Here’s the run down on the latest issues of DC Thomson’s Commando (Issues 4823-4826), on sale now in all good newsagents (and some run by Volgans), and a number of digital platforms.
Our favourite cover this week has to be Number 4823, above – a terrific image from veteran artist Carlos Pino, once a regular contributor to 2000AD but whose work I can recall as far back as “Star Trek” for the 1970s TV21.
Commando No 4823 – Waterloo!
Story: Ferg Handley Art: Carlos Pino Cover: Carlos Pino
The wars started with a peasant’s revolt in Paris and ended beside an obscure farmhouse in Belgium. Over nearly three decades, France, her armies and her new emperor turned Europe into a cauldron of conflict.
Henri Durant and Jean Tavere were just two of the thousands of men whose lives were turned upside down in these tumultuous years. In the end, only one of them would survive the battle of…
“200 years ago, the battle that — arguably if you’re French — set the political landscape of Europe for many generations was fought in a previously insignificant area of what was then the Netherlands,” notes Calum Laird, Commando Editor. “Waterloo.
“Described by the eventual victor, the Duke of Wellington, as ‘the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life’ it was a titanic struggle between the armies of half the nations of Europe. But what of the men, the ordinary Joes and Pierres who closed together in the heat and smoke of battle?
“We asked regular Commando writer Ferg Handley to weave some of his magic and give us a tale that showed a little of the life they might have lived. That he’s managed to put those lives in an authentic historical setting — not just an extended battle scene — is testament to his talents.
“He came up with a pair of stories (Part Two is coming soon!) that Carlos Pino has illustrated with his customary panache. I really do think they’ve done us proud.
Commando No 4824 – The Desperate Hours
Originally Commando No 157 (March 1965), re-issued as No 763 (August 1973)
Story: Skentleberry Art: Sostres Cover: Ken Barr
“Old Soldiers never die,” was just another saying to Corporal Bill Curtis and Private Jack Hunt until that night they landed on an island to sabotage the huge guns threatening the Allied invasion forces.
Then strange things began to happen. It all started when they met up with an officer of Napoleon’s Army — a man who by rights should have been dead for over a hundred years, but still helped them fight the Nazis.
“Waterloo is very much in the minds of military historians (and war comic fans) right now,” notes Calum. “In this batch of four Commandos, we’ve included a tale set very much around the battle which I hope you’ll enjoy. Checking out 50-year-old stories for the Gold Collection, I didn’t expect to come across anything remotely connected with the battle 200 years ago. Then this tale popped up.
“It was a surprise as Ken Barr’s outrageous cover gives no clues to the Napoleonic connection. Skentleberry’s script, though, weaves the echo in very nicely, thanks.
“So get reading and finally face our Waterloo.”
Commando No 4825 – Hi-Jack!
Originally Commando No 605 (December 1971), re-issued as No 1692 (April 1983)
Story: R. A. Montague Art: Collado Cover: Penalva
Lieutenant Pete Wade was very glad to see the last of Greece. He had seen too many brave men die facing hopeless odds as the Nazis swarmed in with overwhelming numbers.
But he wouldn’t have been nearly so pleased if he’d known that he’d be sent back to Greece…by parachute, at dead of night. And there would be other enemies to deal with, more dangerous even than the Nazis!
“When Commando fan Phil Singleton nominated this book for a fresh viewing, I don’t think he realised that he’d done me a huge favour,” Calum reveals. “As a nipper, I remembered reading this particular story but had singularly failed to track it down despite many visits to the archive. I was on the third or fourth page when I realised I’d found it at last. Cheers, Phil.
“We try (yes we do!) to avoid too much stereotyping of our characters these days but back in ’71 there were obviously no such reservations — check out Spiro if you don’t believe me! That said, this is a cracking tale of intrigue, filled with contrasting, clashing players. As usual, the art totally does justice to the script.
“Now, if you’ll excuse me, the 11-year-old me is about to read the story again.”
Commando No 4826 – Fit To Fight
Originally Commando No 1065 (September 1976), re-issued as No 2379 (June 1990)
Story: R.A. Montague Art: Elias Cover: Ian Kennedy
Massive doors set in a cliff face. Enemy submarines slinking in at night to their hidden lair… and slinking out again before dawn to go about their deadly business.
This base could not be bombed or shelled, but it had to be destroyed. And the man to do it was a soldier sent home from the desert with wounds that had made him “unfit for duty”.
“This book is nicely paced,” argues Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor. “Just as we’re getting into an action-packed war desert tale, our hero, and with him the reader, unexpectedly find themselves thrust into an entirely different, but equally welcome kind of story — a sabotage mission involving killer U-boats, the French Resistance and the Gestapo.
“It’s gripping stuff and Lieutenant Dick Morgan, the aforementioned hero, is a memorable Commando character. Side-lined on several occasions, he is absolutely determined to be involved in the action and do his duty.”
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Commando Digital Editions
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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.
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