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Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Commando Interviews Part 5: George Low

A brief introduction

The following interview with George Low, one time editor of the British comic book Commando, was conducted by Michael Eriksson on 19 September 2007. This was originally published on Mike's late and much lamented website Where Eagles Dare and is one of a number of interviews that will be appearing here with Mike's permission. I have made a number of very minor visual and editorial changes for clarity but I have otherwise made no alterations; Mike is Swedish – his English is near perfect and I'm sure you'll forgive the occasional verbal stumble.George Low talks about his final days as editor of Commando

This interview with Commando editor George Low was conducted by e-mail just two days before his last day in the office.

I understand that this will be your last week at Commando, and that you've decided to retire. How does it feel, how long have you known?

I have known for a month or so, and it's a very strange feeling. As you know, I like my job a lot and it's great to co-operate with writers and artists to bring out Commando books . and equally as much fun to see the enthusiasm generated by our loyal fans.

To get the history right, do you recall what issue it was that you started with as chief editor and which will be the last?

Um, I can't remember to be honest, but it was back about issue 2200. The last will be out early next year.

You seem to quit when things are going very well, it seems to me that the profile of Commando is higher than what it has been in years, with both the official site and an excellent unofficial site operating, and add to that books and calendars coming out and press outlets like the BBC taking note when the title reached issue 4000 and so on. Could you have seen this just five years ago looking back?

There were always keen followers like your good self with fanzines and websites who were ready to talk about Commando. We appreciated that and we knew we had something that was worth publishing and our readers proved that.

You granted me an interview in 2004 and at that time it was hard to come by information about Commando. Now I see interviews pop up all over the place, both online and recently in an issue of Judge Dredd Megazine. Looking back, how many interviews do you think you have done over the years?

Quite a few, from the ones you mention to the likes of radio link-ups to New Zealand to promote the Carlton Anzac collection. Comics Britannia on BBC4 last night also carried a mention of Commando.

Did you celebrate the 4000th issue in any way (at the office) when that came out?

We had a quiet little celebration with two cups of coffee instead of one in the morning. I can't remember much after that.

You have been around a while and seen the industry from the inside, have you thought about writing a book about your experience or anything like that?

I would quite like too to record my experiences in some way, but quite what I don't know. You make it easy when you ask questions; it's not so easy to sit down and look at a blank piece of paper.

You have been in a position where a certain ongoing creativity has been the norm, do you think you will ever be able to watch a WWII movie or documentary without having part of you go "That could be a good setting for a story" again? In fact, did you ever manage to get away from that mindset on your annual holidays?

Probably never .it's just the way my minds works. On holiday, too, the slightest piece of information is stored away and often crops up at a later date.

I recall that you mentioned casual Friday meetings at a local pub with Ian Kennedy where the two of you discussed ideas for covers. For some reason that stuck, it was just nice to know that the two of you did that and that it was happening no matter what was going on in this world of ours.

Ian was in the office again yesterday and the process is just the same. He, like many other of our artists and writers, listen to what we want and then, as often as not, improve on the original idea. It's great that after so long they still have that spark.

About that BBC interview, did you lobby for coverage like that (I do recall the press release about issue 4000) or was it a very pleasant surprise to hear from them?

It was an ongoing situation and it all came together well.

Is it correct that issue 4000 got the title more press than any previous similar event? What went on when the title reached 1000-2000-3000 issues?

Yes, there was more press mention than any of the earlier milestones, but it was a more significant achievement, especially nowadays when there is so much competition.

Do you want to say a few final words to the visitors of Where Eagles Dare?

Thanks very much for your interest and enthusiasm. We can think and plan as much as we like, but unless all you fans out there buy Commando and talk and help promote it, we wouldn't get very far at all. So thank you – it's been great fun "talking" to you!

Thank you for your many years working for Commando. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say it has meant something special to a lot of us to have had the title for so many years.

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