The creative team of Tom Scioli and John Barber joined Comic Book Resources for an interview about Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, a new ongoing series from IDW that launches with Free Comic Book Day, and they had some truly bizarre things to say about the series and the two franchises.
Why is the book called "Transformers vs. G.I. Joe" and not "Transformers and G.I. Joe?"
Barber: Well, there's never actually been a series called "Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe" before, for one thing. There was a "G.I. Joe vs. The Transformers" and just about every other iteration of the two names. In all honesty, Tom suggested "vs." and it sounded really good and fit the story we were telling.
What? How is that different?
Which universe will these stories take place in?
Scioli: The best of all possible universes. Neither "G.I. Joe" nor "Transformers" has resolved itself into the kind of rigid universe that Marvel has. Even DC's Universe is incredibly fluid by comparison. To me, that makes this project more appealing. If there were a rigid universe readers were expecting to see, or to see a clearly explained break from, that wouldn't work for me. This is another iteration to these characters. Because there is not yet a definitive version of these characters (the way '60s Kirby comics are the definitive Marvel comics, the way the original "Star Wars" trilogy is definitive), I plan to make this the definitive version of both those universes. In my mind, at least. Any deviation from what has been established in the past will be in the service of making the best possible story.
Huh? There was a definitive G.I. Joe series - the one written by Larry Hama that spanned over 150 issues, was then continued by Image/Devil's Due, and then rebooted and continued again by Hama himself. It's being published by IDW right now, as G.I. Joe: Real American Hero. All of the reboots fail. And how are the various cartoon and movie adaptations different from the billion Marvel and DC cartoon and movie adaptations (plus multiple comics universes)? I'm not really seeing the difference. Finally, how can a crossover universe be the "definitive" universe? The definitive G.I. Joe universe is one where they team up with the Transformers?
The existence of giant sentient robots pretty much changes the entire G.I. Joe paradigm! What happens when it's time for My Little Pony to crossover with G.I. Joe and Transformers. Does that become the new definitive universe? No, by definition, these kinds of crossovers will always be seen as alternate universes. And that's okay - there's more freedom for creativity there.
That weirdness aside, there are some things we like about this. For instance Scioli claims that each of the issues will stand alone, eliciting an old school feel that will fresh among today's "written for the trade," finish in ten minutes or less comics:
So far it looks like each issue is going to be a complete "Transformers vs. G.I. Joe" epic that, when taken together, will add up to a multi-chapter mega epic.
Scioli and Barber also seem to have really big plans and a lot of enthusiasm, which is cool:
Why did you decide to create this as an ongoing and not an event or limited series?
Scioli: No reason not to. If you have both of these things, why would you want it to end? This could be the birth of a new universe that rivals what DC or Marvel or Star Wars or whatever has, but way more immediate, because you're watching it being created now. I want this "Transformers vs. G.I. Joe" universe to be more important, more immediate than the universe we live in, at least while you're reading the story. That's the true capacity of great escapism.
Barber: The scope of this story is too big for one event, or one miniseries. I mean, as Tom says, the scope of this series is almost too big for our real-world universe.
Most of all though, look at the fucking art! The retro look is fantastic, and these pages really speak for themselves. CBR could have just posted these with no additional commentary and I'd be committed to pick this up for as long as it's published:
Ok, Scioli and Barber can say whatever crazy shit they want to about this series. I'm all in.
Read the full inteview here, and pick up a copy of the Free Comic Book Day edition of Transformers vs. G.I. Joe on May 3rd.