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Nothing perhaps connects the word ‘commando’ to popular imagination better than Commando Comics, the graphic stories that lit up the imagination of generations of kids.

india Updated: Dec 12, 2008 22:13 IST
Amitava Sanyal

Nothing perhaps connects the word ‘commando’ to popular imagination better than Commando Comics, the graphic stories that lit up the imagination of generations of kids. They were more than just books that you read by torchlight under the quilt. They were informative too: for one, this writer learnt his first few German words — achtung (attention), gott (god), himmel (sky) — thanks to the Tommies and Jerries lighting up the pages of these odd-sized 68-pagers.

Now that I sport a moustache, I can also point out how much of it was British Army propaganda (pretty much all of it), or how much was about a Christian sense of right and wrong (more indirect than the propaganda, but the sum of each story). But there’s no denying the popularity of the series that’s still not out of print after more than 45 years in publication.

After a tense fortnight during which we watched endless images of NSG commandos storming Mumbai landmarks taken over by terrorists, here’s a bit about how they were first raised, what odd battles they have had to front, and what they are actually capable of.