G.I.Joe X Streetfighter is the book we deserve.

G.I.Joe Crossovers

So is anyone surprised that G.I.Joe is getting a crossover with Street Fighter? I know I am, but mostly because G.I.Joe is a little difficult to have a cross over with. See the problem with G.I.Joe is that’s grounded to a certain degree depending on the comic. For example The original 1-155 issues of Larry Hama’s Joe tales features mutant plant spores, a man who either has chameleon DNA or placed hologram projectors into his suit, a living clone of the worlds greatest leaders, robot troops and they even went to space to destroy an asteroid. Check Dixon’s take dealt with a Zartan who was a shape shifter and a teleportation machine. Okay so it’s not that grounded, but it’s grounded in the sense that the world is a contemporary world, and superpowers or aliens showing up is some thing that wouldn’t happen at all.

JoeXStreet

My point is, when you’re story is about an elite military fighting force, it doesn’t really lend itself to other franchises. If say Cobra were to team up with Hydra for example, then all the Joes would need to do is call in the Avengers, or what ever super hero group are around that afternoon to clean it up. Like wise, putting a person with superpowers amongst the Joes would just show them up. Why would you need a team of elite soldiers when one yahoo in a flying tank can just blast the enemy into submission?

The Transformers crossovers work mostly because you need both the Autobots and Decepitcons to cancel each other out. Plus think of the amazing toys you could have. Autobots transforming into G.I.Joe vehicles should be a marketers dream, and the fact that it hasn’t happened yet is quite frankly disappointing. So far to my knowledge, the only thing we’ve gotten so far is a tank that looks like the Decepticon Shockwave, which was an SDCC exclusive figure I believe.

So news of a crossover with Street Fighter has me excited, mostly because it’s one of the few crossovers that can actually work. An interview with a the writer over at Comicsalliance has it staged as a 16 person fighting tournament, with 7 Joe/Cobra agents against 9 Street Fighters, set up by M. Bison and Destro for some reason. Really though do we need to say more? Honestly, while I knew some of the Street Fighters mentioned, some were completely new to me. The fact is, this has me intrigued, if only for the fact that it’s some thing the Joes haven’t done before. Oh sure they’ve been part of company tie ins before, but a cross over with another property other than Transformers is pretty rare. They did have Street Fighter G.I.Joe figures at one point, back when Hasbro gave us “Ninja Force” but this will be the first comic crossover. Plus the idea of Snake Eyes taken a sonic boom from Guile would be delightful to see.

8 Bit guile cover

G.I.Joe X Street Fighter is published by IDW, written by Aubrey Sitterson and will be out in February 2016 with the accompanying video game hopefully out when people realize that it’s the only street fighter game I’ll even buy.

Wrestling with ratings.

So in case you haven’t been following the WWE lately, they’ve experienced some of their lowest ratings in as many years. Other smarter people then I have pointed out why this is bad so I’ll do what I do best and give out unsolicited free advice on a subject I’m barely knowledgeable about. Below are 3 aspects I’d work on to improve the overall product.

1: Aim for a target demographic and change your product to suit it.

One of the aspects of interviews from various management of the WWE all repeat the same refrain that they’re trying to appeal to everyone and that means there will be segments that don’t appeal to certain types of people. This is fair enough, but the thing is, appealing to a certain type of fan or demographic is what leads to success. Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max Fury Road are two latest blockbuster who did big business at the box office, and why was that?

Because they both knew their audience and made the movie for them and only them. Pitch Perfect 2 isn’t my type of movie, but then I wasn’t the demographic, but they still crafted an enjoyable movie. It wasn’t made with me in mind, but the fact it was enjoyable was a by product. The same goes with Mad Max. It was made for fans of violent, over the top action movies and fans of the original movies. It doesn’t pander to everyone because they know not everyone cares about it. Expendables 3 and the new Terminator movie tried to pander to the biggest audiences and instead you end up with a toothless movie. So in the WWE case you pick your audience and you aim for them. If you want the kids, then keep the lame comedy, if you want the adult males, ditch the lame comedy, but stop trying to appeal to everyone because it doesn’t work.

2: Make better use of your roster.

If you go to the WWE roster page and count up how many people they have there Vs. the number seen on Raw or Smackdown in any sort of meaningful matches, the numbers are usually the mid to top carders. While this makes sense on some levels because they bring in the ratings, but what’s the tpoint of having some of them if you don’t use them. Yes okay house shows are important to get acts over with fans. But if you don’t show the acts on TV, then how are fans meant to care about them at house shows? You have 3 hours to fill, increase the depth of your tag division by having at least two or three tag matches per show. If you don’t care about the wrestlers, how are fans meant to invest in them if they’re seen as no big deal.

3: Lose the specialty matches and theme PPV events.

Lets say you have favourite type of ice cream and some one brings you one bowl after a hard day of work. You eat it and you enjoy it as you should. But then every month that person brings you a new bowl of ice cream every month for you to eat. After all you’d either grow sick of it or you lose any enjoyment you felt while eating it. The WWE have theme PPV events and they need to go because they are destroying the concept of specialty matches. The reason they are special is because they don’t get used all that often. Hell in Cell used to be grand event, now it’s a yearly spectacle of diminishing returns. How are the fans meant to get excited about a match if they’ve seem a variation on it before? There can only be so many TLC matches before fans don’t even care. A specialty match should feel organic and be the conclusion to the feud, not just a place holder.

The fact is the WWE won’t change because they’re too close to the problem, or there are too many yahoos like myself offering conflicting advice. I do hope the product gets better, and who knows, maybe it will.

An example of perfect paneling.

One of my favourite comic book characters of all time is Deadshot. A dude who can shoot really well and rarely misses, that is a superpower you can build a franchise around. Recently I purchased The Deadshot collected book Bulletproof, or as the main story is called “Urban Renewal” written by Christos N. Gage and art by Jimmy Palmiotti and Phil Winslade. This is another case myself being more interested in the character then the creative pair, but I will be honest with you, the fact that Christos N. Gage had wrote it is a boon. He, along with Mike Costa wrote some of the best G.I.Joe comics this side of Larry Hama in the form of the book Cobra. It was the serious take on G.I.Joe that the fans had clamoured for and it deserves to be checked out. But I’m going off on a tangent.

Comic books, as it has been said many a time before is a visual medium, so the emphasis is on both showing and telling at the same time. You show the medal while talking about it, you show some one’s angst while having them pleading with some one. In the third issue of Urban Renewal, Deadshot takes on the Green Arrow, who I guess you could call each other archnemsis by this point, because Deadshot has spent more time with Arrow than Batman, not that I think Batman really cares because it free up his time to punch out the clinically insane. Sorry another tangent.

The third issue is perhaps the best because it is a fight between two people who rarely miss, and that’s where it gets interesting. There is so much action on the page that you can miss small details. Deadshot’s bullet taking out the bow string of GA bow for example, or Arrow taking out one of Deadshot’s pistols. The entire mini series is example of brilliant writing and artwork meshing really well together. The artwork is clear, crisp and kinetic and the story isn’t too shabby either. It’s basically Deadshot finding out he has a daughter and then trying his best to clean up the area they live in and go straight.

If you’re a person who wants to write comics, then check out issue three of Urban renewal as an example of how to work in little details during a one on one fight that’s engrossing because of what you can miss when you read it. The book can be found on amazon, or hopefully your local comic store.