G.I. Joe Comic Books
Comic books and G.I. Joe have a long history together - in fact, the first four-color appearance of Hasbro's G.I. Joe came courtesy of DC Comics' Showcase in 1964! Comic books are the lifeblood of the G.I. Joe vs Cobra universe. In between cartoon series and movie premieres, comics are the ever-present narrative outlet for the tales of our favorite toy line. They have informed our opinions of the universe since the very beginning, and even Hasbro is subject to their influences - witness Baroness and Kamakura - popular characters that were first created in the comics.
When the 3 3/4" line of toys was being developed, it was not yet legal to make a cartoon based upon a toy line. But Hasbro knew that if they wanted their line to succeed, they would need some sort of story that could engage kids. Comics were the answer. Exploiting a cunning loophole, Sunbow animated short commercials advertising the comic, an industry first. This practice would continue on and off until the mid-1990s.
While the G.I. Joe comic license has changed hands multiple times, the stories continue to entertain readers today. And though many writers and artists have given us tales, special mention should go out to writer Larry Hama. He launched the Real American Hero series in 1982 with Marvel Comics, after several other writers passed. In order to keep his characters’ personalities straight, he created dossiers for his own use. Hasbro saw these, and liked them so much they became the filecards found on the backs of toy packages. Mr. Hama would continue as the writer for twelve years, until the end of Marvel’s run, but that would not be the end of his involvement with G.I. Joe. He has since written comics for Devil’s Due, IDW, and even issues Hasbro produced in-house.
As evidence of G.I. Joe’s popularity around the world, comic books were created in several nations. Sometimes these would simply be translations of the American comics, but a number of countries produced their own unique works. More information can be found in the international archives.