Review by C.J. Bunce
This summer marked the 40th anniversary of GI Joe: A Real American Hero! That’s the comic book, not the 12-inch action figure line that predated it by two entire decades. Three years before it would take another form–as an animated TV series, writer-artist-editor Larry Hama would create and re-define what GI Joe meant for a generation of readers, all via 155 comic book issues. Those comics are celebrated this week in a new hardcover reprint edition from IDW Publishing, called GI Joe: A Real American Hero! 40th Anniversary Special Deluxe Edition, available at your local comic shop and here at Amazon today. Here is a look back at the very first issue:
GI Joe: A Real American Hero! 40th Anniversary Special Deluxe Edition reprints seven Marvel Comics stories. From G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero! #1, meet Baroness, Hawk, and Scarlett in “Operation: Lady Doomsday” and Rock ‘n’ Roll arrives in the short story “…Hot Potato.” Duke leads against all the villains with a toy store full of vehicles in the Issue #24 story, “The Commander Escapes.” From Issue #26, it’s about the comic book series’ most famous character in “Snake Eyes: The Origin.” Plus from Issue #50 is the story “The Battle of Springfield,” and from the series’ 25th anniversary, the Issue #86 story “…Not Fade Away.”
For many the high point of this edition will be the landmark Issue #25, featuring the “Silent Interlude” story. The no-text issue has been celebrated for years, and here fans get to see Hama’s original breakdown sketches, as well as an update homage to the story re-created by 22 celebrated artists, including Rob Liefeld and Freddie Williams II. It’s a unique story told in a unique way, featuring heroes Snake Eyes and Scarlett.
It’s followed by pages of character profiles and vehicle blueprints. Key creators who worked on the stories in this volume include Steve Leialoha, Herb Trimpe, and Bob McLeod.
For grown-up kids from the late 1980s who loved the comics and the second generation of GI Joe toys and the animated series, pick up GI Joe: A Real American Hero! 40th Anniversary Special Deluxe Edition, available at Elite Comics, your local comic shop, and here at Amazon today.