Eleven days ago, Bleeding Cool reported that Hasbro was pulling both their Transformers and GI Joe licenses from IDW in 2022 – and presumed My Little Pony, Action Force, Dungeons & Dragons, Jem And The Holograms, and ROM as well, though we had no clarification on those. We also reported that John Barber, editor-in-chief of IDW Publishing was leaving the company – and John Barber was a former IDW Hasbro Group Editor at IDW, as well as a former Marvel editor. Shoes seemed to be falling everywhere.
Four days ago we followed up, reporting that "the most likely place to find new Transformers and GI Joe comic books later into 2022, will be Image Comics" as well as saying "I don't know whether the production will be through an existing Partner studio that publish through Image such as Top Cow, Todd McFarlane Studios, Silverline, Highbrow or Skybound." Well, I guess now we do. Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter has stretched the definition of exclusive, reporting "Robert Kirkman's Skybound in Talks for G.I. Joe, Transformers Publishing License (Exclusive)"
If a deal is reached, it will mark a sea change for the look and feel of the comics and is a big loss for IDW, which has been making G.I. Joe and Transformer comics since the mid-2000s. Kirkman, who is known to be a major fan of the toy brands and is said to have personally gotten involved in the chasing of the rights, is not expected to write any of the new comics. Additionally, if a deal does go through, new books would not be expected to hit shelves until 2023.
We had heard 2022 previously, but these things do take time. Look at what happened to Marvel and Predator. And while Borys didn't mention it in his rejig of licensing history, Image Comics was a previous publisher of GI Joe comic books when Devil's Due Press published through them…