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Thursday, 6 December 2012

Commando: Tigers, Walruses and Horsas

It is the time of year when the calendars are in newsagents, card shops and shopping centres around the country and for the second year running Waverley Books have produced a calendar featuring the painted cover artwork of Commando. The cover illustration by Ian Kennedy, from Tiger In The Tail, shows an RAF Lancaster bomber tail gunner letting loose at attacking German night-fighters while the twelve monthly illustrations include another five different Ian Kennedy covers along plus art by Gordon Livingstone, Ken Barr, Jordi Penalva and Jeff Bevan. The Commando Calendar 2013 has a cover price of £6.
 
In the meantime the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut that is the Commando publishing schedule brings us the next four issues of Britain's last war comic which are available in newsagents from today.

Commando No 4555 – Operation: Horsa
Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Keith Page
Cover: Keith Page

Captain Mike Markham and his unit of Paras were part of a small striking force sent to neutralise a flotilla of E-boats menacing Allied shipping. But when problems with their glider saw them come down many miles from their objective they thought their role in the plan was over.

Little did they know they would still have a chance to do the job…though they would have to invent a new plan as they went along. They called it OPERATION: HORSA. 

Commando No 4556 – The Brink Of War
Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Vila
Cover: Janek Matysiak

For Panzergrenadier Otto Feldman the war ended in 1945 when, after escaping a ruthless Russian major who butchered his comrades, he surrendered to American forces.

Years later, as the Cuban Missile Crisis put the world on the brink of nuclear war, Otto was unexpectedly back in action. He and his young son, Gunther, were caught in the middle of a clash between British Centurion tanks and Russian T54s – not to mention an old enemy from the past… 

Commando No 4557 – Fog Of Doom
Originally Commando No 45 (November 1962)
Story: Eric Hebden
Art: Gordon Livingstone
Cover: Ken Barr

There were many who scoffed when it was said that the battlefield at Arras was haunted – haunted by the ghosts of the soldiers who had fought and died there in the First World War. But when the tide of battle in World War II flooded over the same ground, strange things happened. To the men who fought there it seemed as though the spirits of the glorious British dead had risen again and were fighting shoulder to shoulder with them in one of the most vicious actions of the whole war.

Introduction by Calum Laird, Editor

In the early years, Commando was confined to Second World War stories, other conflicts were out of bounds. Unless, of course, a clever author could shoehorn in a mention of, say, the First World War. Which is what Eric Hebden has done here, stitching together scenes from both conflicts with a nightmarish connection. 

His narrative is brought to life by two other Commando stalwarts ‑ Gordon Livingstone and Ken Barr. Livingstone’s strongly defined black and white work being a fantastic counterbalance to Barr’s almost ethereal use of colour on the front cover.

All in all a classic Commando.

Commando No 4558 – Saved From The Sea
Originally Commando No 2090 (May 1987)
Story: R.A. Montague
Art: J.M. Jorge
Cover: Ian Kennedy

The Supermarine Walrus – slow, lumbering and almost defenceless. Not much of a plane, you might think. But to the RAF Air/Sea Rescue service these aircraft were priceless, plucking flyers and sailors from the sea, often in atrocious weather. As the pilot of one of these remarkable boats, Ted Brewer took all this in his stride. But then the day came when he himself was in danger of drowning unless a Walrus came along to save his life!

Introduction by Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

The men of the RAF’s Air/Sea Rescue service did an amazing job, saving the lives of many downed flyers. This is a great tribute to their vital, perhaps overlooked, work and featuring stunning art from Jose Maria Jorge – quite rightly famed for his aircraft illustrations. But, as you will see, Jorge could draw anything and was equally adept at sea tales – what a fine example of his versatility.

Much like the heroes of the story, in its own quietly understated way, this is a classic from the Commando archives.


downthetubes is pleased to offer an exclusive discount on a subscription to DC Thomson's Commando comic, entitling readers to save 50% by ordering using our special discount code! Follow this link to DC Thomson's subscription page. When prompted, enter this unique code COMDT - then make your payment and your subscription will be up and running!

• 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

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