The Rejected Todd McFarlane Version of a G.I. Joe Classic

Knowledge Waits is a feature where I just share some bit of comic book history that interests me.

In the mid-1980s, one of Marvel's most popular titles was G.I. Joe. Therefore, if you were an up and coming artist, getting a gig on that series was a big deal for your career. At the same time, the longtime writer on the series, Larry Hama, had very specific ideas on how the book should look and that did not always fit in with the art styles of certain artists. One of those artists was Todd McFarlane, who had been working on Incredible Hulk for Marvel and it was becoming clear that he was someone who should be put on a higher profile book. So while he was still drawing Incredible Hulk, he began a stint on G.I. Joe with issue #60 in 1987. Here are some pages from that issue...

However, McFarlane's stint on G.I. Joe turned out to be a very short one. He completed a second issue, #61, which was an important issue in G.I. Joe history (it was the seeming death of the original Cobra Commander and it was also a classic plot where a small G.I. Joe squad consisting of Stalker, Snow Job, Quick Kick and Outback were captured, with only Outback escaping to go get help for the others). That completed issue, though, was rejected. Instead, Marshall Rogers was brought in at the last minute to quickly re-draw the entire issue .

Of course, McFarlane would ultimately get a gig drawing Amazing Spider-Man instead and become a comic book superstar. So big of a star that in 1995, with the G.I. Joe series now finished at Marvel, Marvel released a special one-shot issue that was McFarlane's rejected issue! Now with a McFarlane homage cover by Phil Gozier.

The cool thing about that is that this gives us the rare opportunity of seeing how two completely different professional artists told the same script. I covered this as a Comic Book legends Revealed many years ago, but I thought it would be cool to see the comparison pages in their own article so that people can more readily access the awesome comparison.

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