November is a particularly important month for all war veterans and this year will be even more significant, marking 90 years since the guns fell silent over the many battlefields of the First World War.
To mark this moment in history, one particular war veteran — DC Thomson’s Commando — has produced a series of eight stories based on the events of the Great War.
With stories from the trenches of the Western Front to the skies over Mesopotamia, Commando‘s heroes will struggle to overcome the odds and arise triumphant.
First published in 1961 and described variously as being the “ideal size for the pockets of combat trousers” and a “training manual for officers” by members of the armed forces, Commando soldiers on. It’s a veteran in terms of publishing, having long outlasted rivals such as War Picture Library and others.
Recent special editions of classic stories published in conjunction with Carlton Books and the limited edition Commando Ammo Box, containing three of these collections plus a recreation of the very first issue of the comic, have all helped bring the Commando back into the public eye, and it continues to attract readers of all ages.
11th November — Armistice Day — marks the the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the guns of the Western Front of the First World War fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare. Germany had signed an Armistice.
Apart from Russia*, in Allied countries the day is marked with wreath laying at national First World War memorials and at the grave sites near epic battles, as a sign of respect for the roughly eight million who died in the war, as suggested by Australian journalist and soldier Edward George Honey in a letter to a British newspaper in 1919.
The total human cost to Britain and the Empire of the First World War was 3,049,972 casualties, including 658,705 dead. Overall, an estimated 10 million men lost their lives on the battlefield, another 20 million were wounded, and there were some 10 million civilian deaths. The heaviest loss of life for a single day occurred on 1 July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme, when the British Army suffered 57,470 casualties.
“We are hoping that our special stories to coincide with Armistice 90 will reawaken ex-readers’ interest in a title many of them will have thought no longer existed,” explains Editor Calum Laird, “and awaken an interest in younger readers looking for action and adventure stories in a format less intimidating that a full-length novel.
“If our stories give an authentic taste of kind of experiences the people who will be honoured this month went through, we’ll be very pleased”
• Four of the special Armistice 90 books go on sale on 13 November, the other four on 27 November 2008.
• Read an interview with Commando editor Calum Laird
• Visit the official Commando web site
• Visit the Poppy Appeal web site
• Armistice 90 at the Imperial War Museum
• BBC Guide to Remembrance Sunday events in the UK
Covers of Commando Issue 4150 and Issue 4152 courtesy and © DC Thomson.
* Russia doesn’t observe Armistice Day because for that country the war ended in March 1918 with the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
Categories: British Comics - Current British Publishers