Well, that was a cracking cracking good time!
I set out for Glasgow for the latest Commando and British Comics Swap Meet with some excitement. There was much talk of an exhibition to complement the event, and indeed, along with the friendly welcome, the incredible selection of comics and the wonderful professionals, there was indeed a phenomenal selection of art on display.
The friendliness and engagement of those involved is incredible. Following a warm welcome at the 29th Glasgow Scout Group near Pollock Shields East, one was presented with a full room of comic dealers. The wonderful atmosphere, from what I could tell, is because many of these dealers are collectors, some selling their own collections, some moving on comics, so there is an understanding and appreciation of fellow fans. It left me wondering whether any profit at all was being made, with no end of bargains. All enthusiasm is fuelled, younger buyers especially reaping some fabulous bargains, as those who return to the comics as a relaxation from former years are helped to find favourites that are well remembered.
1960’s War Picture Library comics were offered at just 50p, packs of 26 Victor, representing six months from £12 – and, in one case, 20p for some issues of Warlord. Bargains were everywhere, as were more harder to find comics, Commando comics under No. 100, War at Sea pocket libraries, pre-war comics, and even some nice DC silver age but all at very decent prices. These comics were definitely in the affordable range, and when something was expensive, the reasoning or rarity was shared, because you never know, you might find one on your travels!
There was official representation from Commando comic publishers DC Thomson Media, too, with Commando editors Kate MacAuliffe and Gordon Tait on an official table. Joining them were fellow Commando professionals: writer Suresh Ramasubramanian, who had flown in from India for the occasion, former editor and writer Calum Laird, writer Colin Maxwell, and event organiser and writer Stephen Hume, who has had two issues published so far, just this year.
With 2000AD stalwart Colin MacNeil, who also drew Starblazer covers, and Commando cover artists Keith Burns and Graeme Neil Reid present too, and happy to sell artwork, and to do beautiful on site commissions, there was fabulous representation of those who are involved in Commando – and this was just one of the halls.
Next door, a gallery of the highest calibre of war comic cover artwork had “popped up”, as Stuart Steele and Edward Walker set up a fabulous display of over 50 pieces of art, including work by Graham Coton, Ian Kennedy and Keith Burns. I was astounded. It was close, personal and one could see every brush stroke, and in some cases hear incredible stories of recovery and restoration. It was such a pleasure to see the art.
Stuart and Ed also had information sheets that showed viewers the original comic and other details, for those who like the details, with friendly and welcoming engagement as well as stories about the pieces. It was absolutely incredible, and wonderful work to see in person. I also learned I had been pronouncing Coton incorrectly, like the fabric rather than Co-ton.
There were great opportunities to chat, I had some time to, with writer and former editor Calum Laird and Phillip Vaughan who has just curated the Ian Kennedy exhibition in Dundee University, and joined us at the tables set out for teas, coffee, sausage rolls and soup. It was just so lovely.
Future events are planned for Stoke and, possibly, Colchester, and details will become available on the Commando and British Weekly Comics – Facebook Page
• The Second World War: An Illustrated History by James Holland & Keith Burns – Signed Edition is available here
Exclusive to Coles Books, each Signed Edition of The Second World War – An Illustrated History will include an A5 sized Art Print of “Arnhem Bridge – Bring up the PIAT”, signed by Keith Burns – order a copy here
• You can also order the standard, hardcover edition from AmazonUK here (Affiliate Link)
The Second World War is brought to life with captivating colour and detail, in this illustrated history from renowned historian James Holland and award-winning artist Keith Burns.
From the internationally acclaimed historian James Holland comes an enthralling and illuminating account of the key battles and crucial turning points of the Second World War, brought vividly to life with over 280 full colour illustrations from award-winning artist Keith Burns.
Complex, total and global, the Second World War was the deadliest conflict in human history, with over 300 million soldiers seeing combat. The movements and turns of these six deadly years have had far-reaching consequences which still impact our global relations today. From the horrors of the Western Front to the paddy fields of Burma, The Second World War: An Illustrated History takes us through each key moment across the history, in an accessible and authoritative account from a master military historian and captivating illustrator.
• Commando Comics is online at www.commandocomics.com | DC Thomson – Subscriptions | Facebook| Twitter | Commando Comics on AmazonUK
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I will have to make it to one of these at some point. I hadn’t realised the art exhibition was going to be there, would love to have seen that and the opportunity to purchase anything I could possibly afford from Keith Burns.