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Friday, June 05, 2009

Commando: D-Day Fight or Die!

Another excellent Commando collection has hit the shelves recently. With over 4000 issues to select from, it's no surprise that the editors—I'm not sure if George Low (ex-Commando editor) or Calum Laird (current Commando editor) is now making the selections—can produce huge volumes on certain themes. In this instance... well, the title rather gives it away.

D-Day was probably the single most significant day of World War 2: on 6 June 1944, Allied forces landed on a 50-mile stretch of Normandy coastline in northern France and fought their way up the beaches and into Europe, four years after the British Expeditionary Force had been pushed back by the German advance and evacuated from Dunkirk.

Collecting twelve stories covering the same event risks repetition but, as they said of The Naked City, "There are eight million stories in the Naked City; this has been one of them." Of the 160,000 troops landed on D-Day, I doubt if any two shared exactly the same experiences and in the fictionalised world of Commando, that translates into hundreds of thousands of different viewpoints from which to view the events of the day. Scriptwriters from historian Eric Hebden to current Commando favourite Ferg Handley have all stepped up to the plate and found new ways to approach the same topic.

For many fans, the key issue will be the artwork and Denis McLoughlin will be the name that stands out. However, I'm a contrary bugger and I'm going to say that if you buy the book for its artwork, buy it for the two pairs of stories by Victor de la Fuente and Sanchis Cortes. De la Fuente was one of the best war artists to have worked in the UK and Cortes has long been a favourite of mine ever since I stumbled across his work in Tiger. He worked at one time for Luis Bermejo and the Bermejo/Ortiz style rubbed off. A fantastic, almost unknown artist.


Ambush at Dawn
(333, May 1968) Art: C. T. Rigby; Script: Staff
The Strongpoint (1807, Jun 1984) Art: Blasco; Script: David Motton
Normandy Drop (4011, Jun 2007) Art: Garijo; Script: Ferg Handley
Wrong Time, Wrong Place (2279, May 1989) Art: Ibanez; Script: Alan Hebden
Big Joe (203, Mar 1966) Art: Alfredo Sanchis Cortes; Script: Fitzsimmons
Blood of Heroes (259, May 1967) Art: Eustaquio Segrelles; Script: Eric Hebden
D-Day Drop (511, Nov 1970) Art: Victor de la Fuente; Script: Ken Gentry
Operation Bulldog (413, Jul 1969) Art: Victor de la Fuente; Script: A. Carney Allan
Wolf Pack (329, May 1968) Art: Alfredo Sanchis Cortes; Script: Crawcroft
Man of Iron (358, Sep 1968) Art: Eustaqio Segrelles; Script: Fitzsimmons
Big Guy (92, Nov 1963) Art: Castro; Script: Eric Hebden
The Footsloggers (2365, Apr 1990) Art: Denis McLoughlin; Script: Alan Hebden

(* artwork by Ian Kennedy, Victor de la Fuente, Sanchis Cortes respectively (c) D. C. Thomson.)

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