Comic Book Resoures has a great interview with Chuck Dixon about the IDW comics. Specifically, he talks about an homage to Hama’s #21 silent issue with Dixon and Atkins creating their own silent issue for Snake Eyes #21. He also talks about the upcoming reboot. Take a look by clicking the link or read the relevant GI Joe text below:
CBR News: Chuck, catch people up on what’s been going on lately in “Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow.”
Chuck Dixon: It’s been crazy. Snake Eyes was believed dead by the G.I. Joes but in actuality he’s returned to the Arashikage — the ninja clan that raised him. Due to his actions with his old clan, the G.I. Joes discover Snake Eyes is alive and working for the bad guys, although all of his operations with his ninja pals has harmed COBRA only. Still, he’s seen as a security threat to the USA and the G.I. Joes. That brings us to the arc “Target: Snake Eyes” in which the Joes (led by Scarlett) go to take out their friend. “Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow” #21 is an aftermath to the events in that arc.
Why homage the classic silent issue from “G.I. Joe” #21 in “Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow” #21?
IDW asked me if I was up to it. I wasn’t sure but took the challenge and it worked out well — I have [artist] Robert Atkins to thank for that. To make a wordless comic story work, an artist with strong storytelling chops is essential. I didn’t work like Larry Hama did on the original “G.I. Joe” #21 — I wrote a full script. Larry actually drew the layouts for his classic issue.
In the original story, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow were at each other’s throats. Is this the case once more?
To tell you anything about the issue would give too much away. I will say Storm Shadow and the Hard Master meet for the first time in a long time.
Did you read “G.I. Joe” #21 when it first came out? There was nothing else like it at the time coming from a mainstream publisher.
Absolutely, I read it when it came out. It’s a real landmark. I was blown away when Jim Sterankoopened “Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” with three wordless pages, and here was Larry doing an entire issue only in pictures. I think it should have had more impact on mainstream comics; a return to pure visual storytelling, but Larry was seen as an outlier in comics. Pioneers always are, right?
Does this new story tie-in to the continuity of the original at all, or is this a completely new universe next to the old Marvel title?
I think of it as a soft re-boot or re-imagining. I’m really not changing a whole lot. I suppose the biggest change is roping in some stuff from the cartoons and making them comic book canon for this continuity, but the G.I. Joes are the ones you know and COBRA is just as badass. I took an “if it ain’t broke…” approach to this issue.
How does writing a silent issue change your creative approach to storytelling?
More panels. Grid only. It has to look like a sequence of static images telling a story, not simply a comic book story with the word balloons left out. There’s a big difference. I have to have a lot happening in order to give the reader the feeling they haven’t been cheated by the lack of words. Also, lots of visual tricks and plenty of rewards and surprises for the reader. These kinds of issues rely on a lot of action, but the action must carry a through story with a payoff or it’s just an extended action sequence.
Have you done silent issues in any of your other comic book work?
I did a wordless issue once before when I was working on “Way of the Rat” at CrossGen, so I knew what I was in for. I also did a couple of wordless stories when I was working on “Batman,” but they were short stories.
What else is coming up in your “G.I. Joe” comics?
We’re shaking things up a bit on the “G.I. Joe” titles. I’ll be starting (or re-starting) “G.I. Joe: Special Missions” — it was always my favorite “G.I. Joe” title and it’s cool to get a shot at it. My first arc is Scarlett and her Spec Missions team against the Baroness in an underwater heist story. Paul Gulacy is on the art, so I’m thrilled.