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Skybound and Hasbro Launch New Shared Universe With ‘G.I. Joe’ and ‘Transformers’

It was announced this week that two of the world’s most popular franchises – Transformers and G.I. Joe – have a new comic book home as part of the historic partnership between toy and game company Hasbro and Skybound, effective immediately.

Comic book fans who picked up their copies of Void Rivals #1 in comic shops on Wednesday were the first to learn the news, as the blockbuster Oblivion Song team of writers Robert Kirkman (Invincible, The Walking Dead) and artist Lorenzo De Felici (Kroma), along with colorist Matheus Lopes (Step By Bloody Step) and letterer Rus Wooton, revealed that the highly anticipated series was actually a stealth launch of this new shared “Energon Universe” with the surprise first appearance of iconic Transformers character Jetfire.

Three upcoming releases, alongside Void Rivals, mark the beginning of the interconnected “Energon Universe” featuring both the characters and franchises you know and love, along with entirely new concepts developed in partnership by Hasbro and Skybound.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be able to reintroduce this world to a new audience under the Skybound banner,” said Robert Kirkman. “I’ve loved these characters for most of my life and to have the opportunity to add to the already rich tapestry Hasbro has built with the all-new Void Rivals is an unbelievable opportunity. If you look at everything done with Transformers and G.I. Joe, you can see the inkling of a vast universe with tremendous potential for crossovers and interaction that will enhance the fan experience while staying true to the individual identities of both concepts. I look forward to exploring that potential for years to come.”

“When we first discussed plan for the surprise reveal in Void Rivals #1, I never expected it would be a secret we could keep for over a year,” said Michael Kelly, Hasbro’s VP of Global Publishing. “Now that it is finally here, we are all excited to finally be able to talk about all the amazing stories to come from our great new partners at Skybound.”

Launching in October, Transformers #1 begins an all-new era for the iconic robots in disguise from superstar creator Daniel Warren Johnson (Extremity, Do a Powerbomb, DC’s Wonder Woman: Dead Earth) and colorist Mike Spicer (Stillwater). Optimus Prime was supposed to have led the Autobots to victory. Instead, the fate of Cybertron is unknown, and his allies have crash-landed far from home, alongside their enemies—the Decepticons. As these titanic forces renew their war on Earth, one thing is immediately clear: the planet will never be the same. New alliances are struck. Battle lines are redrawn. And humanity’s only hope of survival is Optimus Prime.

“To my readers, retailers, and fellow transformer fans: GET READY! I’ve only been drawing Optimus Prime and the rest of this amazing cast since I was in FIRST GRADE,” said Daniel Warren Johnson. “This is a dream project for me, and I’m so glad to be adding a new chapter to the decades long celebration of robots turning into cars. Also, cab-over trucks are so fun to draw!”

The new Energon Universe expands in December with Duke #1, a limited series from Joshua Williamson (DC’s Superman, Dark Ride), Tom Reilly (The Thing) and Jordie Bellaire (W0rldtr33), that tells the story you’ve never read before – the origins of G.I. Joe and Cobra in a world grappling with the arrival of the Autobots and Decepticons. When Conrad S. Hauser (codename DUKE) investigates the mysteries behind The Transformers, the answers will lead to the birth of forces for good and evil that the world never imagined.

Duke will be the first of four G.I. Joe limited series coming from Skybound, setting the stage for a fresh new take on G.I. Joe, Cobra and the iconic characters that you only think you know!

“Childhood dreams come true! Get hyped! Tom and I are bringing you a new take on Duke and the formation of G.I. Joe that honors all that we love about the characters but takes it into a new and exciting direction,” said Joshua Williamson. “It’s been awesome working with Skybound and Hasbro to bring this new take on the G.I. Joe franchise. For the last few years, I’ve been picking up all of the new G.I. Classified figures, so I am pumped to contribute to this new world of G.I. Joe and Transformers!”

“I’m super excited to be working with Josh and the team at Skybound to usher in a new beginning for these iconic characters,” said Tom Reilly. “The Joes have a rich history in comics, one that we look forward to adding something new and exciting to. It’s going to be a fun ride!”

This will be followed by the launch of Cobra Commander #1 in January 2024, from Joshua Williamson, Andrea Milana (Impact Winter: Rook) and Annalisa Leoni (Oblivion Song). In a world where Cobra doesn’t exist, one man’s sinister plans to utilize the mysterious alien substance known as Energon will send shockwaves across the globe.

Also announced is the return of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, one of the longest running non-superhero comics of all time, will return in November with issue #301. Legendary series writer Larry Hama (Marvel’s Wolverine) continues his record-breaking run on the series, joined by fan-favorite artist Chris Mooneyham (DC’s Nightwing, Sgt. Rock and the Unknown Soldier) and colorist Francesco Segala (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) breathing new life into the iconic characters, and with covers by the incomparable Andy Kubert (Marvel’s X-Men).

A new era for G.I. Joe begins in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #301 with this jumping on point for new readers as your favorite characters – Duke, Scarlett, Roadblock, Storm Shadow, Cobra Commander, Serpentor and more – are back for new battles, new friends, new enemies and…THE RETURN OF THE ORIGINAL SNAKE-EYES!

Each issue of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero will also feature an open-to-order variant cover with a black and white version of Kubert’s stunning main cover.

“I am delighted to be continuing the saga of G.I. Joe with the good folks at Skybound and totally amped to be taking the G.I. Joe team to issue #301 and beyond,” said Larry Hama. “Little did I know back in 1982 that I would be associated with the Real American Hero for over 40 years. My thanks to the whole crew at Skybound for allowing me to continue to chronicle the exploits of characters who have become like a family to me.”

“I’m very excited to be working on such an enduring property with original writer and comics legend Larry Hama, not to mention being able to do it at Skybound,” said Chris Mooneyham. “I think Skybound is going to be able to offer G.I. Joe storytelling opportunities like never before, and I’m honored to be part of it. Yo Joe!”

“Early on in my career, I was asked to draw a few G.I. Joe covers for Marvel Comics,” said Andy Kubert. “Having had the toys when I was a kid, I thought ‘Great! This is going to be a blast!’ and it was. Fast forward all these years later and here I am getting to play with G.I. Joe again and still having a blast!”

The return of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero continues the historic partnership between Skybound and Hasbro that was announced this week, seeing the return of the G.I. Joe franchise to comics as overseen by visionary creator Robert Kirkman (Invincible, The Walking Dead).

“One of the main goals of Skybound with these Hasbro properties is preserving and honoring the legacies already established with Transformers and G.I. Joe. While we’re creating something new with the Energon Universe, we’re also going to be devoting equal resources to paying respect to the glorious stories that came before and made these brands what they are today,” said Robert Kirkman. “I don’t want to live in a world where Larry Hama isn’t continuing his unparalleled run on G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, and thanks to Skybound, I won’t have to!”

In November, Skybound will also release G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #1 Larry Hama Cut, a special reprint of the iconic first issue featuring Larry Hama’s original, unaltered scripting in a key moment that was changed in limited instances for the final printed edition. This is your first chance EVER to discover the very first G.I. Joe comic book exactly as Hama intended.

“We’re so thrilled to be publishing this historic series,” said Alex Antone, Editorial Director at Skybound. “300 issues by a single author is a feat that may never be accomplished again, and to be able to go back and fix something that Larry’s been holding onto since the very beginning…it’s just such a cool moment for the franchise and the fans.”

 

“Several years ago, a fan at SDCC asked me how long Larry Hama would be writing G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO comics,” recalled Michael Kelly, VP of Global Publishing at Hasbro. “My response was the only appropriate answer for someone in my position: ‘for as long as Larry wants to keep writing them.’ It’s exciting to be continuing this journey that started back in 1982, and I’m grateful to the great team at Skybound for helping me keep that promise.”

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #301 will be available on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at comic book shops and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play.

“My first comic was G.I. JOE, and I couldn’t be more excited to unite the Transformers and G.I. Joe into one universe,” said Sean Mackiewicz, SVP, Publisher. “This line is being guided by the best comic creators in the world and features the same action-packed, surprise-filled, emotional storytelling you expect from all Skybound comics.”

Void Rivals #1 (JAN238443) is available now at comic book shops and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play.

Fans can pre-order their copies of Transformers #1, Duke #1, and Cobra Commander #1 right now at their local comic book shops.

 

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