I started writing GI Joe comic books almost 10 years ago. At the time they were just scripts that I would post on a mailing list. They got a pretty good response and were brought to the attention of an artist (who wishes to remain nameless) that I began to collaborate with. The result of that was G.I. Joe: The Internet Comic, an original ongoing series that told about the reformation of GI Joe. Now, this was 1998, a full 3 years before Devil's Due began publishing their book, and our comic was very similar.
The Internet Comic takes place 5 years after the end of the Marvel series. I had planned on revealing why GI Joe was shut down and what had happened in the meantime. I envisioned a world where Cobra was no longer a threat, and therefore, there was no need for GI Joe. I would have told about how in 1994, Cobra Commander was overthrown by Overlord (the most underrated character of all time, btw) and Cobra Island became a legitimate country and industrial power. They manufactured weapons and were beginning to cut into Destro's profits. The unfinished comic series, Full Circle, chronicles this story.
In 1998, Destro decides he's had enough, and begins to search for Cobra Commander. He plans on supplying him with arms and troops in hopes he could reclaim Cobra as his own and restore it to it's terroist ways (and thus, remove his competition). Cobra Commander, meanwhile, was living in seclusion and attempting to restore his relationship with Billy, not an easy task considering how horrible he had treated him over the years. But when Destro came calling, Cobra Commander went back to being his old self.
With Cobra Commander back in circulation, the GI Joe team is reformed to combat him. Sound interesting?
Well, to me it was anyway. It took us over a year to get the first issue out there and it got slammed by the online community. They didn't like that we had aged the characters (my artist wanted to reflect their actual age - if the Joe was in 'Nam, he was now in his late 40's). I thought it was a good idea at the time. No one else agreed. We had planned on introducing younger characters to mix in with the returning regulars, but we never got that far. Also, everyone was adament that this was an "alternate reality" because it was not created by Larry Hama, and how dare I attempt to make an "official" comic. Um, I never said I did.....and besides, it was free. Can't beat the price.
Still, we never got beyond the first issue of the series. By the time it had come out, I had been blasted enough by the online Joe fandom and there were already rumors of a new montly coming out from Image, so we just dropped the title. And in all good failed series fashion, it ended with a cliffhanger. What happened next? Did Snake Eyes and Sparks die? Did anyone care!? Guess not. (Major Update: the show will go on! Read below.)
We decided to try a comic that people would have an easier time accepting and would also be a bit different. My first instinct was to have a "Cobra" comic, one following a Cobra team member around and would give you an inside look into Cobra. But I wanted to make an original character, and to tell the story in such a way that while I'd try my best to keep the comic inside of official continuity, it wouldn't matter because I wouldn't be using anything specific to any period of time. The character I created is "Viper."
We did the first The Viper's Tale over 10 years ago and it was intended as a one shot. But since the response was so positive to it, we decided to make a sequel, the far less effective The Viper's Tale 2: Redemption. Looking back, I think I tried to do too much in that story, but it's still a fun read. After spending the next year working on the light hearted one shot A Day At The Beach, we decided to dust the Viper character off one more time for a conclusion to the trilogy, which would have been titled, The Viper's Tale 3: Revenge. But I really didn't want to just wrap up the series, I enjoy writing this character and I wanted to kind of move him away from his past, so.....
GI Joe: Viper's Squad was the new series. Once again, obviously, Viper is the main character. However, this time out we gave him a new cast of characters, some Hasbro, some ours, that joined him on his quest. The story focuses on all the new recruits to the Joe team and the adventures, and problems, they run into.
The next year we worked on a one-shot called The End. "The End" of the title is the end of the long battle between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. As such, much of the online community didn't know how to respond to a comic that brings a long loved conflict to a violent conclusion. We did it in response to the fact that Devil's Due would kill off characters, but only minor ones. The comic was mostly panned, but I think it was a brave idea to make something that comic readers will never see in an "official" comic.
Our last series together was called B.A.T. Uprising. In 2004, Hasbro announced that the theme of an upcoming line was going to be called Robot Rebellion, or something along those lines. When they dropped the idea, we picked it up and made a comic that showed what it may have looked like. This gave us one last opportunity to use Viper in a story. This was our swansong, our goodbye to the internet comics we created. I got married and was trying to start a family. My artist was working hard on submissions in an attempt to land a job at one of the established comic book companies. We were done.
My retirement was short lived. Hawk Graves contacted me in 2006 looking for someone to ink, color, letter, and edit a series of comics he was assembling. I agreed to try my hand at inking and coloring for the first (and last) time on Force Fera, an international tale featuring the comic debut of Glenda and Cobra De Aco. It was great fun working with Hawk as the writer and Allan Robinson as the penciler. I was grateful for this last opportunity to contribute something new to this site. I'm done with fan comics for the time being. I'm now the proud papa of two boys and that's where my free time is focused.
The newest comics on the site are issues of G.I. Joe: The Comicstrip. Created by Alan Schell, Ronald Schell Jr., and Hawk Graves, they offer a light-hearted look at the G.I. Joe universe. I am delighted to host them on this site and I hope you'll find them as entertaining as I do.
Major Update: Only 11 years after the first issue came out, The Internet Comic #2 is a go. Hawk Graves is spearheading the effort to continue the story exactly where it left off. I am very excited and I will have more details as we get closer to releasing it. Over a decade between issues has to be some kind of record. Frank Miller and Jim Lee have nothing on me!
I'm not a professional, I don't plan on being one (though if some company reads these and wants to offer me a job, I'd love the opportunity), and I don't make these to make money. They really were a labor of love and produced just for the online fans. I hope you enjoy this site and my comics and I hope you'll let me know what you think.
G.I.Joe is (C) Copyright 2009 HASBRO Inc.