Saturday, April 17, 2010

G.I. JOE Doesn't Leave Anyone Behind, Hasbro

Back at the beginning of the year, Hasbro responded to a Q&A inquiry about the Devil's Due Publishing books over on They provided a two-part answer, but I want to focus on the second portion.

Q: Does Hasbro have an official stance on GI Joe comic original continuity? If so, what is it? Does Hasbro view the Devil's Due published material a continuation of the Marvel published work?

A: b) We have no official stance on the Devil’s Due material. It can be viewed as a continuation of the 80's continuity, or as an alternate universe that was inspired by the 80's continuity. Fans can read it according to their personal preference, but we are currently taking the brand in a direction that does not take the Devil's Due story into account.

Hasbro's statement bothered me back when I first read it, but I've been giving it more thought recently while reading some of the DDP material again. I'll be the first to admit that those books had more than their share of flaws at times, especially in the editing department. Looking at the whole of their publication history with the license, though, they produced a considerable amount of quality storytelling. The America's Elite title in particular really got the job done. More importantly, however, the DDP run introduced some fantastic characters while they had the license. If Hasbro wants to abandon the continuity, that's understandable, especially now that Larry Hama is picking up where Marvel #155 left off for IDW. Ignoring those characters would be a huge mistake, though.

Let's think about some of those characters for a moment.

Firewall: A young hacker with a criminal record, she went from being a wet-behind-the-ears recruit who was simply trying to atone for her past to a crucial member of the G.I. JOE team. She had to grow up quickly when her friend (Daemon) and mentor (Mainframe) were KIA.

Kamakura: Snake-Eyes' apprentice and the son of Wade Collins, a former "Fred" in Cobra's Crimson guard who served with Snake-Eyes, Storm Shadow, and Stalker.

Mayday: Sergeant Paige Adams didn't get a lot of panel time in the comics, but new female characters are always a welcome addition to the world of G.I. JOE, and this one was especially intriguing due to her skills with a firearm.

Alexander McCullen: Illegitimate son of Destro who assumed his father's role twice.

Lilian Osbourne: Mistress Armada, Alexander McCullen's lover and military commander whose loyalties shifted back and forth from Destro to Cobra Commander.

General Philip Rey: A U.S. military commander who briefly led the G.I. JOE team and later the Phoenix Guard, he was eventually revealed to be a clone from Dr. Mindbender's Serpentor experiments.

Wraith: Charles Halifax, a deadly mercenary with an even more deadly stealth armor suit. While in Destro's employ, he betrayed the Baroness and delivered her to the Jugglers.

Zanya: Zartan's daughter and likely heir to the Dreadnok throne, she's my favorite of all the DDP creations.

Charles Halifax saw his first action figure in 2008, toward the end of the 25th Anniverary/Modern Era line, and there was even a variant Wraith figure. Kamakura was released as an off-screen character in The Rise Of Cobra line. The rest of the characters on this list are still waiting for their first plastic counterparts. While I'm hoping Hasbro gets around to classics like Jinx, Zandar, Zarana, Road Pig, Big Boa, Low-Light, Budo, Lifeline, Iceberg, Airtight, Night-Vipers, and Techno-Vipers, each of these characters from the pages of DDP titles would make for excellent additions to the line. In fact, they're all practically begging to be included.

There's one more thing that shouldn't be forgotten about those comics. In addition to the characters created in the DDP offices, they also did something I didn't believe anyone could ever do: They made Duke an interesting character that I actually looked forward to seeing in the stories. That alone is worthy of tremendous praise, so don't completely disregard those books, Hasbro. Let the stories in the comics go where they will, but keep DDP in mind for future character selection.

Updated October 13, 2011: After seeing these photos, all praise be to Hasbro.