We’ve Only Just Begun

I do enjoy the fact that my social media feed is crammed with artists that I admire for a variety of reasons. One is that I sometimes get given advance notification of something that is coming out that I will really enjoy. Another reason is that a lot of the artists and writers are really good people and it is a real pleasure to chat with them.

And one artist that hits both of those criteria is David Roach. If you are a comic fan and not aware of David’s work, then go and hang your head in shame as he is one of the top talents in the UK and should never be ignored. However, David is not just a supremely talented artist, he is also the top UK guru when it comes to information on the girls’ comics 1950s to date. I certainly ask David for information first about the girls’ comics and Steve Holland recommends David if you have any questions on School Friend or Girls’ Crystal.

To give you an idea of how awesome an artist David is, here is his version of Poison Ivy done in the style of Klimt.

david-roach-poison-ivy

And why David is not being invited to every convention going is beyond me. But David is also looking to produce a book about the Spanish artists that have contributed to the UK comic scene and I am quite excited about it as it will feature artists such as Carlos Pino (Invasion, Commando), Purita Campos, (Mirabelle, Valentine, Princess Tina and Patty’s World) and Carlos Ezquerra ( Judge Dredd, Johnny Alpha, Just A Pilgrim and He Was Only A Private Soldier). But for me, the prize will be any additional information on Matias Alonso Andres (Commando, Victor) as for me, Matias is one of the great artists that should be a lot better known.

It took me ages to find out who Matias was as I had loved his work since I had begun to read and he is probably the artist most responsible for making me open to surrealism, impressionists and most modern art. But I could never find out who he was until I got a batch of Battle comics and I was sat down reading them in 2007. And I was mentally clocking artists as I went (One of my goals is to one day go through a comic and identify all the artists in that issue without recourse to credits or Google searches so I always mentally mark off how many of the artists I do recognise as I go through any comic) and I was reading an episode of The Sarge and my brain was screaming at me that this was not the usual Mike Western fare but that lush European style that I had seen so many times but had no name to the style. And then I got a great little present in the fact that the editors had not wiped out the signature so that I could see that beside a lovely portrait of The Sarge was this very clear autograph of Matias Alonso aka Alonso aka Matias Alonso Andres so now I had the name of the artist that had this beautifully flowing style.

Thankfully I am not the only one to appreciate Matias’ work as Pete Richardson did a great post on Cloud 109 and Adrian Banfield has expanded on Matias’ work on his Victor Hornet site. So, let’s see what I can add to the information that we know about the work of Matias Alonso.

Matias Alonso was involved with Commando comic from 1962 (to 1970) when he did the first of the 30 issues that he would provide the internal art for between issues 35 and 479. These were as follows:

35 Night Raider (Reprinted as 4501)

50 Clash Of Steel (Reprinted as 4545)

69 Charge!

71 Sky Drop (Reprinted as 555 and 4640)

80 Traitor!

95 Double Cross (Reprinted as 4624)

100 Jap Tamer (Reprinted as 599)

107 Badge Of Courage

127 Island Of Death (Reprinted as 675)

131 Doom River (Reprinted as 687 and 4764)

144 Desert Hero (Reprinted as 731 and 4704)

154 Burma Johnny (Reprinted as 751)

160 Hunt The Traitor

167 Jap Hunt (Reprinted as 807)

183 Man Trap

212 The Wreckers (Reprinted as 4884)

223 Solo Drop

230 Last Stand

249 The Golden Gun (Reprinted as 903)

277 The Trap

301 Johnny The Jinx (Reprinted as 1019 and 4359)

320 Blood Feud

342 Sword Of Honour (Reprinted as 1059)

362 Forgotten Few

377 Terror Spot

399 Operation Pacific (Reprinted as 1175)

409 Oasis Of Death

422 Battle-Wagon (Reprinted as 1203)

439 Flame In The Desert (Reprinted as 1263)

479 Take This Knife… (Reprinted as 1380)

For the majority of Matias’ work, Adrian has captured a large chunk of it in his index, but there are still quite a few bits to add such as the work that Matias did for the annuals and the Summer Specials.

So I will do my meagre best to add to that great index so here are the stories illustrated by Matias in the Victor Summer Specials

1968 The Killing of Matt Brady

1969 The Riddle of Tiddlers Ground (A Shiwa Sands story)

1970 Chained To A Killer

1971 Hostage of the Diamond Diggers (A Shiwa Sands story)

1975 The Planet Seekers

1976 A Man Called Vassillios

1982 Wings of the Legion

1984 The Forbidden Planet

1989 Victor Monster Poster

Unfortunately, I do not have a complete set of Summer Specials, so this only covers the ones that I have and can find around the house!

mysterious-mr-navarran-butterfly
An extract from the 1974 Victor annual story The Mysterious Mr Navarran

Next, let’s have a look at the Victor annuals.

1973 The Boy Who Killed The Iron Bird (A Shiwa Sands story)

1974 The Mysterious Mr Navarran (A Shiwa Sands story) and The Man In The Drink

1976 Hunters Of The South Seas

1977 The Stranglehold From Forty Fathoms and A Shot In A Million

1978 Debt of Honour

1979 Fight For The Flag

1980 Rocket Revenge

1983 Wings of The Legion and Dead Man’s Treasure (A Shiwa Sands story)

1984 Wings of The Legion and Pirates of The Java Sea

1985 Cover artist and Ambush! (A Shiwa Sands story)

1986 Cover artist, The Secret of Silent River and The Savage Servants of Tskedi (A Shiwa Sands story)

1987 Cover artist, Dicing With Death!, The Lost Patrol and Talu’s Tiger

1988 Gold Fever!

1989 The Leap Of The Long Lances

1990 The Toss Of A Coin

1991 Night Stalker

1993 The Family Honour

stranglehold-merry-go-round
A page from the 1977 Victor annual story Stranglehold at Forty Fathoms

I’ve picked these two pages as I always loved them as a kid and as a teenager, I never tired of poring over these two pages. If you asked me why these two over the hundreds of other pages that Matias provided for, then I would be hard pushed to give you an answer, but I am willing to bet money that even if you are not a fan of his work, you will find something to enjoy about each page.

And if you have enjoyed this post, you can see what 81 year old Matias now does on his website. The site is in Spanish so unless you are a fluent Spanish reader, you may want to use a translation programme to get the best from the site.

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