In his hit IDW G.I. Joe miniseries Snake Eyes: Deadgame, Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld has been doing all of the heavy lifting himself. As author, penciller, and inker, Liefeld has been the important thing promoting level of the e book, which has been one of the writer’s largest hits in years. For its finale, although, Liefeld needed to rejoice the historical past of the G.I. Joe franchise, and the Bronze Age of comics, throughout which the primary G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comics had been revealed. To that finish, the final concern will function a script and pencils by Liefeld, however he won’t ink it himself.
So what inker did he name upon to assist him end the sequence with a bang? Actually, rather a lot of them, many of whom have by no means labored on G.I. Joe earlier than, and a few of whom are enormous comics stars in their very own proper.
“This is a fulfillment of my dream,” Liefeld instructed ComicBook of the jam concern, which places an exclamation level on a sequence that he had already been overtly emotional about. “And to be honest, every one of these guys, when they said yes, my heart soared.”
The listing of all-star names becoming a member of Liefeld on the problem contains Neal Adams, Jerry Ordway, Whilce Portacio, Karl Kesel, Joe Rubinstein, Art Thibert, Philip Tan, Dan Panosian, Dan Fraga, Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, Tom Scioli, Cory Hamscher, Chance Wolf…and Liefeld instructed us that there are extra coming that he does not need to announce till the publication date is nearer.
The lineup is a mix of creators who had been lively throughout the Bronze Age of comics, and a few who grew up studying the comics of that period — and G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero particularly. According to the artist, he shocked writer IDW with the concept solely after sufficient big-name inkers had accepted his concept to make it basically a fait accompli.
“None of these gentlemen are not people that I don’t know, but to get them to carve out time in their schedule, and to jump on the project and embellish and finish me? I told all of them, ‘Look, man. If I wanted Rob Liefeld, I’d ink it myself, like I have the other issues.'” Liefeld defined. “I said, ‘Have fun, embellish me, finish me. The layouts and the energy will always be there, but do your thing.’ SIt has been phenomenal watching them come in. I watch my email box every day, trust me. Tomorrow’s a new day, a new batch of pages will come in. I think IDW at some point is going to say, ‘Rob, you don’t have an infinite amount of pages.'”
He stated that each he, and his editor at IDW, have been awestruck by some of the pages, particularly a double-page unfold pencilled by Liefeld and completed by legendary comics creator Neal Adams.
“When you can send out an email that says, ‘Hey, I got Neal Adams on board,’ it’s a big deal,” Liefeld stated. Even my editor stated, ‘Rob, you instructed me it was coming, and I nonetheless cannot consider I’m taking a look at a double-page unfold that Neal Adams inked over you. Holy s–t.’ So I used to be like, ‘wow, John Barber hasn’t stated that to me, ever.'”
Because Liefeld has spoken openly about the emotional attachment he has to the G.I. Joe property, and what a bucket-list job Snake Eyes has been for him, it may seem strange at first glance that he would cede so much creative control over the book’s visuals in the final issue of the series. That isn’t how he sees it, though. Instead, Liefeld says this gives him an opportunity to do something that any comics writer with a great artist by their side loves to do: watch those pages filter in and be pleasantly surprised by each new reveal.
“This is the most fun I’ve had in maybe over a decade,” Liefeld said. “My love of G,I Joe, it’s something weird. You know, G.I. Joe was a toy, before it was a comic, for my generation. So I fell in love with Eagle Eye G.I. Joe, Kung Fu Grip G.I. Joe, and then saw them cycle out, and then explode back with the Real American Hero line. That’s 1982. It actually was March 2nd, 1982 that G.I. Joe landed, and Marvel’s Real American Hero. So I just was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to make this a celebration of either the Bronze Age, or all the kids who grew up on this stuff.'”
Including younger artists who loved Bronze Age comics or G.I. Joe was as much a practical decision as an emotional one, Liefeld explained, saying that he couldn’t find two dozen or so top-tier Bronze Age inkers who were still working, with at least one person he approached apologetically declining due to poor eyesight.
Key to the success of the project, though, was a number of early joiners who helped Liefeld show other people that he was serious. The first five people he invited all said yes, Liefeld explained, and when you can go to other creators and say that Adams, Jerry Ordway, Whilce Portacio, and Karl Kesel have all said yes, it provides other potential collaborators with a sense that the book is going to be an event.
“Every single one of their yeses, was just phenomenal,” Liefeld said. “A guy like Jerry Ordway, he was a mentor to me. He took me in, I stayed at his house when I was doing Hawk and Dove, and I visited New York City and I had already met him on the convention trail and then I got to watch him work, up close and personal. Like Neal, these guys are outstanding gentlemen.”
Liefeld also told us that he has asked IDW to consider a “director’s cut”-style issue that would give fans a peek behind the curtain, reprinting the issue in black-and-white and featuring side by side comparisons of his pencils and the final product after finishes.
Joining the dozens of creators on this swan song will be all the characters fans have been itching to see Liefeld interpret in the series, he promises. After a big reveal at the end of last issue proved to be a game-changer for the final stretch, Liefeld told us that fans will get to see a number of the heroes and villains he had intentionally put on the shelf, giving the finale an outsized narrative impact in the same way it will be visually explosive.
“People have been asking me all throughout Snake Eyes: Deadgame. ‘When are these characters coming?'” Liefeld said of the rest of the G.I. Joe roster. “I had done some; I had had Scarlet and Roadblock, but I had put the villains away. I always knew that Destro and Baroness were going to be on the last page of issue #4, and it was hard to keep that from happening earlier. But I’m like, ‘I gotta be disciplined, here.’ The fifth issue is a giant, G.I. Joe fest with more characters from the canon. Hasbro’s been great to me; they’ve greenlit everything. They’ve always cheered me on and been supportive, and IDW too. This is just a spectacular way to end. I used to love this one as a kid, when you get jam issues. And you’d see who drew what page and, ‘oh, this is so fun.’ That’s what I wanted.”
Snake Eyes: Deadgame will be available in stores and online this April.