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A Real American Hero (Main series)

Hasbro relaunched their G.I. Joe franchise with G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, which was supported by a Marvel Comics series of the same name. It was unique at the time in that it was a comic book series that was promoted on television commercials which also supported the toy line. This 155-issue series is considered to be one of the longest-running comic book tie-ins to a toy line. Much of its success is to be credited to Larry Hama, who wrote the entire series save for a few issues with guest writers. Rather than treating the stories as a mere promotion for the toys, Hama wrote the series with seriousness and infused it with doses of realism, humor, and drama. Other than Transformers, no other series was able to duplicate its success. Notable artists include Herb Trimpe, Ron Wagner, Rod Whigham, and Marshall Rogers.

Issue #21 has been recognized as a modern comic classic,[1] not only because the Cobra ninja Storm Shadow was introduced, but that issue also became a prime example of comics' visual storytelling power, having no dialogue or sound effects.

A number of differences existed between the comic book and the animated TV series. Certain characters who were very prominent in the comic book, such as Stalker, were featured very little in the cartoon, while characters who were less prominent in the comic book, such as Shipwreck, were very prominent in the cartoon series. Another difference was that in the comic book featured a romance between Scarlett and Snake-Eyes, whereas in the cartoon, a romance between Scarlett and Duke was hinted at instead (most likely due to the differences between writing for a comic book audience and writing for an animated series). The most notable difference between the comic and the cartoon, however, is in its handling of combat. While the cartoon had the characters use semi-futuristic laser rifles and pistols (due to an edict for "no bullets" from the studio), the comic book did not shy away from using real-world pistols, rifles, SMGs and ammunition; The cartoon characters would almost comically wade through waves of enemy fire untouched, while the comic book would routinely have characters suffer injuries from bullets or shrapnel; the cartoon showed that nearly every soldier in every battle survived (for example, many shots of aircraft being shot down were shown to have its pilot escape in a parachute), while the comic did not shy away from character deaths; for example, issue #109 included the deaths of a large number of Joes, including fan-favorites like Doc, Breaker, and Quick-Kick, while other storylines included the deaths of Serpentor and Dr. Mindbender.

Four Yearbooks (1985–1988) collected some previous stories, summarized events, etc. and, aside from the first Yearbook (which re-printed the seminal first issue), published new stories that tied into current events in the main title.

Order of Battle was a four-issue comic series that reprinted the data found on the action figures' file cards with some edits and all-new artwork of G.I. Joe characters by Herb Trimpe. Published in 1987, the first two issues featured G.I. Joe members, while the third issue focused on the Cobra Organization, and the fourth featured various vehicles and equipment used by both organizations. The second issue erroneously listed Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa character as a member of G.I. Joe. While negotiations had taken place to license the character, the deal had fallen through.[2] The third and fourth issues contained a retraction stating that Rocky Balboa was not and had never been a member of G.I. Joe. The trade paperback edition of the series removed mention of the Rocky character entirely.

Shortly after the final issue (which was released in December 1994), a G.I. Joe Special #1 was released, with alternate art for issue #61 by Todd McFarlane.

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review by . August 03, 2010
Those chilling words spoken by the masked man and bane of GI Joe's existance were spoken in the very first issue.  Cobra Commander.  Quite a different thing to hear from what is often written off as a silly cartoon from the 80's isn't it?      We all know the catchphrases, the toys it's silly cartoon movie and it's fun but largely stupid live action movie, but one important piece of Joe information lies unturned by many, it's comics and largely …
Quick Tip by . August 03, 2010
Classic reads that took a more "serious" look at the toy and cartoon world of everyones favorite toy military man. Written with a serious touch on the material by Larry Hama who made the combat real given the toy trappings he was working off of and the far Eastern ninja philosophies respectful and not corny.
G.I. Joe (comic)
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