Commando issues on sale 28 January 2016.
Dick Avery was a captain in the Merchant Navy. He’d sailed with some of the best — and worst — ships and crews on the seven seas. He reckoned he’d seen it all.
That was before he took command of Old Rusty, an ancient tub with a crew made up of drunks, brawlers and raw seamen of every nationality.
When Dick left Gibraltar he didn’t fancy his chances of ever seeing England again.
But then they ran into a German U-boat, and he wouldn’t have swapped that ship or that crew for the best in the Royal Navy!
Although veteran artist Ian Kennedy is renowned for his superlative aircraft (and spacecraft) illustration, this cover shows that, naturally enough, he is equally adept at drawing ships and submarines too.
This behemoth of a painting really sets the scene for the wonderful maritime adventure that follows. For me, it’s like The Dirty Dozen at Sea — chock full of memorable characters and action set pieces.
Many thanks to reader Yasmin Akbar for suggesting that Old Rusty should set sail once more.—Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Art: Gordon Livingstone
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Old Rusty, originally Commando No 708 (January 1973)
Young Naval lieutenant Dan Blain teamed up with Kang Wu and his cut-throat pirates of the Java Seas to wage all-out war on the warships of Japan. When this pair of modern buccaneers got going, not a single Japanese sailor ashore or afloat could sleep soundly.
I can almost imagine the pitch for this back in 1966 — “Pirate Commandos”…that’s definitely a winner…
Actually, I’m cheating a little (okay, a lot) — a glance at the trusty Commando records file told me that author Spence’s original working title was indeed “Pirate Commandos”.
However, I do think that the then-current editorial team made the right decision to go with the snappy, more foreboding “The Wreckers”. It really seems to suit this tough, sea-faring tale and Scholler’s menacing, murky cover illustration.—Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
The Wreckers, originally Commando No 212 (May 1966)
Major Heinrich Keil of the Luftwaffe was an ace…and a killer. A mad, evil Nazi whose chief delight was to hunt and kill, whether he was chasing animals on the ground or British pilots in the air.
Now he was going after another British pilot — but this time he was going to hunt him down in the forest…with a crossbow.
One of the best things about working on Commando is uncovering fantastic stories from our archive, one that now spans 55 years.
I’d never read this tale as it was published in March 1972, two months before I was born. When I saw that the interior art was by the brilliant Cam Kennedy, whose 2000AD work I had admired in the 1980s, and then realised that it was a fantastic revenge yarn anyway, I knew that we just had to let another audience discover this absolute classic, which features a truly memorable villain in Major Heinrich Keil.
My sincere thanks to reader Roger Worsley, who suggested that we uncage The Black Eagle once again.—Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Story: C.G. Walker
Art: Cam Kennedy
Cover: Ian Kennedy
The Black Eagle, originally Commando No 629 (March 1972), re-issued as No 1732 (September 1983)
The Italians fighting in North Africa clashed not only with their British foes, but also with their German allies.
Enzo Lanzini certainly wasn’t happy facing the advance of British armour across the desert, but he certainly was no coward either. It was just that he had seen the way the Nazis operated, and he had come to the conclusion that he was in fact fighting THE WRONG ENEMY
Although a Commando comic must have a solid military premise and plenty of action — at its heart, more important than anything else, it must have a strong lead character. Here we have exactly that.
Corporal Enzo Lanzini is a machine-gunner with a strong moral compass and, since he is Italian, is traditionally seen as the enemy. Right away he has the potential to become a leftfield, classic Commando hero. I hope you enjoy his story.—Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Story: Ian Clark
Art: Keith Shone
Cover: Keith Shone
The Wrong Enemy, originally Commando No 2474 (May 1991)