When it comes to staying power, it is hard to come up with a better definition than Ian Kennedy’s career. Ably supported by the wonderful Gladys, Ian has delighted generations of comic fans since he went freelance in the 1950s. By his own admission, if he accepted all the commissions he received, he might be able to retire completely this side of 110…
For the sake of his own sanity, Ian only takes enough commissions to keep him busy for the next six to nine months or so. So if you are one of those fortunates, feel proud that you are in an elite club.
However, the original reason for this article was to look at the staying power of another Kennedy’s contributions to D C Thomson’s astonishing library of work and that was the work of a certain Cam Kennedy but I got distracted…
When I saw Cam at the Masterclass in Dundee which was organised by Phillip Vaughan, that gave me another excuse…er it prompted me to look at Cam’s work in Commando again. And the main reason I am writing this article is that a question was asked if there were many Commando comics that featured both Kennedys doing the art. And for a self-confessed Commando geek, that is a question that demands an answer.
Cam did 28 issues which is a fair body of work to enjoy as that is 315 pages of his art that some people might not have seen or even heard of. Now that I have looked at my research, I am kicking myself a wee bit because if I sat on this article until July 2019 then I could be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first publication of Cam’s work in Commando, but that would be unfair on the rest of my fellow Cam fans who may want to create their own tribute to Cam.
Out of those 28 stories illustrated by Cam, 14 had covers by Ian with the other 14 being split between Carlo Jacono (1), Jordi Penalva (10), Ken Barr (1), Jordi Longaron (1) and Ricardo Sanféliz Permanyer (1). Believe it or not, only three of those have not been reprinted.
With two of them, I can make an educated guess as to why they have not been reprinted. One is issue 448 Come Out Fighting which has how shall we say … scripting issues? The second is 590 Revenge Of The Viper which has a Carlo Jacono cover and as I mentioned in my article By The Way, no Jacono cover has ever been reprinted by Commando. However as I don’t have a copy of 504 Storm Of Steel, I can’t even make an educated guess as that has a Jordi Longaron cover and several of those have been reprinted.
Update: I had one Jordi Longaron cover listed as being reprinted and after re-examining it, I discovered that it should have been credited as a Jordi Penalva cover. I was also given some advice from a really helpful chap in Northern Fife that it was likely that no cover with Jordi Longaron’s art had been reprinted which was the reason that issue 504 has has never been reprinted. This means that Jordi Longaron’s work shares the same non-reprinted status as the work of Carlo Jacono.
This is part of the reason I love my hobby of British comics as I am always learning something new and I never know what I am going to learn next!
I mentioned that I was writing this article on social media and straight away I got feedback that I had to do a list of the issues and the cover artists. Here I am going to build on the work of Jeremy Briggs’ article published back in 2011 on Down The Tubes and update his listing as follows. The letters at the end denote the initials of the cover artist before anyone asks.
417 – DESERT SQUADRON (July 1969, reprinted as 1277) RSP
431 – THE FUGITIVES (October 1969, reprinted as 1279) JP
448 – COME OUT FIGHTING (December 1969) JP
469 – DEATH OF A WIMPEY (April 1970, reprinted as 1335 and 4462) IK
471 – MIGHTY MIKE (April 1970, reprinted as 1355 and 4368) KB
491 – LAST LAUGH (August 1970, reprinted as 1427) IK
504 – STORM OF STEEL (October 1970) JL
522 – BIG MIKE (January 1971, reprinted as 1507 and 4439) IK
545 – DIARY OF A HERO (April 1971, reprinted as 1555 and 4375) JP
556 – TWO MEN WENT TO WAR … (June 1971, reprinted as 4719) JP
568 – BOSS OF THE BARBARY APES (July 1971, reprinted as 4433) IK
590 – REVENGE OF THE VIPER (October 1971) CJ
604 – DESERT DOUBLE-CROSS (December 1971, reprinted as 1780) IK
613 – HERO ON HORSEBACK (January 1972, reprinted as 1739) JP
629 – THE BLACK EAGLE (March 1972, reprinted as 1732 and 4889) IK
642 – THE WAR-DEVIL (April 1972, reprinted as 1748) IK
652 – CHARIOT OF WAR (June 1972, reprinted as 1788) JP
666 – WHERE THE ACTION IS (July 1972, reprinted as 1827) JP
676 – ACTION STATIONS (September 1972, reprinted as 1811) IK
702 – VALLEY OF THE LOST (December 1972, reprinted as 1876) JP
729 – BRING ON THE TANKS! (March 1973, reprinted as 1924) IK
750 – HURRI TO THE RESCUE (June 1973, reprinted as 1940) IK
765 – TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SAILOR (August 1973, reprinted as 1987) JP
785 – LET BATTLE COMMENCE! (October 1973, reprinted as 1996) JP
804 – GAS-BAG GUNMEN (January 1974, reprinted as 2036 and 4523) IK
825 – FROM OUT OF THE SEA … (March 1974, reprinted as 2099 and 4562) IK
860 – MASSACRE AT MENDHI PASS (August 1974, reprinted as 2155 and 4630) IK
878 – PIRATES WITH WINGS (October 1974, reprinted as 2172 and 4626) IK
However I can’t do a Cam Kennedy article on Commando without featuring art from my favourite pairing of the two and that is the final page from Death Of A Wimpey. Thanks to the team of Dundee Comics Creative Space who organised the Cam Kennedy masterclass on Wednesday 11th April 2018, I now have all three versions of Death Of A Wimpey signed by the cover artist and the story artist!
Never let it be said that I am quick on the uptake. After releasing this, I remembered that Cam Kennedy has also worked on a number of Star Wars properties so it’s the perfect for this article to be released today and May the Fourth Be With You.