Ready for Anything? New Commando Comics offer all out action – and parachuting dogs, too!

A thought-provoking set of tales about camaraderie and loyalty in land-warfare – and parachuting dogs! – feature in Commando issues 5411 – 5414 from DC Thmoson Media, on sale this week in both physical and digital editions.

We also get a rare foray into a “modern” conflict – the Falklands War – in “Ready for Anything”.

Commando 5411: Home of Heroes – Ready for Anything!
Story: Russell Sheath| Art: Muller & Klacik | Cover: Keith Burns
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When a prank wins Callum Phillips a promotion over Heath Antwi, their rivalry becomes as cold and desolate as the Falkland hillside — where they find themselves pinned down by Argentinian snipers! With the enemy closing in and time running out, the pair must decide who their true enemies are to make headway in this tense standoff.

Russell Sheath’s third story for Commando is complemented by gritty interiors from Muller and Klacik, with an explosive cover from Keith Burns.

This story may mark an interesting development for the long-running war comic. While the Falklands conflict has featured in other British war comics, it a ‘modern war’ rarely fictionalised in the pages of Commando, the title largely focusing on more historical conflicts. The title’s official web site lists just three other stories to feature the Falklands War, although we know of at least one other, published in the 1990s where a Falklands veteran helps to foil a smuggling ring.

“The internal art was done by Denis McLoughlin and it was as gorgeous as ever,” comics archivist and downthetubes contributor Colin Noble tells us.

Commando 5412: Gold Collection – Breaking Point
Story: Lester | Art and Cover: Segrelles
Originally Commando No. 337 (1968)
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Is he real? Or Just a mirage? In the depths of the desert, anything is possible. This mysterious hooded figure seems to turn up just when help is most needed — but who’s side are they really on? As German and British forces collide at a hidden base, the truth will soon be found out!

In this intriguing story from Lester, dynamic interior and cover art is provided by Segrelles.

Commando 5413: Action and Adventure: Canine Commando
Story: Colin Maxwell | Art: Khato | Cover: Neil Roberts
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As he retreats from Lwow, a small scuffling in a pile of rubble will change the course of Jakub Leszczuk’s war forever. As his new companion Rebus’ abilities are realised and developed, this parachuting war-dog and his master help steer the course of World War Two against the Nazi onslaught and towards liberation!

From tense training to dramatic battles, Colin Maxwell’s canine caper features Khato’s expressive artwork and a dramatic cover from Neil Roberts.

Before anyone thinks the Commando team have gone crackers with this story, there really were “Paradogs” during World War Two. The Scout Platoon of 13th (South Lancs) Parachute Battalion was the main unit to use them, including German Shepherd Bing, who received the Dickin Medal for bravery. Bing’s story was told in the children’s book, The Amazing Adventures of Bing the Parachuting Dog, by Gil Boyd, published in 2012, in aid of the Airborne Assault Museum and the Afghanistan Trust.

Paradog Bing, with owner Betty Fetch. Bing was returned to her after his war service

The Platoon’s members, initially commanded by Jack Sharples and later by Peter Downward, were all dog lovers and several of the dogs were dropped into Normandy in June 1944, and later over the Rhine in March 1945.

The dogs were trained by Liverpudlian soldier Lance Corporal Ken Bailey, accordingly author Andrew Woodhouse, who spent spent five years researching the battalion for his book, 13 – Lucky For Some.

Recruiting dogs for the war effort. Advertisement via Colin Maxwell

These Paradogs – listed here on the Airborne Assault web site – were taught to get used to wartime conditions, like aircraft propellers and loud noises. They were also trained to identify the smell of explosives.

The National Working Dogs Memorial charity’s web site notes the dogs wore their own parachutes and were trained to jump after bones/treats. It would appear that they were not distressed by the experience and after a few practice jumps they would often exit the aircraft without coaxing.

Commando writer Colin Maxwell tells us a behind-the-scenes look at the inspiration behind Canine Commando will be out this weekend – subscribe here.

Commando 5414: Silver Collection: Time for Heroes
Story: Parker | Art: Carmona | Cover: Ian Kennedy |
Originally Commando No. 1650 (1982)
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Every man’s war is a series of choices, but the one that cuts deepest can be the choice between heroics and retreating to live to fight another day. Now in a Japanese internment camp, Mike Palmer knows there is more than just the jungle between his freedom and the lives of his men. His next choice could seal their fate once and for all…

Parker’s thoughtful story features crisp interiors from Carmona and a stylised cover from veteran artist Ian Kennedy.

Commando Comics is online at | DC Thomson – Subscriptions | Facebook| Twitter | Commando Comics on AmazonUK

The Amazing Adventures of Bing The Parachuting Dog by Gil Boyd BEM,is aimed at the 7-10 age range and has approximately 100 pages, including photos and sketches. This children’s book tells the true story of Bing, an Alsatian Cross who served with the 13th Parachute Battalion during World War Two.

• The Art of Ian Kennedy is available to order here on Amazon (Using this Affiliate Link helps support downthetubes, thank you)

The book showcases Ian’s fantastic array of work for not only DC Thomson Media but also his own personal collection. The high spec 160-page art book includes both never before seen and classic covers, as well as illustrations from the DC Thomson archives, featuring titles as diverse as Lucky Charm and Buddy.

Set out chronologically, the book showcases Ian’s career at the famous Scottish publishing house, from his early days working on ‘Red-Skull Branson’ and ‘Commando Jim’ to his most recent covers and commissions for Commando

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


With thanks to Colin Noble

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