Commando: 4447: 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
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...
"If there are two things difficult to get right in a Commando they are French Resistance stories and ghosts," says Commando Editor Calum Laird of this reprint issue. "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."
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
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...
"I've mentioned before that I found my childhood Commando issues at the back of the garage a few years ago," says Calum Laird of ths story. "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 1960s 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."
Story: Stephen Walsh Art: Vila Cover Art: Nicholas Forder
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: Mac MacDonald Art: Keith Page Cover Art: Keith Page
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.
• 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
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