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Thursday, May 05, 2016

Commando issues 4911-4914

Commando issues on sale 5 May 2016.

Commando No 4911 – Codename “Magpie”
Captain Eric Brunt was a secret agent. His codename was “Magpie” — because he stole and hoarded vital enemy intelligence in the way that the bird allegedly hoarded anything that glittered.
   When a Royal Navy Motor Torpedo Boat poised to pick up Eric was destroyed, the spy was trapped in occupied France, alongside Frank Nelson, a fellow survivor from the boat. Frank blamed Eric for the loss of his crew and ship. Now both men would have to work together to escape the clutches of the dreaded Gestapo.

Story: George Low
Art: Keith Page
Cover: Keith Page

Commando No 4912 – Rogue Pilot
Sergeant Pilot Tim Cooney was a real happy-go-lucky chap. Some said he was just plain careless. Nothing really bothered him or took the grin off his face — nothing, that is, until he discovered the Germans testing a new and terrifying glider bomb.
   However, when Tim made his report, no one would believe him. They thought it was just another of his jokes. It looked like he’d have to do something about this threat himself…

Our thoughts are with the family of artist Ken Barr, who died in March. Ken painted the very first Commando cover, “Walk – Or Die!” back in June 1961. Indeed, he illustrated a further thirteen consecutive covers straight after. The majority of his 175 covers appeared over a prolific ten-year period until April 1971.
   After a few rare appearances in the mid-1990s, a decade after this, Ken contacted then-Editor Calum Laird to ask if he could contribute a new cover. Of course, we jumped at the chance and the result was “Blood Red Battle” (No 4138), published in September 2008.
   Our thanks and respect to this huge talent, who played a pivotal part in Commando’s 55-year history.—Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Story: Clegg
Art: Peter Ford
Cover: Ken Barr
Rogue Pilot, Originally Commando No 219 (July 1966), re-issued as No 875 (October 1974)

Commando No 4913 – Sawdust Commandos
The men of the Canadian Forestry Corps were known as the “Sawdust Fusiliers” — trained soldiers, they were also lumberjacks based in Great Britain during World War II.
   In a remote area of the Scottish Highlands a group of Commandos on a training exercise clashed with the Canadians.
   However, the Green Berets and the Fusiliers expectedly came up against a group of invading German Navy Marines who were on a top secret mission. These “Sawdust Commandos” would have to put aside their differences and fight for their very lives.

Story: George Low
Art: Muller
Cover: Janek Matysiak

Commando No 4914 – Trouble All The Way
A Royal Navy destroyer is a formidable fighting unit — fast, well-armed and deadly. So when Pete Brandon was posted to join one in Rangoon, he was delighted. But what happened? Instead of joining the destroyer, he found himself on a little H.D.M.L. — a Harbour Defence Motor Launch!
   Well, he didn’t know it then, but this was the start of the adventure of his life. Things really started to get really dangerous when his boat was attacked by a Japanese Zero floatplane — and the danger kept on coming.

Ian Kennedy’s dramatic cover certainly sets up “Trouble All The Way” as a sea and air story, but fairly quickly it changes into a tense jungle tale. Our Royal Navy hero, Sub-Lieutenant Pete Brandon, finds himself unhappily on land and in the middle of a guerrilla skirmish in occupied Burma.
   It’s exciting stuff from veteran writer R.A. Montague, ably drawn by interior artist, Mira — those bats on the opposite page look terrific, I think.—Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Story: R.A. Montague
Art: Mira
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Trouble All The Way, originally No 1122 (April 1977), re-issued as 2459 (April 1991)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Comic Cuts - 29 April 2016

I faced the tail-end of last week with some trepidation as we had a funeral to attend. Suzanne, who died of cancer, was the wife of our good friend, Larry, whom I've known since the mid-Eighties. He was one of the small group who used to share rooms at UKCAC who knew each other through Ace Comics in Colchester.

Anyone who attended any of the late night drinking sessions at ... I can't remember the name of the hotel round the corner from the Royal National but it is now (I believe) the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury. Prior to that (pre-2001) it was the Posthouse Premier Bloomsbury but my Google-fu has let me down as badly as my memory. But my point is that it was the hotel where we used to drink until the wee hours of the morning and anyone who attended those lengthy lock-ins where we managed more than once to drink the bar dry will have met Larry.

Anyway, the funeral service reflected Suzanne's lively personality and we headed inevitably to the pub afterwards for some restrained drinking and to say some fond farewells.

On a cheerier note, we went to see Mark Watson. It just happened to be on the day Prince died and the day after Victoria Wood died, so there was a slight pall over the audience as we all tried to come to terms with having a laugh on what could have been a sad occasion. Watson appeared after the interval, joking that no celebrities had died in the 20 minutes he had been off-stage, at which point someone piped up with the news that they had just heard that Percy Sledge, of "When a Man Loves a Woman"-fame, had died (it was a week earlier, but news can sometimes travel slowly).

I felt a little sorry for Guy Hamilton, who directed a number of excellent movies, whose death was overshadowed and barely noticed. Apart from the Bond movies (Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun), he did the superb Len Deighton adaptation Funeral in Berlin and the magnificent Battle of Britain. He'd started out in the 1940s working with Carol Reid on The Third Man and The Fallen Idol and in his late career was offered both Superman and Batman movies. I watched Funeral in Berlin again last night and it's still one of my favourite spy movies.

I had a belated birthday meal out with friends at the weekend. It was a delight to see everyone. We went to an all you could eat Chinese buffet and I was utterly stuffed by the time we left. In one sense that's not so good as I've put on some weight over the winter months... and it's still quite wintery, so although I'm being good about going for a short walk a couple of times a day, I've not been doing much in the garden or any other form of exercise. I think I'm going to have to spend most of the summer exercising if I really enjoy indulging myself every now and then. I'll also have to make sure that "now" and "then" are further apart.

I managed a little light exercise today shifting some old slates and tiles. As previously mentioned here, we're about to have some major surgery done to some of the trees in the garden and the surgeons are due Friday morning (I'm writing this Thursday evening). They'll be cutting down two Cuppressus Leylandii trees (as I've now learned they're called), and reducing by about 35% four other trees—two Yews, one Elderberry and one Sycamore.

The workmen are planning to bring in a MEWP, which stands for Mobile Elevated Work Platform. Should be fun given the steep angle of the drive. I suspect I'll have plenty of photos for you next week. For now, here's a look at the trees at the front of the house and the Leylanii down the side of my office.

Today's random scans are a small handful of Pinnacle Books' editions of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Martian novels from the 1950s. The first cover on show here is a reprint of the original dust jacket artwork by Frank Schoonover dating from 1917. The rest are, I think, by James McConnell, although they're not all signed. Most of the Pinnacle Books covers were by other hands, and most depicted Tarzan in a variety of different ways. If I get a chance, I'll clean up a few for next week.

Next week: our Ace O'Hara story comes to an end.Will they survive the explosion and the boiling water? Eek!

Ace O'Hara ep.152