There’s now than two months to go before Draw Your Weapons: Art Of Commando starts at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London. Helping mark the comics’ 50th anniversary, this exhibition will explore the history of the war comic from its initial conception and subject matter to its continuing popularity, showcasing key artwork and illustrations from Commando.
“The preliminary sketches of the displays look stunning,” Calum enthuses, “and we hope loads of readers, past and present, will be able to go and appreciate the workmanship on display in the original artworks.”
Commando fans may be interested in an interview with the Commando editorial team which recently ran in the Daily Record, which includes comment from Calum, deputy Scott Montgomery and writer Ferg Handley. It’s clear from the feature that the belief among war comic fans that the comic is no longer published is a constant bugbear in the Commando office, and we hope we here at DTT are helping coounter that myth.
“If I had a pound for every time someone has said, ‘Commando comics, are they still going?’ I’d have retired long ago,” Calum tells the paper. “Even people within the business will say that and when we tell them we put out eight issues a month, they go a bit quiet.”
The Commando team also tell us that suggestions for stories readers want to seen again as part of the title’s reprint issues are fairly flooding in to the Commando office. “I think we may have to put more space aside in the production schedule to cope with them all,” says editor Calum Laird.
To add your choice to the list, send your nominations to: Commando, DC Thomson & Co., Ltd., Albert Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ; or e-mail your suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org; or send a message through the official website www.commandocomics.com. Nominations close on 19th August 2011.
Commando 4407: They Came By Night
Originally Commando No 6 (August 1961), re-issued as No 2563 (April 1992)
Story: Couglin Art: Savi Cover: Ken Barr
Without warning the periscope of a U-boat broke the surface. It turned and focussed on the Locksea Lighthouse. Then, slowly, the glistening, black hull of the submarine came up from the depths.
No one could deny the courage and cool cheek of the Nazi Commander who had made up his mind to capture this vital link in the guiding of our Atlantic convoys.
Then, into what was to be the most fantastic episodes of the war, sailed Skipper Jimmy Cleeves and his RAF rescue launch K20.
“Nowadays Commando writers have it tough,” says Calum Laird in his introduction to this reprint. “In our 50 years, loads of plots have been used, and they have to try really hard to find a new angle on things. Back in 1961, though, when Commando first broke cover, the writers had a very open field to work with.
“So you might think that this sixth story to come out would be very straightforward. If you did, you’d be wrong. It has ships, subs, bombers, recce planes, a lighthouse… and even a carrier pigeon.
“Even when they’ve got it easy, Commando authors just can’t help writing cracking stories.”
Dave Marley was a policeman – and proud of it. When the war came, he joined the Military Police and found that a lot of soldiers acted just like the blokes in civvy street who didn’t want to know a copper until they had trouble.
But now there was more than brawls and bank robbers to think about. There were difficult problems to be tackled with the added danger of shells and bullets crashing all around. Yes, it was a tough job, being a Military policeman…
“The Military Police do a difficult and dangerous job, and it’s not always appreciated by the common soldier, sailor or airman,” says former editor George Low of this classic story. “In the rough and tumble of war, men fresh from action often don’t take it well when a Redcap gets on their case. How to win the doubters over? Prove that you are as tough and as capable of dealing with the enemy as the front-line fighters are.
“Roger Montague shows this up well in a crisp 1975 script and Ibanez-Igual did his bit with the line artwork.
The cover? That’s Ian Kennedy, of course. He draws a mean motorbike as well as the aircraft he’s renowned for.”
Andor Lakatos and his two younger brothers were a popular circus escapology touring Eastern Europe just before the start of the Second World War. When the Germans invaded of Poland in 1939 the three brothers were caught up in the chaos.
Andor, in particular, was drawn against his will into wartime espionage. With danger at every corner it seemed unlikely even he could escape this murky world of shadows and treachery…
It seemed a straightforward job, risky but straightforward. Flying a helicopter full of gold out of South Vietnam before the advancing North Vietnamese army got their hands on it.
As an ex Australian Air Force chopper pilot, Brendan Beckett thought the job would give him no real trouble. So how did he come to be tied to a post, knee-deep in rising water? Well, it’s a long story…
• Official Commando web site: http://www.commandocomics.com/
• Click here for subscription information or write to: D.C. Thomson & Co Ltd, The Subscribers Department, Commando Library, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL or Freephone (UK only) 0800 318846
• Commando is also available for iPad and iPhone. The apps are free to download through the Apple iTunes App Store and a digital subscription is priced at £4.99 per month, compared to a £99 annual print subscription. For those not sure there are four free issues to download prior to making a purchase.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.
Categories: British Comics