When I wrote my article Throw Away Your Television, I thought that I had caught the many re-uses that Fleetway had made of the Jordi Penalva illustration that was first created for Battle Picture Library issue 101 that was titled Checkpoint.
However, I was surprised to find this cover pop up in my searches through a certain auction site to find a deal or three.
When I checked the informative Book Palace The War Libraries, I found that this was a reprint of issue 144 of Battle Picture Library and that the original cover was by the recently departed Alessandro Biffignandi.
This makes me believe that the art was bought from Alessandro Biffignandi or from his agent with a limited license for printing.
To clarify, when publishers buy art from freelance artists, the publisher can either buy the art and the copyright outright or they can choose to buy the art with a limit on the amount of times they can use it. The two main British publishers (D C Thomson and Fleetway) seem to have gone for the former on most art but there are several times when they have purchased art on a limited use basis.
For Commando, one example is The Sand-Devils which was originally published as issue 832 with a Carlo Jacono cover.
However, the reprint, which was published as issue 4621, featured a cover by Ian Kennedy. This strongly suggests that the art was purchased from Carlo Jacono on a single use basis. This is further re-inforced when you find that not one Commando featuring Carlo Jacono’s cover art has been reprinted.
And thank to Vic Whittle’s work on British Picture Libraries, Vic identified the one piece of art that was purchased by both Fleetway and D C Thomson on a limited use basis albeit those uses were 12 years apart. This art was created by Aldoma Puig in 1966.
First it was used by Fleetway in 1967 on War Picture Library 388 Tank Trap and you can see Aldoma’s signature just below his right hand in the War Picture Library cover.
It was then licensed to D C Thomson for use as the cover for Commando 1313 He Can Not Kill in 1979.