TITLE: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vol. 1, Issue #1
YEAR: June 1982
COMPANY: Marvel Comics
Scripter: Larry Hama
Penciler: Herb Trimpe, Don Perlin
Inker: Bob McLeod, Jack Abel
Letterer: Jim Novak, Rick Parker
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Tom DeFalco
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Back in the early ’80s, I was a young boy that was addicted to four toylines: “Star Wars”, “G.I. Joe”, “Masters of the Universe” and “Transformers”.
Raised watching the animated series but also reading the Marvel Comic Books.
And while the animated series was a big part of my childhood, the Marvel Comic Book series were huge because it focused on the characters that I had toys of. The comic featured information and detail about the weaponry and also the characters (as seen on a character’s toy file cars that were featured in the rear toy package) courtesy of writer Larry Hama.
Before Duke became the leader and Destro or Zartan appeared on scene, it was Hawk leading the team and so I gravitated more towards the comic books more than any other toyline (with the exception of “Star Wars”, which I would heavily get into with each film release).
And the comics were slightly less campy than its animated counterpart. In fact, characters would be killed of in the comic book series a few years later and showed how dangerous the career was for each member of G.I. Joe. Soldiers can get killed, unlike the animated series at the time where G.I. Joe or members of Cobra would find themselves escaping harm.
For those not familiar with “G.I. Joe”, the team is America’s Elite counter-Terrorist Strike Force and the terrorists causing problems in the world is primarily Cobra led by Cobra Commander abut the comics also feature other terrorists from all over the world.
And for each time terrorists would strike, G.I. Joe would be ready to take them on!
In the first issue of “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero”, Dr. Adele Burkhart, the nation’s top nuclear physicist is one of the brains of The Doomsday Project.
As she is escorted by numerous security as she is to be questioned by Congress for her role in building this mass weapon of destruction, Dr. Burkhart claims she was deliberately misled.
While on a train under heavy security, Cobra led by the Baroness manage to infiltrate the train and kidnap Dr. Burkhart.
And because of her knowledge, G.I. Joe is called upon to retrieve her. And to lead this team, General Flagg calls upon Colonel Clayton M. Abernathy (codename: Hawk) to lead the team to free Dr. Burkhart from Cobra.
But with Cobra holding Dr. Burkhart in their heavily secured island, can G.I. Joe rescue her?
The second story takes place in the Middle East and Scarlett, Snake Eyes and Rock ‘N Roll must find a way to deliver a tape to Hawk’s team (which consists of Hawk, Stalker and Clutch), but they are pinned by heavy gunfire from Colonel Sharif (who is bankrolled by Cobra) and his soldiers.
With Scarlett’s group two hours late from bringing back the tape, Scarlett knows the the gravity of the situation and orders Snake Eyes and Rock N’ Roll to deliver the tape to Hawk. As Rock N’ Roll doesn’t want to see his comrade left alone, Snake Eyes aims a gun at him and she orders Rock ‘N Roll to get the tape to Hawk. She also aims her gun towards Snake Eyes and orders him to back up Rock ‘N Roll.
Will the two men get the tape to Hawk or will they stay there with Scarlett to help defend her from Colonel Sharif and his soldiers?
Overall, “G.I. Joe” was a popular comic book series that was made even more popular with a successful toy line and later by a popular animated series. But it’s what Larry Hama and his team accomplished that made the comic book so endearing to fans of “G.I. Joe”. And it’s important to note that all writers turned down the job of writing for G.I. Joe with then editor-in-chief Jim Shooter, except Larry.
With his familiarity with military terms, strategies, martial arts, historical references, etc., he would be one of the key figures of making “G.I. Joe” successful. And the comic book series would last through October 1994 with 155 issues published. In fact, “G.I. Joe” also had a female following thanks to characters such as Cover Girl, Lady Jaye and Scarlett and that the female characters were treated as equals to the men on the team.
In addition, as Larry Hama wrote the majority of the G.I. Joe action figures file cards, the file cards remain a popular collectable today. And he continues to write “G.I. Joe” storylines for IDW which he has written over 85 issues.
And last, whoever was doing the artwork, they did a fantastic job throughout the series. In this first issue, both Herb Trimpe and Don Perlin did a fantastic job with the penciling and inkers Bob McLeod and Jack Abel also did a wonderful job.
If you are a fan of “G.I. Joe”, definitely give the classic Marvel series a try!