downthetubes is sorry to report the passing of stalwart Argentinian Commando artist Josè Maria Jorge, who died yesterday, aged 69. He had been ill for some time, but continued working until shortly before his death.
Josè had been drawing for DC Thomson’s Commando for 42 years, beginning with Number 384, ‘Flying Fury”, published in February 1969, including through the Falklands War, when delivering art from Argentina to the UK was far from easy. In all, he drew a total of 163 issues for the title – an impressive acheivement.
His last complete book was No 4329 “Divided Aces”, which came out in September to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Set around Edinburgh, it attracted plenty of attention in the Scottish press, including a report in the Edinburgh Evening News by Liam Rudden.
“The Commando office has been deeply saddened by the news from Argentina that we have lost a friend and valued member of the team with the untimely death of Josè Maria Jorge,” notes Commando editor Calum Laird in a post on the title’s official web site.
“Best known for his excellent aircraft work, Josè Maria could turn his hand to an theme and had been working with Commando for 42 years. During that time many authors and editors were delighted as he realised their ideas on paper. Readers too loved his style, remarking on its accuracy and detail.”
In addition to his Commando work, Josè was an accomplished artist. He specialised in action scenes: car racing, equestrian events, combat aviation and more.
It should come as no surprise that two of his stories — “Aces Wild” (No. 489) and “The Ship Busters” (No. 657) – were among stories that formed a collection titled The Best 12 Commando Stories Ever, selected by former editor George Low, published in 2005.
“I can vividly remember Jorge’s unique artwork,” adds Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor of Commando, recalling reading the comic as a youngster. “The dynamic action and attention to detail. Sheer class. It’s no surprise that his artwork maintained this superb standard right up to his final published story last month.
“Unfortunately I never met the man himself but did, however, receive a friendly email every so often saying that some pages were winging their way from Argentina. And those pages…when the package finally arrived it was like the excitement of opening a longed-for Christmas present.”
“Not only was he a fantastic artist whose work influenced my own, but I got to meet him and his family on my visits to Buenos Aires in the last few years,” comments Colin Watson the Assistant Sports Editor of the Edinburgh Evening News. “He became a firm friend whose sincere brand of hospitality was hard to match.”
“My mom, sister and I want to thank all of you for your words in this sad moment,” commented José Maria’s daughter, Eugenia.
“As you could see from his artwork, my father was very detailed in his life.
“During his 42 years working for Commando he used to work from 7.00am until 9.00pm, from Sunday to Sunday. He’d never wanted to be late, and make anybody wait.
“When the Malvinas conflict occurred, it was impossible to maintain any kind of contact with UK but he managed as he could… He finally travelled to Uruguay and sent the artwork from there. He did not want to disappoint anyone.
“In the last two years, after his illness was diagnosed, he worked with an air machine to help his breathing, but this never discouraged him.
“He loved Commando and he was very pleased of doing that kind of work.
“We can only say that he was that kind of unique person who is not easy to find. A unique husband and a unique father to my sister and I. We are going to miss him a lot. He left a hole in the house that will never be filled with anything.
“Thanks again for the respect shown for him.”
downthetubes extend its sympathies to Jose’s family and friends. He will be much missed.
This tribute was updated in June 2023 to fix broken links to the old Commando web site, which is in part archived on Wayback Machine
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.