The last four Commandos of the year are now on sale, and the veteran title sees off its 50th aniversary year with another batch of great stories old and new – and what a year it’s been for the title.
“It doesn’t seem long since I was sending out the details of the first batch of the year but it was 104 issues ago,” notes editor Calum Laird. “The good news is we’ve slightly increased our sales over the year and our subscriptions have increased by a whopping 45 per cent.
“This is great news in the current climate.”
Commando 4455: Valley of Secret Weapons
Originally Commando No 98 (December 1963), re-issued as No 591 (October 1971)
Script: Eric Hebden Art: Ortiz Cover: Ken Barr
The Valley of Destruction, the Germans called it. It lay deep in the heart of the Tyrolean mountains, and there Germany’s most brilliant scientists worked night and day building Hitler’s deadly V for Vengeance weapons.
Sun-ray cannons, flying saucers, sound cannons, rocket-propelled tanks and jet-propelled soldiers – strange, terrifying weapons, years ahead of their time.
They were all there in that valley, being made ready to unleash on Britain…
One look at the cover tells you all you need to know about this story,” says Calum Laird of this archive tale. “It’s a real flight of fancy. (And I don’t just mean because there are Germans with jetpacks.)
“Or is it? As more information on the Third Reich’s secret weapons programmes comes to light, some of the gear drawn up by Ortiz doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
“Perhaps author Eric Hebden, who had been a Major in the British Army, had some inside knowledge — who knows?
“Whether he did or not, it’s a great story and Ken Barr’s Nazis With Jetpacks cover sums the whole thing up. Now, I must fly!”
Commando 4456: Jump – Or Die!
Originally Commando No 94 (November 1963), re-issued as No 587 (October 1991)
Script: Kellie Art: Cortes Cover: Ken Barr
The dull throb of the Dakota’s engines pounded remorselessly in the paratroopers’ ears as they filed in to their jumping order.
Nobody spoke, nobody smiled, nobody spared a kindly glance for the next bloke in line. Lips were dry and taut, and eyes glowed with a mixture of determination and FEAR!
And even as the red light changed to green for GO, Captain Bob Brown knew that he was the most afraid of all.
Which was all wrong, because he was meant to be officer in charge of this mission, an example to all the others…
“British Paras were involved in no end of covert operations in the Second World War,” notes Calum Lard. “This was a problem, because most of them took place under the concealing cloak of darkness.
“Why is this a problem? Well, a dark night is one of the most difficult things an illustrator can ever be called on to draw. By definition, there’s very little light to see anything by.
“This doesn’t seem to have put artist Cortes off, however. His drawings of the Paras in action at night make superb use of black ink without losing any detail and without looking anything apart from, well, night.
“Kellie’s script is as full of action and conflict as you’d want, while Ken Barr’s cover leaves you in no doubt about the menace in the title.”
Commando 4457: Fireman On The Front Line
Script: Alan Hebden Art: Olivera Cover: Janek Matysiak
As a fireman during the London Blitz, Ted Roscoe was exempt from Armed Forces duty, as his was a reserved occupation deemed important to the war effort. He knew all about danger just the same, though, dodging bombs as he fought fire after fire. However, the Army needed Ted’s expertise too and he soon called to the front line.
Here Ted found himself embroiled in a deadly game of survival, with not just the enemy’s hand against him!
Commando 4458: The Sea Wolves
Script: Mac MacDonald Art: Keith Page Cover: Keith Page
Like wolves, the torpedo boats and gunboats of the Allies and Axis hunted the seas of the Adriatic in packs. Like wolves they fell on their prey, always going in for the kill.
And, just as amongst packs of wolves, there had to be a top dog – would he be British or German?
• The Draw Your Weapons exhibition featuring art from Commando continues at the National Army Museum in London this month and runs until 30th April 2012. For the latest information visit: www.nam.ac.uk/exhibitions/special-displays/draw-your-weapons-art-commando-comics
• Official Commando web site: 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