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Thursday, 14 April 2011

Commando crunches up sales, revamps digital app

The latest issues of Commando are on sale in all good newsagents and includes a tale written by occasional downthetubes contributor Matthew Badham.

Editor Calum Laird tells us the Commando iPad and iPhone app has just been updated and improved thanks to the feedback DC Thomson received from the first to adopt it. "It now works better than ever, he tells us, "and we have doubled the numbers of digi-subscribers in the last month." Although he doesn't tell us exactly how many subscribers that is...

Despite the launch of a digital edition, the print version continues to thrive in the title's 50th year. "Our paper subscription numbers have gone up 30 per cent this year," says Calum. "More details of the offers we have for that service can be found at www.commandocomics.com." And of course we're still offering our DTT Commando discount - see column left for details.

Commando 4383: International Squadron 
Oiginally Commando No 216 (June 1966), re-issued as No 887 (November 1974)
Story: Brunt Art: Gordon Livingstone Cover Art: Ken Barr

South Africans in Catalinas, French in Dewoitine fighters, British in Hurricanes…what a terrific bunch they were!

They fought among themselves, they scrapped with the Japs — and to crown it all they had a German saboteur and spy in their midst creating more havoc!

"This was one story I was sure remembered clearly from 1966 (which was otherwise a pretty unmemorable year)," says Calum Laird, Commando Editor (don't forget, football fans, he's Scottish). So it was with some relish that I opened the dusty copy from the Commando archives.

"There was Commando stalwart Gordon Livingstone’s artwork bringing to life a story of feuding nationalities almost too busy with their personal quarrels to fight the Japanese enemy. And the whole mixture stirred with a spy in the camp. Just as I recalled.

"What I had forgotten, though, was Wally the monkey — the real hero of the story."

Commando 4384: Dressed to Kill...
Originally Commando No 470 (April 1970), re-issued as No 1387 (February 1980)
Story: Nick Allen Art: Ramon de la Fuente Cover art: Penalva

It was quite a sight to see Bert Morris ride to war over the parched desert sands in a battered, bucking jeep… with hundreds of bloodthirsty Arabs thundering along on horseback behind.

Branded a coward by the Foreign Legion but labelled a hero by the British Army, Bert’s story of how he raised this rebel army is now told for the first time. And what a story!

"A great combination here from 1970 with an opening panel that sets the scene," notes George Low, former Commando Editor. “'Dressed as an Arab, dressed as a British soldier, dressed as a French legionnaire… it didn’t matter what this guy wore, he was a fighting fury in any uniform!'

"So it’s desert action galore with sparkling artwork by Ramon de la Fuente to bring the best out of Nick Allen’s script. And the wonderful cover by Penalva has won its place in Commando history as the heaviest illustration to date. The paint on the hut wall is authentically deep and rough, lovingly laid on with a trowel I suspect."

Commando No 4385: Deserter!
Story: Matt Badham Art: Macabich Cover Art: Macabich

Abraham Brown’s older brother Robert went off to serve in the US Army in the American Civil War…and he didn’t come back. Abraham followed in his footsteps grimly determined to avenge his brother’s death.

But when he discovered that it hadn’t been enemy action that ended Robert’s life but a pack of outlaws he saw only one way to settle the score — and that meant deserting the flag he signed up to serve.

Occasional DTT contributor Matt Badham, better known for his great comic creator interviews in Judge Dredd Megazine, tells us he wrote this script in 2008 and was pleasantly surprised when we told him it had been published. "I enjoyed writing Commando, but it was very hard work. More novelistic than most comics; how Ferg Handley manages to write so many and keep the quality up is beyond me!"

Commando 4386: Fire And Water
Story: Mac Macdonald Art: Keith Page Cover Art: Keith Page

John James came from a long line of Royal Navy men. Yet he chose to join the RAF as a pilot. It seemed, though, that his naval heritage didn’t want to let him go. When he ditched his Hurricane in the English Channel he thought it was a one-off incident.

How wrong he was!


• 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.  
Commando Comics iPhone App on iTunes  
Commando Comics iPad App on iTunes

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