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    Q&A with Joe Casey, Writer of G.I.Joe: America's Elite

    Joe Casey is the writer for Devil's Due's G.I.Joe: America's Elite title...

    Interview: Joe Casey

    YoJoe: So, how has GI Joe been treating you? What did you know about GI Joe before you started the run, were you a fan at all? Some guys would kill to be in your shoes (myself included).

    Joe Casey
    : I'd followed a bit of the early Marvel series, back when the toys were really new on the market.  One of my best friends decided that collecting the new JOE figures would be his "thing", and so I got to know a lot of the characters and their relationships to one another through him.  And, of course, when Josh offered me the gig, I immediately read the entirety of the DDP run.

    YJ:How has working on this book compared to working on other, more "superheroic" titles? With the decision to trim the cast down to a core group of characters, as opposed to the larger unit seen for decades before, did you have any choice which characters you most wanted to write for?

    JC: It feels like so long ago, I don't think I remember exactly what the "casting process" was.  I think it was mostly a consensus between Josh Blaylock and myself.  I had read the DDP run by then so, if I recall, I had some idea which characters would provide the most story grist.
    YJ: Between flirting with the "death" of Snake Eyes, trimming back a lot of fan favorite characters, and turning one of the most recognizable Joes into a vengeful psycho, the book seems to be in constant change from anything fans have been used to over the past 2 decades. Sometimes, it seems there is a departure from the Joe comic of old, and making it more of a mainstream comic. Say, a GI Joe comic for Comic Fans, less than Joe fans. Would that be something you guys go for?

    JC: "Vengeful psycho", huh?  Tell me how *you'd* feel if your wife was murdered.  Actually, I'm really just trying to entertain anyone who decides to pick up the book, whether they're a die hard JOE fan or not.  Maybe it's just me, but I always thought GI JOE was always pretty mainstream as a concept.  After all, military fiction is probably more accessible than superhero fiction, isn't it?  Mainly because it's dealing with more "human" characters.  And I guess that's how I see GI JOE... these are very human characters.  Even in the midst of all the COBRA schemes and ninja magic, I'm still trying to write the characters as three-dimensional as I can.
    YJ: Even for human characters, they do exhibit some superhuman characteristics at times. What is your feel on the less realistic aspects of the storytelling, the aforementioned Ninja Magic and Cobra scheming?

    JC: I've been writing superheroes for alomst ten years, so integrating those elements into stories that still contain degrees of realistic characterization is something I've always tried to do. GI JOE is no exception.

    YJ: Was there anything you needed to research on the military end of the storytelling? Equipment, terminology, procedures?

    JC: Aside from I'd already known, not really.  Writing GI JOE is basically looking at the military through a specific prism, so I tend to reference the old comic books when I'm digging for something military-specific.

    YJ: We had heard that America's Elite was going to establish a sort of "Rogues Gallery" for GI Joe, to step back a bit from the whole "GI Joe Vs. Cobra" never-ending storyline. After the Red Shadows, Vance Wingfield, and Destro working on his own with his own agenda, are there any plans to flesh out more non-Cobra villains?

    JC: In a manner of speaking, yes. 

    YJ: Any chance of elaborating on that?

    JC: Not really... not without spoiling some really cool story points coming up in Year Two.

    YJ: I loved seeing an obscure character like Cesspool used in the early issues, are there any plans to use other obscure Joes or Cobras?

    JC: I'm always on the lookout for opportunities to use obscure characters.  It's part of the fun of writing a series like this.

    YJ: We know you're building up to a big return in issue 13, what can you tell us?

    JC: Not much without spoiling a lot of cool stuff.  Needless to say, the final pages of issue #12 should get a lot of readers' blood pumping.

    YJ: Does hasbro ever pop in on you guys to say "hey, we just released this toy, work it in"?

    JC: Not to me.  But DDP does a pretty good job of running interference for me when it comes to Hasbro.  But so far, there's never been any kind of edict like that.  If anything, we may be giving *them* new toy ideas...!

    YJ: How have the fans been treating you?

    JC: Fairly, I'd say.  You can't please everyone, and to try is just a creative dead end.  We're just trying to do the best JOE comics we can.

    YJ: Is there any character you prefer, a favorite maybe, either to write for, or just personally? Maybe a Hero and a villain?

    JC: So far, I like them all.  I like the interactions that are going on between the characters, in different configurations.

    YJ: Are there any other GI Joe mini series or side projects that you're involved in? Anything you'd like to do, or see done?

    JC: The main title's enough for me.  That way, other writers have the opportunity to come in and do the various side projects and mini-series and contribute to the JOE-verse. 
    YJ: Well Joe, thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us. YoJoe, and keep up the great comic work!

    Interview by: Kevin Watts, 04/26/05

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