New York Times best-selling thriller author James Swallow pens new Commando tale

Hallucinations in the Burmese jungle, dogfights above the curvature of the Earth, betrayals in France, and friends torn apart by World War Two! It’s all happening in the latest issues of DC Thomson’s Commando (Issues 5243 – 5246), out soon in all good newsagents and via digital platforms.

This release includes a story from New York Times best-selling author and BAFTA-nominated scriptwriter James Swallow, author of over 50 books. You’ll probably recognise him as the writer of action-packed espionage thrillers and fast-paced science fiction, whose many credits include the Marc Dane thrillers, Judge Dredd novels, Blake’s 7, Doctor Who and Dan Dare audio adventures – and much, much more. But this is his first sortie into the world of comics.

Commando 5245 Full Cover

“It’s no secret that I’m a huge aviation nerd, so getting this opportunity to write about one of the most amazing aircraft in flying history was great,” says James on his official web site, noting cover artist Neil Roberts’ work graces several of his Horus Heresy novels.

“I first laid eyes on an SR-71 Blackbird as a young aviation geek at Farnborough Air Show in 1986,” he continues. “To this day, I’ll never forget the noise of those big engines and the way it looked like a hole in the sky as it flew against a backdrop of cloudless blue.

“In the years since, I’ve been up close to Blackbirds at the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, the Smithsonian in Virginia, the Imperial War Museum at Duxford and aboard the USS Intrepid in New York – and they never fail to impress!”

Commando 5243: Home of Heroes -Burma Nightmare

Commando 5243: Home of Heroes -Burma Nightmare
Story: Ferg Handley Art: Morhain & Defeo Cover: Ian Kennedy

For ‘Burma Nightmare’, writer Ferg Handley was inspired by the real experiences of soldiers fighting in the East, whose reactions to Atabrine, the anti-malaria tablets, were interesting to say the least! Sergeant Vince Roberts’ initial reaction to the drugs was to throw them into the sea, but he soon learns he’ll need them and his guts to survive the dangerous jungles of Burma.

A synthetic antimalarial first developed in Germany in the 1930s, although scientists in the United States had synthesised Atabrine within a few years, troops did not usually take their medicine. It turned them yellow, made them sick, and seemed to take forever to work. Research found that, at the current dosage, the Atabrine was soaked up in muscle fibre and the liver, causing uncomfortable side effects before it was able to build up in the blood.

By changing the dosage-to a first-day big dose to saturate the tissues followed by small daily doses that would then go right to the blood-the Goldwater group was able to save Atabrine, as well as millions of American troops abroad. There’s more here on this discovery, which confirmed how vital the pharmacology of being able to measure the concentrations of drugs in the blood is.

Commando 5244: Gold Collection - Betrayed!

Commando 5244: Gold Collection – Betrayed!
Story: Franch Art: Lomas Cover: Picco
Originally Commando No. 800 (1973)

‘Betrayed!’ is a classic Commando tale about bravery and revenge — two emotions which Barry Brook knows too well! Especially after he joins the French Resistance only to find a power-hungry Frenchman who decides if he can’t be leader then no-one can!

With stunning interiors by Lomas, topped off with a fiery cover from Picco, this is a Gold issue that if you miss you’ll have Betrayed yourself!

Commando 5245: Action and Adventure - Edge of the SkyCommando 5245: Action and Adventure – Edge of the Sky
Story: James Swallow Art: Paolo Ongaro Cover: Neil Roberts

Tackling a MiG-31 and SR-71 Blackbird sparring on the very outer limit of the Earth’s atmosphere is sure to thrill readers!

What’s more, Swallow’s good friend and artist, Neil Roberts’ cover adds a touch of outer space wonder to this Cold War story which is somewhat reminiscent of another DC Thomson title — Starblazer anyone?

Commando 5246: Silver Collection - Know Your EnemiesCommando 5246: Silver Collection – Know Your Enemies
Story: CG Walker Art: Janek Matysiak Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 2838 (1995)

You may know and love Janek Matysiak’s art from his Commando covers, but this Silver issue has the recognisable artist on interiors! Before the war, CG Walker’s pilot protagonist, Dick Marsh was chummy with a German family — but, after the war, can they remain pals or will their friendship go up in flames?


The Art of Ian Kennedy - Cover• Official Commando Comics

• Don’t forget The Art of Ian Kennedy is available to order here on Amazon (Using this Affiliate Link helps support downthetubes, thank you)

James Swallow is online at

Commando Comics on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

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