Brand new Commando comics from DC Thomson issues #5239 – 5242 are out now in all good UK newsagents and via digital subscription. This set of releases includes “Steel Inferno“, written by Hailey Austin, whose work as a PhD student caught media attention last year after she discovered a number rare comics – some dating back to the 1800s – among thousands of comics she catalogued at the University of Dundee.
They included drafts and proofs of early DC Thomson titles among the materials donated to the university’s archives.
Her story is inspired by the Soham Rail disaster which took place in the early hours of 2nd June 1944, as Britain prepared for the D-Day landings, when an ammunition train caught fire in Soham Station, which used to be on the Ely to Newmarket line in Cambridgeshire.
The train crew detached the wagon from the rest of the train and were drawing it away when the cargo exploded, the resulting explosion ripping through the town of Soham – but if it hadn’t been for the bravery of the men involved, the town would have been reduced to rubble and hundreds of residents could have been killed.
The fireman of the train and the signalman at Soham signalbox were killed and several other people injured. The train’s driver, Benjamin Gimbert, and fireman, James Nightall, were both awarded the George Cross for preventing further damage which would have occurred if the rest of the train had exploded.
Commando 5239: Home of Heroes – The Final Hunt
Story: Colin Watson | Art: Morhain & Defeo | Cover : Ian Kennedy
A body has been found beneath one of the Nissen huts in a Scottish prisoner of war camp — but who is it? Stripped of all identification and with camp records all accounted for, a small list of suspects leads to a mystery that only retired policeman Dick McKay can solve.
It’s okay – McKay likes a puzzle and the answer to this particular enigma will take the small town Scottish gardener all the way to Frankfurt.
Commando 5240: Gold Collection – Fire in the Sky
Story: Leach | Art: L Rosell | Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 685 (1972)
When bailing out of a failing aircraft the hard and fast rule is that the skipper is the last one out. So imagine an RAF Lancaster crew’s surprise when their Squadron Leader was the first out – not even bothering to tell them to jump!
When word gets back to England, Squadron Leader Ricky Lomax’s name is mud – but behind the barbed wire fence of a POW camp in Germany, Ricky has no idea – and no memory of what happened.
Commando 5241: Action and Adventure – Steel Inferno
Story: Hailey Austin | Art: Khato | Cove: Keith Burns
Inspired by the true events of the Soham Rail disaster in 1944, Commando’s third female writer in 30 years, Hailey Austin, brings readers a high-octane spy thriller!
When Nazi agents pinpoint the sleepy town of Uxton as a prime target, two lieutenants must work together to stop them – if they can get along long enough to!
Commando 5242: Silver Collection – One Must Die!
Story: Mike Knowles | Art and Cover: Manuel Benet
Originally Commando No. 2839 (1995)
Hate is a strong word – but not strong enough! The intense hatred between John Norton and Eugen Von Hasse was so strong it spanned not one, not two, but three wars!
The torrid relationship between the Brit was German is likely to tear apart the lives of the men who serve with them. So, in order for any to survive… one of them – if not both – must die!
COMMANDO COMICS LINKS
• Official Commando Comics Site: www.commandocomics.com
• Don’t forget The Art of Ian Kennedy is available to order here on Amazon (Using this Affiliate Link helps support downthetubes, thank you)
SOHAM RAIL DISASTER
• Pictures and items relating to the disaster of June 1944 are held by Soham Museum. The collection includes the George Cross awarded to fireman James Nightall and a series of pictures and paintings relating to the incident, in which Soham came within moments of being obliterated by a burning train packed with bombs and ammunition.
The story of the disaster above is told an eyewitness who remembers the night well.
• Network Rail is currently working to reconnect Soham with the rail network, as well as help improve prospects for economic growth, jobs and investment in the area
• Commando Comics on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)
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.