Thursday, July 10, 2008

G.I.Joe Comic News Leaked (And Confirmed!)

You'll recall back in February, I posted about Devil's Due Publishing loosing their licence to produce G.I.Joe? We'll that's happend now. Issue #36 of G.I.Joe: America's Elite the bookend to DDP's run had been published and the staff bid their fond farewells. At the time there were many reasons speculated for this including - Hasbro wanting a more kid-friendly book as opposed to the adult themes explored in DDP's run or even that the cost of the franchise was too much for a small publishing house to bear. Well whatever the reason, the event has come to pass and we must now look to the future of G.I.Joe in print.

The future was shrouded in complete mystery other than knowing that Transformers license holders IDW would be the new G.I.Joe publishers, until the other day when more information than they would have liked to be revealed was leaked.

The first peice of major news is that IDW will be doing a reboot. This was not unexpected as this was what was done with Transformers and it's worked out for them impressively well so far. This will still divide some fans- DDP's storyline had a lot of fans, it continued the beloved core storyline and characterisations crafted by Larry Hama for Marvel and updated everything for the new century. Others felt that DDP's efforts were weak and were so unhappy with some of the events like Jaye's death, Serpentor's resurrection, Hawk's injury and the treatment of the Red-Shadows that they'd prefer for them not to have happened at all.

IDW were obviously faced with the dilemma of appeasing both groups of fans and there seemed to be only one logical solution: which brings me to the second piece of major news. In order to reboot the series to keep half the fans happy they would have to create a book capable of rivaling the original G.I.Joe storyline for the other half, but as no one came close to rivalling the writing talents of Larry Hama- they figures they'd just have to hire him. Yes LARRY HAMA is returning to the permanent run of G.I.Joe!!!

In the IDW forums, Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall encouraged fans to ask him questions, so he could be sure that he was getting people the information they wanted to know, but naturally not revealing any surprises he wished to retain for the book. In answer to an obvious question on the reboot- "can you confirm that a brand new G.I. Joe continuity is beginning?" he had this to say:

The answer is, we're starting at the beginning. A New Beginning. But we're doing it in a way akin to what they did with James Bond last year. The movie stripped away a lot of the things that had made the franchise feel bloated and ridiculous and started over. Not necessarily scrapping what was to come in the characters' future movies, but resetting things, losing the bloat, making the character stand out again, and reminding people why it was once great.

That's what we're doing. And doing it with Larry, where he's a two-decades-better storyteller than he was, and with the wisdom of years to think about what worked and what didn't, is immensely exciting to me. Before, he was essentially making it up as he went. Now, he know what he wants to do, and is being given the freedom to do it.

Elsewhere Ryall draws comparisons between the reboot that Superman and Batman had in the 80's and to think of this new G.I.Joe: A New Beginning (as the first 6-issue mini-series, will be known as) as more Ultimate Spider-Man than Spider-Man - we know the characters, they are the same characters, but settings and events may be a little different this time round.

What is also promising is that Hasbro appear more relaxed about the content in the books as they were during Larry's original Marvel run. I'd find it unlikely that he could be enticed back to G.I.Joe on a permanent basis if he didn't make sure that Battleforce 2000 or the Eco-Warriors crap were well and truly off the table. I'm also rethinking my earlier speculation that Hasbro want a more kid-friendly book than what DDP were offering as they realise through the sales of their 25th Anniversary toys, geared at older collectors and their greenlighting of a new PG-13 Adult-themed animated series entitled G.I.Joe: Reslolute that their core audience are much bigger kids :)

G.I. JOE issue #0 hits stores in October with the full series starting in January.

Read the full IDW forums thread on the news here.

Source: ISEB, IDW Forums,

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