I love comic books. I've been reading them as long as….well as long as I've been reading. I remember some of my earliest comic books were when I was in the second or third grade. And superhero comics are a big part of my collection. Yes, I collect comic books also. Spider-man has always been one of my heroes. And the Avengers were my favorite superhero team. But there is only one comic book series that I have collected almost every copy of and the accompanying toys (yes, I collect dolls….erm, action figures).
When G.I. Joe hit the shelves in the early '80's, I grabbed the first copy. I still have it. Nope, it's not worth anything, so don't come looking for it. It is ripped and stained and frayed on the edges. It has no monetary value. But its condition should tell you where its value lies. I read and read that book over and over. This was not the story of G.I. Joe, the soldiers of World War 2. This was not the story of G.I. Joe, the toy soldier and adventurer line of the '60's. This was a new G.I. Joe, a team of top of their skills special forces operatives. Their mission was to do what the regular armed forces couldn't accomplish, even special forces. In the comic book, the characters were non-regulation military. Uniforms, weapons, skills, etiquette, grooming habits, none of them would have passed muster in regular military life. But they were excellent at what they did.
Their primary nemesis was a terrorist/for-profit organization called Cobra. The Joes waged a balanced struggle with Cobra. They were just as over the top as any other comic supervillain. The Joes had their work cut out for them. And they fought the good fight through 155 issues. Larry Hama was the principal writer for the entire series. And he produced some compelling characters, engaging stories, and memories that will last a lifetime.
Fast forward to this past weekend when Lisa, Andrew, and I went to see the first serious feature length life-action G.I. Joe movie. I love comic book movies. Except Superman Returns. And The Hulk. So the Joe fan in me had to go see this movie.
Let me say up front that I liked the movie. It was light years beyond Transformers 2 in terms of enjoyment. There were plot holes. There was some campiness that I could do without. But I liked the movie.
They really messed with my story. I say my story because these were characters I had grown up with through my teen years. The stories of their life are as real to me as a soap opera junkies "stories" are to them. As I watched them being totally re-written for a new generation (who rarely ever picks up a book unless they must…much less comics) I felt that I was losing the opportunity to share with my boys what was a big part of my youth. I am going to have to tell them the stories to help them understand how passionate I am about this.
Or better yet, maybe I'll drag out the comic collection and let them share it.
No. On second thought, maybe not that.