This week, Bleeding Cool Rumourmonger-in-Chief Rich Johnston broke the news that IDW is set to lose the Transformers and GI Joe comics licenses from Hasbro, probably sometime in 2022. The news has been met with skepticism, mainly from Robobronies (the official term for hardcore fans of the Transformers franchise) who simply don't want to believe the rumor who have spent the past 48 hours on Twitter posting things like "Bleeding Cool didn't cite any sources so this must be bullshit." It's always amusing to see how years of sycophantic access journalism has skewed the public perception of how reporting works, as if, without an official press release or PR statement from a company, news must be totally made up.
Here's the thing, folks: say what you will about Rich Johnston, and I've said plenty: he's arrogant, self-aggrandizing, looks funny, smells bad, talks with a stupid accent, has literally no sense of shame, and would sell out his own mother for a story… but he doesn't just make up rumors out of thin air. If he isn't "citing a source" that's not an indication that the source doesn't exist. It's an indication that the source is being protected, as sources should be. That is how reporting works when you are not just regurgitating press releases and company PR statements in exchange for access to said press releases and company PR statements (or, in my case, regurgitating those press releases and company PR statements and then lazily making fun of them for low-effort article quota fulfillment).
So now that we've established that Rich's report is not a fabrication, I have something important I'd like to say to whoever picks up the GI Joe license after IDW: give Larry Hama whatever he wants to continue GI Joe: A Real American Hero (assuming he is interested in doing so). Hama has been writing this comic since the 1980s, with a long break from the end of the Marvel series in the 1990s until the series returned around 2010 at IDW, and GI Joe fans (or at least me) are extremely protective of this comic. It's one of the last vestiges of old-school comics publishing, where one continuous story is told over the course of decades without constant number one issue reboots or massive status quo changes to sell comics based on the concept of FOMO. It's rare to see that in this industry.
IDW tried many new takes on GI Joe over the past decade, some bolder than others, and to varying degrees of success. But by keeping GI Joe: A Real American Hero running at the same time, the company also kept alive the fictional universe fans have been exploring for decades, essentially allowing IDW to have their cake and eat it too. There are many things I've criticized IDW and other comic book publishers for over the years, but this is one thing that IDW absolutely did right, and something other publishers looking to sell comics to a multi-generational fanbase could learn from.
Of course, a new publisher will want to use the property to its fullest potential and therefore will likely want to create their own bold and different take on the franchise, and that's not only okay, but what's best for business. By all means, please do expand the franchise and update it for 2022 and beyond. Just don't cancel Larry Hama's GI Joe: A Real American Hero, a comic ahead of its time in the 80s that still holds up under modern sensibilities, to make way for it, and things between us will be copacetic, and hopefully I'll never be forced to say something nice about Rich Johnston ever again.
The next issue of GI Joe: A Real American Hero is in stores later this month.
GI JOE A REAL AMERICAN HERO #289 CVR B CASEY MALONEY
(W) Larry Hama (A) Kewber Baal (CA) Casey Maloney
One is a former Cobra-operative-turned-Joe after being implanted with the memories and skills of the original Snake Eyes. The other is a former victim of child trafficking, who is possessed of a unique set of strategic and war fighting skills… and who has become the Joes' deadliest secret weapon. Together, they are an awesomely dangerous force to be reckoned with. This month, Living Legend Larry Hama and explosive artist Casey Maloney (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, The Last Fall), shine the bright lights on two of G.I. Joes' most shadowy operatives in… SPOTLIGHT: DAWN MORENO & AGENT HELIX!
Also includes the fourth of five interconnected covers (issues #286-#290) by superstar artist Freddie Williams II (Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)!
In Shops: Dec 29, 2021