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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Classic Commandos re-released

Another four Commandos will be out this Thursday and as it’s November, thoughts turn towards the Armistice at the end of the Great War. So it's no surprise there's a pair of World War 1 stories in this set of release, one with a light-hearted feel.

There’s also the second from last in DC Thomson's first dozen re-issue series. Number 2 is seen for the first time in 20 years. Number 1 will re-appear on the 8th of December — just in time for Christmas.

Commando No 4443: Killer In No-Man’s-Land
Story: Mac MacDonald Art: Vila Cover Art: Ian Kennedy

As a soldier in the no-man’s-land between your own trenches and the enemy’s in World War One, you expected to get shot at. British soldier Alan Roux and his mates certainly did.

What they didn’t expect was to have to dodge bullets fired from their own side.

Commando No 4444: Kings of the Castle
Story: Mac MacDonald Art: Keith Page Cover Art: Keith Page

Many strange battles were fought during the 1914-18 war but surely the strangest involved a pair of French regimental policemen, a squad of Australian infantrymen, a bunch of escaped German POWs…and a mediaeval stone tower.

Commando No 4445: They Called Him Coward!
Story: Castle Art: Bonato Cover Art: Ken Barr
Originally Commando No 2 (June 1961), re-issued as No 2531 (January 1992)


The powerful Japanese Army was island-hopping its ruthless way down through the South Seas towards Australia. Many a brave Aussie soldier, standing his ground in the green hell of the island jungles, was bulldozed into eternity by the sheer weight of the Nipponese army.

And one Englishman in the Australian army was caught up in the desperate battle. Bob Palmer he was christened, but COWARD was the name they branded him with. Coward, the word that turns a man into the loneliest being on earth, for what soldier seeks a coward for company?

But there was no craven blood in Bob Palmer’s veins — and he proved he was ready to spill every drop as he blasted Jap after Jap into kingdom come.

"This is a classic Commando tale," says Calum Laird, Commando Editor, of this reprint story. "A man who's the victim of a misunderstanding who has to prove his accuser wrong. And with plenty of action along the way to add some spice. That the two men are on the same side but different nationalities hardly matters nor that there’s a third character trying to be a peacemaker between them.

"What does matter is the use of the emotive word Coward in the title and through out the story. It’s one of those loaded words that can’t be spoken except without venom — as amply demonstrated here by Sergeant Fettis.

"Note to the 1961 Commando editor…the word Coward in the title is far too small, make it bigger."

Commando No 4446: Mystery in the Desert
Originally Commando No 1370 (November 1979)
Story: Ken Gentry Art: Cecil Rigby Cover Art: Ian Kennedy

It was going to be Captain David Poole’s toughest mission yet. Posing as a German spy he was to feed the Nazis with false information which would lead their forces into a trap.

Everything was going like clockwork until David met up with a certain Australian pilot — and then everything started to go terribly wrong.

"As I recall, Ken Gentry who penned this tale, was a South African newspaperman with a sideline in Commando stories," says Calum Laird. "I worked on a few of his over the years. Here he weaves a web of deceit with a double-crossing British agent, a straightforward Aussie pilot and a luckless German commander.

"Cecil Rigby who provided the inside art for the story had also worked on newspapers, as a very good caricaturist and he wasn’t bad at Commando either, having been in at the start. "Ian Kennedy, who provided the cover, puts himself in the cockpit of every plane he draws. I hope he made an exception with this one — that looks like a painful crash."

• The Draw Your Weapons exhibition featuring art from Commando continues at the National Army Museum in London this month and runs until 30th April 2012. For the latest information visit: www.nam.ac.uk/exhibitions/special-displays/draw-your-weapons-art-commando-comics

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

Commando Official Facebook page

• 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

• Commando is also available for iPad and iPhone. The 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

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