Thursday 28 April 2016


From December 1995: The final issue (in this format) of DARK HORSE INSIDER (48) trumpets the impending (and ill-fated) return of G.I JOE to Comicdom. 

This week saw the return of the MICRONAUTS to print (although it doesn't seem that long ago since the last revival... although time flies) so I thought it would be fun to revisit another, earlier, revival of a classic toy brand. 

The Joes had run out of steam in the early 1990s with sales of the toy line (forced to create ever more preposterous sub-sets to hold the attention of fickle young consumers) and the Marvel comic book way off their highs of the previous decade. 

This was a total reboot that was intended to reboot the franchise for a new audience. But it got lost in the mid-Nineties clutter and never secured the traction it needed. The 1980s "Real American Heroes" characters and continuity returned in late 2001 (days after the 9-11 attacks... giving the whole premise new resonance) and captured the Geek Culture zeitgeist in a way this never did. 

I skipped the four-issue run at the time (I probably would have dabbled if it had been a reboot of the Eighties version rather than a total restart) but I'm pretty sure I've acquired it more recently. I've never read it. Maybe it would have faired a bit better of the pre-launch publicity had used more than one partially obscured image.

Interestingly, ACTION MAN (the British version of the original Joe toy) is poised to make his US comics debut. We really do live in a smaller world now. 

Dark Horse Insider was a holdover from the boom years of 1992-93 when publishers had massive marketing budgets and needed to work hard to get their products to stand out in an oversatuated market. Most of the majors churned out their own (often black & white) plugathons. DHI continued as a cheaper one-sheet poster style fold-out before being abandoned altogether. 

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