Here’s details on the latest issues of DC Thomson’s Commando, on sale from Thursday 5th June in UK newsagents and for digital devices. There’s another great-looking World War One story from Keith Page, while D-Day – which sees its 70th anniversary on 6th June – is marked in the re-presented story “Blood Beach” , written by Eric Hebden, who served with the Royal Artillery through the conflict.
Commando No 4711 – Firestorm In Flanders
Story: George Low Art: Keith Page Cover: Ian Kennedy
On the morning of the 28 June 1914 two pistol shots fired in a Sarajevo street had plunged the world into war and pitched men of all nations against one another.
Two years later, pursuing victory at all costs, man’s ingenuity had developed more terrible weapons. Yet the war in the west remained static and soldiers old and young had to face death every day.
This is the story of one of them, Sergeant Brian Wade.
Commando No 4712 – Blood Beach
Originally Commando No 143 (December 1964), re-issued as No 723 (March 1973)
Story: Eric Hebden Art: Cortes Cover: Ken Barr
Four outcasts, four men despised and shunned by their fellow soldiers — because their fame and prowess as boxers kept them safe, far from the front line…
Here is the story of how one fighting sergeant licked all four “champs” into shape, and showed them that you can’t win wars with your bare fists!
“The author of this tale, Eric Hebden, joined the Royal Artillery well before the outbreak of World War Two,” notes Calum Laird, Commando’s Editor, “serving right through that conflict in an Army career spanning some 25 years. After he left the service, he took to writing, penning some 130 or so stories for Commando. He wrote for other comics, but we’ll gloss over that. The reason for mentioning these details is to give you a clue that all the books he scripted have an undisputable air of authenticity about them, an atmosphere he transferred from his Army life. It adds an indefinable extra to the story.
“I don’t know about Mr Barr or Snr Cortes’s military service but their cover and inside art certainly do justice to this classic Commando.”
• Ken Barr served his National Service with the Army in Egypt in the 1950s. Read our creator profile here – Ed
Commando No 4713 – Fight – Or Die!
Story: David Turner Art: Morahin Cover: Janek Matysiak
Minutes after Flying Officer Bill Foote bailed out of his damaged Hawker Typhoon over Germany he was a prisoner-of-war. Soon he was on his way to Dunsberg castle — a place like no other Stalag…
There his captors enjoyed a barbaric sport — in a gladiatorial arena where prisoners fought to the death against a merciless Nazi champion.
Bill knew that his turn in the arena would come. Soon he must… FIGHT — OR DIE!
Commando No 4714 – The Last Big Gun
Originally Commando No 2256 (February 1989), re-issued as No 3740 (August 2004)
Story: David Heptonstall Art: Ruiz Cover: Jeff Bevan
Jean D’Arton of the Free French Army had watched the giant railway howitzers plummet to destruction and was convinced these devastatingly powerful weapons were out of the war for good.
Now, though, information from the Resistance suggested that the Germans had salvaged at least one of these titanic guns.
And with the Allied invasion of France due any day now, Jean just hoped these reports weren’t true.
“A long time staff artist, Jeff Bevan painted many Commando covers, as well as illustrating for several boys papers and comics,” notes Deputy Editor Scott Montgomery of this re-presented story. “Mr Bevan was the go-to-artist for maritime pictures in particular but, like all good illustrators, he was versatile and could do turn his hand to anything.
“His covers had a fairly offbeat look about them with unusual compositions and colours. Here he has surpassed himself — a lurid, all-encompassing red, and the Railway Gun is almost 3D and practically about to edge its way out of the page. For an action cover, I don’t think you can ask for much more than that.”
• Commando comics expert Vic Whittle notes on his site that as a student, Jeff worked on the River Tay sand boats which were used to carry dredged waste out to deeper water for dumping. Later, as an artist, Jeff carried out commissions for both European and American navies. His first Commando cover was Number 734, “Born to be Brave”, published in 1973 and, although he sadly died in 1992, his last original cover was Number 2398, “Strike Fast – Strike Hard”, was not published until late March 1996. All his Commando covers since 1996 have been reprints.
• D-Day 70: Official Site – www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/d-day-70
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings, centred around the date of invasion, 6 June, known as “D-Day”. A series of major commemorations are planned to mark this historic occasion, with events planned in both the United Kingdom, and at various locations along the Normandy Coast.
DOWNTHETUBES 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.
Some of our readers reported problems with the link recently, but the technical team at DC Thomson have now fixed things – so if you follow the link above, the discount is automatically applied – you do NOT need to enter the COMDT promotional code. Ignore the discount field on the check out page, too.
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.