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Exclusive: Aubrey Sitterson Leads G.I. Joe Into a New Era with Scarlett’s Strike Force

Plus a First Look at Art from Nelson Daniel & Ilias Kyriazis

Comics Features Aubrey Sitterson
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Exclusive: Aubrey Sitterson Leads <i>G.I. Joe</i> Into a New Era with <i>Scarlett&#8217;s Strike Force</i>

Writer Aubrey Sitterson set a modest goal when he relaunched popular Hasbro property G.I. Joe at IDW Publishing alongside artist Giannis Milonogiannis and colorist Lovern Kindzierski last year: to stake the title’s claim as the Crown Jewel of the Hasbro Universe, a not-insignificant feat with the ongoing popularity of fellow toy franchise Transformers. Sitterson and his artistic collaborators have leaned hard into the sci-fi action potential of the property rather than previous series’ attempts at military realism, even including a Decepticon in the book’s core cast for an added dose of inter-company fun.

This December, Sitterson continues his mission with artist Nelson Daniel in a new series titled Scarlett’s Strike Force. Announced at Hasbro’s industry event Hascon today, Scarlett’s Strike Force will pit the titular character and her crew against the newly reemerged threat of Cobra Commander. Paste chatted briefly with Sitterson about the decision to relaunch G.I. Joe under a new title, Daniel’s contribution to the franchise and how the duo plan to produce “The Best Action Comic Ever.” We’ve also got an exclusive first look at interior art from this fall’s First Strike tie-in issues of G.I. Joe and M.A.S.K., both written by Sitterson and drawn by Ilias Kyriazis, as well as concept art for Scarlett’s Strike Force from Nelson Daniel.

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Scarlett’s Strike Force #1 Cover Art by Nelson Daniel

Paste: What prompted the name change? Is there a shift in tone or mission statement with this new iteration?

Aubrey Sitterson: In the previous Joe series—by me, Giannis Milonogiannis and Lovern Kindzierski—Scarlett was the leader of a team that included not only Joes, but the Decepticon Skywarp, and in the new series, they’ll be joined by Matt Trakker of M.A.S.K. as well as another face that might be familiar to long-time fans.

So, coming out of the First Strike event, we thought it made sense for the name of the book to speak to the nature of the team. Don’t worry though—the reception to our unique take on G.I. Joe has been amazing, so there are no plans to stop giving you the bombastic, sci-fi-action-packed character drama that you deserve!

Paste: Should we expect a team shakeup or any new faces?

Sitterson: While the focus of the book will remain on the characters you know and love—including Scarlett, Roadblock, Salvo, Quick Kick and Skywarp—one of the G.I. Joe concept’s greatest strengths is its deep roster. We’ll be pulling from it, and even introducing the classic Action Man character, The Intruder, into the Hasbro Universe. Plus, our brand-new Cobra Commander has assembled an organization including Destro, Storm Shadow, Cesspool, Croc Master, Raptor and an army of new, serpentine Vipers.

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Scarlett’s Strike Force Concept Art by Nelson Daniel

Paste: What’s Nelson Daniel bringing to the table? Is he getting an opportunity to redesign any Hasbro staples or put a new spin on the Joes the way Giannis Milonogiannis did?

Sitterson: The past few years, Nelson Daniel has been one of IDW’s MVPs, with stunning runs on both Dungeons & Dragons and, most recently, Clue. Throughout, he’s displayed a flawless understanding of sequential storytelling, with stunning action sequences and pitch-perfect character acting. Now he’s getting a chance to put all of that to work in a book that, frankly, has everything. I’m talking laser guns, giant robots, kung fu, mutant ants, dinosaurs, snake-people, monster trucks and more—absolutely everything you want from an action comic.

While Nelson will be using Giannis’ designs as a starting point, expect him to reinterpret them to fit his unique style, and also give his take on other debuting characters, just as he’s already done with The Intruder and our new Vipers.

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Scarlett’s Strike Force Concept Art by Nelson Daniel

Paste: How are you continuing to stake your claim as the “Crown Jewel of the Hasbro Universe” in this new era? How does Scarlett’s Strike Force raise the stakes?

Sitterson: The current G.I. Joe series ends with a new Cobra Commander, and in the First Strike tie-ins, we see just how powerful this reinvigorated Cobra is. So, what are the stakes in Scarlett’s Strike Force? Absolutely everything—because that’s what Cobra wants, and Scarlett’s team is the only thing capable of stopping them. Their hunt for Cobra Commander and the fight to destroy Cobra will take them across the planet and even beyond, as they face threats that lean fully into the weird sci-fi/fantasy aspects of G.I. Joe.

G.I. Joe was The Crown Jewel of the Hasbro Universe, but we’ve made a decision to stop being so modest and start being 100% honest about what we’re doing here. Scarlett’s Strike Force isn’t just The Crown Jewel of the Hasbro Universe, it’s The Best Action Comic Ever.

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Scarlett’s Strike Force #2 Cover Art by Nelson Daniel

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G.I. Joe First Strike Interior Art by Ilias Kyriazis

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G.I. Joe First Strike Interior Art by Ilias Kyriazis

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M.A.S.K. First Strike Interior Art by Ilias Kyriazis

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M.A.S.K. First Strike Interior Art by Ilias Kyriazis

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