More than sixty years after their publication, two Commando covers have finally been discovered to very likely be the work of artist Jordi Longaron.
At that time, it was not unusual for comic artists and authors in the UK not to be publicly credited for the commercial work they produced.
However, while researching the work of Jordi Longaron, I recognised some art as that which was used on early Commando covers. The first discovery came in the form of a cover from the Spanish war comic Hazañas Bélicas, published by Ediciones Toray, which was first published in 1948 and ran in one form or another until at least 1961. The edition of interest was titled Chindits De Birmania, written by Alex Simmons who wrote numerous stories for the publication. The artwork used for the cover of Chindits De Birmania is almost identical to that of Commando Comic no. 15 Jap Killer! However, while the signature is omitted from the Commando cover, the Hazañas Bélicas edition clearly displays the signature of Jordi Longaron.
Noting that other sources were either not citing the cover artist for Jap Killer! at all or in some cases were listing Ken Barr, the artist most commonly used by Commando at that time, as the contributor, I queried Commando HQ to see who the official records specify as the cover artist. When the reply came back as ‘Belicas’ this was clearly no coincidence. When I relayed my impression to them that this was likely a reference to Hazañas Bélicas and that the true artist was Jordi Longaron, they confirmed they held the same opinion.
As further evidence that the Jap Killer! cover art is the work of Jordi Longaron and not that of Ken Barr, Commando HQ revealed that the art was likely purchased as ‘single use’ as they are not permitted to reprint this issue. This is also the case with all of Jordi Longaron’s known work for Commando, while Ken Barr’s art is often reprinted.
The second discovery came in the shape of a cover from another issue titled Cita En La Jungla, written by Lewis Haroc. This cover is remarkably similar to that of Commando Comic no. 21, Blood River. Again, the Spanish cover carries the signature of Jordi Longaron. The cover for Blood River differs to some degree from that of Cita En La Jungla in that the hats of the soldiers have been altered but they are otherwise so similar that it is clear that one is a modification of the other.
Until now, as far as we know, Jordi Longaron’s first credit for Commando came with issue no. 329 Wolf Pack. As this title was published in 1968, the discovery of two new covers would date his first contribution to Commando back to 1962, six years earlier than had previously been believed. However, the official record of ‘Belicas’ may possibly indicate that he contributed indirectly.
The Longaron Museum claims both these two artworks as being the work of Jordi Longaron.
It is interesting to note that these two titles are two of the three earliest Commandos to have never been reissued. Now we know the likely reason for that. The other one that hasn’t had a reprint is no. 17 The Knifer. Could it be that this is also the work of Jordi Longaron?