If you haven't been reading Tom Scioli and John Barber's Transformers vs. G.I. Joe series from IDW, you may be somewhat confused by the images you're about to see. The series is a beautiful, weird thing of beauty that does virtually nothing that a longtime comics reader might expect from a licensed comic book featuring two of the biggest franchises in movies, cartoons and comics.
Instead of focusing on years and years of continuity, Scioli and Barber take these toys out of the toybox and play with them as if that's what they are, filtered through a lens of Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko and lots of other Silver Age artists. It opens up incredible avenues for storytelling. That's what makes it great.
There are a lot of amazing things about Tom Scioli and John Barber's Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, and one of the most amazing is that it somehow keeps getting weirder. I mean, it's been a pretty wild ride since day one, to the point where the fact that it even exists continues to be surprising, but next week, it looks like the bizarreness of a book that's already brought us the Serpentress is going to hit critical mass in an issue that opens with Snake Eyes and Duke -- who is wearing a t-shirt that says DUKE -- battling it out against Robothulhu.
Yes: The Joes are fighting a multi-faced tentacle monster floating in hot pink space, and it is amazing. Check out a preview below!
With the possible exception of those Sailor Moon toys that I dropped two hundred bucks on, Transforrmers vs. G.I. Joe #1 was the most exciting purchase I made last weekend at San Diego's Comic-Con International. It was pretty much guaranteed to be that way, too -- the #0 issue that came out on Free Comic Book Day and set up the ongoing story that Tom Scioli and John Barber would be telling was easily one of my favorite comics of the year so far. It was bright and engaging and weird, in exactly the way that a comic based on taking two toy properties and smashing them together to make one big story should be.
As far as weirdness goes, though, this first issue outstrips it by a long shot, and it does it by taking the high concept that I think we all expected from another Transformers vs. G.I. Joe story and turning it upside down, launching it into an entirely new echelon of strangeness. And it is great.
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe is a crossover that sells it self, but the downside of that is that it's been done often enough that it can be difficult to get excited about the next version. Unless, of course, you tell me that it's going to be co-written, drawn, and lettered by Tom Scioli, the man who wrote the line "Robot Dracula is an efficient torturer" and rendered all other comics obsolete. If you do that, you have my attention, and that's exactly what they did when they announced that Scioli and John Barber were kicking off an ongoing series about the two teams, set to launch with #0 on Free Comic Book Day.
To find out more about how the project came together, I spoke to Scioli and Barber about how the project came together, Scioli's massive pitch document, and how their life-long and relatively recent love of the comics influenced their storytelling. Believe it or not, I don't think we talk about Destro at all.
It was announced recently, on this very site, that I'll be co-writing, with John Barber, and drawing Transformers vs. G.I. Joe series for IDW. While my car was being inspected, I stopped at a nearby comics shop and bought $70 worth of dollar back issues of Larry Hama's Marvel G.I. Joe comic. It's since become one of my all-time favorite comics. I wish I would've read these sooner, but I'm kind of glad I didn't because now I can enjoy them for the first time.
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