Friday, October 08, 2010

Josè Maria Jorge (1940-2010)

The death of Josè Maria Jorge on Monday, 4 October, was announced on the Commando website on Tuesday. He was 69 years old.

Jorge made his debut in Commando whilst he was still in his twenties, his first story, Flying Fury, appearing as issue 384 in February 1969. For forty-two years he produced three or four books a year, a total of 163 issues containing over 10,200 pages of interior art. The first of his fully-painted covers appeared in May 1993 and he painted covers for every one of his stories that appeared in the past 15 years, a total of 67 in all. The 4,000th issue of Commando was, coincidentally, Jorge's 150th contribution to the series.

He will be remembered by fans for his realistic portrayal of aircraft, whether they were from the First and Second World Wars or later theatres of combat. Jorge was at home with any kind of aircraft, and maintained an impressive library of reference shots. However, his attention to detail was not limited to the vehicles and he was also an excellent figure artist.

The last book he completed, Divided Aces, was published in September and earned Commando a little publicity in the Scottish press as it was set around Edinburgh, the cover featuring a British fighter attacking a German bomber flying over the Forth Bridge. In an interview with the Edinburgh Evening News, scriptwriter Ferg Handley related how the story—based on a true incident—came about and that he tried to depict the beauty of Edinburgh. The story's English lead character, Jack Pearson, is sent to nearby R.A.F. Kenmure and falls in love with the city whilst stationed there. Jorge was asked to depict some of the most familiar landmarks Edinburgh has to offer and, as Handley says, "kudos to him for doing such a good job. He got so many small details in."

Jorge's interest in vehicles was not limited to aircraft: although the vast bulk of his Commando work concentrated on planes he did draw the occasional submarine adventure. His work outside of Commando as a painter, as seen on his ofiicial website, reveals his fascination with the classic eras of motor racing, and the diversity of his other work, from horsemen of La Garde Imperiale to portraits.

According to George Low, "He liked to listen to music when he worked and we did a CD swap once. I got Argentinian Tango music and he got the Pipes and Drums of a Scottish regimental band. he swore he always worked faster when he played that. I don't know what the neighbours thought, but somehow I don't think they would have minded."

Colin Watson, now assistant sports editor on the Edinburgh Evening News but a former sub-editor on Commando in the 1980s, recalls, "Not only was he a fantastic artist whose work influenced my own, but I got to meet him and his family on my visits to Buenos Aires in the last few years. He became a firm friend whose sincere brand of hospitality was hard to match."

Note: Issues with a cover (as well as interior art) by Jorge are indicated with an asterisk (*).
Flying Fury (Commando 384, Feb 1969, by Ken Gentry; reprinted 1107)
Desert Dog Fight (Commando 411, Jun 1969, by C. G. Walker; reprinted 1199)
Hero in a Hurri (Commando 440, Nov 1969, by Smith; reprinted 1259)
Black Zero (Commando 456, Feb 1970, by Peter Newark; reprinted 1299)
Aces Wild (Commando 489, Jul 1970, by M. Feldwick; reprinted 1436)
Arctic Ace (Commando 510, Nov 1970, by Montague; reprinted 1483)
Suicide Strike (Commando 528, Feb 1971, by G. Brunt; reprinted 1524)
Battle Squadron (Commando 569, Jul 1971, by G. Brunt; reprinted 1595)
Sky of Flame (Commando 597, Nov 1971, by Cornes; reprinted 1668)
The Squadron That Wouldn’t Die (Commando 632, Mar 1972, by Ken McOwan; reprinted 1755)
The Ship Busters (Commando 657, Jun 1972, by Montague; reprinted 1803)
Death of the Cobra (Commando 693, Nov 1972, by G. Brunt; reprinted 1880)
Abandon Ship! (Commando 724, Mar 1973, by G. Brunt; reprinted 1899)
Fear Flies High (Commando 764, Aug 1973, by Ken Gentry)
Fire Over England (Commando 784, Oct 1973, by Douthwaite; reprinted 2019)
Carrier Strike (Commando 817, Feb 1974, by Montague; reprinted 2076)
Danger in the Deep (Commando 859, Jun 1974, by Montague)
Absent Without Leave (Commando 880, Oct 1974, by Montague)
The Black Buzzard (Commando 897, Dec 1974, by Montague; reprinted 2187)
A Question of Honour (Commando 922, Mar 1975, by Montague; reprinted 2204)
Fighting Cat (Commando 954, Jul 1975, by McLean)
Flying Wild (Commando 985, Nov 1975, by Montague; reprinted 2331)
Identity Unknown (Commando 1010, Feb 1976, by Montague)
Sink That Sub! (Commando 1061, Sep 1976, by Montague)
Java Sea Jinx (Commando 1089, Dec 1976, by Montague)
The Flying Blowlamp (Commando 1117, Apr 1977, by Montague; reprinted 2436)
Bet Your Life (Commando 1142, Jul 1977, by Ken Gentry)
Thunderbolt! (Commando 1168, Oct 1977, by Montague)
Everything Under Control (Commando 1194, Jan 1978, by Montague)
A Family of Heroes (Commando 1216, Apr 1978, by Ken Gentry; reprinted 2500)
Sky Giant (Commando 1250, Aug 1978, by Montague; reprinted 2532)
Paid in Full (Commando 1280, Dec 1978, by Montague)
Action at Zero Feet (Commando 1306, Mar 1979, by Ken Gentry; reprinted 2564)
Winged Wolves (Commando 1332, Jul 1979, by C. G. Walker; reprinted 2596)
Who Killed Cooper? (Commando 1358, Oct 1979, by Montague)
The Survivor (Commando 1376, Dec 1979, by staff)
High Flying Spy (Commando 1399, Mar 1980, by Montague)
Seek Out the Enemy (Commando 1416, May 1980, by Montague)
Fire (Commando 1434, Jul 1980, by Montague; reprinted 2644)
Flying Lifeboat (Commando 1449, Sep 1980, by Montague)
The Man With No Shadow (Commando 1466, Nov 1980, by C. G. Walker; reprinted 2676)
A Race Against Time (Commando 1483, Feb 1981, by M. Feldwick; reprinted 2691)
Treason! (Commando 1504, Apr 1981, by Montague)
Intruders Beware! (Commando 1520, Jun 1981, by Montague; reprinted 2708)
Traitor Planes (Commando 1537, Aug 1981, by W. H. Fear)
Tempest Squadron (Commando 1554, Oct 1981, by Montague)
Man Overboard! (Commando 1577, Jan 1982, by Montague; reprinted 2891)
The Flying Avengers (Commando 1594, Mar 1982, by W. H. Fear)
The Jets from Nowhere! (Commando 1609, May 1982, by Montague)
Shoot Him Down! (Commando 1640, Sep 1982, by staff)
Who Needs Luck? (Commando 1757, Nov 1983, by staff)
All Guns Firing (Commando 1778, Feb 1984, by McDevitt)
Never Say Die! (Commando 1798, May 1984, by Parker; reprinted 3028)
Comrades at War (Commando 1817, Jul 1984, by McDevitt; reprinted 3068)
Deadly Marauders (Commando 1853, Dec 1984, by Montague)
The Savage Sea (Commando 1878, Mar 1985, by W. H. Fear; reprinted 3148)
The Fighting Spirit (Commando 1903, Jun 1985, by C. G. Walker; reprinted 3203)
Floating Bomb (Commando 1922, Aug 1985, by staff)
The Convoy Fights Back (Commando 1946, Nov 1985, by Montague; reprinted 3235)
The Pirates (Commando 1970, Feb 1986, by Montague; reprinted 3268)
Beware the Prowlers (Commando 1986, Apr 1986, by Montague; reprinted 3308)
Target Malta (Commando 2024, Sep 1986, by Montague)
Capture That Ship (Commando 2056, Jan 1987, by Montague; reprinted 3452)
Pilot Error (Commando 2074, Mar 1987, by staff; reprinted 3476)
Saved from the Sea (Commando 2090, May 1987, by Montague; reprinted 3523)
Hit ‘Em Hard! (Commando 2111, Aug 1987, by Alan Hebden)
The Long Night (Commando 2136, Nov 1987, by Montague; reprinted 3588)
Secret of the Sea (Commando 2154, Jan 1988, by staff; reprinted 3635)
Danger—Keep Clear! (Commando 2183, May 1988, by Montague; reprinted 3627)
Who’s the Best? (Commando 2197, Jul 1988, by C. G. Walker; reprinted 3683)
First Command (Commando 2222, Oct 1988, by W. H. Fear)
Owl Patrol (Commando 2242, Dec 1988, by Ian Clark; reprinted 3745)
Jet Pilot (Commando 2263, Mar 1989, by Alan Hebden; reprinted 3787)
Ace Versus Ace (Commando 2282, May 1989, by Bernard Gregg; reprinted 3843)
The Invisible Warrior (Commando 2306, Aug 1989, by Montague)
Know Your Enemy (Commando 2342, Jan 1990, by Ian Clark; reprinted 3916)
Sound of Death (Commando 2360, Mar 1990, by Spencer; reprinted 3965)
Fighting Hurricat (Commando 2377, May 1990, by Ian Clark; reprinted 4005)
Murphy’s Luck (Commando 2402, Aug 1990, by Ian Clark; reprinted 4048)
Lone Warrior (Commando 2426, Nov 1990, by Ian Clark; reprinted 4064)
Iron-Cross Yank (Commando 2445, Feb 1991, by Ian Clark; reprinted 4104)
Deadly Triangle (Commando 2466, Apr 1991, by C. G. Walker)
Operation Extinction (Commando 2488, Jul 1991, by Ian Clark; reprinted 4144)
Dragon Pilot (Commando 2511, Oct 1991, by Ian Clark; reprinted 4112)
Zig-Zag—or Die! (Commando 2536, Jan 1992, by K. P. MacKenzie)
Starr’s War (Commando 2551, Mar 1992, by Ian Clark; reprinted 4173)
Giant Duel (Commando 2574, Jun 1992, by Ian Clark; reprinted 4197)
“Let Me Fly!” (Commando 2598, Sep 1992, by Ian Clark; reprinted 4181)
Too Late for Glory (Commando 2610, Oct 1992, by Ian Clark; reprinted 4270)
“Squadron—Scramble” (Commando 2622, Dec 1992, by K. P. MacKenzie)
Squadron Pride (Commando 2645, Mar 1993, by Ian Clark)
Hunger for Glory (Commando 2663, May 1993, by Ian Clark)*
Top Secret Squadron (Commando 2674, Jun 1993, by Ian Clark)
Pilot for Hire (Commando 2694, Sep 1993, by Ian Clark)*
Flying Musketeers (Commando 2713, Nov 1993, by Ian Clark; reprinted 4312)*
The Waiting Game (Commando 2734, Feb 1994, by K. P. MacKenzie)
Air Pirates (Commando 2753, Apr 1994, by Ian Clark)*
Close Support (Commando 2766, Jun 1994, by Ian Clark; reprinted 4208)
Full Circle (Commando 2802, Oct 1994, by Ian Clark)*
Valley of Death (Commando 2817, Dec 1994, by Ian Clark; reprinted 4149)*
(cover only) (Commando 2831, Feb 1995)
Carrier Pilot (Commando 2842, Mar 1995, by Ian Clark)
Wings of War (Commando 2855, May 1995, by Ian Clark; reprinted 4301)
Fearless Foster (Commando 2881, Aug 1995, by Ian Clark; reprinted 4319)
Chinese Squadron (Commando 2890, Sep 1995, by Ian Clark)*
The Kestrels (Commando 2917, Jan 1996, by Alan Hebden)*
The Flying Foxes (Commando 2943, Apr 1996, by Ian Clark)*
Code-Name “Adolf” (Commando 2961, Jun 1996, by Ian Clark)*
Forced to Fly (Commando 2986, Sep 1996, by C. G. Walker)*
Jungle Fortress (Commando 3017, Jan 1997, by Ian Clark)*
The Flying Fletchers (Commando 3039, Apr 1997, by K. P. MacKenzie)*
East to Danger (Commando 3049, May 1997, by K. P. MacKenzie)*
Gunn Fighter (Commando 3089, Oct 1997, by Alan Hemus)*
Killer Cobra (Commando 3110, Jan 1998, by K. P. MacKenzie)*
Wings Over Africa (Commando 3135, Apr 1998, by Roger Sanderson)*
Operation “Baltic” (Commando 3158, Jul 1998, by Roger Sanderson)*
Fatal Contact (Commando 3177, Sep 1998, by Ferg Handley)*
Eyes of the Guns (Commando 3202, Dec 1998, by Alan Hemus)*
Serpent Island (Commando 3223, Mar 1999, by C. G. Walker)*
Flying Fox (Commando 3246, Jun 1999, by Ferg Handley)*
Bogus Bomber (Commando 3265, Aug 1999, by staff)*
Operation “Shooting Star” (Commando 3296, Dec 1999, by staff)*
Battle Mountain (Commando 3329, Apr 2000, by Alan Hebden)*
David versus Goliath (Commando 3351, Jul 2000, by Alan Hebden)*
Panzer Hunter (Commando 3373, Oct 2000, by Colin Watson)*
One Man Battle (Commando 3383, Dec 2000, by Alan Hebden)*
Badges of the Brave (Commando 3423, Apr 2001, by Norman Adams)*
Storm Birds (Commando 3441, Jun 2001, by Stephen Walsh)*
Terror of the Tanks (Commando 3469, Oct 2001, by Ferg Handley)*
Keep ‘Em Flying (Commando 3498, Jan 2002, by Ferg Handley)*
The Haunted Hurricane (Commando 3517, Apr 2002, by Alan Hebden)*
Rogue Ace (Commando 3538, Jun 2002, by Norman Adams)*
“Stop, Thief!” (Commando 3561, Sep 2002, by Mike Knowles)*
Mystery Squadron (Commando 3584, Dec 2002, by Stephen Walsh)*
Fighter Aces (Commando 3606, Mar 2003, by Ferg Handley)*
Gulls with Guns (Commando 3625, May 2003, by Sean Blair)*
Target in Sight (Commando 3641, Jul 2003, by James Doonan)*
Arrow Ace (Commando 3670, Nov 2003)*
Doomed Breed (Commando 3695, Feb 2004)*
Flight to Freedom (Commando 3712, Apr 2004)*
Bronco Ace (Commando 3745, Aug 2004)*
The First Aces (Commando 3768, Nov 2004)*
War on the Waves (Commando 3791, Feb 2005)*
Ace in the Dark (Commando 3813, May 2005)*
Terror in the Trenches (Commando 3838, Aug 2005)*
The Invisible Enemy (Commando 3856, Oct 2005)*
High Speed Ace (Commando 3909, May 2006)*
Tank Trouble (Commando 3929, Jul 2006)*
Air Raid! (Commando 3952, Oct 2006)*
Czech Ace (Commando 3987, Mar 2007)*
Aces All! (Commando 4000, Apr 2007, by Ferg Handley)*
Automatic Pilot (Commando 4043, Oct 2007, by Alan Hebden)*
Submarine Warriors (Commando 4084, Feb 2008, by Ferg Handley)*
Ace versus Ace (Commando 4091, Apr 2008, by Alan Hebden)*
Strike of the Thunderbolt (Commando 4122, Jul 2008, by Alan Hebden)*
The Fighting Storks (Commando 4131, Sep 2008, by Alan Hebden)*
Desert Dogfight (Commando 4154, Nov 2008, by Ferg Handley)*
Aegean Ace (Commando 4155, Dec 2008, by Ferg Handley)*
Stormbird Strike! (Commando 4193, Apr 2009, by Ferg Handley)*
Convict Squadron (Commando 4218, Jul 2009, by Norman Adams)*
Messerschmitt Storm (Commando 4233, Sep 2009, by Alan Hebden)*
Battle Over Britain (Commando 4266, Jan 2010, by Sean Blair)*
Crossed Sword Squadron (Commando 4298, May 2010, by Steve Coombs)*
Divided Aces (Commando 4329, Sep 2010, by Ferg Handley)*

(* All Commando images © D C Thomson.)


  1. Josè Maria Jorge. Finally a name to the cover and interior art I was always fond of. I was critical of Commando for its not crediting its contributors, and in the case Jorge particularly so. Commando should do a bumper package of just his stuff--it's that good.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. One of the greats, a little annoyed i didn't hear about this sooner! I need to do a tribute on my own site.

  3. thanks for the post! Maria Soledad Jorge



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