Brand new Commando comics from DC Thomson (Issues 5083-5086) are on sale in newsagents and various digital platforms this Thursday, 28th December. It’s the final set for 2017, featuring the debut of another artist new to the veteran title, Paolo Ongaro on interior art for Commando 5085, “Devil Dogs”.
(Neil Roberts made his debut as a cover artist for Commando last month).
An accomplished artist and writer, Paolo may be new to Commando, but older readers may recognise his work for Fleetway in the 1970s, commissioned via the Giolitti Agency. His credits include “Lofty’s One-Man Luftwaffe” for Battle, which was also drawn by Stanley Houghton, written by Fleetway’s foreign liaison editor Ken Armstrong, Pat Mills and John Wagner.
This Italian creator has a slew of credits to his name for a wide variety of European publishers, not only drawing adventure comics such as Tarzan, Diabolik and Martin Mystere but Disney humour strips, too. You can find him on Facebook here.
Paolo is famed in Italy for his football work – he contributed many years to Guerin Sportive magazine doing biographies of different players and telling the history of different teams, and more.
These issues of Commando offer plenty of action with shoot-outs in snow sheathed tundra, bank heists in Tuscany, “Devil Dog” dealings in Belleau Wood – and a nasty hostage situation in the Channel Islands…
Commando 5083 Home of Heroes: Terror on the Tundra
Story: George Low | Art: Castro & Morhain | Cover: David Alexander
With German Alpine troops and Finnish Sami soldiers prowling the Russian Tundra, the Eastern Front was a hard place to fight – but that didn’t stop British Navy Engineer Gavin Wright and Royal Artillery Corporal Jim Nolan from joining in. Marooned in the Kola Peninsular, their search for engine parts to fix their ship was held up by a new terror on the tundra – a German Landwasserschlepper equipped with a sPzB 41, that certainly packs a punch. Now, working with the Russians to defend their line, Gavin and Jim may have uncovered a secret weapon of their own…
With stylish interior artwork by Castro and Morhain complimenting George Low’s hyperborean story, the bleak snowscapes and thunderous blizzards of the Russian tundra come alive. Meanwhile, David Alexander’s cool cover shows these awesome winter terrain vehicles in action, their guns at the ready…
Commando 5084 Gold Collection: Strike Swift Surge Sure
Story: Eric Hebden | Art: Bellalta | Cover: Penalva
Originally Commando No. 441 (November 1969) Reprinted No. 1287 (January 1979)
They called Archibald Bull an assassin. It wasn’t the first time an officer had died on one of his missions. But Bull didn’t have time for these men. He was an explosives expert Commando and he didn’t let anyone tell him what to do. But with a lifestyle like that, it wasn’t long before Bull made enemies in high places. Now, tongue lashed Bull is told that some Royal Engineer Sergeant has come to take his place as explosives expert… but we’ll see who the real boss is!
With Penalva’s gritty barbed wire cover, the tone is immediately set for Eric Hebden’s story of one headstrong Commando with a knack for demolition. This is only solidified in Bellalta’s detailed interior art – you can almost feel the heat of the explosions!
Commando 5085 Action and Adventure: Devil Dogs
Story: Richard Davis | Art: Paolo Ongaro | Cover: Janek Matysiak
The Germans called them “Teufel Hunde” or “Devil Dogs”. It was thanks to their fearless tenacity that the US Marine Corps earned this iconic nickname, as they marched straight into German machine gun fire in their battle to reclaim Belleau Wood in World War One. And leading one such squadron was Johnny Diamond, a professional riverboat gambler from New Orleans, but one way or another, he would have to learn to trust his fellow Marines and take charge if they are to survive.
Janek Matysiak’s dynamic cover showcases the gritty action of the issue, which really hits hard in Richard Davis’ story, portraying the battle as relentless from the moment the Marines reach France, never stopping until victory – or death take the men.
Paolo Ongaro’s interiors are incredibly stylistic, combining halftone shading and unique compositions – one standout panel showing the silhouetted Marines viewed through the long grass, the moon acting as the only source of light.
Commando 5086 Silver Collection: Blood Hostage
Story: Alan Hebden | Art: Garijo | Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 2721 (December 1993)
Trapped on a German-occupied Channel Island, three unlikely allies must work together if they are to rescue an imprisoned British Officer who may have key Intelligence regarding something called “Operation Torch”. One man is a Russian prisoner of war, whose hulking appearance makes him a formidable foe for the Germans; another is a wheelchair bound local, mistakenly underestimated by the Nazis; and the final member is just a young boy, who happens to possess an ace shot with a catapult…
Taking on the Commando writer mantle, like his father Eric before him, Alan Hebden’s ‘Blood Hostage’ may feature tongue-in-cheek wit, but remains grounded as the threat always feels real. Likewise, interior artist Garijo’s faces are charmingly expressionistic, while the quintessentially English villages on the Channel Islands are incredibly detailed and lifelike.
With thanks to Colin Noble, Steve McGarry and Philip Rushton for extra information on Paolo Ongaro’s work
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.