30th Anniversary ARAH Reading Marathon - Week 3

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30th Anniversary ARAH Reading Marathon - Week 3

Postby shanecdavis » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:04 am

In honor of 2012 being the 30th Anniversary of the Marvel G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic that we all know and love, we will be holding a reading marathon. Each week we will read 5 issues and then post our thoughts here. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate. Please share any experiences you had when you first read these issues, whether it be as a kid, or picking these up later as a teen or adult. If you missed out on the previous weeks, you can find the URLs at the bottom of this post.

WEEK 3 - Marvel G.I. Joe 11-15

COVERS
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Marvel #11 - The Pipeline Ploy!

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Marvel #12 - Three Strikes for Snake-Eyes

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Marvel #13 - Last Plane From Rio Lindo

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Marvel #14 - Destro Attacks

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Marvel #15 - Red-Eye to Miami!

This week is the first time we get new characters added to the series. This is also marks the return of Kwinn and the first time we have a multi-issue plot. Happy reading!!

PREVIOUS WEEKS
Week 2 - http://forum.idwpublishing.com/viewtopi ... sc&start=0
Week 1 - http://forum.idwpublishing.com/viewtopi ... highlight=


NOTE - Please let me know if you like this format of the covers with their associated title or if we should go back to the 5 small cover gallery.
Last edited by shanecdavis on Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby jackharkness » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:51 am

after finally reading these in order (thanks for the trades idw) i feel issue 11 was TOO early to introduce new team members BUT the introduction of destro in issue 14 WAS a game changer wasn't it?
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Postby Torpedo » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:58 am

Although I wish we had more time with the original team, jackharkness, these issues introduced some of my all-time favorite characters, so I have to diasgree. The second wave of characters/figures from 1983 is, by a wide margin, my favorite, and issue #11 is one of my Top 5 favorite issues of G.I. Joe.

And shane, I like the new format with larger covers and the issue's titles.
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Postby jackharkness » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:40 am

yeah, but zap, short fuse, flash, and grand slam get pretty much forgotten from here on in
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Postby Torpedo » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:45 am

jackharkness wrote:yeah, but zap, short fuse, flash, and grand slam get pretty much forgotten from here on in


I know, and I'll miss 'em, but I wouldn't trade Torpedo, Gung Ho, Snow Job, Wild Bill, Doc, Ace, Airborne, Tripwire and Cover Girl for anybody.
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Postby Torpedo » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:59 am

I'll get deeper into these issues once I've properly re-read them, but as an overall impression, this begins one of the greatest eras of G.I. Joe comics. It also marks the moment where Larry Hama really clicks and let's G.I. Joe become what it would become.

ER said that issue #10 isn't a proper prologue to the events of #12-19, but it is a good set-up and that's spot on. Issue #10 is a primer, I think, for just about every important event that takes place in the next few years of Joe comics.

Issue #11 marks the beginning of a necessary trend: introducing new heroes and villains, and for the most part, Hama succeeded in doing it organically. He had a handy explanation in a military book; the newbies are replacements. But from this point on, Hama introduced at least one new character every couple issues, if not every issue, for years to come.

Issue #12, well, that's where $#@% gets real. That's where Hama takes a page out of Chris Claremont's playbook and G.I. Joe shifts from the done-in-one format to the more intricate, plots-upon-subplots, continuous soap-opera and never looks back. Can't wait to read it again!
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Postby jackharkness » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:11 am

Torpedo wrote:
jackharkness wrote:yeah, but zap, short fuse, flash, and grand slam get pretty much forgotten from here on in


I know, and I'll miss 'em, but I wouldn't trade Torpedo, Gung Ho, Snow Job, Wild Bill, Doc, Ace, Airborne, Tripwire and Cover Girl for anybody.


i agree, i have favorites that came in the later waves myself, BUT i feel that the four guys i mentioned earlier SHOULD'VE been mixed into later mission rosters some how, or at least mentioned as being unavailable do to other concurrent missions, or leave time, or some thing, but, hey, MAYBE larry will blow the dust off of them sometime this year

one can only hope
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Postby Torpedo » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:20 am

Yeah, I'd like to see them again, too. We got to see Steeler again for two issues, so there might be hope. It would especially nice for the 30th anniversary to have an original team reunion, possibly a flashback issue (or three), but I'd be fine with them coming together to remember Breaker.
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Postby Darth Cujo » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:34 pm

This is when GI Joe really kicked into gear. The first 10 issues had some really good stories, but the Kwinn/Snake Eyes/Dr. Venom story is my favourite arc in the history of GI Joe comics. Issue 12 is probably my favourite issue, though it's hard to single it out from the overall arc.

As for the drop off of some characters to bring in new ones, it would have been one tough juggling act. I think Hama handled it beautifully by keeping a core of characters (SE, Scarlett, Stalker, Hawk) to maintain continuity, while bringing in the new ones. Remember, from here on there were 20+ figures per year coming out. That's a lot to sprinkle in over 12 issues per year, while trying to maintain some continuity.

I thought the intro of Destro was brilliant. At the time I remember speculating with my friends over who this mystery guy was, and what he was going to bring to the comics. This was, of course, pre-internet and as consumers who bought from the newsstand, no solicitations, so spoilers were basically non-existent. Ah, the good ol days! :)

And those were some great covers too. Action shots that showed, if not an exact scene from inside, a basic story point from the issue. They made you wanna crack open the issue and find out what happens next. Much like the awsome TV commercials did. I vividly remember seeing the ads for issues 11 and 14 from this arc.

So those are some of my thoughts. Good idea to do the re-read for the 30th, and coinciding with the final TPB volumes being published. I've seen these re-reads start on a couple message boards over the years only to see them peter out after a few issues. 5 issue blocks seems like a reasonable number. I hope it keeps up.
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Postby Torpedo » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:01 pm

G.I. Joe #11, "The Pipeline Ploy" has been one of my favorite issues for a while. The art isn't stellar. Mike Vosburg didn't really have a feel for the characters, and probably hadn't seen a lot of finished product for the new toy-based characters he was introducing, and there are some panels of Doc toward the end where he looks like Fat Albert, and once or twice he gives Wild Bill Gung Ho's mustache... But, Vosburg new how to bring the action and the sense of adventure that permeate Hama's thrilling script.

Instead of doing an issue summary, I think I'll focus on what this issue introduced to the world of G.I. Joe--that being half of the Hasbro toy-related product from 1983.

Right on the cover (another of my all-time favorites; I think when this week is over I'll rank the covers in order of appreciation, but so far #11 is my favorite just over #7), we see two new Joes and two new vehicles. It's a terrific action shot, spotlighting Snow Job and Doc.

Something that fascinated and impressed me even as a kid was the diversity in G.I. Joe. Every year, for a while anyway, the line produced new women and new African American characters. And usually they weren't stereotypes or cliche. Doc was a great example; the team's first medic was a black man. Well, actually, yes, according to his file card, Stalker's secondary speciality was Medic. I know that Hama had a hand in producing the file cards and dossiers for the characters, but I'm not sure what hand he had in creating the characters for Hasbro. It could be coincidence that the first two black Joes introduced had medic training to one degree or another, but I always kind of wondered if Larry Hama pinpointed that on purpose, possibly from a personal experience.

If I made a list of my favorite Joes today (and I did), Snow Job would be at number three. I don't know why, because he wasn't always, but the character has really grown on me. I always liked the snow-based arctic characters and Snow Job was the first. The 1983 line introduced new specialties, new environment-based specialists, new branches of service, and Snow Job was the first guy with skis and a sniper rifle. Okay, it was a laser rifle, but even as a kid I had him one of the team's top sharpshooters, along with Lowlight. I mentioned that I've come to like Snow Job more and more over time. I don't know if it has to do with him being from Vermont and me moving to Vermont a couple years ago. Snow Job is an Olympic skier, and I hate skiing. My one and only time on the slopes ended about as badly as it could without causing an avalanche, and that traumatic story can be found in whole at my blog. I also love the fact that his name comes from his tactics as a con-man and practical joker, and he plays a great prank on Rock n Roll in this issue.

The cover image also features two new vehicles, the G.I. Joe Polar Battle Bear and the Cobra Viper Glider. If the Battle Bear ever appeared after this issue, I don't remember it, but at least it's captured gloriously on this cover.

And how 'bout that Cobra glider? Yeah...

Okay, let's open this sucker and see what else we have. In the first panel we meet Snow Job and Doc, as well as the Joes' ubiquitous chopper pilot, Wild Bill. He's drawn and covered more like a Cavalry soldier and it's worth noting that he doesn't fly the Dragon Fly in this issue--that'll come later. I think if somebody took the time to calculate the number of appearances of every Joe in the series, Wild Bill would make the Top 10 for sheer number of times he drops somebody into the fire, or pulls someone's ass out. Before this issue is over, he'll be known as much for his quickdraw with Colts as he is for his piloting. (That won't last.)

On page two, we see the dynamic new convention that will reset the status quo for G.I. Joe every month, much to the chagrin of fans of Short Fuse, Flash and Grand Slam. The new Joes are appropriately called "replacements" and they're phasing out the old guard of thirteen to make room for new toys. Some of the originals are literally carried off the battle field while newer, stronger Joes are brought in.

Speaking of which, have we mentioned Gung Ho, yet? From this appearance, it's hard to tell if Larry Hama abhorred the Marines or Respected the $#@% out of them. Maybe both. Gung Ho's cajun dialect comes off as comical, but not as horrific as Gambit's in Uncanny X-Men a couple years later. He runs around Alaska without a shirt and beats three Cobras senseless with his gun and fists. How can you not love this guy? That list of favorite Joes I mentioned earlier? Gung Ho is number two.

Cobra finally gets some mobility in the toys and comics, and what a great entry: the iconic H.I.S.S. Tank. I don't know who is responsible for designing this pseudo-sci-fi marvel of military tech, but he earned his paycheck. From a visual standpoint, the H.I.S.S. is just awesome-on-treads!

What could this issue introduce to make Cobra even more threatening? Two words: #@$%ing Destro! We don't see his face for another couple of issues (Were Hasbro still developing/designing his head?), and that just adds to the mystery and menace, as does the secret shared history between Destro and the Baroness. Cobra Commander compares Destro to Hawk in terms of field-commanding the forces of Cobra. Not only that but his boots can take a serious beating.

Midway through the issue we get the Joe counterpart to the Viper glider, the Joe's Falcon Glider, operated here by yet another new Joe, Airborne. In the cartoons, Airborne was usually depicted wearing a blue uniform with odd orange highlights. Years later when I finally got these early issues and realized that Airborne's first appearances were colored mostly green with some red, I kept asking, "Jeeze, didn't anybody look at the toy before they drew this guy?" Hama makes specific mention of Airborne's file name in this issue, addressing his Native American heritage. It's interesting that Airborne came out a year before Spirit but was quickly overshadowed by the one whose gimmick was acting all Native American-y.

This issue really feels like the beginning of G.I. Joe: Season 2. The story is adventurous and action packed and full of humor. Larry Hama introduces six new characters and gives each of them a moment or two to shine. From this point on, G.I. Joe goes into high gear. Hold onto something!
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:35 am

Issue 11 is one of my favorites. Introducing Snow Job, Gung Ho, Doc, Wild Bill, Airborne, and Destro... Awesome! Snow Job as the practical joker is great. This wave of Joe's has some of my favorite characters. I have all 6 of these originals and played with them more than most. Airborne, Snake eyes, Gung ho, and Stalker, were my favorite squad to put together. It's because of this issue the the first miniseries that I liked Snow job so much and always wanted the Polar Battle Bear. Our family also went skiing every year since I can remember and I thought it was so cool to ski down a mountain while shooting stuff...it was so James Bond.

Issue 12 sparks even more interest in Kwinn and Snake Eyes. I loved Dr. Venom as the bad guy. He was pretty sinister. Introducing the scared cobra trooper and developing the Springfield mythos is a really great story too. Kwinn and Venom are also toys I wanted as a kid but they never made them when I was a kid...well a little kid anyway... ;-)
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Postby shanecdavis » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:25 pm

Marvel #11 is where it all began for me. I don't remember a whole lot back then, but I'll never forget seeing the commercial for it. Before then I wasn't much of a comic book fan, and actually I'm still not. That commercial though sold me. The time frame is fuzzy, but from what we determined in the Week 1 thread, this should have come out in January or February 1983. That makes sense as I remember getting Joe toys for Christmas not too long before. I don't remember if I stole a dollar from my mom's purse or I actually earned it, but I rode my bike to our local Circle-K. It backed a drive-in theater where me and my friends spent many a weekend hidden in the bushes watching movies for free until they got smart and stopped broadcasting openly on an AM station. Anyways, I wore the hell out of that comic. It was one of the first comics I had to replace. Judging by the look of it, I would say it spent many a day rolled up in my back pocket. The cover had torn away from the staples too. Good stuff.

A few years ago there was a thread on Phil's board about your best/worst of the ARAHverse. I went ahead and ranked every story, from Marvel #1 to DDP AE #24. I remember I didn't include the Storm Shadow title or DDP WW3 since I had stopped collecting the DDP run (for the second or third time). If I remember correctly, I ranked #11 outside of my top 20, which I would think the nostalgia factor alone probably should have rated it higher. Needless to say I was anxious to read it again to see whether I was just in my ranking or I just forgot about how good the issue was and relied too much on Ant's summaries at yojoe.com. One of these years I am going to dig through the joereloaded.com archives and find that post.

What an enjoyable story! Mr. Hama does an incredible job at not only introducing the new characters and vehicles, but he weaves it all together with nearly constant action-packed scenes! Gung-Ho's accent is still annoying, but Mr. Hama wrote him in a way that he really stood out from the others. Not only did he provide sound tactical advice on more than one occasion and take out the COBRAs with the RPG single-handedly, but he paraded around in nothing more than a flak jacket. Now that is tough! Needless to say he quickly became my favorite Joe.

The only issue I had was with the art. Vosburg did an acceptable job for making the characters look like themselves for the most part, but there were odds things like the first word balloon pointing to Snow Job instead of Wild Bill and Gung-Ho with hair (that appeared to blue in many panels) and Wild Bill's changing mustache and the inconsistency of Rock 'N Roll's M-60 and Doc's weight fluctuation. Then there was the "specialist". Thankfully Vosburg would draw him better in his next appearance, when he could draw the entire body, but the panels with just his hands didn't quite look right.

Overall, even though it was my very first issue and was a great example of Mr. Hama's ability to introduce new characters without it muddling up the story, I can think of at least 20 other stories that I think are better so maybe my ranking those years ago were just. We will see, I guess.

Next up: #12 and #13
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Postby Torpedo » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:20 pm

Mamu_Nestor wrote:Airborne, Snake eyes, Gung ho, and Stalker, were my favorite squad to put together.


That... is a friggin' awesome squad! :shock:

I had no intention at first of ever collecting any of the 25th Anniversary figures, but when I saw how detailed and tough they made Snow Job, Airborne and Torpedo look, I started hunting around for a bunch of the remakes of 82, 83, 84 figures. I have everybody from the 1983 lineup except for Cover Girl, who was announced as a Club exclusive. Maybe I'll be able to acquire her at some point and complete the set.
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Postby Torpedo » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:23 pm

Sounds like we had a lot of the same reactions to #11, shane, although I didn't read it until years after it came out. Despite the problems with the art, this issue cracks my Top 10, if not my Top 5. As great as some of the issues between the Cobra Civil War and the Trucial Abysmia conflict were, I always latched onto the first fifty-or-so issues as my era of Joe.
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Postby CrazyK » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:09 am

This is where I started to finally get Joe regularly. I had all of these issues in the month they came out and I must have read them six or seven times before I tracked down the next issue. #11 has a place in my heart as well, as it introduced Gung-Ho, my favorite Joe of all time (I had the figure before I got the issue... but the idea that he was running around the Arctic bare chested and kicking @$$ sealed the deal as the BAMF that he will always be)! I also saw the commercial for this issue and it was just so exciting to see something I was so passionate about on tv!

I tried to re-create the cover to issue #14 so many times once I had the APC... *Sigh* One of my favorite Joe covers of all time.
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