Commando 5679 “Demon Driver” was one of Carlos’ first solo issues for Commando as he often worked with fellow Spanish artist Vicente Alcazar under the pseudonym ‘CARVIC’. This issue sparked a long and illustrious career with Commando.
Commando 5680: Gold Collection – No Score Nixon
Story: Ian Clark | Art and Cover by Carlos Pino | First published in Commando 2903
Rookie pilot Tim Nixon was keen to open his account against the Luftwaffe. But somehow his score sheet stayed blank — and he began to wonder if his lack of success was due to bad luck, or if he was just a no-hoper.
Somehow he had to prove himself and silence the taunts of his squadron mates who called him… No-score Nixon!
Commandos 5780 “No Score Nixon” was hand-picked by Carlos as one of his favourite issues he’s ever done and with good reason! Carlos’s art brings you classic RAF action with dogfights galore.
Commando 5681: Action and Adventure – Super Soldiers
Story: Alan Hebden | Art and Cover by Carlos Pino | First published in Commando 3598
It just was not possible. No soldier, no matter how well-trained or fanatical, could keep pace with a speeding jeep — and then run even faster. But that is exactly what had been witnessed by the sole survivor of a badly-mauled British unit.
The war was all but won, the German forces on their knees and ready to surrender… yet all that could still change if this unit of Nazi super soldiers got even the slightest chance to turn the tide.
Weird Commando incoming! Carlos specially selected this off-the-wall issue where science fiction meets war comic, something Carlos has been doing for years. Whether it was his work on 2000AD, Starlord, or Commando, time and time again Pino proves he is a master artist who can turn his hand to any genre!
Commando 5682: Silver Collection – Operation Nachthexen
Story: Mac MacDonald | Art and Cover by Carlos Pino | First published in Commando 4599
The German forces that invaded the Soviet Union had much to fear once the Russians’ fightback got into its stride. For the Russians are fearsome warriors when roused.
What the Germans feared more than anything was the night. For that was when the Nachthexen — the night witches — flew. Because, you see, when the Nachthexen flew, they carried death on their wings.
Commando issue “Operation Nachthexen” was a notable favourite of Carlos Pino, who sought it out specifically for reprint in this set devoted to his amazing Commando career.
• If there’s a past Commando comic you would like to see reprinted, contact the team via firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note, as of June 2023, the Heritage Comics and Commando Presents digital releases project is on hiatus, as DC Thomson examine new ways to publish classics from their archive – check out the Commando Presents Series Page on AmazonUK for all the digital titles released under these banners
Commando 5679 – 5682 Cover Gallery
Creating Commando with editor Kate McAuliffe
Ever wondered what goes into creating a Commando? Well, join Commando editor Kate McAuliffe for this session to learn all about the inner workings of Britain’s longest-serving war comic. From idea conception to newsagent shelves, Kate explains the nitty-gritty of what makes a great war comic: from real-life inspiration and human interaction, to detailed artwork and explosive eye-catching covers, and each step of the process in between.
She has the pleasure of working with people from around the world who each play a part in making Commando what has been the ‘Home of Heroes’ for over sixty years.
Learn about how Commando is created during this online event hosted by Company of Makers’ co-founder Steve Bomford — from original story ideas to being stocked on shelves.
Kate McAuliffe hails from Fife, Scotland, and is the Content Editor for Heritage Comics at DC Thomson. After graduating top of her class in English and Creative Writing at the University of Dundee, she joined the Heritage Comics department in 2017, before becoming Content Editor in 2018.
Kate enjoys writing the occasional “Oor Wullie” and “The Broons” strips and has written six Commandos, with more in the works.
Kate’s talk will be followed by an interactive Q&A session, so you’ll have the opportunity to get involved and she’ll answer as many of your questions as we can squeeze in.
Published by DC Thomson, Commando is Britain’s longest-serving war comic, printing stories of action and adventure since 1961. Still going strong, Commando prints four issues every two weeks — two all-new issues and two classic reprints from the Gold and Silver Collections.
Please note: this online event is being run by Company of Makers, which is a charity for current and ex-military so their members do take priority. However, we’re told there are plenty of spaces available and although it is a requirement, it won’t be strictly enforced.
Also there will be a recording of the event made and put on the Commando Comics YouTube – so no-one will miss out.
Creating Commando Comics with Kate McAuliffe (Commando Comics: From idea conception to newsagent shelves) | Tuesday 17th October 2023 | Online event | Free, but booking essential – Limited tickets available here
This article was updated on Friday 15th September to add Carlos’ comment about release posted to Battle Fans