Category Archives: Comics Reviews

Silent Interlude Redux: a Review of the G.I. Joe 40th Anniversary Special, Part 1

I can’t write about this week’s double-sized G.I. Joe comic book special without first looking back a few years at something similar published not by IDW, but by the House of Ideas. In 2020 and 2021, Marvel Comics created a precedent with a trio of oversized remake comics. These were Fantastic Four Anniversary Tribute #1 (that premiere issue plus the wedding of Sue and Reed from FF Annual #3), Captain America Anniversary Tribute #1 (Cap’s origin/Red Skull’s debut from 1941’s Captain America Comics #1 plus Cap’s return in Avengers #4) and Giant Size X-Men Tribute #1, a double-sized redo of just that original issue from 1975). But these weren’t reprints.

The idea was to have current, popular artists each redraw a page from the originals, but to maintain the original scripts. The experience would be new, yet familiar, with a decades-old Joe Simon or Stan Lee or Len Wein script underneath modern drawings, the coloring of today, and re-done word balloons and sound effects. This is the beginning of the remake comic, and I wonder how long until we get several a year, with DC trotting out a “Case of the Chemical Syndicate” redux (sort of already done in 1991’s Detective Comics #627, but that involved new scripts) or IDW paying all these great modern Ninja Turtles artists to redraw the 1984 Eastman and Laird debut. To an extent, we’ve all lived with something comparable for years, as artists have drawn “homage” or “tribute” covers, swiping the pose and arrangement of well-known images but with new characters. It’s one thing when an artist cheekily “swipes” themself, like Todd McFarlane drawing black duds for the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #300, and then a month later, redrawing that same image with the web-crawler in his red-and-blues.

And of course, McFarlane did it again with Spider-Man #1 and #13. But it’s another thing when Phil Gosier adopted that Spidey haunch for the 1994 G.I. Joe Special Edition comic that ended the Marvel run for Real American Hero. Yes, cover “swipes”/”homages” have been here forever, and while they used to be rare and special, now there are several every month if you count up all the American comics publishers.

Name a famous cover, like the Byrne/Austin “Days of Future Past,” that McFarlane 1990 adjectiveless-Spider-Man, or the Lee/Williams adjectiveless-X-Men #1 from a year later (at this moment as I type this in 2022 being redrawn with Spawn characters by McFarlane of all people), and you can probably name several “swipes” for each. I think those were once fun, but there are too many, and too often lesser artists are riding on the coattails of greater talents. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but if Dynamite or Scout publishes four of these a month, with Vampirella and her pals taking the 1984 rooftop Ninja Turtle poses or whatever, it starts to lose its resonance. There’s the Mona Lisa, and there’s the Mona Lisa as a print available from the museum gift shop, and there’s the Mona Lisa duplicated in a repeating pattern on an umbrella. The umbrella designer isn’t saying anything important. Da Vinci was.

But covers are not interiors, and one full-frame image is not the same as 22 pages of panel continuity.

I was intrigued by those Marvel tributes, because it makes a kind of sense. Marvel artists often briefly draw in a Jack Kirby-style for a flashback, and everything post-Kirby and -Buscema and -Kane and -Romita Sr. and to a lesser extent -Ditko is in effect a love letter to them. Remaking a whole comic allows us to both appreciate the artistic heights of the original, as well as to see it through a new lens. I don’t know about you, but what a thrill it would be to have Kevin Nowlan, Chris Samnee, Takeshi Miyazawa, Marco Checchetto, and others redraw pages originated by Dave Cockrum! Because they and many others did just that for the X-Men Tribute. Cockrum’s style is a little old-fashioned, so some 2020-flair will inject new life into that foundational X-story. But an important question arises: Does this experiment run the risk of diminishing the original? I don’t mean that it would make me dislike “Second Genesis,” that killer tale that introduced a whole new mutant roster and the island of Krakoa, but is there a mismatch? Might it be more distracting to have all these disparate talents trying to make something cohesive? Does 2021 art fit a 1975 script? Is it impossible to enjoy one of these tributes on its own?

There have been X-Men comics that brilliantly split up the art chores, Uncanny X-Men #273 and X-Men Annual #1, notably. In the former, the best X-artists ever each take three pages in a row so Jim Lee could get ahead for the double-sized anniversary issue arriving two months hence. Joe Rosas, then regular colorist, handled the whole issue, so it’s all cohesive. And switching from Whilce Portacio to John Byrne to Rick Leonardi to Michael Golden (yes, it’s a murder’s row of eye-pop in this somewhat transitional story — wrapping up the last arc and setting up the next) works because most handle a discrete scene and they’re all incredible talents. Importantly, they’d all worked on that series, so this was a welcome return. Jim Lee provided layouts for the Annual, so while the art-style jumps are much bigger — P. Craig Russell’s art nouveau and Brian Stelfreeze’s architectural shading and Mark Texiera’s dimensional grit — it has an internal consistency. And while each creates sequential pages, they’re all in different amounts, so it’s a little distracting.

One is more successful and the other is less so. But now imagine if these two X-issues had divided up the contributors one page at a time. That’s a lot more shifting for the reader. And now imagine the colorist wasn’t the same all the way through. Here’s two pages from the 2020 X-Men Tribute, click to enlarge:

The first page is Rod Reis, who draws and colors his own work. It’s energetic in that post-Sienkiewicz style for which he’s known. Cool! Modern! The second page is penciled by Javier Rodriguez and inked by Alvaro Lopez. Rodriguez draws in a slightly reduced, “retro” style here, with less detail to more closely align with the look of a 45-year old story. He also colors himself, deciding to further make this page retro, not with the gleaming white of modern paper, but with a yellow tint that suggests the off-white newsprint of the 1975 original. That’s a cool decision, but these two pages slam up against each other. Reis and Rodriguez are certainly their own best colorists, but they’re subtly working at cross purposes here. Every page is different. Too different.

In flipping through these three Marvel Tribute comics, I decided that as much as I wanted to buy them, because they’re fun, and indeed a celebration, they’re also too distracting to enjoy. A music analogy: I was at a concert recently for a favorite rock music guy. It was powerful and visceral, as live music always is, but I was too aware that I was at a concert. Either the volume was too high, or with my earplugs in I was too aware that I wasn’t hearing everything. And either I could stand too far back but with an unobstructed view, or just thirty feet from that Famous Guy, but with a massive pillar blocking the rest of the band. I couldn’t ever entirely relax because I was constantly aware that I was at a venue seeing a live show. I had a great time, but just staying at home and listening to a CD on headphones would be the purest way to experience that music. Reading a Marvel Tribute issue is an exercise in never forgetting that I am reading a re-draw of an important comic. Flipping through it, now that I can do! But sinking into it? Impossible. Maybe I just want to re-read the 1941 original, the 1961 original, the 1975 original. Or a traditional reprint of them.

I’m going to return to a musical analogy, but let’s finally shift to G.I. Joe.

I will buy anything Joe that IDW publishes, both for myself, and also to stock at my store. I vote with my dollars as a reader and as a retailer. IDW has been a good steward of the G.I. Joe brand, and I was excited when this was first announced. Let’s check in with that solicit, click to enlarge:

Just in case that jpeg isn’t loading, here are highlights, followed by my reactions:

“SL Gallant, Netho Diaz, Andrew Lee Griffith, and many more!” Great! All those guys have turned in excellent work on Larry Hama’s monthly in the last few years, so they deserve to take part in this celebration! I wonder if anyone who drew IDW’s non-Hama continuity (sometimes called the “Chuck Dixon-verse”) will show up? (The answer: yes.)

But I immediately noticed that there are superstars and then there are superstars. Three artists out of 21 listed! There’s a likelihood that whoever your favorite artist is wasn’t going to contribute. Oh, there are many reasons, like so-and-so is under contract at DC or at Marvel and isn’t allowed to draw for another publisher, or the deadline is tight, or drawing for IDW’s page rate isn’t going to excite some talent. But you know what? As much as I want this single issue to break through and sell a million copies to all those readers and collectors and speculators who haven’t paid attention to G.I. Joe since 1994 (or earlier!), maybe this is actually just for the 7,000 of us who are paying attention to Larry Hama’s modern G.I. Joe monthly series, and damn the non-fans and lapsed fans. With that in mind, I made a mental guess of who else had drawn for Real American Hero since 2010, and when the final contributor list was made public earlier this week, I was pretty close. Music analogy: You don’t want to get back into our favorite band now that they’re reunited all these years later? Then that band’s new mixtape is just for me.

A sidenote: While I’m excited to see everyone’s contribution, from an SL Gallant (who has drawn more G.I. Joe than anyone ever!!!) to a Kewber Baal, who’s only ever drawn one G.I. Joe comic (and it’s so recent, you still haven’t heard of him), the two names that most jumped out to me are Antonio Fuso and Alex Milne. Why? Keep reading!

Another promise made in the catalog solicit: “Additionally, the issue will contain stories and essays by creators who were influenced by Hama.” Wow! That sounds amazing! Finally, some scholarship in this most famous of ’80s comics! As a G.I. Joe researcher/historian/nut, I am hungry for that! But I’m sorry to say that whoever wrote this copy was either hoping, or some things did not come through by deadline-time, because there are no such “stories” in the Anniversary Special, just the main story redo and a reprint of the original “Silent Interlude.” And there are not “essays by creators who were influenced by Hama.” Rather, there is one, a singular and not plural. This is a pet peeve of mine, when books promise loads of bonuses, only to under-deliver.

Titan did this with its Marvel Transformers reprints around 2002 (which, besides the complaint of this paragraph, I rather like), with each volume’s back cover promising “incredible background material.” You mean a credits page? An ad for the next volume in the series? No, that must not be it. Oh, you mean a couple “Story So Far” pages? Hey, Titan editor, do you think that counts as “incredible”? Maybe this is my fault for mentally swapping in “bonus” for “background,” as in “bonus material,” but I was hoping for some preliminary or rejected art or script pages, or an interview. Regarding the G.I. Joe Anniversary Special, any promise of multiples that results in a single amount is a disappointment. But hey, one essay is still something, right?

But I’m cautious about essay contributor Chad Bowers showing up here. He’s also the guy who wrote dialogue for Snake-Eyes: Deadgame. Uh, yeah, I guess that was influenced by Hama, but that was a Rob Liefeld vehicle, who in terms of writing and drawing and storytelling might be called an anti-Hama. That miniseries may have been a PR win, and moved some units, but it’s not going to turn anyone into a Joe fan or return any lapsed fans to the fold. But what a relief, Bowers’ essay is great, and everything you’d want it to be. It’s personal, it puts the original “Silent Interlude” in context, and it comments on that story’s legacy. He does earn his place in this 40th Anniversary Special. But surely there was a call for other contributors. Did no one else respond to what must have been Editorial’s “Since you were influenced by Hama, do you want to contribute a story or essay?” Or maybe Bowers was the only person who was asked, which stings even more. Bowers wrote text pieces on G.I. Joe and Hama in the 2019 Sierra Muerte miniseries, so that we have heard from him recently does make me wish for other voices here. I see so many comics professionals, people who wrote or drew or write or draw, effusively reply to Hama when he posts on Facebook, like “I learned so much from you,” and none of them are present in the Anniversary Special. Here’s one from a comics and animation pro (who even contributed to G.I. Joe a bit), name removed, from May 2021:

Larry, I see you as a mentor who gave me a shot
at the big time in comics and taught me much. Yes
sometimes I would show you a comic page and you
would tell me [it] sucks and laugh about it. Then
you would lay tracing paper over the page and explain
why it sucked and how to fix it. I also see you as
someone [whose] credibility I never question. Anybody
I know that actually knows you gets you and admires
you as much as I do.

And there are all those comics journalists who write for well regarded fanzines, comics criticism magazines, and established blogs — I had hoped that one of them would be included. As much as I didn’t want IDW to further double dip — we’ve got a lot of “Silent Interlude” reprints out there (one as recent as 21 months ago), I would’ve just included Mark Bellomo’s essay from the Silent Interlude 30th Anniversary Edition hardcover.

And now for that final promise: “as well as a fourth wall-breaking short story written by Larry himself, celebrating his unparalleled four decades of work on G.I. Joe: ARAH.” What!? An auto-bio yarn by Larry Hama? That’s amazing! Even if it’s only one page (I was hoping for six, but realistically guessed it would be four), that could be fun, and revealing, and maybe emotional! I know Larry, and he has a great sense of humor. Does “written by Larry himself” mean someone else would draw it? Or maybe it would be a text piece, an essay. But maybe Hama, who cranks out dozens of sketches at conventions, and who recently broke down in pencil dozens of entire Deathstroke issues for DC, was going to write and draw this! Some years back he posted to Facebook a two-panel gag comic, a funny interaction he had with a cab driver. Just pencil, like his cover sketches, and lettered in his pleasing, scratchy handwriting. Click to enlarge:

I’ve always wanted to see more, but drawing is a bit hard for Hama with arthritis, and he’s mostly getting paid to type plots and scripts. But comics or prose, this 40th Anniversary autobiographical story was going to be great! Or at the very least, an interesting failure! But alas, it doesn’t exist, or didn’t make the deadline.

As a reader, I can be disappointed that the advance solicitation for the G.I. Joe 40th Anniversary Special didn’t deliver on some of its promises. And as a retailer, I can be as well, because it’s harder to sell. But I have another tool in my toolkit, which is that IDW can authorize Diamond, our distributor, to make this returnable for credit. The sales terms for most publishers selling through Diamond Comic Distributors is that if a book is late, if the cover is different or if the interior contents are significantly different than what was solicited, then the book is to be made returnable. The idea is that I can’t sell it in the quantities that I expected back when I ordered it, and it’s the publisher’s fault, so they should be responsible. I don’t know if the G.I. Joe 40th Anniversary Special has been made returnable. I get the sense that no one notices these discrepancies — essay/essays and the Hama story — except me, and I get the sense that no one cares, both of which make me sad. I also don’t wish to punish IDW. This is supposed to be a celebration! I want IDW’s sales people to worry about selling the next issue rather than back peddling on the last one. And I want IDW’s editorial folks to spend time making the next issue of G.I. Joe rather than explaining why this one didn’t deliver. IDW is already losing the G.I. Joe license, do I actually want the company to pay me back (however indirectly) for the significant quantity of this eight-dollar comic that I ordered? No, I don’t. I will not ask Diamond to make this returnable. But this just adds to my complicated feelings about this Real American Hero comic book.

One last comment on this object, overall, before I get into the guts. It’s called the 40th Anniversary Special. But “Silent Interlude,” the original issue #21, is from 1984, so this is the 38th anniversary of that story. If you’re going to use the name 40th Anniversary Special, wouldn’t it make more sense to publish a remake of issue #1? Certainly a remake of “Operation: Lady Doomsday” isn’t going to sell as well as one of “Silent Interlude,” and I’m not actually suggesting the more-accurate “38th Anniversary Special” should be on the cover of this comic. Heck, the 40th Anniversary Special even reprints the cover to issue #1 as a full page interior for some reason. But then the immediately following pages are behind-the-scenes for this #21-remake, and there’s nothing about 1982 or G.I. Joe issue #1 anywhere.

As a title and its relationship to the object, what we did get feels a little off, and that on top of my earlier comments about what’s not included adds a lot of baggage to my experience of this book before I’ve even read the first page. But whatever anniversary we’re celebrating, and whatever content I was expecting, it’s a double-almost-triple-sized G.I. Joe comic book, which is always exciting!

As for what I thought of the actual interiors, check back in a few days for Part 2.


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“G.I. Joe: Saturday Morning Adventures” issue #1 – The Real American Book! review

(Click to enlarge)

Congrats to the creative and editorial team on issue #1 of IDW Publishing’s G.I. Joe: Saturday Morning Adventures. It is so much fun, and pitch perfect. Kudos to Burnham, Schoening, and Delgado for completely capturing the look and feel of the ’80s cartoon. Also a tip of the hat to Uyetake that the lettering font is different from the monthly Real American Hero, to subtly differentiate it.

Burnham efficiently jumps right into the story (as with Destro arriving at the start of the very first episode of G.I. Joe — Cobra Commander immediately has the thing in his possession!) with Cobra Commander holding the object of power on page 1. And Burnham picks a fun story motivator here with a wish-granting genie of the lamp. This is a trope found in other ’80s cartoons, and it fits in here, a G.I. Joe story that wasn’t, but could have been. The scale of it also works, as Cobra Commander starts simple, allowing for a heightening of stakes in the back half of the issue as well as presumably bigger and more complicated threats in issue #2.

But I have three quibbles. One, everyone knows that G.I. Joe was not a Saturday morning cartoon, right? It was a weekday cartoon. Certainly the dual 5-part miniseries of 1983 and ’84 align with a Monday through Friday “strip,” but Joe was not ordered in increments of 13. (Transformers did start as a weekend show for its first season — the opening 3-part miniseries plus 13 episodes.) The order for the full Season 1 for 1985 brought up Joe‘s tally to 65 episodes, again, a quantity for weekday syndication. Did the occasional local station run the show on Saturday or Sunday? Sure. Was this a part of the phenomenon of Saturday morning cartoons? No. “Saturday morning cartoons” tends to refer to the big three, NBC, ABC, and CBS, not syndicated programming, which was a reaction to that. I understand the naming choice, though, as “G.I. Joe Animated Adventures” is perhaps too general. But the animation historian in me can’t help but see a factual error in the title of this series.

(But nice work on the ’80s color and font treatment of the “Saturday Morning Adventures” banner. Another feather in Mr. Uyetake’s cap? That lettering is more He-Man-episode-title-card than I’d want for Joe, but if the goal of the cover is to show people what this is, Cover A is a big success.) And before I get to the other quibbles, I’ll focus a bit on the covers.

Cover A is nearly perfect. It recalls two previous animation tie-ins, the front of Kid Rhino’s 2003 “Two Original Mini-Series” DVD set (Cobra Commander’s face, front-on, on top, fire behind him, Joes below him comin’ atcha), as well as the sleeve art to Hasbro’s “M.A.S.S. Device” DVD Battles Pack (Cobra Commander looming over Joes also comin’ atcha). This new Schoening/Delgado piece acts like a poster for this story-as-animated miniseries. It’s general enough with a team of Joes not doing anything specific, with Cobra looming over them, but then with a key prop that does specifically connect to the Macguffin of this story. Where Cover A needs a small fix is in Flint’s pose. He’d fall forward with that leg placement.

Megan Huang’s cover B is nice, and while I do get “G.I. Joe animation”-in-general as a vibe, I don’t get “1980s Marvel/Sunbow G.I. Joe animation” enough from this, so I’d like Huang to split the difference between her style and the show style. Also, those vehicles don’t work. There aren’t any F-4s in Joeland, and that tank is too general. And if Cobra is riding a tank, it wouldn’t be green, so the story snags here, like for some reason the Baroness and Destro have commandeered a Joe tank? But a Joe tank from before the ’82 miniseries when the Joes had no specific tanks, like how Major Bludd pilots MiGs before Cobra gets Rattlers in “the M.A.S.S. Device”? Ideally Baroness and Destro would be on a HISS or a Stun. This is a fun drawing, but needs a revision at the sketch stage.

The Retailer Incentive cover (shops could order one copy for every 10 of A and/or B) is fun, but doesn’t quite live up to the promise of a home video box cover because the regular logo is slapped across the top. The three “stickers” and the VHS bit are left adrift as Penn’s home video cues are at odds with the standard comic book logo treatment. Stated another way, this cover should look more different from Covers A and B, whether that means more of a straight homage to the F.H.E. boxes or something else evocative of cassette sleeve design. I do like Billy Penn’s plastic shrinkwrap highlights at the top, but they’re somewhat lost around the logo. The shading, color, and composition of this give me more of a ’70s pulp novel vibe than an ’80s VHS box vibe.

Penn shared his three sketch ideas for this cover online and I must admit to finding that the two unused ones are bolder compositions, but C looks a lot like Dan Schoening’s published cover, and the one they went with is most different from both of the other actual, published covers, so I understand the choice. Click to enlarge.

(This is not a blog post about Billy Penn, but if you missed the Talking Joe episode after he was our guest where I flashed back to laud his drawing skills, take a look at much he’s doing with so little in those characters and the lighting in “C,” above — this guy really knows how to draw, even if his finished style isn’t slick or hot.)

Getting back to my actual two other quibbles, these are small story moments either missing or not clearly shown, essentially a 4-panel page needing a fifth panel.

Which leads to Quibble Two: What is exploding on page 3? And where is it in the scene? Click to enlarge this, pages 2 and 3 side-by-side.

Cobra Commander is holding the artifact in his left hand, then cut to a close-up of something exploding (no laser beam shown), and then CC (without his pistol) is kneeling on the ground over debris that doesn’t look like the artifact. I was confused. Did the Commander toss up the artifact and shoot it? Was there a tiny bomb in it that detonated? Had he not been holding it on Page 2, had it instead been sitting on a pedestal in front of him, this would be clearer, but I don’t see when or how it leaves his hand, and it’s not clear that it is indeed the artifact that he’s shooting. Yes, story logic suggests and dialogue explains what is happening (“You destroyed it?” is doing a lot of heavy lifting here), but the art does not show the connective action. It actually looks like CC is going to shoot something else, something or someone across the room, certainly not the important item he’s almost cradling at the bottom of page 2. To use an animation term, the Commander’s pose at the bottom of page 2 offers no anticipation of him chucking a thing in front of himself.

I also note that the artifact is not big enough to actually hold the lamp, but no big deal there. I can pretend it was drawn 15% bigger.

Quibble Three: That Ace and [something something] a Skystriker and the B.A.T. is oblique. Here it is, page 10. Read it, and then I’ll explain. Click to enlarge:

Did you miss it? Ace ejected and rammed his jet into the B.A.T. Here’s all of the real estate that the ejection gets:

It’s almost impossible to see he’s so small, and I suspect that the wonderful Schoening lost the forest for the trees by… zooming in too much as he drew this on a computer?

Okay, yes, it’s big and clear on the page that comes after, but above on page 10 the plane explosion doesn’t read as different from the missiles exploding in that same panel. Bigger, yes, but there’s no plane debris. Here’s a suggestion:

I added a panel, moved a sound effect, added a word balloon to draw some attention to the tiniest and most furthest-away Ace ever seen in a G.I. Joe comic, added a few speed lines, and drew a bit of debris to indicate where the Skystriker went.

It’s not that I have a problem with Ace losing Skystrikers, rather, that the action is unclear. You could swap out my finger-pushing-button panel for the cockpit bursting off, or Ace springing up in the air with a “Wha-hoo!,” just something to show Ace leaving the plane.

Again, the art is to be commended. Delgado’s backgrounds feel authentic with their soft gradients and everything in the right palette. And it’s not easy to capture the look of Russ Heath’s model sheets, which Schoening does so handsomely — and not just close, but with utter accuracy. The genie in particular is a fun design — something that didn’t exist, but that looks like it could have then and there. It’s too easy to take for granted that this would all look great — poses, faces, costumes, and backgrounds. Even the linework looks like hand-drawn pencil photocopied onto cel*. A Real American Hero #278 (a one-off issue from last year by regular writer Larry Hama that was drawn by Schoening and Delgado in a mostly animated style) proved that this all could be done, but that doesn’t make it any less hard.

I also appreciate Burnham’s pacing. This isn’t quite a 22-minute episode’s worth of dialogue and plot, but a 20- or 22-page comic book can’t actually capture that. 1992’s monthly Batman Adventures is tremendous, and I appreciate that each issue has three acts in an attempt to match the feel of an episode of the corresponding TV show, but those issues never felt like half-hour adventures — too short. Burnham somehow splits the difference with a cliffhanger. This isn’t a single “episode,” and that it’s a limited series offers something between the animated two-parter and five-parter.  

Fun: I’m not sure where this falls in Season 1 or 2. Roadblock’s costume is S1, but B.A.T.s and Sci-Fi indicate S2. I can see this bothering some fans, but it’s 2022 and not 1980something, so the comic is all an approximation, a light amalgamation.

Also fun: Getting to see the B.A.T.’s action figure hand weapon attachment, which never showed up in the TV cartoon. Also, I pretended Sparks was in the big room.

More fun: Uyetake’s treatment of the “Yo, Joe!” call. I’d prefer these letters sticking out of a pointy word balloon with multiple tails aiming at several Joes, but that the letters get bigger left to right, that they’re big and friendly, and with the patriotic color fill, they are clear and fun.

A special call out to Mr. Burnham for the final page PSA, which struck the right balance of authentic and cheeky without being mocking or too modern. Everyone loves those “funny” internet remixed Public Service Announcements with the new dialogue from 2003, but I’m a grump, so I don’t. As a kid in 1985 I knew the authentic PSAs were a little too much, but they did offer helpful lessons. This new one-pager with Mainframe is just a little self-aware, and no more than it should be — a relief to this grump, and a small fist pump for nostalgia.

Oh, wait, am I not heeding Mainframe’s advice? Ha!

Two parting thoughts: The next issue box reveals a title for issue #2, but we don’t know what the story title was for this premiere outing because IDW doesn’t print story titles on inside front cover credits pages. Also, could we get something a little different for the back cover instead of the same black-nothing/logo from the last three years of ARAH? The cover art sans color, perhaps? (That request also applies to the main ARAH book.)

Despite my quibbles and extra quibbles, this is a fun issue that works both for this hard-to-please comic reader, as well as lapsed fans, and pop culture generalists. I laughed aloud when I saw it announced and listed in catalogs a few months back, beamed when we unpacked it at my shop this week, and smiled more over each page as I read it yesterday morning.

More, please!

And I don’t mean “I can’t wait to read the rest of the miniseries,” I mean “Please publish more than four issues!”


* – “Cel,” above, is indeed the correct spelling. Two L’s is for jails, phones, and microscopic bits of us.


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Liefeld’s Snake-Eyes Deadgame is a Miracle

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G.I. Joe #250 Review

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G.I. Joe #200 Review

Detail, altered, Larry Hama sketch cover to G.I. Joe #200

I wanted two things out of this anniversary:  One, a big fight with lots of characters.  More like issue #50 than #100 and #150 — a large-scale choreography of people and vehicles over geography.  And issue #200 checked that box.  Two, I wanted guest artists and back-up stories.  I didn’t get this, but I’m still a happy reader.

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