Wednesday, 9 May 2018

G.I. JOE - WITHOUT THE TRANSFORMERS!

A couple of weeks ago I shared this photo on my own personal social media accounts, saying I'd be covering the comic on the bottom-right that very week on this blog:


Anyone who has read my post from yesterday for Ghostbusters Answer the Call #4 will know I'm catching up at the minute and working my way back to regular posts on the correct dates.  Well the comic above is another example of one which has been delayed because of certain things in my personal life which I'll let you in on when the time is right.  But first, a quick trip back to the 80s, as per usual with this site.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s I was a huge fan of The Transformers and from #192 collected every single issue of Marvel UK's Transformers.  By then Action Force was already the backup strip, their own weekly comic having finished after one full year on sale.  Hasbro used this already existing British toyline name as it was felt the term 'G.I.' wouldn't mean anything to us UK kids and new international characters were also introduced to appear in the comic here in the UK only.  I grew to really like these stories, but when I reread the whole of the Transformers UK run about a decade ago, with a new appreciation I grew to love the Joes and their tales!  I was gutted they disappeared from the comic mid story arc.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago, February 2018 and for several months already I'd been photographing my Transformers comics for Instagram, covering each issue on the dates of their original releases (read the monthly round-ups here on the blog) and decided I quite fancied reading those original Action Force comics alongside the TFs, especially since they crossed over and would eventually merge.  I found the Wikipedia entry for G.I. Joe and about two hours later I was excitedly walking to my local comics store.  Why?  Because of this:


What we have here is an actual continuation of the original Marvel series, complete with continuing issue numbers!  Just like many classic comics franchises American publisher IDW had rebooted G.I. Joe with a brand new series, starting it again from scratch just like they had with Transformers, but with the Joes they'd also decided to resurrect the original comic book which had lasted 155 issues between 1982 and 1994 under Marvel.  So, after a Free Comic Book Day preview issue, #156 made its appearance in June 2010.  What a brilliant idea!  (The continuation keeps the 'Real American Hero' part of the title, while their reboot series doesn't.)  Plus, it's all still being written by Larry Hama who wrote the original series!

When I discovered this I thought I might give it a look, but then I found out the milestone #250 was due out!  So off I trotted to the store to ask if they could order it in for me when it was released.  The 250th issue was the final part of a five-part story all about the new, female Snake Eyes so would I be lost?  Would it not be better to order some back issues or wait for the start of the next story?  The way I saw it, when I first read Action Force in the pages of Transformers I joined mid-story so I figured I'd just go ahead with this special issue as my first.

So what was my opinion?  Was it a one-off purchase, a curious look at a fun idea to continue an 80s/90s comic, or would it be another modern day title to add to Ghostbusters Answer the Call?  Have a guess with this photo:


Brilliantly, IDW have come up with another great idea!  They've collected together their continuation in graphic novels as publishers do, but in two different ways.  They're available in their standard collections of five issues to a book, but also in another way which I think is just brilliant.  Over the course of the last several years they've collected together the entire Marvel series in 15 volumes, 10 or so issues to each one.  However, instead of then switching to a different series of books for #156 onwards of the comic, IDW have given readers the option of collecting their continuation as volumes 16+ of 'Classic G.I. Joe'.

I think this was the final straw.  I placed my regular order with my comics store and ordered up volume one from Amazon.  I'm in!

So check back very soon for a write-up on that milestone 250th edition and then both the monthly comic and the graphic novel collection will be getting regular coverage.  The Oink! Blog and Beyond is expanding as promised!


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You can read my full article about those original Transformers comics in my Beyond Oink! series of posts, and don't forget about the weekly coverage of the series on my personal Instagram (it's public so you don't even need to sign up) and the monthly catch-ups here.

Also, Oink!'s very own Lew Stringer contributed to the original Action Force comic with his Combat Colin strip, the whole collection of which is available as #1 of his new comic collection.

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