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Thursday, 24 May 2012

Commando reaches landmark 4500 issue

Here we are again with another four Commandos - and it's something of a landmark release this time around, with the title reaching Issue 4500 - surely something of a record for any comic (as, perhaps, is the number of female characters in the same issue!)

We're also told that 'Night Raider' was the first appearance of Spanish artist Matias Alonso in Commando. Alonso - these days a fine artist and no longer working in comics - illustrated several Spanish adventure comics for publishing houses Grafidea and Valenciana in the 1950s and 1960s and has additionally worked for magazines like Flecha Roja ('La Isla del Tesoro'), El Boletín and Jaimito.

Born in 1935, he began working for British publishers in the 1970s, on titles such as Air Ace, Battle Action, Commando, Eagle, The Victor and Twinkle.

His strips for Victor included 'Shiwa Sands', 'The Coming of the Bugaboo', 'Task Force with Tusks' and 'The Wild Colonial Boy', to name but a few. You can find some of his stunning covers for La Saga de Los Aznar here on Flickr and there's an article in Spanish charting his comics career here.

Commando No 4499: Hunting Mussolini
Story: Alan Hebden Art: Manuel Benet Cover: Manuel Benet

The Convict Commandos - Jelly Jakes, Titch Mooney, Smiler Dawson - and their commander Guy Tenby had been given another job. This time they were to hunt down Mussolini in his hide-out. Easier said than done when they weren't the only ones doing the same.

Guy, as usual, had a plan…but it wasn't supposed to include Jelly hanging from the undercarriage of an airborne Fieseler Storch!

Commando No 4500: Lightning Strike
Story: Alan Hebden Art: John Ridgway Cover: John Ridgway

The war in the Far East was almost over. Japan's armed forces had been ground down and the country was on its knees. The Japanese hadn't given in though, they hoped super-fighters like the Kyushu Shinden - Magnificent Lightning - could stem the flow of US bombers ravaging their country.

They could never have guessed that the Shinden's finest moment would come protecting the very enemies it had been designed to destroy.

Commando No 4501: Night Raider
Originally Commando No 35 (April 1962)
Story: Stainton Art: Matias Alonso Cover: Ken Barr

Out of the night sky he came - a man with no mercy in his heart and a blazing tommy-gun in his hands, whose one ambition was to wreak destruction on all things Nazi. He became the Scarlet Pimpernel of German-occupied Europe.

"Women in Commando are a rare sighting but, like buses, when they do turn up there's more than one," notes editor Calum Laird. "I counted at least three in here, and a bit of romance.

"Don't think that it means that Stainton's story isn't an all guns blazing story as it is, running from the beaches of Dunkirk to a full-on Commando raid in France, and with barely time to reload along the way. His touch means that the espionage, beautifully pointed up by Ken Barr's dramatic night drop cover, manages to be action-packed, not tension-filled.

"Add to that Alonso's 100mph inside art and you have a solid gold winner. Makes you proud to be part of the Commando Team."

Commando No 4502: Battle Flag
Originally Commando No 2063 (February 1987) Commando 4502
Story: Cyril G. Walker Art: Cecil Rigby Cover: Jeff Bevan

The Second Battalion, Daleshire Light Infantry, had something to be proud of - their very own “battle flag”, a standard given to them after their heroic triumph over Napoleon's finest troops. Carried into action, it would inspire the men to further brave deeds.

So when one young officer's courage failed him and the flag was captured, the thought of it in enemy hands made him vow to keep it safe - even after his death!

"Gritty action is undoubtedly what Commando does best," insists Scott Montgomery, the title's Deputy Editor. "However, over the decades there have also been comedies, capers, historical epics, science-fiction and…ghost stories. 'Battle Flag' is a good example of the latter.

"After a detailed framing sequence, veteran writer Cyril Walker cleverly weaves a tale with an eerie thread that runs throughout but does not overwhelm the action and adventure.

"Interestingly, the working title for this story was 'The Flintshire Phantom'. That's a good one and, had it been pitched today, I'm sure that it would have been used! Enjoy."

• 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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