Four new Commandos go on sale tomorrow (Thursday) – a quartet chosen by readers as their best-remembered stories.
“There were more than these ‘By Special Request’ suggested (far more!),” editor Calum Laird tells us, “but these came up again and again so they made the grade.
“We have the chance to do this again early next year so we’ll carry over the other suggestions and throw the floor open once again.”
Commando No 4431: Legend of the Longbow
Originally Commando No 1354 (September 1979)
Story: Mary Feldwick Art: Ibanez Cover: Ian Kennedy
It is said that if the British troops at Waterloo had used longbows instead of muskets they would have won the battle far more quickly. In the hands of an expert the longbow is a fearful weapon with its accuracy, range and rate of fire. And it is almost completely silent.
Tim Rollins was an expert, and he passed his knowledge on to his secret group of French Resistance fighters. From now on, not one of the enemy soldiers in his area of France could ever feel safe.
“When I decided to ask Commando’s readers to choose some favourite titles for another airing I wasn’t sure what reaction I’d get,” notes Calum in his introduction for this Special Issue. “Would they be interested in the idea, were our stories lodged in their heads and, if they were, would they know their names?
“I was not disappointed, though, they came up trumps. Not only did they know all the details they were only too keen to help. In fact there were so many suggestions that we’ll have to do this again.
“This story was suggested over and over, so it must have caught the imagination. I wonder how many of you knew it was written by Mary Feldwick, one of our handful of lady contributors? No doubt you recognised Ian Kennedy’s cover artwork, but did you know it was one of his personal favourites.
“With inside art by Ibanez, it is obviously a tale to remember.”
Commando No 4432: V for Valour
Originally Commando No 672 (August 1972), re-issued as No 1828 (September 1984)
Script: Cyril Walker Art: Gordon Livingstone Cover: Jordi Penalva
All over occupied Norway the sign appeared — a big letter “V” hurriedly painted on buildings, walls… even on German vehicles! To the watching world V stood for victory — the eventual destruction of the Nazis and all they stood for. But to those who knew how often the Norwegian patriots risked imprisonment, torture, even death, V had another meaning…
“This classic tale of two very different brothers was a popular request,” says Calum. “Maybe it was Gordon Livingstone’s dynamic inside art or the dramatic tension of Penalva’s menacing cover. Or perhaps Cyril Walker’s well-spun plot. Whatever the reason, I enjoyed reading it again and I hope you will too.”
Commando No 4433: Boss of the Barbary Apes
Originally Commando No 568 (July 1971)
Script: Eric Hebden Art: Cam Kennedy Cover: Ian Kennedy
Since 1713 the mighty Rock of Gibraltar has been British, a massive stone fortress guarding the Mediterranean. But in World War Two, the Nazis had plans for capturing the Rock and knocking out the garrison by using deadly nerve gas.
And all that stood in the way of the Germans was one lance-corporal and one small Barbary ape.
“I was surprised that this title cropped up so often as animal stories aren’t Commando’s most popular line,” Calum reveals. “However, with a colourful story by Eric Hebden, an even more colourful cover by Ian Kennedy and inside artwork by Cam Kennedy, it’s easy to see why it was a winner.”
Commando No 4434: Never Give In
Originally Commando No 654 (June 1972)
Script: Eric Hebden Art: Franch Cover: Jordi Penalva
Hungry, cold and desperate, Bert Rankin crept forward. The thunder of the tropical storm covered the sound of his careful footsteps. Any second now he would strike the first blow in his mission to wrest Mindos Island back from the Japs. For Mindos was his island. He would never let them keep it. He would never give in…
“In all our readers’ suggestions, several creators’ names popped up over and over, showing how well they’d fired their imaginations.” notes Calum. “Jordi Penalva, whose dynamic cover this brings menace and movement to a static picture in a way that was all his own. With a story from the masterly Eric Hebden and illustrations from Franch, this is a classic Commando tale of the burning desire for revenge driving the hero to almost superhuman efforts.”
• The Draw Your Weapons exhibition featuring art from Commando continues at the National Army Museum in London this month. For the latest information visit: www.nam.ac.uk/exhibitions/special-displays/draw-your-weapons-art-commando-comics
• Official Commando web site: http://www.commandocomics.com/
• Click here for subscription information or write to: D.C. Thomson & Co Ltd, The Subscribers Department, Commando Library, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL or Freephone (UK only) 0800 318846
• Commando is also available for iPad and iPhone. The apps are free to download through the Apple iTunes App Store and a digital subscription is priced at £4.99 per month, compared to a £99 annual print subscription. For those not sure there are four free issues to download prior to making a purchase.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.
Categories: British Comics