30th Anniversary ARAH Reading Marathon - Week 1

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Postby destro! » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:34 pm

Late to this Party....I had forgotten about the Joe Declassified. I have absolutely no memory of the story so I pulled those out of my file cabinet today. I am looking forward to reading those again as well as the first 10 to catch up with you all.

#3 may be the bottom of your lists but it is still a really fun story, still a classic. The first 5 were solid Marvel, what a great start to the series!
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Postby ER » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:10 pm

destro! wrote:Late to this Party....I had forgotten about the Joe Declassified. I have absolutely no memory of the story so I pulled those out of my file cabinet today. I am looking forward to reading those again as well as the first 10 to catch up with you all.

#3 may be the bottom of your lists but it is still a really fun story, still a classic. The first 5 were solid Marvel, what a great start to the series!


Great to have you on board for the marathon! And I agree, #3 is a classic and a ton of fun to read - but I still rank it last out of the first five just because #1,2,4 and 5 are such stiff competition!
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:35 pm

Grr... Has the Hot Potato story ever been re-printed. does anyone know? It is not in the Best/Worst of CC trade nor the Classic Trade vol 1...as the internet states... yeah more proof that the internet lies... ;-) Was it in any of the figure pack re-prints of issue 1, or anywhere else?
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Postby JeffBohn » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:56 pm

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=82981

Try Tales of G.I. Joe #1 for Hot Potato
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:01 pm

cool thanks
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Postby orpakki » Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:37 pm

Making good on my threat to bump up some of these old threads. :D

Firstly, it should be noted I'm Finnish, so my introduction to the issues was originally through the Finnish translations, which published the issues in a very different order. The interested can check it out at the Yojoe International archive. http://www.yojoe.com/comics/finland/
Looking through that section, I can't help but notice how damn priviliged we were, as in a lot of European countries the mag didn't last longer than the usual toy books. In fact, I now realise Finland has the proud distinction of being the only country in the world where the popularity of the comic stayed strong all the way to the end. :shock: It was only cancelled because there was no more material to print! It should also be noted Finland printed the comic alone, which is famously hugely expensive for a comic in a country like Finland, so the issues must have still sold like hotcakes for it to be worth the effort.

One reason for this might be because towards the end each issue published one new story and one classic story, so for every terrible Star Brigade story we had a story from the classic era, which I personally had been dying to read for a long time. In an ironic twist, the downfall of the comic with the Starring Snake-Eyes -era coincided with the rise of the series with the 1984-85 issues. Also, fittingly, by the time of the publication of the final Marvel issue, we had just caught the point where we had originally started (the first Finnish issue published Marvel #44 and #45, while the last one had #43 and #155).

My own Joe-comic collecting didn't start until the early 90s, when Transformers was cancelled and I had to fill the pain in my soul with something. I had a TMNT phase, which didn't exactly reach the heights required, but luckily I ran into Joe. For a long time in my later years I wondered why I hadn't started collecting Joe toys until the 90s, before I remembered that until I read the comic Joe had been strictly a second-string series for me. The cartoon, while nice, couldn't compare to TF, while the comic, I eventually realised, could equal and even surpass my beloved TF.

A lot of my views on the issues are tainted with nostalgia, of course. Your first issues are always your first, and I found in general the issues I read for the first time only in my adulthood have failed to impress me as much as the older ones. Maybe with my revisits I can figure out if that's due to nostalgia or wether they actually didn't rank among the best. :) That's not to say I can't enjoy the comics in the same way now as I could then. I've been as giddy as a schoolboy when I've read through some of the IDW ARAH issues, and even now I can barely contain myself over the thought of getting to read the next issue. Nice to see the joy is still there. :)
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Postby orpakki » Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:37 pm

Soo, like I said, I was already a big-time Joe-veteran by the time I actually got to read these early issues. Issue #1 I got to enjoy for the first time at the same time as the Firefly origin issue in #126. Getting to read it at all was a welcome surprise, as it had originally seemed #1 wouldn't be published at all. In the previous issue it had been announced the comic would start reprinting the old stuff, because we had caught up with you Americans (Like I said, Finnish issues had two stories per year), but it was told we would hop on from issue #4. We missed out on a couple of early issues because Marvel for some reason had lost the original versions that were sent here for translations! But #1 was included after all, to the joy of all.

In general, I find the first year of the franchise to be a bit of a trial period for both the comic and toyline. Unlike the lot of you, I have no big fondness for the original 13. With the obvious exceptions, the toys are kinda boring with the same green uniform for every figure. The comics went issue by issue, and it would be a while before Larry began blasting on all sylinders. But don't get me wrong! I still enjoy the 82 chars, and there are some great issues early on, as well, and I also really like the fact that the series started out so quaintly compared to what was to come. Things progressed very organically, with important characters being added to the series long after the first issue. The organic development is something that's missing in the modern reboot-filled comic world, where the creators basically bring in all the big guns fully developed from #1 on, and then have nothing to add later besides a bunch of second-stringers. With the original series we can examine the interesting development of guys like Snake-Eyes, Baroness and Destro who travel a long road as the series progresses.


Anyway, on to issue 1 itself:

With everything I said about the first year, #1 is still the perfect debut for the comic. I remember as a kid I didn't think it was all that special, but really this issue already has all the important elements of what I like in a Joe comic. A small (or sometimes large) group of specialists going on a simple mission, and each getting to showcase some of their unique skills. Pretty much every Joe gets his own chance to shine.
The art is also very good (which is not something you can say about every early issue). Herb Trimpe isn't among my favorite artists, but here the talented Bob McLeod does a great job in masking any of Herb's deficiencies.

A couple of other notes from the issue:

-Are those prototype Cobra CLAWs used in the Burkhart kidnapping? :)

-Hawk refers to Gen. Flagg as "Young General Flagg". Considering the man is supposed to have a son that's old enough to become a general himself makes him how old, actually? And more importantly, how old does that make Hawk? :shock: Truthfully, though, the 1992 Flagg looks a lot more seasoned and, well, qualified than the comic one, so I actually consider them to be brothers, with the figure even being the older brother.

-Snake-Eyes has to do some heavy hand-signs to start discussing politics in a team briefing. I guess those ninja skills come in handy there, but luckily in the future he could get himself understood fine without them. :)

-Could that be an early Dr.Mindbender seen in the Burkhart interrogation scene? It would certainly be his specialty. Maybe that's how he started off in Cobra? We all wish he could have kept an outfit like that. As a kid I thought it might be Dr. Venom, whom I had heard of but hadn't seen yet at that point.

-Scarlett nails CC with a throwing star. Ooh, that's gonna leave a mark. Would be nice to maybe see this referenced in a newer issue.

-Who was in charge of the prisoners? Didn't Hawk tell you guys not turn your back on the Baroness?

For added fun, I decided I'm going to follow the exploits of the most badass Joe around and start doing a Snake-Eyes body count. I imagine it'll be quite a bit by the time the series is through. Only confirmed kills on panel count, so for instance the Russkies in #2 aren't counted. But here SE starts quite well. He takes out 3 troopers as they charge Cobra's fortress, and hugs out one guy (I count that as a kill) when sneaking to the fort. So that's four for a start.

Quote of the issue:
Trooper: "We were completely surprised..."
CC: "Not as surprised as I. I hadn't expected any of you to survive!"


Hot Potato is a pretty good issue for a back-up, and I think it might have hold it's spot better as a single issue than some of the other ones we had in 1982. It's a pretty gruesome story with the Joes quite willing to sacrifice themselves. SE gets two more clear kills when saving Scarlett, and I'll give him two more during the charge scene, judging by the angles. But I would imagine Scarlett (being quite badass here) with her M-60 got the bulk of them. But SE now has a total of 8 after one issue.
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Postby Oracle1984 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:41 pm

good timing to bump this up given the new HC collection is out.
September 17, 1984. MTME Part I. The world changed forever.
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"Nobody ever died for a typewriter." Road-Block, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel) #69 (p.4)
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(Okay to print)
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Postby orpakki » Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:48 pm

Oracle1984 wrote:good timing to bump this up given the new HC collection is out.


Good time for anyone who missed out on the original marathon to jump aboard. :D
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Postby orpakki » Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:19 pm

#2 was another issue which worked a lot better than I had remembered it. This is one the ones never published in Finland, so I had to wait until my adolescence to get to read this one. The first part has a great sense of mystery to it, with the reader none the wiser than the Joes. I also really love the opening, with the Joes being called up from leave. Very MASK-like, and I'd love for it to be used again, as it's an easy way to give some more insight into the characters.

I'm not as big a Kwinn fan as some of the other posters, but he did make for a good addition in the early stages of the comic when it was less flooded with characters. And on a more personal note, he actually speaks Finnish? :lol: No idea why. I sure hope LH didn't think Finnish was some sort of Eskimo hang-out place. But hey, I appreciate it.

By the way, do you guys know of the origin of the Kwinn name? In the original solicitation he was actually spelled as Quinn, and I became convinced it had to have something to do with legendary actor Anthony Quinn. I'm happy to notice I was right, even if maybe indirectly. But I can easilly imagine the physically imposing Quinn to have played the part of Kwinn if a Joe movie had been made back in the day. Maybe I should check the movie to see if there's a lot of semblance.

Quote of the issue:
Scarlett: "Phew! This guy has all the earmarks of that most dreaded of all antagonists, the highly motivated individual".
Not sure I even understand the quote, but I always loved it. :)
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Postby Torpedo » Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:02 pm

orpakki wrote:For added fun, I decided I'm going to follow the exploits of the most badass Joe around and start doing a Snake-Eyes body count. I imagine it'll be quite a bit by the time the series is through. Only confirmed kills on panel count


Great idea! Can't wait to see that tick up, and up, and up!
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Postby orpakki » Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:31 am

After a brilliant start to the series, the next three issues tone things down, so to say. They're not bad issues, but they also don't reach the heights of what came before or what would follow later.

#3 was another issue that I didn't read until my adulthood, and frankly I don't think I missed much. It gives us a nice, close view of the Pit, but giant robots aren't the preferred opponents for the Joe team, which we would all learn to our peril in later issues. :) Interesting to see how much comic storytelling has changed in a few decades when Chuckie D borrowed this story and used I don't remember how many issues to resolve it.

#4 was indeed a pretty scary issue with all the nukes and stuff. We also get a good, close look at Snake-Eyes through his notepad. Wonder if LH noticed this took away some of the mhystery and made sure to avoid it in the future? Either way, depending on your view, SE either gets three or zero kills in this issue, when taking out the radio guy and guards. What do you guys think? Personally, judging by the dialogue, I think the Joes felt more sorry for these poor saps than anything, so I think SE went easy on these guys. So his kill count stays at 8.
Was Vance Wingfield really a strong enough character to warrant a sequel and a resurrection? Answer: no.

#5 was the one with the most potential of the three, but which probably ended up being the least exciting. The potential was in giving us a good view of the MOBAT in action, but the potential wasn't really realised. I believe it took us three decades to actually see the true potential of a tank battle realised in a Joe comic. Better late than never.
The old comic book adage says it's better to show, not tell. In this issue there was too much tell and not enough show, I think. This issue was the second after #1 to be featured in a commercial, so I wonder how big a say LH had in that one? For instance, did he get to design the cover and concept, or were his hand tied with being forced to make a "Blazing combat in central park" issue?

Other notes:

-Is it me, or does Scarlett have a really rotten attitude in this issue? Also, who needs to check into the hospital after being shot in the head, when Nurse Scarlett is on the case? :D

-Springfield makes a welcome entry into the Joe mythos. CC also gets in a few amusing scenes with the Joe target practice and hiding behind the girl scouts. Imagine how things would have ended up had Flagg actually taken out CC like he could have? Alternatively, CC isn't quite as strong as he claims, since he didn't empty the entire clip on Flagg. Guess he figured he'd save the bullets for the other Joes.

-Artwise, I much preferred Don Perlin to Herb Trimpe in these early issues, with the notable exception of #1.

-Hmm, maybe #5 wasn't the weakest of the lot, after all, since it inspired a lot more text than the other two. :) I'll switch around and say #3 was the weakest, but there's not a lot between these issues.


I don't consider either of the Declassified stories as canon. The other of course isn't "what Larry would have done", while the other for me was a very mediocre story. LH is at his best when he gets to write in his own style, winging it and taking things to a surprising direction. To me it seems he didn't really have a Joe origin story to tell, but was hired to do one, so he just went with it.
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:30 am

orpakki wrote:I don't consider either of the Declassified stories as canon. The other of course isn't "what Larry would have done", while the other for me was a very mediocre story. LH is at his best when he gets to write in his own style, winging it and taking things to a surprising direction. To me it seems he didn't really have a Joe origin story to tell, but was hired to do one, so he just went with it.


I dunno, Larry likes to write stories based on his characters. He can take them and put them in any situation. Joe Declassified was written by him and it is pretty decent. We also have another version of the origin with Larry's IDW Joe Origins as he wrote the first 5 issues of that series. He loves these characters and will put them in any situation and tell a story. I thought Snake Eyes declassified was done very nicely. They put all the marvel issues in context and filled a few gaps, but mostly is was a collection of the marvel stories with DDP art work. And a forward along with a short comic, written by Hama. I also thought the Scarlett Declassified was pretty good and worked right into Snake Eyes Declassified. The Dreadnoks one was pretty bad though.
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Postby shanecdavis » Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:08 pm

I am really enjoying the unique perspective you are bringing to your thoughts on these early issues! Please keep it up. As I said before, talking about the early Marvel run NEVER gets old!

orpakki wrote:-Are those prototype Cobra CLAWs used in the Burkhart kidnapping? :)

I always liked to think they were. It was tough having to deal with the mainly outlandish COBRA vehicles until we got the first few iconic ones.

orpakki wrote:-Hawk refers to Gen. Flagg as "Young General Flagg". Considering the man is supposed to have a son that's old enough to become a general himself makes him how old, actually? And more importantly, how old does that make Hawk? :shock: Truthfully, though, the 1992 Flagg looks a lot more seasoned and, well, qualified than the comic one, so I actually consider them to be brothers, with the figure even being the older brother.

Flagg was the young General that balanced out old "Iron *" Austin. I don't think Mr. Hama ever intended Flagg to have a son old enough be a General in his own right. That was more of a Hasbro tribute to us fans, or at least that is how I have always taken it. There are a TON of figures that were never introduced into the comic.

orpakki wrote:-Could that be an early Dr.Mindbender seen in the Burkhart interrogation scene? It would certainly be his specialty. Maybe that's how he started off in Cobra? We all wish he could have kept an outfit like that. As a kid I thought it might be Dr. Venom, whom I had heard of but hadn't seen yet at that point.

Definitely not Mindbender, but I like to think that is a young Interrogator. That definitely fits his specialty.

orpakki wrote:For added fun, I decided I'm going to follow the exploits of the most badass Joe around and start doing a Snake-Eyes body count. I imagine it'll be quite a bit by the time the series is through. Only confirmed kills on panel count, so for instance the Russkies in #2 aren't counted. But here SE starts quite well. He takes out 3 troopers as they charge Cobra's fortress, and hugs out one guy (I count that as a kill) when sneaking to the fort. So that's four for a start.

I attempted to do that myself, but after having to deal with the fact that most often there was never a confirmation of death I gave up. All I can say is good luck to you!

orpakki wrote:-Is it me, or does Scarlett have a really rotten attitude in this issue? Also, who needs to check into the hospital after being shot in the head, when Nurse Scarlett is on the case? :D

I never really had a high opinion of Red even before I was able to read these first few issues. Still don't know what Snake Eyes saw in her, unless he was into bossy whiny red heads.

orpakki wrote:-Artwise, I much preferred Don Perlin to Herb Trimpe in these early issues, with the notable exception of #1.

Agreed!

orpakki wrote:I don't consider either of the Declassified stories as canon. The other of course isn't "what Larry would have done", while the other for me was a very mediocre story. LH is at his best when he gets to write in his own style, winging it and taking things to a surprising direction. To me it seems he didn't really have a Joe origin story to tell, but was hired to do one, so he just went with it.

I don't consider either canon either, as they are part of the DDPverse more than ARAH, but I did thoroughly enjoy both stories. Mr. Hama's Declassified came in the midst of Joe Casey slaughtering the franchise with his incredibly stupid storylines, so it was VERY welcome to read a well-written story that was grounded in reality by the master. Brandon Jerwa's main title run left a lot to be desired, but his minis were among the best DDP ever produced. Even if it wasn't what Mr. Hama would have done it read really well and at least gave CC a more believable motivation to go after Snake Eyes than what we got from Mr. Hama.

Great start orpakki!! Keep 'em comin'!
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Postby orpakki » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:18 pm

shanecdavis wrote:Flagg was the young General that balanced out old "Iron *" Austin. I don't think Mr. Hama ever intended Flagg to have a son old enough be a General in his own right. That was more of a Hasbro tribute to us fans, or at least that is how I have always taken it. There are a TON of figures that were never introduced into the comic.


I wonder wether it was LH himself who wrote the Flagg filecard, or some bloke from Hasbro? Either way, appearances or not, the figure is so awesome the char is definately a behind the scenes part of my vision of Joe universe. :)

shanecdavis wrote:I never really had a high opinion of Red even before I was able to read these first few issues. Still don't know what Snake Eyes saw in her, unless he was into bossy whiny red heads.


Yeah, she was quite confrontational and a bit too fiery on several issues. Man, and here I thought Leatherneck was a pain on the new recruits. Funny, Scarlett might be one of the precious few characters who were actually portrayed in the cartoon more in tune with my own understanding of the character. To me, the defining line for the character comes from the filecard: "it's remarkable that a person so deadly can still retain a sense of humor". That instead of "Ever-cranky PitA". :D

shanecdavis wrote:I don't consider either canon either, as they are part of the DDPverse more than ARAH, but I did thoroughly enjoy both stories. Mr. Hama's Declassified came in the midst of Joe Casey slaughtering the franchise with his incredibly stupid storylines, so it was VERY welcome to read a well-written story that was grounded in reality by the master.


Pretty much on the same level here. I wasn't a big fan of LHs Joe efforts between 155 and 156 (Frontline, Declassified and Origins). They left something to be desired, but even reading them, it finally felt like things were "right" again. All the characters "sounded" like themselves again, all the stories seemed like Joe stories again instead of "Random Superhero-comic with guns", and you could just sense that the man still had it and could whip out some awesome Joe-stories if just given a regular monthly title. And I was right.
I've never been much of a purist on anything, but I've yet to see anyone besides Larry really nail Joe on a regular basis to my satisfaction. Funny how something that's so awesome when done right can be botched so easilly.
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