What is Commando?
- Wed 08 Dec 2010
In the early 1960s a market opportunity was spotted for a
self-contained war story in a booklet form that would provide a
longer tale than was available in the traditional comics. First
published in 1961, they were an instant hit, going from the
original two per month up to the current eight a month in a very
few years. At first only Second World War stories were featured but
this has widened as the years have passed and readers have asked
for other backgrounds for their stories.
Physically Commando is a complete 63-page story of around 135
black-and-white illustrated frames with text in panels and balloons
to provide the narrative.
This is wrapped in a full-colour cover which wraps around the
back of the book where lies our trademark dagger and the back cover
Between the covers and the story proper lies an assortment of
advertisements or features on matters military.
The stories are always fiction but they're all set against an
authentic background based in solid fact and research.
But a Commando is more than just paper and ink. It's a story of
a struggle against adversity, a tale of action and adventure that
can be set against the background of the Roman invasion of Britain,
the battlefields of Nazi-occupied Europe or, sometimes, the
imagined battleground of the future.
The action can take place anywhere from the depths of the ocean
or the dizzy heights of space.
Every story has action, drama and conflict as well as (most
importantly) strong characters and a good,
exciting plot. Commando heroes tend to be normal,
morally-minded, young "everymen", most of whom have been
drafted into the army and are doing their best to help their mates
get through to the end.
They fight the recognised enemies but also conflict with
characters or authority within their own ranks. Good trounces evil
but sometimes at a very high personal cost.
Think 'action' not 'violence'. 'Everyman hero' rather than
'superhero'. War never appears trivial or glamorous, but not
unremittingly bleak either. It's a delicate balancing act.