Saturday, November 28, 2009

COMIC - File #67: "A Real American Teamup," Part 8

Well, this sucks. Rough week. Late comic. My apologies. Image hosting site down. Site crippled. Awaiting email from team to find out just what the tit is going on.

Previous ComicNext Comic
Click to see full size
Previous ComicNext Comic

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Early American Thanksgiving!

I know the big day is tomorrow, but I figured I'd post this early. Tomorrow is U.S. Thanksgiving, and here's a cool bit of trivia: it's exactly 220 years since the first thanksgiving. Good ol' Georgie Washington.

Have a good time, guys. Try not to eat too much and don't trample anyone on the Black Friday, eh?

And to my Canadian friends who missed my Canadian Thanksgiving post, happy belated Canadian Thanksgiving to you!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Q & Ages 25 & Up #11: November 2009

Previous Q&ANext Q&A

It's time for some more questions! Let's see how many I can answer in an honest, meaningful way.

Question #1 - Monkeywrench asks:
When will the Original 13 all appear together in the same comic? I’m a OG13 geek and would personally love to see this happen.

1337W422102 answers:
I'm a massive O13 geek. I wrote a guide on a friend's website about how to assemble your O13 and make them '82 accurate. Granted, I took some liberties with mine, doing what I felt suits the character rather than straight-up being accurate. For example, I gave Steeler a pump-action shotgun, the one that came with Muskrat back in the day, as I felt that the tank driver should have a gun that's sorta like a tank. Slow, but powerful and intimidating. The original Steeler came with an Uzi. I spent 3 years tracking down the O13 members. I started back with the Valor Vs Venom Classic Comic 3-packs. Naturally, I couldn't get them all as they didn't make them all, but I finally managed to get all of the 25th O13, thanks in no small part to my friends Joebern28, Homer, and The David Harris! If I were struck by a car again tomorrow, I'd at least feel like I've accomplished something.

Crap, I'm off-topic. I have an idea about featuring them all in a comic together. I generally don't like the comics to have huge casts as I can't deal with all the characters well enough, but I DO want to make a comic with the O13. Not sure yet just when, but it's on my to-do list!

Question #2 - Monkeywrench asks:
Will there be a Christmas special this year?

1337W422102 answers:
Of course not! Humbug!

Just kidding. Yup, I will make a "Holiday Special" again this year. Let's give ol' Snow Job some screen time!

Question #3 - Monkeywrench asks:
Seeing the 10th Q & A in comic form was a nice treat. How long had you been planning that special issue?

1337W422102 answers:
Since I realized that the Q&A was reaching the double-digits, I thought we should celebrate! I was originally going to have that comic come out in the same week as a regular comic (because I REALLY wanted to have the answers out in November), but it was just too much work...

Question # 4 - thatjimboguy asks:
I’m a huge BattleTech fan as well as a G.I. Joe fan. Are there any more plans to include more BT references in future stories?

1337W422102 answers:
Another fan of the Shattered Sphere? Verily, you have good taste, Trueborn! Kerensky would most certainly approve!

In honour of BattleTech's 25th anniversary, I made the S.N.A.K.E. Eater story arc, which is filled with BTech references, particularly in the character of the S.N.A.K.E. Eater himself, "one of Cobra's most honourable Trueborn warriors," as described by Destro in Part 2 of the arc.

Is there more BattleTech content in scanning range? Let me put it this way, wetnose - Kerensky will return!

Question #5 - TU482 asks:
Any plans to start a moustached group to battle or team up with the Beard Force? Think about it: Bazooka, Recondo, Cutter, Wild Bill, Gung Ho, Roadblock, Stalker and Zap. I noticed this in the '80s and thought it was awesome. Keep up the good work. I look forward to new strips!

1337W422102 answers:
Thanks, TU482! I remember you mentioned the Moustache Marauders a while back and I haven't forgotten about them. Beard Force isn't the ONLY appearance-based Joe subgroup that will show up in the A25Universe. I'm just waiting for the right time and reason to introduce them. And they'd need a good Cobra opponent, too. I'd suggest "Faceless Force," but that would count for at least 95% of Cobra!

Question # 6 - Topside asks:
Would you consider taking the current story international and include Union Jack or Captain Britain? Oktober Guard? Big Ben?

1337W422102 answers:
The only "international" figure I have so far is Union Jack. I don't even have a Guardian from Alpha Flight yet as he hasn't been released in my area yet! Things will remain local, for now anyway. But when I get Guardian, I'll introduce him. He and Union Jack and Captain America are all roommates, living in a building on Embassy Street.

Question #7 - Topside asks:
I know people keep asking about this (because it was so good): when are you going do another serious story? I think you’ve shown that you are more than capable at writing darker stuff.

1337W422102 answers:
I find the funny and/or silly stuff to be easier to write, and frankly a lot more fun to. Serious stuff tends to feel like bad fan fiction when I write it, and I don't want to make you guys read crap you're not going to like. A light-hearted Joe-related strip to start the weekend is what I like to provide.

That being said, I did have a great time with the Black Ops story as it was just so different from what I'm used to. I wrote many scripts during my time as a film student, and I'm thinking of adapting one into a comic. Changing the characters and situation to something Cobra-esque is proving to be a little tricky, though. One of the main characters might have to become Rezzy-T, the street-talkin' Resolute Trooper, but I fear that will greatly detract from the seriousness of the story. Then again, that particular character was the funny one...

I'm thinking about it, and trying to w0rk on it. This particular story would only last for a single issue, but it'd be very different than the other comics I've made so far!

Question #8 - Topside asks:
Do you have a sculpt preference? O-ring, Valor vs Venom, or Modern?

1337W422102 answers:
I'm probably going to take a lot of flak for this, but I really don't like the idea of the O-Ring designs. The articulation and range of motion was fantastic for the time; hell, even today there are figures that aren't that articulated. I mean, a lot of the modern Joes can't bend their arms 90 degrees! And don't get me started on those Mattel and Playmates figures that still use T-crotches!

The figures were held together quite strongly, with 3 screws and... a rubber band? The most important structural element of the figure is a thin piece of malleable rubber? What a terrible idea. Sure, it was fun to spin 'em around have them deliver Hurricane Kicks (Street Fighter FTW), but we all know the bands were prone to breakage, and as a kid, when a band broke, bye-bye figure. Plus, it's not like that joint served any articulation purpose: the O-Ring would return the figure's torso to the default position.

I really enjoy the detail and articulation of the contemporary figures. Elements like ankle and wrist joints are the stuff I've been dreaming of for years. But, I DO miss the backpack screw as cracking the newschool Joes' bodies is NOT a walk in a park, even with fancy methods, boiling water, and wrapped-up socks. I also don't like how the arms can't bend 90 degrees on most figures. I often find myself shaving off little bits of plastic from the lower bicep to improve the elbow joint.

Question #9 - G.I.Eddie asks:
It was nice to see the MOBAT make an appearance… any chance that it will show up again? Or better yet (me being a fan of true 1:18 scale vehicles), could we possibly see some accurate military might for the Joes to ride in style?

1337w422102 answers:
We shall see the Joes' MOBAT tank (and its driver, Steeler) again. I don't have any accurate military vehicles other than a Little Bird I got for Wild Bill and the Black Hawk from the Black Ops story.

Question # 10 - G.I.Eddie asks:
Are there any strips that you can share with us that hit the cutting room floor for whatever reason? Be it not what you were hoping for, too risky, too brutal etc etc.

1337W422102 answers:
Oh yeah. I don't like scrapping stories, but sometime I just have to. I was going to write one about the "Rescue Doc" mail-in promotion, with Clutch getting pissed off at the Cobra Commander's ransom demands. "So we're supposed to hire six pairs of new recruits to get Doc back? Why don't we just hire a new medic for that much?!" A not-so-subtle (nor funny) jab at the costs involved (proof-of-purchases from 6 Comic Packs). But the promotion ended, and I already used Doc in the Clutch Can't Get it Updated story, so I scrapped that.

Another one I was planning was "Ask a Cobra Viper," in which Vipers answer fan mail. Basically, it was to be my response to people bitching about the Viper arms. Take figures like Hauser or Gung Ho, who couldn't even hold their guns, much less bend their damn arms. Then, there's the Viper, whose arms were shaped specifically for him to hold his weapon in a natural-looking aiming stance. And people STILL bitched. The comic was going to have a Viper lose his patience (an analogue for me being angry), followed by some diagrams about how to get your Viper to hold his gun properly, the one thing a Viper would be expected to do. Rotate the right forearm one ratchet notch closer to his body than the default pose, then with a bit of adjusting, he could hold the rifle properly, either cradling the body with his left hand, or using the grenade mag as a grip. Then, there'd be photos of Vipers doing other stuff, like playing guitar, riding a bike, etc. I never got around to doing it, so I just dropped it.
Click to see full size
I was also thinking of making a comic version of my reaction to rickroll that was Resolute, with Hauser being put on trial for disobeying Hawk's orders ("You were just supposed to bring the Flagg to New York for Veteran's Day!"), for sexual harassing Scarlett, for destroying "a nice little town" with some kind of laser weapon, and for general un-Joe-like conduct ("We kill the Cobra Commader." - wait, WHAT?) I decided against it, though.

Other ideas, I shelved rather than canceled. Some require more figures or vehicles I don't have yet, others require me to build sets for put the characters in, others just need more time to think about and flesh out better. One of the stories that got shelved but ended up seeing the light of day was the short story that appeared at the beginning of File # 50, the Ages 25 & Up Yearbook.

Hope the answers were good enough! A big thank-you to Monkeywrench, thatjimboguy, TU482, Topside, and G.I.Eddie for asking me some questions! See you this weekend for more mayhem with Captain America!

Previous Q&ANext Q&A

Friday, November 20, 2009

COMIC - File #66: "A Real American Teamup," Part 7

Hey gang. My usual image-hosting website seems to be undergoing maintenance, so for the moment, I had to upload this week's comic somewhere else. Sorry about that! I hope this does not cause any problems. If there any issues, please let me know. [Pun not intended.]

Previous ComicNext Comic
Click to see full sizePrevious ComicNext Comic

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 November Newsletter

To all you hosers out there, the latest issue of the Newsletter is now available. It features my review of the Dragonhawk, too!

You can check out the .PDF of the Newsletter by clicking here.

If you're a Canadian Joe collector and/or fan, head on down to for Canadian Joe discussion, sightings, Newsletters, conventions, and more! Beauty, eh?

Friday, November 13, 2009

COMIC - File #65: "A Real American Teamup," Part 6

Captain America's team of Joes makes progress as they attack a Cobra tank depot.

Previous ComicNext Comic
Click to see full sizePrevious ComicNext Comic

Thursday, November 12, 2009

REVIEW - Dragonhawk XH1

Unfortunately, Wild Bill's 25th anniversary figure was a pegwarmer. Seeing as how there were no Joe aircraft for him to fly, this was understandable. I bought some True Heroes helicopters for him to fly, but it just wasn't the same. Thanks to the new Dragonhawk XH1 helicopter from the RoC line, ol' Bill doesn't have to grounded any longer.

The Dragonhawk is a remake/updating of the classic Dragonfly XH-1 assault chopper from 1983, beefing it up from a humble Fly to a predatory Hawk. It is definitely more angular and futuristic than the sleek, curvy Dragonfly of old. I feel like if you were to give it legs and arms, it'd make a good BattleMech. The futuristic AH-64 Apache look suits the movie line, but I still feel the chopper looks better suited to the Halo universe or a Ghost In The Shell episode.

Sorta like a futuristic AH-64 Apache.
Click to see full size
The Dragonhawk is almost as wide as its box is tall, and longer than the box itself. Some assembly required; no tools needed. Once you apply the stickers [as the copter looks really naked without them], just snap on the tail [with rotating rotor, but static wheel], attach the 2 ailerons, and slide in the 4 main rotors and the 'Hawk is ready for dustoff. It can be easily taken apart to put back in the box, too.

Comes with everything you see here!
Click to see full size
Unlike the Dragonfly, which had landing struts, the Dragonhawk has wheels as landing gear. The front two rotate, but the rear one does not. The chopper has a large wheelbase and needs two '83 Headquarters landing pads if you want to land it nicely!

Cleared for takeoff.
Click to see full size
Visually, the 'Hawk has a lot going on. Plenty of sculpted details such as bolts, rivets, panel lines, vents, and the like. The stickers break up the monotonous green as well as add retro elements [who doesn't remember those "Not a Step" warning labels?]. The interior has details such as mesh on the floor, an instrument panel, and two horizontal joysticks for Wild Bill to use.

Detailed leather interior.
Click to see full size
In terms of accuracy to the original, I would say the Dragonhawk has a lot of similar elements, such as the chin-mounted gatling cannon, the 4 AG-202 missiles, and the removable engine covers. However, I find the '83 Dragonfly to be more versatile than the modern Dragonhawk. The 'Fly had more weaponry: an M-34 grenade launcher/2mm Vulcan gatling cannon nose turret, a pair of Sidewinder HE missiles, 4 Sidewinder air-to-surface missiles, and a 160mm cannon attachment. The 'Hawk has a gatling gun and 4 missiles. The Dragonfly had a winch and hook, a button for spinning the rotors, and could hold Doc's stretcher. The 'Hawk just has a handle underneath. But perhaps most disappointingly, the 'Fly could hold two figures, but the newfangled Dragonhawk can hold but a single one. If Doc need to be airlifted in via Dragonhawk, he'd need to grab onto that handle and hold on tight!

That being said, the Dragonhawk has a few fun features.

The cockpit holds a figure.

Room for one more, ladies.
Click to see full size
The engine covers are removable, a throwback to the original Dragonfly, which had a similar feature.

"Hmm, forgot to install them intakes' sand filters again!"
Click to see full size
The main gimmicks are the hidden side missile pods which slide out when the winged section at the front of the tail is pulled. The missile pods sit flush against the the sides of the body and aren't suspicious-looking at all, but tug on the deploy mechanism and they shoot open, making the 'Hawk look bulkier and more menacing. The firing buttons are hidden on the back of the missile pods, and the springs are surprisingly strong.

Come get some.
Click to see full size
Click to see full size
Other than that, the front wheels roll, the rotors spin manually, and the chin gun can rotate a bit.

The Dragonhawk comes with a new version of Wild Bill. This time, his colours are darker, he has no holsters, no weapons, and no stand. But, he has a snazzy new flight vest [which could really use some paint], and a new helicopter to boot. I think he also has some new lower legs and feet, too, but I'm not 100% sure. His filecard tries to tie him into the movie's story and mentions a weapon the figure doesn't come with. Plus, his mugshot sort of resembles Deputy Travis Junior from Reno 911! It's a tight fit, but the figure sits inside the cockpit with both hands on the joysticks, ready to rain down hell upon some Cobra grunts.

Built Joe tough.
Click to see full size
The Dragonhawk isn't that big of a chopper, and I was skeptical when buying it. It feels overpriced, but it does offer a lot of fun. I like the futuristic look, but the 'Hawk seriously looks out-of-proportion with 3.75" figures. The cockpit feels like it should hold 2 StarCom or M.A.S.K. figures instead of a single G.I. Joe. [It sort of looks like they took a Sigma 6 chopper, changed the cockpit piece, and boxed it up for the RoC line.] If it could hold 2 figures, was a bit larger, and had more weapons, I'd like it a lot more. At is stands, it is hard to recommend, especially for full price. It's a great addition to your Joe air fleet - if you can get it on sale and don't mind the size.

What was that about the Halo universe?
Click to see full size
See you next mission!
Click to see full size
G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra Dragonhawk XH1

  • Wild Bill [w/vest & hat]
  • 4 rotors
  • 1 rear tail assembly
  • 4 missiles
  • 2 stabilizer fins
  • stickers & instructions
  • aesthetically pleasing futuristic design
  • gimmicks do not get in way of playability
  • gimmicks cleverly concealed
  • missile launchers surprisingly powerful
  • new version of a classic G.I. Joe vehicle
  • good Wild Bill figure
  • expensive, even when on sale
  • can only fit a single figure inside
  • minimal paint apps
  • few weapons
  • out-of-proportion with figures
  • rear wheel not functional
4 ON 5

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day Once Again

Crowds of people.
Muddy fields.
A clear sky.
Smoke and thunder.
Little red flowers.

It is November 11th, Remembrance Day in Canada. I was speaking to one of my professors today and missed the minute of silence by accident. First time that's happened me as far as I can remember.

This year, Montreal's Remembrance Day ceremony was moved to the McGill University campus, which is pretty much a park in the middle of the downtown core. A perfect place to hold the ceremony.

As I exited the Arts Building (my home away from home last semester), I became part of the crowd of people gathered on the steps to watch the events unfold. I couldn't hear the speeches from where I was, but I had a perfect view of the cannons. Somewhere in the distance, bagpipes were playing. 4 105mm Howitzers were set up for the twenty-one gun salute and filled the campus air with thick white smoke. The deafening thunderous roars of the cannons made the ground tremble, windows rattle, and broke the monotony of what was an otherwise normal business day. After each shot, a car alarm went off. Not entirely unexpected, though it did take away from the gravity of the event. It was strange seeing and hearing the Howitzers in action. I grew up playing with green army men (among other toys), and their little plastic cannons were some of my favourite pieces.

Next year, I'll be sure to bring my camera with me.

I hope you all wore your poppies.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fall of the Wall and Broken Glass

I know this isn't Joe-, comic-, or toy-related, but I feel it's important, so I'm posting it.

It's been 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall which tore Germany apart. I think it's worth mentioning as this was an important historic event. I'm sure you guys probably have some kind of personal connection to it, as well. For me, I have a few friends who own pieces of wall, a friend who was named after it, and it was torn down in the year of my birth.

Last night (night between November 9 and 10) marked the 71st anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, which, to many people, marked the beginning of the Holocaust. Shop windows were smashed, synagogues defaced, people were beaten and killed. And it only got worse. Let's make sure this sort of state-sponsored hate-fuelled travesty never occurs again.

With that in mind, I'm going to go play with toys and take photos of them for the Internet.

Friday, November 6, 2009

COMIC - File #64: "Q&Ages 25 & Up #10"

Time for taking a break from the current story arc. This comic is a celebration of the 10th Q&A session we've had here at Ages 25 & Up. sorry for the "WALLOFTEXT" feel. If you'd rather read the text-based Q&A with clickable links, check it out here.

Remember, if you have any questions, email me, post a comment on a comic's page, or if you're a member of, shoot me a PM or post in the Ages 25 & Up thread on the forums.

And if you're wondering, yes, I am an unshaven brown dude.

Next week, more hijinx with Captain America. See you in seven!

Previous ComicNext Comic
Click to see full sizePrevious ComicNext Comic

Q & Ages 25 & Up #10: Questions from October 2009 [Text Version]

Previous Q&ANext Q&A

This is it! The 10th Q&A session we've had! I really wanted to have these answers up in October (the month they were asked), but since I was planning something very special to mark the event, it had to wait. Longer than I'd have liked. Sorry about that.

If you're wondering, the special thing I did was make a comic version of the Q&A as an exchange between member Monkeywrench (represented by a Monkeywrench figure from the two-pack) and myself (the unshaven brown Playmobil dude). You can read it by clicking here.

Here's the usual text-based Q&A page, with clickable links where appropriate! Enjoy, and once again, sorry for the delay.

Question #1 - Monkeywrench asks:
Is it true that Duke is really dead? We all know that nobody really dies in the comics. Any plans on when he makes his glorious return?

1337W422102 answers:
He really got his ass handed to him in File #55 by the S.N.A.K.E. Eater... If anyone can fix him up, it's Doc (with a little help from Lifeline)!

There are no plans to reintroduce the character just yet, but anything's possible.

Question #2 - Monkeywrench asks:
Your portrayal of Captain America is awesome! Can we expect more of him after the A Real American Teamup story?

1337W422102 answers:
That will depend on the outcome of the story arc. Maybe he grows as a character and learns that--

Nah, just messing with you. That guy couldn't learn a thing if you locked him a library for a week. He'd probably accuse the books of being "paper-based terrorists," or something. But yes, he will most likely appear after the story arc as a guest from time to time.

Question #3 - Monkeywrench asks:
Have you ever considered a Special Missions series? I understand and respect the amount of work and effort you put into each strip every week. I was thinking maybe a quarterly series of Special Missions. That would be a 4-file arc that would be something special in the A25Universe. I realize that would be 4 weeks a year with 2 files. What do you think?

1337W422102 answers:
Marvel's G.I. Joe Special Missions comics are still some of the best Joe comics out there. Each book was usually a self-contained story which was more serious than the main book, and often quite dark.

I thought about a Special Missions series, but I figured what I would do was make a "Special Missions" comic when the story needed it, like a "Special Missions: Gotham City" featuring the Batman, or something.

The closest I came to a Special Missions story was the Black Ops arc which was first, if not the only, serious A25U arc. If I were to make a quarterly comic, I feel that it would have to be good enough to warrant such a long wait, and I'd also have to worry about continuity issues with the main A25Universe...

For now, I don't think I'll be making a separate Special Missions comic, but I do like the idea!

Question #4 - Monkeywrench asks:
Seeing Lt. Falcon in file #60 was a pleasant surprise. Can we expect more of him in the future?

1337W422102 answers:
Seeing the Lt. Falcon Comic Pack on the shelf for a great price was a bigger surprise! And yes, we will see more of him in the future. Right now, he's Captain America's second-in-command in the A Real American Teamup story. Surely, things can only go up from there!

Question #5 - Monkeywrench asks:
A Real American Teamup has been very interesting so far. How long will this story run?

1337W422102 answers:
To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure yet. I haven't finished writing all of it! It'll be at least 6 or 7 issues. Maybe more!

Question #6 - G.I.Eddie asks:
Is it possible that we might see Hitler join Cobra? I would love to see him in the series with Cap’n A$hole.

Captain America answers:
Hitler?! Him again? Didn't I kick his Aryan ass hard enough last time we met? Hey, did you see that comic cover where I'm strangling him with my elbow? If that's not freedom, I don't know what is!

1337W422102 answers:
I'll take it from here, Cap. I don't have a Hitler figure and I don't currently have plans to make one, but it probably wouldn't be too hard if I used a German body from the Indiana Jones line or even "movie" Destro, and maybe the head of 25th Original 13 Hawk with resculpted hair.

That's all for now, folks! A big thanks to Monkeywrench and G.I.Eddie for the great questions. If you want to check out the comic adaptation of this Q&A session, click here!

Previous Q&ANext Q&A

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Remember, remember the fifth of November..."

Hope you all have a happy Guy Fawkes Day. Blow up some fireworks or a House of Parliament!

Search Function!

Custom Search