As I have been working through the Commando comics that I have so that I can work on my monster Commando credit catalogue, one issue has caught my eye and that has been issue 1508 titled The Killing Skull. This was printed in 1981 and is a reprint of issue 532 from 1971.
Now it has caught my eye for a few reasons. The first is that this is where I have currently stopped cataloguing the issues that I own in favour of tracking down as many credits as I can and I am doing fairly well on that front. More on that in a forthcoming article which will either be published on here or I may persuade John Freeman to allow me to host the article on Down The Tubes as it could be of middlin’ interest to a few of the fans of British comics. All I will say on that front is that I have identified 182 stories that have been republished at least twice. This total does not include any of the stories that have been reprinted in the anthologies.
However, I digress. Going back to The Killing Skull, I have yet to positively identify the cover and story artists, let alone the writer. But I strongly suspect that the cover artist was the Spanish genius that we know as Jordi Penalva. And enjoying Jordi Penalva’s art is the second reason that this story has caught my eye.
Now the story artist has me stumped, but when we look at how he draws certain characters, then I am sure that someone must know his style and this is where I hope to enlist the help of David Roach. Not only is he a top flight artist, he is also a keen historian of girls’ comics. And for those of you that are not aware, Commando has a proud heritage of using artists that have cut their teeth on the girls’ comics before they illustrated any Commando. Gordon Livingstone is a prime example as he was drawing romance comics in the 1950s. Matias Alonso and Ian Kennedy have also done a large body of work for girls’ comics throughout their careers. And this brings me onto the third reason why this issue has caught my eye.
There are very few Commandos that feature women in any shape or form. And even fewer feature a family in the same war as the central character and this one features both. And this is where this issue is winding me up ever so slowly as the female in the above and below pictures is reminiscent of the style of several artists that did such wonderful work in June, School Friend, Tammy and Jinty amongst others.
If anyone can let me know who this artist is, it would be such a relief!
Update 21st May 2016
Thank goodness for the internet as I can celebrate confirming that this cover is another of the wonderful covers done by Jordi Penalva for Commando, which means that I have now identified 22 of the covers that he had done between 1968 and 1974. So quite a few more to identify!
And David Roach has been able to identify the story artist as Catalan artist Bellalta aka José María Suárez Bellalta. While this artist was born in 1941, he does not have a dedicated page, but if you look at Comic Art Fans, then you can see some more examples of his work.