In the early `80s, I temporarily lost my mind and gave away my substantial collection of action figures and accessories to younger relatives or friends; however, through some similarly-inexplicable logic, I did keep reading comics. The funny thing was that some of my regular titles were based on popular toy lines of the time, so my monthly reads included Transformers, MOTU, and Crystar. My favorite of these, and the one I stuck with the longest, was GI Joe, and I especially loved their Yearbooks, all four of which (1985 - 1988) are now collected in the hefty GI JOE YEARBOOK trade paperback. The Yearbooks were double-sized issues that contained enough cool material to make me feel like an insider: old and/or new stories, storyline recaps, cartoon info, pin-ups, cover galleries, character profiles, and sketch pages. While the issues contained work by series regulars such as Larry Hama, Herb Trimpe, and Ron Wagner, other creators, such as Michael Golden and Mike Zeck, popped in to contribute some excellent covers and interior art. All stories are written by Hama and include a reprint of the introductory "Operation: Lady Doomsday" from GI Joe #1, Golden's excellent "Triple Play" featuring the Oktober Guard, the wordless "Hush Job", "My Dinner With Serpentor", "Trade-Offs", and "Bystander".
I suppose this collection could serve as a primer for anyone who is unfamiliar with the original "A Real American Hero" line, as the contents include a reprinting of the first story of the Marvel series, plus summaries of events in the comic over the years. If you're like me and are already familiar with the material in this book, it's a fun trip back in time at the very least. I was happy to find that IDW recolored the material and went with flat-finish paper for this release, rather than their standard glossy stuff. Reproduction is so-so: while the majority of the work looks clean, some parts appear to have lost some resolution. The only thing I truly don't like about the collection is the cover by Jonboy Meyers, as it doesn't stylistically represent what's inside. A cover by Trimpe, Golden, or Zeck would have been great.