There are examples of sequels and reoccurring characters dating back to the very earliest days of Commando. Within a few months of the title’s launch we were introduced to the characters Tom, Dick and Harry, first appearing in Commando No. 11 Closer Than Brothers in November 1961. The sequel, The Death Dealers followed in March 1962. Technically, of course, the very first issue Commando No. 1 Walk – Or Die! eventually spawned the sequel Die – Or Walk!, albeit some six decades later in 2021.
However, it took thirty years before Commando treated readers to it’s first true series with the introduction of The Bomb Gang series – a five-part story, first published in 1991.
The Bomb Gang series was unusual not only as a first attempt at serialisation but also in it’s setting and character choices. The first instalment, The Bomb Gang, is set during the aftermath of World War Two, with the main protagonists (and heroes) being either German or Russian, under Allied (read British) supervision naturally. A later episode later reveals that one individual is in fact a Spaniard, masquerading as German.
The next three of the remaining instalments each visit and explore the backstory of the members of The Bomb Gang. The final instalment focusses on their somewhat reluctant leader, former pay clerk corporal, Henry Loftus, who turns out to be far more capable than even he may have imagined.
The summaries for the five stories are as follows:
The Bomb Gang (2438/3966)
They were an odd bunch – a German soldier, a sailor and an airman, together with a Russian from the German labour force. Put under the command of a short-sighted British pay clerk corporal named Henry Loftus, they were given the dangerous task of clearing the explosive left-overs of the recently ended war.
And no one was more surprised than Henry at just how good a team they proved to be, this squad they called The Bomb Gang.
Ivan’s War (2455/3967)
A demolition expert, a Red Army soldier, a Russian partisan, a Wehrmacht sapper and a member of a British bomb disposal squad. Sounds like quite a crowd, doesn’t it?
But in fact, they were all one man, a man called Ivan. And this is his story.
Volunteers Only (2478/3974)
Bomb disposal might sound like one of the most dangerous jobs you can imagine. But for Paul Buchner it was nothing compared to the tasks he’d found himself “volunteering” for during six years of war – like piloting a virtual suicide jet boat that was just as likely to explode accidentally as it was to hit its target!
Bandit At War (2512/3975)
Sentenced to death by both the German and Spanish armies, and now in the custody of the British Military Police . . . what was the secret of Wilhelm Schweik, the man who’d been a bandit at war?
Moment Of Glory (2527/3981)
Bomb Gang heroes Paul Buchner, Ivan Peshkov and Wilhelm Schweik had all their moments of glory during the war, yet their boss, Henry Loftus always felt that he had seldom done anything more exciting than making the tea. Until now that was . . .
One of the most appealing attributes of this series was the cover designs. All five issues feature stunning wrap-around cover designs created by legendary artist, Ian Kennedy.
In addition to its initial release in 1991, The Bomb Gang series was also republished in full in 2006/2007. All of the cover designs displayed here are from the 1991 original series release.