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Friday, 4 March 2011

Convict Commandos debuts

Four new Commando issues are on sale now in newsagents, continuing our 50th year countdown from 12 to one of re-issues of the original dozen Commandos. This month sees Number 10 “Hun Bait”, written by Dan Dare writer David Motton under the pseudonym Bernard Castle, drawn by Gordon Livingstone, given a fresh airing.

Also launching this month is the first Convict Commando story, a mini-series of adventures for these new Commando heroes devised by Alan Hebden which will run in Issues 4371, 4379, 4387 and 4395. " And maybe more to come," hints editor Calum Laird.

Alan Hebden will be familiar to downthetubes readers, not only for his Commando work, but for his work on the 1970s title Battle Picture Weekly, for which he created strips such as Major Eazy and Crazy Keller, and also wrote scripts for Rat Pack and D-Day Dawson, among others. His body of work is immense, but he has resisted most attempts by fans of his work to be drawn into talking about his contributions to British comics.

Commando is now available through a digital subscription service — DC Thomson’s first foray into this medium. "Although it’s early days (the first month is just finishing), the numbers are building," says Calum, "as are those for the much longer established paper subscriptions."

Commando No 4371: Convict Commandos
Story: Alan Hebden Art and Cover: Benet

There you are — stuck in a military prison in Singapore when the Japanese smash into town. You know that if being a prisoner of the British is bad being a prisoner of the Japanese will be ten times worse.

So if a man in British officer’s uniform was to offer to get you out if you’d work for him, you’d agree to do anything he ordered, wouldn’t you?

The Convict Commandos did… and probably wished they hadn’t!

Commando 4372: Sky Sniper
Story: Ferg Handley Art: Vila Cover Art: Ian Kennedy

Soaring above the battlefields of the Western Front, the pilots of the Royal Flying Corps saw themselves as guardians of chivalry — gentlemen fliers.

So Lieutenant James Wilford, the pilot of a Farman MF11 Shorthorn, got a shock when he met his new observer, Captain Alan Kingston. This gun-toting, hardened veteran had already seen action in the trenches — and had no time for old-fashioned chivalry. If the Huns wanted a fight… they’d get one!

Commando 4373: Hun Bait
Story: Castle Art: Gordon Livingstone Cover Art: Ken Barr
Originally Commando No 10. Previously re-issued as No 2595. Now released in as near to the original presentation as possible.

They were keeping him away from the front line — a man like Sergeant Kelly! And yet this big Australian had such a deadly hatred for the enemy it made him into a fighting fury, a battling, raging, soldier supreme.

But John Kelly was a trier, and exciting was the path he trod to defy authority and get his hands on the enemy’s throat.

David Motton, who also wrote several Dan Dare and Jet Ace Logan stories, wrote this story under the pseudonym Bernard Castle. Alive  and well, and out in the western desert, downthetubes recently interviewed him here.

Commando 4374: The Eye of Ra

Story: Mike Knowles Art: Giralt Cover Art: F.D. Phillips
First Published in 1978 as Commando No 1212 and chosen by Scott Montgomery, Commando’s Deputy Editor

It was carved on the wall of an ancient tomb. The Eye of Ra, sun-god of Egypt. The legend said that if it gazed on anyone defiling the tomb, that person was doomed. The men who discovered it laughed at the idea, but one of them died violently and the others vanished without trace!

The war brought soldiers to Egypt, and among them was the brother of the dead man. From the moment his troop-train was ambushed until the moment he finally stood in that same tomb, Alan Fisher was to run into more dangers than he had ever thought possible.

• The Commando iPad and iPhone apps are free to download through the Apple iTunes App Store and a digital subscription is priced at £4.99 per month, compared to a £99 annual print subscription. For those not sure there are four free issues to download prior to making a purchase.

Commando Comics iPhone App on iTunes

Commando Comics iPad App on iTunes

• Official Commando web site: http://www.commandocomics.com/

• Click here for subscription information or write to: D.C. Thomson & Co Ltd, The Subscribers Department, Commando Library, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL or Freephone (UK only) 0800 318846

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