Now anyone that knows me knows I can be a bit of an act first think later kind of person and can end up burning bridges that I don’t mean to, but when I talk about the song, then it can cheer people up as it can only be associated with a beautiful bridge wid all dem positive waves. So it was in this spirit, I sent a wee pile of doubles down to a friend who needed a bit of a lift and what better way than a pile of Commandos?
Now, they were a fair representation of what is pretty damn awesome about the comic and featured some of the best artists. So what issues do you send a war fan who needs cheering up? Well, for a starter, Ian Kennedy art is a good place to begin. And with the issues that I sent, no less than 10 of those covers were by Ian Kennedy. Now most British comic fans will know Ian’s work from 2000AD, Hotspur, Warlord, Eagle Mk II and of course the huge amount of Commando covers that he has done (1224 and counting).
Now, as I have named the article after one of the lyrics to Burning Bridges, I think it is rather apt that we start off with a bridge orientated cover, so what could be better than Hold The Bridge! (issue 1553)
I could put all the Ian Kennedy covers up, but I am going to restrain myself and stick with only a few others.
I love the way that Ian Kennedy took a very simple concept of a soldier holding a rifle aloft and makes it almost an iconic look. It’s even the attention to detail with the play on the tendons in the hand. It’s just stunning.
Renegade Squad is worth including for any number of reasons, such as the illusion of movement, the ejected cases from the Bren and the fire from the barrels as the shots are fired but it adds an extra reason when you know that D C Thomson produced this as a print and presented one copy to Ian. Ian now has the print hanging over his workspace.
Ian is renowned for his aviation art and rightly so when you see a cover like this. Five aircraft in one frame and all drawn so distinctively that you can tell it is two Me 110s, a Ju 87 and two Spitfires with little or no difficulty. The other issues that have covers drawn by Ian are Tiger In The Tail (issue 1699), Flying Viper (issue 2450), Sky Giant (issue 2532), Every Kill Counts (issue 2642), Once A Hero… (issue 2658) and Desert Wolf (issue 2665)
However, one artists does not a comic make, even if they are as amazing as Ian, so I have also included a few other gems. The only artist that has come close, so far, to rivalling Ian in their output of Commando covers was the wonderfully talented, but sadly departed Jeff Bevan. And as Ian is to aviation art, Jeff is to maritime art, so it is rather apt that all three of the Jeff Bevan covers features covers of an aquatic bent.
Jeff had a wonderful talent in drawing waves in such a way, that you almost felt the spray on your face and smell the salt of the sea. And with two of those covers, look at the detail of how the water splashes up when the bullets are fired into the water.
One of the other covers is by an artist whose style I have long known, but had tried for a long time to trace their name and I am quietly pleased to include the name of Carlo Jacono as the artist of the cover for Deadly Marauders (issue 1853)
His style is so distinctive and he is one of the few Italian artists that I know of that has worked for Commando as the majority of artists are Spanish, South American or British.
But one of my all time favourite cover artists is Jordi Penalva and I was glad that I could include at least one of his covers in the batch that I sent to my friend as you cannot mention War Picture Libraries in the UK without including Jordi Penalva.
My God! I have got up to over 700 words and I have not even mentioned the story artists yet! Or the writers. However, it is getting late and I will need to take a serious amount of photographs so that I am able to show you the different styles of the 12 story artists that feature in this Commando squad.
So I hope you all enjoy this review of the covers of this selection of Commandos.