Remember GI Joe?
The image that probably springs to mind is that of the goofy 1980s cartoon, in which garishly-costumed members of GI Joe struggled to stop Cobra from enacting devious schemes like carving a picture of Cobra Commander’s face on the moon.
But that wasn’t the GI Joe I knew and loved in my awkward and nerdy youth.
Every week, on the way home from piano lessons, my mom would take us to the corner store to pick up a Slurpee. But my heart wasn’t in the Slurpee. It was in the rotating rack of comic books, which I would peruse every week in the hopes that a new issue of Marvel’s GI Joe had come out.
Marvel’s GI Joe was an amazing soap opera aimed at kids my age. It had convoluted backstories for characters, intricate plotlines that played out over a dozen issues, and stories that occasionally touched on real-life issues like grief, family, and what it meant to be an American in emotionally and morally turbulent times. I read and re-read every issue. I savored every line of dialogue, scrutinized every illustrated panel. It was this, and not the silly mid-80s cartoon, that was the real beating heart of GI Joe.
Could this comic book series have possibly have contained this much depth? Or is this my nostalgia speaking?
Let’s find out as I revisit the first year of Marvel’s GI Joe comics. Because knowing is half the battle.
First up: The Joes grapple with the nuances of Cold War ethics in “Operation: Lady Doomsday.”by