Category Archives: Comic Books

G.I. Joe original comic art by Lee Weeks

G.I. Joe 107 page 3 detail, Lee Weeks and Randy Emberlin, with color by Tim Finn

In 1990 Lee Weeks had recently finished at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art (now just “The Kubert School”) and was regularly drawing Daredevil for Marvel.  Before that job started, fellow alum Andy Kubert had helped get him a cover job on G.I. Joe, and in the middle of that 10-issue cover run, Weeks drew a fill-in issue as regular artist Mark Bright’s time on the series was winding down. Continue reading

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G.I. Joe commercials – 1987 Effie award winner

Effie Award 1987 catalog partial cover

No doubt you’re familiar with the Academy Awards, given to films and film artists, planners, and scientists.  Or the Emmys, given for television, or the Grammys and Tonys, for recorded music and Broadway theatre.  You’ve maybe heard of the Clios, which we think of as the Oscars of advertising, but that category is more broadly defined on the Clio website as “advertising, design, interactive and communications.”  And there are the Effies, for “marketing communications” — given to marketers by the marketing industry.

G.I. Joe won a silver Effie in 1987. Continue reading

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About G.I. Joe

Destro Duke GI Joe action

My article for TheFw is up.  Read it here!

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Filed under Animation, Comic Books, G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Toys and Toy Art

Larry Hama’s Fury Force Helicopter

Close up of Larry Hama handwriting from Fury Force helicopter pencil sketch

Told at many conventions and in many interviews is the prehistory of G.I. Joe, how Larry Hama pitched a military comic to Marvel called “Fury Force.” He sketched out six heroes — covert military types — along with a motorcycle, a van, and a secret base underground base. And later grafted it onto Ron Rudat’s G.I. Joe action figure designs, and made it the through line for the monthly G.I. Joe comic book.

Fury Force had a helicopter, too.

Fury Force helicopter sketch by Larry Hama

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G.I. Joe Special Missions #21 cover art

G.I. Joe Special Missions 21 cover tease Wagner McCleod Not much to say about this, except that it hangs on my wall and is a wonderful piece by Ron Wagner and Bob McLeod.  It’s been great to see Wagner back on G.I. Joe at IDW, and there are twenty books from Marvel and DC I wish Bob McLeod were inking.  His talents are stellar, and it’s unfortunate he’s not active in the industry.  Click to enlarge:

G.I. Joe Special Missions 21 original cover art Ron Wagner and Bob McCleod

Part of the thrill of this image is that it pairs the obscure Spearhead (and his lynx, Max), who never showed up on the G.I. Joe cartoon and barely appeared in print, with the slightly higher profile Tunnel Rat and Airtight.  And it’s replete with mood, and just wonderful, wonderful spotted blacks.  Here’s a detail.

G.I. Joe Special Missions 21 original cover art detail Ron Wagner and Bob McCleod Here’s a great example (not from G.I. Joe) showing how much decision-making can go into inking.  McLeod’s website has numerous before and after examples, some where he maintains the style of the pencil artist, others where he’s given more leeway and adds much of himself.  And then another page of such examples.

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Behind the scenes of G.I. Joe – Marvel Issue #1, 1982

Sorry for the missing weeks.  Things have been crazy, but I’m back on schedule with more art, memories, and anecdotes.

Today’s post is a photocopy of Herb Trimpe’s pencils to Marvel Comics’ G.I. Joe issue #1, cover dated March 1982.  Click to enlarge.

Original pencil art by Herb Trimpe for "G.I. Joe" issue #1, March 1982

Trimpe clearly put a lot of effort into this, as evidenced by the distinct facial types, lush backgrounds, and dense spotting of blacks.

Here’s the page as printed, now with inks by Bob McLeod and colors by Glynis Oliver.  Notice how much McLeod has redrawn and softened the organic stuff.

"G.I. Joe" issue 1 pg06, as printed, March 1982, Trimpe/McLeod/Wein.

When Marvel issued its G.I. Joe Volume 1 graphic novel in 2002 (reprinted more recently by IDW Publishing as Classic G.I. Joe Volume 1), a friend re-read the issues contained therein — #s 1-10, and made an observation.  He remarked that early G.I. Joe was very much a weird Marvel ’70s-post Silver Age comic book, what with Trimpe’s Kirby faces and invented Kirby technology.  That it didn’t become the familar ’80s G.I. Joe we know until late in or after the first year.  (Issue 6 is another good example, with the Joes building a weird desert dune buggy.)  Just look at the tech framing on the top and bottom of panel 1, and the computer in panels 4 and 5.  And not that it carries through to the inks, but look at Austin’s cheekbone in panel 3 — a Kirby line! — and his eyes as well.

What other artistic influences do you see?

-Tim

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