New Commando celebrates 80th anniversary of RAF Regiment

A must-have set of Commando comics, issues 5511 – 5514, is out this week, with 5513 celebrating the 80th anniversary of the formation of the RAF Regiment.

Till Tanks Fly“, written by Andrew Knighton, drawn by Manuel Benet, includes a special introduction, illustrated by Ian Kennedy, from the Regiment themselves, who contacted Commando last year about the upcoming anniversary.

Knighton skilfully charts the early days of the Regiment in his Commando story, which takes place mainly in North Africa, where the first battle proves to be against the French rather than the Nazis. It’s a story with the Commando staple of a reluctant hero, with smashing art from Benet, and a fitting tribute.

Art from Commando 5513, "Till Tanks Fly" by Manuel Benet
Art from Commando 5513, “Till Tanks Fly” by Manuel Benet © DC Thomson Media

(I was bit miffed, however, that central character Daniel Gillen didn’t get to finish his “rabbit walks into a butcher’s shop” joke, even if it is an age old classic, that’s been used on stage in recent years by Eddie Izzard, and even adapted into song by Bryant Oden in “The Duck Song”!)

All four new Commando comics are in newsagents tomorrow, Thursday 3rd February, 2022 and available now as digital editions.

The RAF Regiment is a specialist corps founded by Royal Warrant in 1942. Its principal purpose is to counter our adversaries across a wide spectrum of threats, wherever and whenever necessary. Today, the RAF Regiment also prepares non-Force Protection specialists for the rigours of operations, and has seven regular and six reserve squadrons organised in to seven wings. In addition, the RAF Regiment provides Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) to the British Army and Royal Marines, and provides a flight sized commitment to the Special Forces Support Group.

Commando 5511: Home of Heroes: Escape from Java
Story: Ferg Handley | Art: Alberto Saichann | Cover: Keith Burns
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Commando 5511: Home of Heroes: Escape from Java - cover by Keith Burns

Danny Blake and Greg Roberts are skilled Flight Sergeants with the right attitude and enough gumption to see the enemy put in their place — at least they would be if it wasn’t for their windy skipper, Pilot Officer John Foden! With a deathly fear of flak and a painful disregard for his crew, as the Japanese close in, can Danny and Greg escape from Java… alive?

This new story from Ferg Handley highlights the 80th anniversary of the invasion of Sumatra, with stunning interiors from Alberto Saichann and a magnificent cover from the well-loved artist, Keith Burns.

Keith Burn's cover rough for Issue 5511 “Escape from Java” — which was inspired by the 80th anniversary of the Invasion of Sumatra
Keith Burn’s cover rough for Issue 5511 “Escape from Java” — which was inspired by the 80th anniversary of the Invasion of Sumatra

Commando 5512: Gold Collection: Night Drop
Story: Gentry | Art and Cover: Gordon C. Livingstone
Originally Commando No. 432 (1969)
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Commando 5512: Gold Collection: Night Drop - cover by Gordon C. Livingstone

If he told you there was a U-boat in the middle of the desert, you wouldn’t believe him — but that is precisely what Royal Navy Lieutenant Peter Warren is looking for in the vast reaches of sand in South-West Africa! But the heat and barren wasteland aren’t the only man-killers out here and Peter will have to keep his wits about him if he wants to survive to see another day.

This charming issue from Gentry is well complimented by interiors and cover art from fan-favourite Gordon C. Livingstone.

Commando 5513: Action and Adventure: Till Tanks Fly
Story: Andrew Knighton | Art and Cover: Manuel Benet
• Buy the digital edition from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

Commando 5513: Action and Adventure: Till Tanks Fly - cover by Manuel Benet

Danny Gillen had a comfortable life guarding RAF bases in Blighty, but as the war ramps up, he finds himself grossly misjudged on the wrong end of a fistfight. Suddenly, he is bound for Algiers with Operation Torch and the brand-new RAF Regiment — supposedly a useless force, until tanks could fly — at least that’s what everyone said until they find Gillen at the heart of the action and prove the Regiment is anything but!

This lively tale is the perfect celebration of the RAF Regiment’s bravery, commemorating its creation in 1942 and focusing on some of their first operations in the deserts of North Africa against Rommel’s dreaded Afrika Korps. Commando legend Manuel Benet’s detailed black and white illustrations and full-colour cover bring the Regiment to life.

Commando 5514: Silver Collection: The Golden Eagle
Story: Bernard Gregg | Art: Gordon C. Livingstone | Cover: Jeff Bevan
Originally Commando No. 1761 (1983)
• Buy the digital edition from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

Commando 5514: Silver Collection: The Golden Eagle - cover by Jeff Bevan

All Joe Doran wants to do is get by in the world and keep his family safe and fed. But the war has thrown a spanner in the works, and the successful thief with a strong moral compass now finds himself on a mission in Nazi-occupied Norway. After years of doing what he must to survive, Joe must find it in himself to resist temptation — but with a solid gold and jewel-encrusted statue in his hands, can he manage it?

This classic story from Bernard Gregg is well represented by Gordon C. Livingstone’s animated interiors with cover art by Jeff Bevan.

• Commando Comics is online at www.commandocomics.com | DC Thomson – Subscriptions | Facebook | Twitter | Commando Comics on AmazonUK

• The official 2022 Commando Calendar is available to order from AmazonUK (Affliiate Link)

This features various covers from Commando comic ranging from the Classic Golden Era of the comic to modern day masterpieces. Included are 17 covers by some of the world’s greatest ever comic artists as well as a special double page-spread pull-out poster. Featuring artwork by Ian Kennedy, Neil Roberts, Keith Burns, and many more.

• The Art of Ian Kennedy is also available to order from DC Thomson direct

  • Commando 5511: Home of Heroes: Escape from Java - cover by Keith Burns
  • Commando 5512: Gold Collection: Night Drop - cover by Gordon C. Livingstone - Full
  • Commando 5513: Action and Adventure: Till Tanks Fly - cover by Manuel Benet - Full
  • Commando 5514: Silver Collection: The Golden Eagle - cover by Jeff Bevan - Full

• Commando Comics is online at www.commandocomics.com | DC Thomson – Subscriptions | Facebook | Twitter | Commando Comics on AmazonUK

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. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek 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.



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