The original G.I. Joe series is about to finally come to a close, after decades in and out of print, with IDW’s 300th issue. Expect some cool covers.
G.I. Joe first saw publication way back in 1982. And from those early days through the mid-90s, it had a home over at Marvel Comics. When that came to an end, the book kind of disappeared until the early 2000s, when it bounced about a little.
If you’ve followed the title, then you know that the license’s journey ended with IDW, who picked it up and ran with it, bringing back a full-blown continuation of the original A Real American Hero run. Sure, the publisher had other Joe books here and there as well, but ARAH was the main line title. As you can see though, that’s coming to an end with issue #300.
The closing out of the title comes as IDW loses the license altogether, though they’re ushering it out with a bang. Iconic Joe writer Larry Hama will be scripting the title, with art by SL Gallant, inks from Maria Keane, colors by J. Brown, and letters by Neil Uyetake.
Here’s a statement from the legend himself:
“I handed in the plot to G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #300, which is the final issue of the series for IDW, with a mix of sadness and amazement. Sad, that a storyline I began in 1982 is coming to an end, and amazement that it has lasted this long. “Back in 1982, it was common knowledge that a toy licensed comic lasted one to two years at the most, and toy companies were reluctant to let a series based on a toy line run longer than three years, lest they get stuck with warehouses full of unsaleable Cabbage Patch Dolls or Beanie Babies. Every year that G.I. JOE and Transformers made it to the next season seemed miraculous.
“I remember finishing the very first G.I. JOE story, and thinking to myself that that was it, those were all the ideas I had. I had no clue what to do for the next issue.
“So I did what I’ve been doing now for forty years: I jumped into the deep end of the pool and wrote page one without any idea about what would happen on page two. Then I slogged ahead, page by page, until I got to the end.
“I’ve never been concerned about ‘plot’ or ‘continuity.’ Most of G.I. JOE is a long, continuous ret-con. My main concern has always been the characters, getting them to stand up and walk around inside their own universe. My second concern is visual storytelling—making sure the story is carried along in an impactful way by the succession of images. The words always come dead last, and that’s why I don’t identify as a ‘writer,’ but as more of a ‘penciler with a word processor.’
“I did 155 issues at Marvel, and they pretty much gave me free reign to do what I pleased. When IDW got the license, they wisely chose to turn me loose with my own methods, and I happily produced a run that is only five issues short of my Marvel run. The editors and staff at IDW have been incredibly understanding and supportive.In particular, they’ve been highly respectful and considerate of all my odd working methods and peccadillos. I’m thankful to all of them. Now, however, I have come to the end and it truly feels like leaving home, leaving characters that have been my friends for four decades—many of which are, in fact, based on my actual friends and acquaintances—and I can feel a real emptiness looming.
“Somehow, though, I suspect the story doesn’t completely end here, that the story will go on and the PIT will not be in mothballs for long. See you in the next incarnation!”G.I. Joe writer Larry Hama
G.I. Joe issue #300 will have a total of 5 covers, including an amazing looking wraparound. That one will squeeze in a staggering 313 classic heroes and villains from the book’s run. So get out your magnifier.
Issue #300 lands on the racks later this year.