In Review: Commando Calendar 2012

I’ve got into something of a routine with Commando calendars enjoying using one for a year and then not having one available to me the next year.

The first one(s) came out in 2006 for use in 2007. Bizarrely there were two issued that year, one high quality one, The Art Of Commando published by DC Thomson from the original artwork and the Commando Covers Of Yesteryear which reproduced the covers of 12 issues taken from the not always immaculate issues themselves. This second one was published by Spitfire Designs and, although still formally licensed from DCT, was only sold through bargain book shops.

Two years later Unique Comic Collectibles produced a second Art Of Commando calendar for 2009 as well as a Starblazer calendar for that year, both fully licensed and with images from the artwork as well. However Unique went out of business and so while DCT last year gave us the usual Broons and Oor Wullie calendars, along with the nicely designed but ultimately disappointing Retro Beano calendar, there was no Commando to be seen.

This year however Waverley Books, publishers of the History Of Beano and the various Broons cookbooks have come to our rescue with their simply titled Commando Calendar 2012. While Waverley are part of the greater DC Thomson empire they maintain both their independence and a commitment to top quality product and the Commando calendar is no exception.

Priced at £6 rather than the usual calendar price of £10, the buyer gets 13 full colour Commando covers printed from the original artwork, January to December plus the front cover, although interestingly of the three images on the back cover, which are there to help to sell the sealed calendar to prospective buyers, only one appears inside, a Jeff Bevan illustration of a British warship. The calendar itself is approximately A4, so turning into approximately A3 when hung on the wall, with the dates on the bottom half of each page in clear boxes with copious holidays mentioned. Even the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympics are included.

The artwork takes up slightly more than the top half of each month with the Commando logo and dagger superimposed on each one. As befits his place amongst Commando cover artists, six of the twelve months feature Ian Kennedy covers while the others are a mixture of other artists. Annoyingly there are no artist credits or issue numbers included on each month and while this information will no doubt eventually come out on the various Commando fansites it would have been nice to see it here since previous editions of the calendar included it.

Rather more annoying is that the preceding and following months dates are added as “ripped off” calendar pages stuck over the main image as if the designer considered them important when they really should have been placed less obtrusively out of the way near the date boxes. But that is really my only complaint for a calendar that maintains the quality of the Art Of Commando calendars of previous years.

High quality, nicely designed (on the whole) and at a surprisingly cheap price, the Commando Calendar 2012 deserves its place on your wall for the coming year.

The Commando Calendar 2012 is available at both the DC Thomson Shop on-line as well as their new bricks and mortar shop in the Courier Building, 2 Albert Square, Dundee.

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as a freelance editor, as Creative Consultant on the new Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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