Despite its longevity, DC Thomson’s last serving pocket library title, Commando, has never gained the kind of fan documentation that other British comics have. Achtung! Commando was a short-lived attempt to change that, published at the turn of the century but lasting just four issues.
Edited by comics artist and historian Peter Richardson, only four issues of the Achtung! Commando fanzine were published, all printed individually and with sales figures in the hundreds.
“Back in the day, I remember seeing adverts in Comics International for this (occasional) series of “fanzines” for Commando,” notes downthetubes contributor Richard Sheaf.
“Fanzine doesn’t really do them justice, these are A5, full colour throughout. If you could have got them in Tesco you’d be calling them a magazine. But there we go, editor Peter Richardson was doing his darn best!
“At the time, I balked slightly at the cover price (£15 was a lot then), and only bought Issue Four, and regretted not buying Issues 1-3.”
“Achtung Commando! was founded on the principle that there were a lot of people who were into Commando comics who just didn’t seem to know that many of the artists they were oohing and ahhing over had worked far and beyond the confines of the pages of the world’s longest running pocket library,” says Peter of the ‘zine’s origins.
“Similarly, there were devotees of Warren comics that were blissfully unaware that many of the artists whose work they were so captivated by had actually learned their trade working for publications such as Commando and its Fleetway rivals War, Air Ace and Battle Picture Library.”
Some great Commando-related features appear on Peter’s Cloud 109 blog, but if you still want to track down copies of the original publication, copies do turn up now and again on sites like eBay and Amazon, so Richard has been able to fill the holes in his collection.
Here’s what you may have missed, and I’ve also highlighted just some of the related great Commando-related items on Peterr’s Cloud 109 blog, too.
• Interview with Ken Barr
• The Commando Index – Issues 1-30 (publication date, cover art and story art)
• Patrick Wright – an appreciation
Commando – a personal recollection by David Whitehead
• Editorial and letters
• Writing for Commando – by David Whitehead
• 50 years of writing with Syd J. Bounds by Steve Holland
• Interview with George Low
• Commando Index – Issues 61-90
• Commando comics and me – by Harry Warren
• The writer’s craft – a closer look at Harry Warren’s Commandos
• Ken Barr – the comic strips
• Interview with Ian Kennedy
• Ian Kennedy – The Air Ace years
• Check out Lost in Translation – Ian Kennedy’s Tybalt – Ian’s little known work for Scandinavian comics
• A version of this item has featured in entries on the Boys Adventure Blog
The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.
John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.
He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.
Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.