GI Joe: Sigma Six is the code name for a special mission force. It’s mission: DESTROY COBRA. Lead by Duke and Scarlett, the GI Joe Sigma Six team is about to get some backup. With a new cartoon airing on 4Kids TV and a toy line hitting retail stores, Devil’s Due Publishing is joining the Sigma Six marketing blitz with a 6 issue limited series comic, scheduled to hit newsstands and comic shops in December. Recruited to handle the writing duties for the new Sigma Six book is Andrew Dabb (http://www.andrewdabb.com). Andrew Dabb (Megacity 909, Atomika, Vaistron) recently was kind enough to sit down with me over email and answer some questions about his recruitment for GI Joe’s newest title, his background and what he has in store for a whole new generation of GI Joe fans. Interested? By all means, read on!
What can you tell us about your background? Who is Andrew Dabb?
Andrew Dabb is a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in…um…bacon? Some pork product, anyway.
Seriously, I’m a freelance writer based in Utah who has been penning comics for a little over eight years now. I’ve written books for DC/Vertigo, Image, and a number of smaller publishers including 88MPH Studios, Speakeasy, Slave Labor Graphics and, of course, Devil’s Due. I’ve also written for White Wolf’s Exalted role playing game, and done some screenwriting here and there.
How did you get into writing comics? What made you want to write comics to begin with?
I’ve just always found myself very drawn to the medium. I don’t have the attention span to write a novel, and the stories I tend to like are very large scale, which you can’t really do in film unless you’re Steven Spielberg. So comics sort of bridges that gap, you can do anything you want visually, and tell almost any kind of story. I like that freedom.
What has been your favorite title to work on thus far?
I’ve had very good experiences so far, but probably my favorite book was the Ghostbusters: Legion mini-series I did at 88MPH Studios last year with artist Steve Kurth (who has his own GI Joe history). I think, creatively, it came together really well.
How did you come to be the writer for the new GI Joe Sigma Six book from Devil's Due Publishing?
I can only assume that their first 99 choices couldn’t do it, so I was the only person left. That, or they heard I had my own Baroness costume and it intrigued them.
Honestly, I don’t exactly know why they offered Sigma Six to me. I was too happy to get it to ask questions—I’m still afraid they might realize their mistake, but so far they haven’t.
How familiar were you with the history of GI Joe and its mythos before taking on the Sigma Six book?
I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, but I think I’m a few steps beyond a casual fan as well. I watched the cartoon religiously as a kid, and have read the entire Hama Marvel run, along with the comics Devil’s Due has been putting out. So I might not be able to quote you the info off of Sci-Fi’s 1986 File Card, but I know these characters.
What is it like to be involved in a series with an established mythology like GI Joe: A Real American Hero and still try to do something fresh and new?
It’s simultaneously invigorating and challenging. I really like that these characters have a history, but at the same time you don’t want to repeat what’s gone before. Still, with Sigma Six we’re coming at it from a different angle than America’s Elite or any of the recent Joe comics, so I’m not too worried.
What kind of preparation are you putting into writing the Sigma Six book? Have you reviewed any source material such as the classic comics or cartoons?
I went back and watched a few episodes of the original cartoon, and I’ve also read the scripts for the first 13 episodes of Sigma Six, so I think I have a handle on where things are going.
The initial offering for the Sigma Six book is a 6 part limited series. If it was to be picked up for a continuing series, would you want to stay with the title? Can you talk about any plans past issue six?
I would love to tell more Sigma Six stories, time (and sales) will tell if we’re able to.
Since the Sigma Six cartoon is aimed at getting a younger audience involved in GI Joe again, what age range / audience is the Sigma Six comic going to be targeted toward?
The comic will be kid-oriented, but we’ve made sure to include plenty of stuff in each issue for adults and longtime fans. It’s, quite literally, an all ages book.
How would you best describe the direction you want to take with GI Joe: Sigma Six in terms of style and story?
Sigma Six is an adventure comic, with a heavy premium on fast paced plots and big action. This isn’t a book where people stand around talking for ten pages at a time. Each issue will be self-contained, so we’re really trying to keep things moving and bombard the reader with cool stuff.
Do you plan to base the GI Joe: Sigma Six comic on the upcoming cartoon series or do you plan to use the Sigma Six concept to tie the story into the Devil’s Due’s main GI Joe title?
It will be based on the cartoon, but we’re not planning on doing anything that directly conflicts with the main Joe title.
Have you had the chance to work with anyone from Hasbro’s GI Joe team yet? If you have, how has that process worked for you?
I haven’t really worked directly with anyone on the Joe team. But so far all of my scripts have been approved by Hasbro with minimal changes, which I’m taking as a good sign.
The GI Joe: Sigma Six comic is slated to hit stands in December. What stage is the project in right now?
Currently I’m writing issue #3, and Chris is about halfway through drawing #1.
If you could give fans just one hint at what is going to happen in the Sigma Six comic, what would it be?
Fun. I know it sounds corny, but we really just want to tell some exciting Joe stories that’ll leave you smiling when you close the issue.
How is the collaboration process working with Chris Lie, the artist tapped to bring the GI Joe: Sigma Six book to life?
Very smooth. Chris is a great artist; he makes me look better than I really am, which I appreciate.
What are some other projects you are currently involved in?
Right now, I’m adapting the Dragonlance: Chronicles and Dark Elf Trilogy novels for Devil’s Due. I’m also writing Atomika at Mercury Comics and Vaistron at Slave Labor Graphics.
Do you have anything you’d like to say to the GI Joe fandom at large and perhaps the next generation of GI Joe fans who may be reading your upcoming book?
Again, special thanks to Andrew Dabb for granting us this interview and talking with us about GI Joe: Sigma Six. Be sure to check it out when it hits the stands in December. While you’re waiting, feel free to pick up one his other titles that are out right now. Stay tuned to JoeBattlelines.com and Sigma6Central.com for more information on the upcoming GI Joe: Sigma Six comic.