Thursday 27 May 2010

Ken Barr's Commando Covers - Issues 20-30

Total self indulgence, but I hope you like them too - more of Ken Barr's in-your-face artwork for DC Thomson's Commando comics from 1962.

Other cover artists are issue 21 S.I.Z. and Issues 26 and 27 Chaco.

All images © D.C. Thomson

Commando HQ is well worth a visit for up to date information.

Totally Non PC and all the better for it.


  1. Though I can appreciate them now I remember being rather turned off by those early issues of Commando when they first appeared in the early 1960s. Looking at these covers by Ken Barr at al., it occurs to me that the antipathy of my 6-year-old self was entirely understandable as they have a surprisingly adult feel. In many ways (though without the sexual content) they remind me of the sort of testosterone drenched covers that people such as Norm Saunders used to provide for Martin Goodman's 'Men's Only'-type magazines - which in the UK generally occupied the top half of Thorpe & Porter's spinner racks, directly above the American comics.

    All of this makes me wonder what age group D C Thomson were originally aiming at - especially when one considers that during the 1950s at least one survey concluded that the majority of comics were being purchased by young housewives! I don't know if there are any figures to back it up but I'd guess that a healthy percentage of Commando's print run would have actually been bought by real-life soldiers serving throughout the world in those last few years before the Aden Emergency finally brought down the curtain on what was left of the British Empire.

  2. Interesting question Phil. The official editorial take on Commando is that their stories are aimed at 8 year old boys and up.

    But it was precisely the testosterone drenched quality that you so neatly sum up that attracted me to them in the first place, lurid and trashy, semi naked torsos, sweat, bugging eyes, clenched teeth, Nazi insignia, etc, etc.

    Plus I was just that little bit more worldly.

    ... at the ripe old age of ten.