Tuesday 1 February 2011

Ian Kennedy - And The Now You Seem Them - Now You Don't Credits

It's really good to see Commando comic's forward thinking team giving the creatives that create their 64 page pocket comics the credits they deserve. But it wasn't always so, for years the practice was to keep things simple and even when in the U.S.A. artists and writers were getting credits their U.K. cousins were still for the most part toiling in obscurity.

As mentioned on earlier posts Ian Kennedy, who has to be one of the most consummate comic artists as well as one of the longest serving, tried to beat the system and when he was creating some of the most amazing artworks of Fleetway's Air Ace Picture Library he managed to slip in several pages of signed artwork for one of his greatest productions; Air Ace 38, "Fighter, Fighter". The artwork for this story has never been bettered as regards creating a convincing scenario for the story he was illustrating. If you take the sample artwork from this story you'll see that the atmosphere and lighting is spot on, right down to the last rivet on the reinforced armor on the pilot's seat. When the action comes it is all the more compelling and dynamic.

No one else had attempted this kind of super reality in creating pocket war comics and it was partly a desire by Ian Kennedy to realize his boyhood dream of becoming a pilot as well as his innate perfectionism and desire to deliver the best job he could, that pushed him to go above and beyond the call of duty on these comics.

It's no wonder that Kennedy wanted to flag up his authorship of these amazing pages and he managed to sign eight pages of "Fighter, Fighter" as the sample shown indicates. When he came to artwork his follow up story, the sublime, "Day of Reckoning" he again signed several of the pages but this time the Fleetway "bodgers" as they were referred to were waiting with antenna as alert as a ME 110 Nightfighter. Consequently the evidence of Kennedy's distinctive signature on the pages concerned was vestigial to say the least as the inhouse artist obliterated his signature with a bottle of snowpake. The evidence of this procedure is apparent in the right hand corner of the bottom panel of page 23 from "Day of Reckoning"... just under the wing of the ME 110.

Any thoughts that Kennedy had thrown in the towel with his attempts to "signify" his involvement with these stories was however illusory as one of our blog correspondents has pointed out in this page from "Ship Buster".

See if you can spot the signature and many thanks to Malcolm Norton for alerting me to this.

All images © IPC Media 2011.

A collection of stories from the golden years of Air Ace titled "Aces High" and featuring two of Kennedy's sensational stories, including "Fighter, Fighter" is available from Amazon.


  1. Agreed Graeme, but did you spot Ian's signature on the last page?

  2. It took me minute but yes indeed. I cornered it down :)