There is something that I want you to know...And knowing is half the battle!! G.I. Joe!!
LOL!! Oh, me.
Check this out, here's what I want you to know:
I've got G.I. Joe #10, published by Ziff-Davis in 1950 which features the first appearance of G.I. Joe...Well, kinda. It is his first appearance in comic book format.
You see, Dave Breger, the creator of G.I. Joe was a successful magazine cartoon artist in the early 1940s, before America joined WWII. Around the same time, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and created a strip called Private Breger for The Saturday Evening Post. When the Army got wind of his talent, he was pulled from his job as a mechanic in Camp Livingston, LA, and transferred to the Special Services Division in NY. There he was assigned to the staff of Yank the Army Weekly, a weekly magazine published by the U.S. military during WWII. Yank wanted Breger to do a strip similar to his own successful one. Knowing that "government issued" was stamped on nearly everything the Army used, and being fully aware that soldiers themselves had taken to calling themselves, G.I.s since WWI, Breger created G.I. Joe, full name Joe Trooper, whose adventures began being published in June of 1942 in the very first issue of Yank. G.I. Joe ran in Yank until its final issue in 1945.
In 1950, G.I. Joe was revived by Ziff-Davis. WWII was over, but the Korean War was in high gear. G.I. Joe was brought back as Private Joe Burch, a dim (for comedic relief), but heroic soldier. The comic lasted for 2 volumes and and a total of 51 issues.
In the mid 1960s, G.I. Joe reappeared in DC Comics' Showcase series (#53 and #54), and quickly faded again. But it wasn't long until G.I. Joe was back in comics. This time it was Hasbro, a toy company, that was leading the charge for a toyline based on American fighting men, and G.I. Joe. Hasbro published a comic named G.I. Joe: America's Movable Fighting Man in 1967 which was followed by others, including the G.I. Joe Adventure Team printed in 1969 to coincide with toy releases which birthed the concept of G.I. Joe as a team and not a single fighting man.
Then came the goldmine:
It's my copy of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #1, published in 1982, which gave us our modern concept of our beloved G.I. Joe team. This comic series coincided with the launch of new, smaller action figures (3.75 inch), and a hit animated TV show. This comic features too many 1st appearances to list, but here are some highlights: Gen. Flagg, Hawk, Scarlett, Cobra Commander, the Baroness and, last but not least, Snake Eyes!!
FUN FACT #1: Ziff-Davis had a habit of starting their first issues off as #10. So my copy of G.I. Joe #10 is actually #1.
FUN FACT #2: The Adventure Team line is remembered for several fun changes to action figures, like "Life-Like Hair," "Eagle-Eyes," and the famous "Kung-Fu Grip."
FUN FACT #3: G.I. Joe action figures were marketed as Action Man and Action Force in the UK; however, the soldiers were international - meaning members of militaries of varying nationalities.
FUN FACT #4: The G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic was published in the UK under Marvel UK as Action Force in 1987. It included reprints of the American comic, and new, short strips that were only published in the UK.
Oh, you knew that I had a copy didn't ya? TEX loves Marvel UK.
I hope you enjoy the reading as much as I enjoyed the telling!