Sunday, October 14, 2012


G.I. JOE YEARBOOK (IDW, 2012; Softcover)

Collects G. I. Joe Yearbook Nos. 1-4 (cover dates March, 1985- February, 1988)

Writer: Larry Hama

Artist: Herb Trimpe, Michael Golden, and Ron Wagner

IDW are completely clueless when it comes to collecting G.I. Joe. You'd think that when they set out to reissue the classic Marvel run of the title that they would have spent a few minutes online figuring out crossovers, etc. Instead, they issued Classic G.I. Joe, which collected the core series, G.I. Joe A Real American Hero. Then they released the G.I. Joe Special Missions trade paperbacks, collecting that series over the course of four trades. Now we have the G.I. Joe Yearbook trade paperback. They should have collected all three into one cohesive line. Oh wait, they are going to do hardcover, now that everyone has already bought of all them. Bastards. 

Artwork by Herb Trimpe.
I wonder if they will include the G.I. Joe Vs. The Transformers '80s series in with those hardcovers? IDW issued a separate trade of those crossovers. That choice almost made sense, since both G.I. Joe and the Transformers have been licensed to multiple comic companies over the years, and there have been crossovers from multiple companies. They landed over at IDW a couple of years ago, and IDW has made some decent choices with new material, such as resurrecting the Marvel continuity for both properties, getting Larry Hama back on the title, etc. My beef is with the way that they presented the material in this book. Let's get started, shall we? (*cracks knuckles*)

If you did a shot for every panel marred by poor restoration, you'd die of alcohol poisoning.
G.I. Joe Yearbook No. 1 was appealing to me as an 11 year old upon it's newsstand release in December of 1984 because I didn't get in to the G.I. Joe comics until issue 23 in February of that year. The bulk of Yearbook No. 1 was a reprint of the at-the-time expensive first issue of G.I. Joe A Real American Hero. This was already collected in Classic G.I. Joe Vol. 1, so this was nothing more than padding in my opinion. Had they collected this in proper sequence, this could have been omitted. The linework doesn't look too bad for this issue. 

Artwork by Michael Golden.
The linework restoration in Yearbook No. 2 is superb, worlds better than the crap that IDW passed off on us for the rest of the books. I wonder why the lines are so sharp and clear in this story while the other three issues are a pixelated mess. My guess is that they had access to Michael Golden's original artwork. 

Which is worse: the horrible linework or the cheesy airbrushed recoloring?
The other two issues in this book suffer from same the subpar production values that IDW had for Classic G.I. Joe Vols. 6-9. Those books are complete crap, production-wise. I have reviewed them all here in my blog. Click on the G.I. Joe tag below and see for yourself. IDW created typos. The linework is obliterated. They use crappy substandard computer recoloring, allowing the computer to fill in the shapes which resulted in poor gradient blends and “airbrushed” looking lines. There are rampant jagged lines due to low resolution scanning of the floppies. I would have rather seen them just do straight scanning of the pages than this crap. Dots would have been preferable to this garbage. I wonder if they even bothered asking Marvel to use the files for these issues. Wouldn't have hurt to ask. 

Yup, IDW actually CREATES typos in these books. This is pathetic. These typos are not found in the original issues.
The stories in and of themselves are fun, but the shoddy presentation ruined this book for me. I would advise everyone to pass on this book unless you cannot live without this material in collected edition format. Rating below is based on the stories themselves.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.

The OCD zone- Super thick uncoated paper stock and sewn binding glued square to the spine make this a tough read. You have to almost pin it down like a wrestler to read this book. I don't like fighting with my books just to be able to read them.
The cardstock cover has coating on it, but not as nice as what Marvel uses.

I went over all of the restoration shortcoming above. Let me reiterate: AVOID THIS BOOK.

Linework restoration rating: 1 out of 5. (It would have been a 0 if not for Yearbook No. 2.)

Color restoration rating: 2 out of 5.

Paper rating: 5 out of 5.

Binding rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Cardstock cover coating rating: 4 out of 5.

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  1. That's a real shame that this book and previous volumes have been so lacking. I think of IDW as such a class act at doing quality reprint volumes; I am surprised they've dropped the ball so badly. Have they addressed anywhere publicly what the problem is here? Hopefully they'll rectify for the hardcovers but that doesn't make up for dropping the ball here.

  2. IDW *is* a class act, except where their restoration here is concerned. Don't confuse this with their collaborations with the Library of American Comics and Yoe Books, where they are essentially presented with a finished product. Craig Yoe goes to great length and personal expense to make sure that his books are perfect. Yes, MOST IDW classic books are quality. Their work on G.I. Joe has been subpar, in my opinion.

    They have not addressed this matter publicly, but I do know that they never asked Marvel to borrow the film for these issues, which is a shame. Dark Horse has borrowed film from Marvel for stuff like Solomon Kane, and returned the favor by letting Marvel reprint the Dracula Lives story with Solomon Kane in the Tomb of Dracula Omnibus Vol. 3. Things can be done favorably for all parties, but you have to ask first. lol

    What's really interesting is that my son has a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures TPB which collects the Archie run, and they are straight up scans, dots and all. They look great! I'd rather that they had gone that route rather than try and remaster and fully restore off of scans of single issues.

    I finished Classic G.I. Joe Vol. 11 TPB today (review up tomorrow, probably) and the restoration there was good for the most part. Some issues look crisp and clear, others suffer from pixelation and horrible recoloring.

    Believe me when I say that I get no joy from ripping IDW a new one over this collection. I would LOVE to have a high quality, properly restored collection of G.I. Joe, but this isn't it.

  3. What a disaster! I've been thinking about investing in the Classic G.I. Joe line for a while, but I guess if I do I'll have to skip this one (or just get the original issues). I wasn't aware they were redoing the whole thing in hardcover, though. Have any of the HCs been solicited yet?

    1. Yes, Vol. 1 has been solicited and has been MIA since the release date came and went. It has a MSRP of $49.99. The first 50 issues should be fine, since they used Marvel's files for the trade paperbacks that they released a decade ago. After that, I'd be leery. I'm going to pass on them.