Going Commando

The above probably requires some explanation. Today, I’ve been trying to write something for Commando, which, according to the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook accepts “Fictional stories set in time of war told in pictures. Scripts: about 135 pictures. New writers encouraged. Payment: on acceptance.”

Well, this was the first of my 135 pictures. I didn’t want to peak too early, and it seems that I haven’t. That said, I’m relatively happy with it, as an opener. My story is set in the Pacific by the way, probably in 1944. I know, heavy. The only slight problem I have with the picture is that one of my palm trees looks a bit like a carrot and is suspended in mid-air. But it was the Pacific, in (probably) 1944, a heady time. Oh, and one of my birds is blue which was sort of accidental but I’m hoping that the editor of Commando will think it’s a parrot.

Anyway, onward.

Meet John, my main character. Now, I’m not at all happy with John. For a start he’s very small and despite my best efforts, I’ve been unable to make him bigger. John was supposed to be a grizzled marine who had been stuck out in the goddamn Pacific for too many goddamn years. This was going to be his last tour and I was going to have John get up to all kinds of business. Oh, the plans I had for John. But look at him. I know, it’s dreadful. John doesn’t look at all like a grizzled marine. At best, he looks like a kind of drag queen ghost thing. He does have piercing blue eyes, granted, but otherwise John hasn’t got a lot going for him; certainly not enough to sustain him over another 133 pictures.

So fuck John. Besides, as I was midway through drawing John I realized that the people behind Commando would probably be more interested in the British side of the war and they wouldn’t readily accept stories with the likes of John in them. Plus, I had painstakingly drawn John in oils, not my preferred medium.


This was supposed to represent the D-Day landings. I don’t really know what happened. This was using Airbrush.

Still, I persevered:

Meet Terence. Terence is a courageous, debonair flying ace. Those red bits on his cheeks are supposed to signify vitality and good health; he hasn’t been shot in the face. But to be frank, I’m not that happy with Terence either. In fact, I’m not that happy with this whole business. Just what the hell am I playing at? The above has taken me hours. Hours. And looking back over my artwork, I realize that perhaps I’m not cut out to write a 135 picture series for Commando. Which is a shame.

A shame, but bearable. What is less bearable, perhaps, is that I spent the morning writing a 1500 word feature about Pitching the World and having revisited some of my efforts over the last year and a half – as I have had to do – it appears that I’m not really cut out to complete this project either.


The weekend is going to be a thinker.

Thanks for all the love.


8 responses to “Going Commando

  1. This post made me laugh a lot. Not that it needs breaking down, but I’m talking a couple of chortles, a titter and two large guffaws. One was just the sight of Terence. He looks like an appalling transsexual I used to know.

    Chin up, Pitchfork! It’s a glorious enterprise you’re about here. Furthermore, you have inspired me to pull out all the stops – not just some of them, ALL OF THEM – and pitch a few magazines myself. Onward!

  2. The best thing ever. Not the best thing you’ve ever written, not even the best thing ever written but actually the best thing, full stop, ever. Ace!!

    You rock

  3. Have you ever read Commando Pitchboy? I fancy not, which would explain your painting of a less than battle winning commando.
    However, my gang grew up on Commando comic books (that’ll be the over 60’s gang). Commando was the training pamphlet of choice in the days before electronic wizardry. Boys would read a story of a raid on a submarine pen or somesuch and immediately go out and re-enact the battle in next doors garden, armed with a broom as a Tommy Gun, a collander as a helmet . . . . . sometimes taking advantage of the added reality afforded by taking smaller children captive, even executing them (with a pea-shooter)
    Anyway, enough of that nostalgic rubbish. Don’t Commando employ artists to do the drawings alongside your story? I seem to remember the same faces appearing in action from Normandy to Burma and having been killed several times along the way.

  4. By the way Pitchboy, I reckon that Terence character could fit in Viz. Have you pitched Viz . . . .
    Debonair Terence, Flying Ace

  5. I really have a feeling John is living on that remote Island, which is a former air-base. Then Terence flies back and forward waving at him in his little plane, and showing him cans of Red Bull and Articles he has published. He is not a nice person Terence… he isn’t. So best to end this story, he also had something to do with that bird going blue.

    GOOD luck with article.

  6. Dear Pitch,
    Following a recent recommendation by a friend i have been following your blogs for a few weeks now. I must say i am loving your work.
    I have set my mind to come up with some alternative ideas as to how you could get your work in print and i have come us with this. With your past career as a political writer i am thinking you may have some connections in the government. Therefore i was thinking you could pitch the idea of bringing back government slogans, you know, the type they had in the war to keep the peoples spirit up such as ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’. The advantage of this is that they are short – only a few words long and so you dont have to commit to a lengthy project of several thousand words for a magazine article. They will of course have to reflect the current political situation and so i thought with the governement hoping that in these times of depression the peoples spirits will be lifted by the forthcoming wedding of William and Kate, off the top of my head an example could be ‘ It’s a Royal Wedding so have some enjoyment, try to forget about mass unemployment’.
    I will leave you to mull over the idea and possibly come up with some slogans of your own.
    Good Luck

  7. For some reason when I read this I immediately thought of that film ‘The Gods must be crazy’ except with a can of Red Bull. John reminds me of ‘The Scream’ painting and Terence is a pre-hung, drawn and quartered Saddam Hussein. All in all, this has made me very anxious. I do love the little blue bird though, is it a blue tit? It’s always good for a story to have a love interest.

  8. You are all too kind. Thanks very much.
    I love the idea of you finding it the best thing ever L, but not sure it is. Perhaps it is. Actually, it definitely is. Thank you.
    Webby, I’m glad that my award-winning blog continues to inspire you. Best of luck.
    OB – No, haven’t read Commando. I think this shows. I am digging your Viz idea however and will crack on with that immediately.
    Is Terence not nice Lisa? I thought he had a certain appeal…
    mudwalker – Not only do I love your idea of me becoming a political slogan writer, I think I love you.
    Marge – I hadn’t nocticed the similarities between my efforts and Edvard Munch’s until you brought it up. Now, it’s not for me to say whether or not I’m artistic genius, I’ll leave it for the public to speak on that. Which they have. And I am.

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