Sunday, February 03, 2008

Mega G.I.Joe News #3: Devil's Due loose Licence

It's been on the cards for a while and it's finally been announced that Devil's Due Publishing (DDP) who have been behind G.I.Joe comic books for the past seven years are to loose their license to the franchise this summer and Hasbro will not be allowing them to renew. The current story arc of World War III a 12-issue saga will be the last G.I.Joe tale under the Devil's Due banner this summer.

Why is this happening? Well that hasn't been revealed yet, but there are more theories being bandied about now than the JFK assassination! The one I'll subscribe to for the moment, is that Hasbro were not happy with the direction that the publishers took with the book, i.e. they're producing a monthly comic-book for both adults and young adults but not for Habro's target audience: toy-buying kiddies! Sure the Marvel run had it's complex Snake-Eyes ninja and Cobra-family arcs that kids wouldn't understand or necessarily identify with, but for the most part it served to introduce a new character or weapon that happened to be released by Hasbro in the form of a toy that year and was little more than a brilliant way of marketing.

DDP had a different take, they presented the characters in more or less their proper original costumes (or minor variations thereof) as opposed to some of the toxic Eco-Warrior gaudy day-glow camouflage that plagued the line in later years and actually featured only the most basic of Joe and Cobra vehicles when necessary. Even the character roster on both the Joe and Cobra sides was cut down from the insane hundreds-strong "order of battle" that Marvel had. They completely changed the comic-book to be about the characters as opposed to the toys. They killed characters like Flash, Chuckles and Mainframe with nary a thought, reflecting the fragility of human life, including the much beloved Lady Jaye. They turned Duke into a government controlled black-ops operative with little regard for his team, crippled Hawk to the confines of a wheelchair and following the death of his wife, Flint, the wise-ass joker who always had a smile (even on his action figure) became a bitter, twisted and heartless and resigned from the team when his buddies became aware he had a death wish!!! No, this was not for toy-buying kiddies anymore, but it was damn good shit!

Personally, I thank DDP for bringing the Joes back from mid-90's obscurity kicking and screaming into the 21st century. As if being deeply prophetic; DDP's first story (publishing under Image Comics) dealt with a devastating terrorist attack on US soil that would prompt the government to reinstate the G.I.Joe team. Issue one of G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero went to newsstands only a few short weeks before an event that is now known as 9-11. Their plans didn't change, the story went ahead and concluded in December 2001. We know only all too well the climate of America in that period, so that took balls and Devil's Due has shown us that they had some big cahones!

Unfortunately while admittedly well done, some of DDP's choices that they made once the series was established, didn't sit too well with me; the nonsensical return of Serpentor, the death of Jaye, Hawk's injury and the idiotic use of the sacred name of The Red Shadows (an enemy from old British Action Force continuity which has no bearing on G.I.Joe) for a new terrorist faction spelled death for the series, but instead there was a relaunch. Three years ago, they rebooted the series under the title G.I.Joe: America's Elite and it became a darker, edgier and grittier series but alas it didn't retain the impact of the writing or the quality of artwork of the previous series.

I must live in hope now that G.I.Joe's new publisher (which may be Marvel but it's more likely to be IDW as they're responsible for Hasbro's other hot-property The Transformers) will be able to accomplish what Devil's Due began, but ultimately, couldn't finish. It's possible that if Marvel, we could get a continuation of the continuity from their last issue #155 from 1994 and the DDP events would never have happened. IDW would most likely reboot the series as they did with The Transformers after Dreamweave's collapse to either begin again with the creation of the team or pick up continuity before DDP wen off their rails. Either way, here's to Hawk walking, Jaye living, Flint smiling and maybe, just maybe Storm Shadow choosing a side and just staying there.

3 comments:

Douglas Kastle said...

I think all this talk of a movie been produced with the ancillary merchandising probably means they want to make the Joes more kid friendly.

While I enjoyed the Joes and the Larry Hama run in Marvel I think that the cool, core story has been told.

I know you don't like Babylon 5. However I felt that the core story told was brilliant. However the spin off stories, Crusade, legend of the rangers and the recent Lost Tales just aren't in the same league.

I more prefer what Neil Gaiman did with Sandman and Brian K. Vaughan's recently completed Y: The Last Man. Tell your story then stop when it is over.

Lt. Colonel Creedon said...

Actually, I've begun watching Babylon Jive (the TV situation is getting worse). And it's not as bad as I thought.

As for G.I.Joe, well the first few years of the new run was brilliant, but I think someones ego got in the way and they began ignoring their military advisers and it went a bit awry.

Michael Mah said...

PERSONALLY, I FEEL THE DEVIL'S DUE STORY WAS VERY ORIGINAL AND THEY TRIED TO KEEP THINGS REALISTIC WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE G.I.JOE FANTASY. SINCE THEY LOST THE FRANCHISE, IT MOST LIKELY HAS TO DO WITH THE CREATIVE POWERS AT DEVIL'S DOES NOT MESH WELL WITH HASBRO'S 'FAMILY FRIENDLY' VISION. HOWEVER, I WILL PROCTOR AN ALTERNATE THEORY SINCE IT IS A 'FRANCHISE.' IT MAY BE THAT DEVILS' DUE ISN'T WILLING TO PAY WHATEVER THE FRANCHISE FEE IS AND I PROMISE YOU IT IS A HEFTY FEE! SINCE THIS MOVIE IS COMING OUT, I AM CERTAIN HASBLO (NOT ANOTHER REPAINT) WANTS A HEAPPING TON OF MONEY FOR THE COMIC FRANCHISE AND IT PROBABLY WAS NOT A REASONABLE PRICE FOR DEVILS TO AFFORD. I THINK IT IS THE MOST LOGICAL STANDPOINT AND MOST OF THESE DEALS COME WITH A CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE COMPANIES SO WE WILL PROBABLY NEVER KNOW!

REST ASSURED, THE CREATIVE POWERS ARE EXCELLENT. I JUST THINK HASBRO WANTS FAR TOO MUCH FOR DD TO CONTINUE ON WITH THE SERIES.

I BET YOU A BUFFALO NICKEL WHATEVER SERIES COMES OUT NEXT WILL BE A POLITICALLY CORRECT AND SANATIZED FAMILY FRIENDLY COMIC AND MOVIE THAT WILL BE NOTHING BUT EYE CANDY LIKE THE NEO COLORED ECO WARRIORS AND NINJA FORCE LIKE YESTERYEAR.

BE HAPPY WE GOT TO ENJOY A REALISTIC G.I.JOE DESPITE IF SOMEONE DIED. I'D RATHER THEM DIE AND NOT COME BACK UNLIKE MARVEL THAT REINCARNATES CHARACTERS ALL THE TIME. I HATE CIRCLE JERK COMICS LIKE THAT.

DEVILS DUE MADE AN EXCELLENT COMIC. THAT'S WHY THEY WERE LAUDED AND AWARDED NUMEROUS TIMES FOR THIS STORY.

THEY WERE ABLE TO TAKE THE STORY ELEMENTS FROM THE OLD COMICS AND INFUSE THAT WITH THE CHARACTERIZATIONS FROM THE CARTOONS AND CAME UP WITH A REALISTIC SERIES.

I AM FRANKLY JEOLOUS OF NOT BEING ABLE TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING EQUALLY RICH AND SATISFYING!

GREAT GOING DEVIL'S DUE, YOU EARNED IT!

-M