Saturday, September 25, 2010

Korkeajännitys – Modern Finnish Commandos

Korkeajännitys – Modern  Finnish Commandos
by Jeremy Briggs

With Steve’s recent run of posts on Trigan Empire around the world I thought that it was worth taking a look at a Finnish title that tends to get mentioned a lot when foreign publications of Commando are being discussed.

Korkeajännitys is the title published by Egmont Kustannus that reprints D. C. Thomson’s Commando comics in Finland. The name is often translated as “High Voltage” due to the lightning flash logo and the subtitle of “Iskee Kuin Miljoona Volttia” which translates as “Hits Like a Million Volts”, however “High Tension” may be a better translation into English remembering that electrical high voltage power lines are also known as high tension power lines.

The title actually predates Commando having begun in 1953 as against Commando's 1961 and the various versions of the title over the years have reprinted many different war digests including the IPC titles of War Picture Library and Battle Picture Library. Since the comics market has contracted in Finland in the same way as the UK, the title has been reformatted to meet more modern publishing and purchasing methods.

This particular issue is a Korkeajännitys: Erikoisnumero, which translates as a Special Issue and contains 4 Commando stories reprinted over the issue’s 260 pages with the theme being winter combat – Nelja Hyytavaa Toimintatarinaa! translates as “Four Freezing Action Stories!”

The four Commando issues reprinted in order are –
4186 Baltic Battleground (March 2009) which gets translated to Taistelukenttana Baltia
4217 The Silent Strike (July 2009) which becomes Kylmaa Kyytia or “Cool Ride”
4194 Old Scores (April 2009) which gets translated to Vanha Kalavelka
4228 Norwegian Nightmare! (September 2009) which gets translated to Norjalainen Painajainen.
The book uses the cover of this final Commando.

The most striking thing on first getting this copy of Korkeajännitys: Erikoisnumero is that it is not published as a digest comic but it is actually a paperback book complete with ISBN. As such it looks more like what the UK would consider a manga paperback to look like rather than anything published in the UK under the Commando title.

There are six Erikoisnumero books published per year with this particular issue being 1E/10, the first special for 2010 while the standard Korkeajännitys is published once every 6 weeks for a total of 8 issues per year also in same the 4 stories per book format. Erikoisnumero specials published in 2009 included themes of air combat, armoured combat and stories from the German perspective.

There are more current details (in Finnish) at the Egmont Kustannus website for Korkeajannitys and Korkeajännitys: Erikoisnumero.

There are more details of older issues of Korkeajännitys on Mike Eriksson’s excellent Where Eagle’s Dare website which covers not just Commando and Korkeajännitys but many other military themed picture libraries from all over the world and includes a 2004 interview (in English) with Korkeajannitys editor Asko Alanen.

There are more details of the original British Commando which is still being published at the rate of eight per month on the official DC Thomson CommandoMag website.

(* With thanks to Commando editor Calum Laird. All Commando illustrations are © DC Thomson & Co. Ltd.)

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