Coverage of IDW Comics Panel from 2012 G.I. Joe Convention

The whole Convention weekend is such a whirlwind, I often don’t have time to reflect on things I missed until afterwards.  And unfortunately I missed a pretty big one this past weekend when I was pulled away during the IDW Comics panel on Saturday.  I had been looking forward to the panel, especially considering Carlos Guzman was the speaker, and he edits my favorite book these days, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.  However, the quick pace of the Con pulled me elsewhere at that same time.

Thankfully, someone was there to bail me out!  Anyone who has read this site or listened to What’s on Joe Mind is probably familiar with Jay, who runs CardedHeroes.com.  Well, his wife Mo (who you can actually hear on the “Ladies’ Night” Special Edition Episode of What’s on Joe Mind) attended JoeCon, and as a huge comic buff, she was front and center for the IDW panel.  I reached out to her, and she was very kind enough to write up a fantastic piece on the IDW panel.

I cannot thank her enough.  I strive to try and have the most in depth and thorough coverage as a I can, and I’m quite disappointed in myself that I wasn’t able to make the IDW panel.  Thank you, Mo, for yanking my butt out of the fire.

Click the Read the Rest of the Story link below for the full write up, with pictures included!

IDW Panel at JoeCon 2012

Carlos Guzman, editor on the IDW line of Joe books, lead the IDW panel at JoeCon. He started off the panel by running though some prepared slides which highlighted upcoming events in the comic series and then he opened the floor up to questions from the audience.

  • The main G.I. Joe book will be wrapping up the current storyline (“Deep Terror”) over the next few months and Guzman promised some “big surprises” before the end.
  •  Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow will also be wrapping up the current story (“Serpent’s Shadow”) in the same time frame, and Guzman promised something “pretty extreme” would happen at the end. Both Joe and Snake Eyes will then have a cross-over event entitled “Target: Snake Eyes” for 6 issues, beginning with issue #18 of both titles.
  • The Cobra title also has two more issues left in the current story, after which they will focus on Major Bludd for issue #17.  We noticed that Robert Atkins is not billed on the upcoming “Target: Snake Eyes” cross-over  and Guzman confirmed that Atkins is leaving the title, but that they hope to have him back on it sometime at a later date. (No mention was made of whether or not he would be doing covers for the title, though.)
  • We saw one cover preview for the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero title, but nothing was mentioned of storylines, and there was no preview art. This covered all of the prepared information, so he opened the floor up to questions. (Questions below are paraphrased)

How did the Cobra Civil War and re-launch come about?

When Hasbro granted the license to IDW, they stipulated that IDW do something completely new and different from anything Marvel or DDP had done with the Joe line. Originally, they had wanted to have Larry Hama come back and write the title, but they wound up using him on the first Origins arc and gave the main book to Chuck Dixon. Mike Costa wrote the first Cobra mini-series as a one-off, but they got him to come back and finish telling Chuckles’ story. He and Chuck Dixon (and, presumably, IDW editorial staff) worked closely to plot out the rest of Cobra II, the Specials and the on-going Joe title in order to have both books able to seamlessly transition into the aftermath of events in the Cobra title. Guzman got very animated when he was talking about how Chuckles’ story had to end with the assassination of Cobra Commander, both as a mission objective and as a redemptive move. He did note that they are planning on releasing the entire Cobra trilogy as a premium format hard cover, collected into proper reading order and with as many extras as they can get.

Will there be more movie tie-ins?

No, nothing is planned right now, aside from the already released Retaliation prequel. Nothing’s ruled out, though.

Are there any other cross-overs planned?

There will be another IDW-wide cross-over in January, but whether or not Joe and Transformers will be involved is undecided.  When company-wide cross-overs are planned, they do try to consult with the writers on the individual books to make sure that participation isn’t going to mess up anything in their continuities. If it will, that property does not participate. He didn’t give any other details about the event itself, but he did say that it will be different from Infestation. He also went on to say that the upcoming Danger Girl cross-over is a lot of fun and will be firmly within the ARAH universe and totally out of continuity.

Explain the origin of the Blue Ninjas (from ARAH).

Larry Hama wanted a new and different adversary for the Arashikage clan, so he came up with some doodles of enhanced humans wielding monofilament swords. The Blue Ninjas were initially presented as simply a tech-savvy ninja clan, but in the next issues became cyborgs. This development allowed Hama to play around with the idea and the consequences of relinquishing humanity in order to become more efficient ninjas. The concept of the hive mind was added in to the mix, which is what will allow the Blue Ninja clan to come back from this last defeat in later issues. He promised that they will re-appear with more backstory that further links them to the history of the Arashikage clan.

Are there plans to continue Origins?

No. (There was a collective “aww”, at least on my side of the room.)

Are you going to start re-numbering the books again?

No. There are no plans to do that now. The room also commended IDW on their numbering of Cobra Command (each book had its own issue number along with the number of where it fit into the Cobra Command story – 1 of 9, 2 of 9, etc.) and asked that they do that for the Target: Snake Eyes cross-over. I think that he made a note of that.

What’s with the increase in the number of variant covers lately?

They’re trying to get that back under control.

Are there plans to bring in any Joe teams from the 60s or 70s?

Why, yes! Yes there are! Larry Hama is actually working on bringing different permutations of earlier Joe teams into the ARAH. Further details will be announced at SDCC.

Any plans for any more prose books, like Tales From the Cobra Wars?

Max Brooks was a great editor on that project, and they really enjoyed putting it together. They have nothing in the pipeline right now, but if they some interested authors with stories to tell, sure!

Speaking of Max Brooks projects, are there any plans to continue Hearts & Minds, with or without Max Brooks?

Well, Max Brooks is a busy guy, and they had approached him about doing some more Hearts & Minds-type stories, but he’s too busy right now. If he weren’t busy, they’d be happy to do another one.

I wish that IDW had shared more information with us, aside from what we already get from Previews. Don’t get me wrong – I’m grateful that they attended and gave a talk, and Carlos Guzman seems like someone who’s very easy to chat with. I wish that I could have come up with more questions to ask him, actually. (Well, questions that aren’t “Why does Helix continue to exist?” and “Did Breaker have to die again?” at any rate…) He also, as I noted, became pretty animated when talking about a couple things during the panel. I didn’t feel like he was just feeding us the approved talking points for the entire presentation, but that he really did find some things just….neat.  He had obvious love for the Chuckles story.

This panel was so poorly attended that it was painful to see.  Are there so few Joe fans out there that are vested in the books?  To my mind, the comics are integral to the Joe universe – any Joe universe, regardless of which version of “Joe Reality” you particularly adhere to. Maybe that’s just because to me, GI Joe has always been about the characters and the stories. File cards can take you only so far, but the comics are what fleshed it all out. I don’t know how IDW is in interacting with the Joe community, so maybe that’s a factor in the non-attendance. Maybe the comic-lovin’ Joe fans just didn’t come to Con.  Regardless, I wonder what message the size of the audience sent to IDW.

  • Neil Cambre

    Great piece!

    It is sad that attendance was low, especially in a year in which most fans are wondering what’s next in the Joe world. IDW’s books, especially Cobra, have been nothing short of top notch entertainment.

  • Wjwitherspoon

    Thank you, Mo, for the great write up about the IDW comics panel. The G. I. Joe comics have always been the driving force behind my G. I. Joe experience. The toys allowed me to “act out” my own adventures set within Larry Hama’s Joe Universe. It saddens me that the comic panel was poorly attended at the JoeCon.

  • Crimson Guard Immortal

    IDW has been knocking it out of the park, particularly Mike Costa. I am so sorry that I was not able to go to the convention. This is the event I most wanted to see.

  • I

  • I keep getting the feeling I need to be reading the Cobra series

  • Jay West

    Thanks so much Mo! I just think the Joe line is so niche right now. I think one of the biggest problems is the GI Joe title. Dixon is writing such a slow “small” book. It takes forever for things to happen. It should be a huge wide screen Joe vs. Cobra epic. Cobra IMO is perfect, but some people just hate the art. I admit it’s not for everyone. Snake Eyes is pretty good. RAH is what it is. You either like it or hate it. I think with what IDW has the main book should be Costas and Atkins with the gloves off.

  • BCKixAzz

    More Blue Ninjas in RAH? I thought everyone hated them and that story?

  • Mo

    Thank you for the kind comments, everyone!
    NFC JD – yes, you need to be reading Cobra. If you don’t have any one to borrow them from or don’t want to sink money into the series sight unseen, the important stuff has been collected into trade paperback! Whip out your library card and get readin’!
    Wjwitherspoon – glad to hear that I’m not the only one who took the comics off the page like that!
    BCKixAzz – I know a couple people who don’t mind the Blue Ninjas, but I’m still friends with them despite that…;) I am so glad that story’s over…

  • Carson

    You really do. First two mini series are my favorite Joe tales of all time.