Thursday 24 November 2011

More News From Commando HQ and a Couple of Strays

Just received this latest update from Calum Laird over at Commando HQ. I can't stress enough just how thrilled I am with their current reprint policy. The reason being that at last they are reprinting a whole slew of titles from the early non PC years, where Huns were Huns, Nips were Nips, teeth were gritted, eyes bugged, everyone was back lit by what appears to have been exploding phosphorous and there was Mercy For None!

So here's some more of those early as well as new titles and some fabulous Ken Barr covers (some of his finest imo) and a sneak preview of some covers which slipped through the wire, including issue 94 Jump or Die with fantastic Barr cover and delicious interior art by Alfredo Sanchez Cortez.

Commando No 4447

Colours Of Courage

The proudest possessions of any regiment are its colours — the flags which it carries into battle. Its history is recorded on these colours, the victories it has won.
   A regiment guards its colours fiercely. To have them captured by the enemy is a terrible thing. But when a man hands over the colours to save his own skin it is a disgrace that brave soldiers can hardly bear think about.

Introduction by Calum Laird, Commando Editor

   If there are two things difficult to get right in a Commando they are French Resistance stories and ghosts. Resistance stories could easily be 63 pages of skulking about avoiding searching German soldiers and ghosts could easily look like normal characters drawn without enough ink.
   Thanks to ace story-teller Cyril Walker, Colours Of Courage cracks along with plenty of action to break up the tension. And Arthur Fleming — an art teacher from Glasgow — manages to skilfully depict a glowing figure despite only having black ink and white paper to work with.
  Wrapped in one of Ian Kennedy’s superbly drawn and laid-out covers it’s got all it needs for a cracking Commando.

Colours Of Courage, originally Commando No 1182 (December 1977), re-issued as No 2412 (October 1990)

Story: Cyril Walker
Art: Arthur Fleming
Cover Art: Ian Kennedy

Commando No 4448

The Four Scars

Corporal Bill Kirk felt the tiny life-raft rock lazily as the Jap struggled aboard. Both turned to look at the sinking Jap prison-ship they’d been on — Bill a prisoner, the Jap a guard. Then they turned back, to look at each other; and what that Jap read in Bill Kirk’s eyes made him start back in fear.
   But there was no escape for him. With only the vast empty ocean and the sharks circling the raft for witnesses, they grappled in a fight to the finish.

Introduction by Calum Laird, Commando Editor

I’ve mentioned before that I my childhood Commando issues at the back of the garage a few years ago. Some I had to look at again to refresh my memory, but not this one. I don’t know how many times I read and re-read this in the 60s but it must have been a lot because I had almost total recall.
   Ken Barr’s cover with its ethereal hand hovering over the action, Victor de la Fuente’s action-packed, high-energy inside art and Eric Hebden’s crackerjack of a story with its startling twist were just what the doctor ordered in 1965…and are equally so today. I think so anyway and I hope you’ll agree.
   As an aside, Ken Barr used a sheet of transparent plastic sheet with the outline of the hand painted on it to get that ghostly effect. I certainly didn’t know that in 1965.

The Four Scars, originally Commando No 185 (October 1965), re-issued as No 831 (April 1974)

Story: Eric Hebden
Art: Victor de la Fuente
Cover Art: Ken Barr

Commando 4449

Days Of Danger

Simon Katz was a young German and a fervent anti-Nazi. A brilliant mathematician, he escaped Germany by the skin of his teeth and went to work as a code-breaker for the British.
   Not long after, Sergeant Barney Taft also made an escape – from the bullet-strafed beaches of Dunkirk.
   Though they were on the same side, when circumstances threw the pair together, they clashed bitterly. But could they manage to work together against a ruthless enemy? They would have to if they were to survive.

Story: Stephen Walsh
Art: Vila
Cover Art: Nicholas Forder

Commando No 4450

The Nightmare War

Private Franz Bauer, a German Army engineer wounded during the invasion of France, was haunted by the deaths of his comrades in the same battle — wiped out by a mine. When he recovered he threw himself into his new job developing the remote-controlled Borgward IV demolition vehicle, hoping it might save other German lives.

   His chance to save thousands of lives would come, but he would be working alongside an unlikely ally — someone who had nightmares every bit as bad as Franz’s.

Story: Mac MacDonald
Art: Keith Page
Cover Art: Keith Page

All images © DC Thomson 2011

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