June 19th, 2005


Breaking the Geek Barrier


This week, I finished reading the run of Battle Action Force comics, which has been posted at http://www.bloodforthebaron.com . This is the de facto prequel to the British version of G.I. Joe comics, some of which were imported to the US by Marvel. The Battle series was not imported, however, making them truly a geeky prize.

As a read, they're spotty. Several of the stories (especially after Cobra took over as main antagonist from the Red Shadows) are horrendously silly. The cliffhanger/recap factor is terribly high, and if I were to reprint these, I'd really whack away at the page count to compensate. The artwork is fairly gritty (I mean that in a good way), but the dialogue is hamstrung--especially in comparison to the convoluted wording Larry Hama used in the American G.I. Joe titles. Body counts in the stories are as high as in the classic pre-Joe American war comics like Sgt. Rock...but this also makes the comic terribly predictable as the reader figures out who lives and who dies rather quickly.

For a while I was toying with knitting the storylines of the British and American continuities into a coherent whole, but it's kind of contraversial too...and getting moot as a point. Devil's Due, who took over the American Joe franchise in the comics with "Reinstated" five years ago, is going its own way and abandoning the past that Marvel (and Battle) had made.

It makes sense. This sort of thing is meant to be sold to the kids, who aren't interested in backstory. They want to plunge right in and go without having to look something up. When I was a boy, I felt the same way (as I wrote in the post "I Coulda Told You That!").

I also think something is being lost...but that's not my call. I should learn from this experience.