Sunday, March 8, 2015

Comic Review: Transformers VS G.I. Joe

    Full disclosure, here.  As a wee lad, G.I. Joe, was my jam.  I had the toys, I watched the cartoon, I listened to the audio-stories, I had the bed sheets; you name it.  It was even the book that I delved into during my first, short-lived attempt at following comics.  My fandom did not continue into adulthood, but I have fond memories, none the less.  However, I never thought too much of Transformers.  I watched the cartoon, and I guess I enjoyed it (more than Voltron or He-Man and some of the others popular at the time).  But I wasn’t in to the toys, I never contemplated putting an Autobots sticker on my car, and I flippin’ hate the new movies (I kinda like the second live-action G.I. Joe film).  I won’t swear to it, but I think the only Transformers thing I ever read was a G.I. Joe VS Transformers comic set during World War II, from the early 2000s.  I liked it, but it didn’t make me seek out more.

    So, I had little interest in another crossover between these franchises.  But, I’m a big fan of Tom Scioli and his mad bastard Jack Kirby-like insanity.  When I heard he was working on the project, I knew I’d have to give it a look, even if it otherwise didn’t interest me.  Scioli’s that good.  Free Comic Book Day came along, and there was a preview issue.  I took it home and may have even read it that night.  Holy crap!  Reading it was like plucking childhood memories right out of my head.  It had the weird little kid logic I used to employ when playing.  The same vaguely sick sense of wonder and horror that produced things like building huge structures, peppered with action figures, then knocking them down to see how all the bodies end up.  The dialog, the plotline, the crazy ideas; Scioli and co-author John Barber are tapped into something.  This is everything my weird little brain would have wanted the cartoon to be, everything it was when I was alone.

    You can’t talk about a Scioli project and not talk about the art.  With hyper-weird images sifted through Golden Age comic mentality, his work explodes with energy.  And with his odd, slightly off, almost muted colors, reading the book sometimes feels like reading the backs of packages, or those full page ads you’d find in comic books from the 80s.  Scioli’s work calls out for color, and it gets a ton here.

    If you were a kid in the 80s, if you played with G.I. Joes or Transformers, if you’re in to weird comics, and if you like the idea of something way, way out there being dressed in a mainstream, commercial skin, read Transformers VS G.I. Joe.  It’s the kind of thing I love, the kind of book I sit back and wonder, ‘how the hell did this get greenlit?’

Transformers VS G.I. Joe
Authors: Tom Scioli & John Barber
Artist: Tom Scioli
Publisher: IDW
ISBN: 978-1-63140-190-9

-Matthew J. Constantine

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