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Bench Press Comics

G.I. JOE: The New Era

Unproduced series from Bench Press Comics

Proposed in 1998

    In Spring of 1999, five years after the cancellation of Marvel's G.I. Joe series, news about an upcoming G.I. Joe series from the young, independent comic company Bench Press Studios began to circulate. The company's web site announced that the series was being produced, but as it turned out, their deal with Hasbro was never finalized. Bench Press approached Larry Hama to write the series and he wrote a proposal for the new series' storyline. Artist Ron Lim produced some sample art for the series, as well. As a comic publisher, Bench Press was just getting started and was trying to get the rights to other licensed characters, including Transformers. There was even going to be a second Joe series, G.I. Joe: Strike Force -- a Special Missions-style series. There was reported confusion and miscommunication during the negotiations between Hasbro and Bench Press and for various reasons the deal fell through. Unfortunately for Bench Press, much of their time and energy was focused on getting the rights to Joe and other series. The loss of the Hasbro licenses led to major financial troubles for Bench Press, and the company went out of business. Years later, Devil's Due Publishing brought G.I. Joe back to comics, but many fans were disappointed that a new Joe series by Larry Hama never came to be.

    Larry Hama himself posted his series proposal to's mailing list. Three sample pages of the comic that were produced show the Joes' arrival at The Pit as mentioned below. These pages can be seen here, at Note the core team of Joes Hama intended to start off with:



(Ongoing G.I. Joe comic book series) 

by Larry Hama 

In the middle of the Utah desert, a lone Hummer rolls across the sand at sunrise. 

The Hummer stops at a rusted gate set in a high chain-link fence topped with razor ribbon and concertina wire. A sign on the gate reads: RESTRICTED AREA GOVERNMENT PROPERTY. The gate is chained and padlocked. 

A lone figure steps out of the Hummer and stands in front of the gate. He is holding a folded package under one arm. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a key. He unlocks the gate and walks inside. It is HAWK. He is in full dress uniform replete with medals. 

Hawk walks across the deserted compound. It is a small base in the middle of the desert with only three or four wooden buildings, all of which are boarded up and locked. It is a ghost fort and Hawk is well aware of who the spirits who haunt this place are. 

There is a flagpole in the middle of the compound and that is where Hawk walks to. He stares up at the empty mast. He takes the triangular package from under his arm and unfurls an American flag which he snaps onto the halyard. He hoists the flag to the top of the mast and he steps back, stands to attention and salutes smartly. 

Hawk is still holding the salute as a big transport helicopter flares in for a landing, sending up a cloud of dust. 

The hatch pops and out steps Flint, Stalker, Roadblock, Snake-Eyes, Torpedo, Ripcord, Tunnel Rat, Lady Jaye, Cover Girl, Dodger, and Spirit, followed by the pilot, Wild Bill

Hawk turns to them and they salute one another. "Welcome back to the Pit." he says. They walk to the main building. (The one with the trap door to the lower levels) As they reach the door and Hawk extracts another key, Stalker breaks the silence, "Three years ago, they said they didn't need us anymore." 

Hawk opens the door and leads them inside. "Well, they were wrong." 

Thus, begins the new G.I. Joe saga. A core group of veteran G.I. Joe team members is now ensconced in the unmothballed PIT, a nuke-hardened secret base deep under the Utah desert. They are the last line of defense against organized terrorists, criminal drug lords, paramilitary extremists and all others who threaten democracy and freedom. 

Cobra Commander is alive and well on the new Cobra Island which is now a tourist resort. Destro and the Baroness are in semi-retirement in Scotland, but there are forces at work that may cause the Laird of Castle Destro to don again the steel mask. In Borovia in the Balkans, and in Trucial Abysmia in the Mid-East, unrest and trouble are brewing. The ninja clans are stirring in the Pacific Rim eager to take advantage of the economic distress and political instability. On the home front, extremists of all ilks are stockpiling weapons and brewing up fertilizer bombs. 

The defense budget is a mere shadow of what it used to be during the grey days of the Cold War, so support for the Joe Team is tight. There is also a tacit understanding that should any of their operations be compromised, the government will deny all responsibility. After all, their job is to do the unspeakable, and be forgotten.