Captivating Cover: GI Joe Digest #7

I miss the old digest format. Before the days of trade paperback collections, and especially before I’d discovered a local comic shop, these bite-sized compendiums of back issues were the only way I could read adventures I had missed thanks to spotty distribution at 7-11 and QuikTrip newsstands. 

This cover was definitely have sold me back in the day. Originally the cover of issue 19, it’s pretty generic in terms of presenting what’s inside, other than the Joes’ big battle with Destro, but it harks back to the early days of 80s Joe marketing images, when the 1982 team still took center stage. 19 was a big turning point issue to be sure, as Flagg, Dr. Venom, Scarface and Kwinn died in this one. That’s not something you could depict on a cover of a comic a kid would find at the supermarket next to an Archie digest.


  • I bought the digests as a way to get the stories I couldn’t find at the local comic shop. For whatever reason, they never had issues #9 or #20. So, the digests were great. Then, I rebought many of them again when Tales of G.I. Joe came out. I was a full on sucker for Marvel reprints.

  • Regardless of your G.I.Joe reading material,Marvel, ALWAYS, knew what the consumer wanted/responded without delay.”

  • James From Miami

    It’s funny that you mentioned Archie. That reminded me of the way that he, and his friends, used to be back in those days. Totally the opposite of the way that they are now been portrayed in that new weird tv show, Riverdale. How times have really changed. Nothing is sacred anymore, including children’s cartoon characters on both movies, and tv shows. Things like that tv show right there, make me want to go back to the 1980’s, so badly.

  • That is a great cover! Were these differently sized than typical comics?

    • Yeah, the digests were a mini-format, the size of the Archie Digests that still show up at checkout stands. Marvel also edited out a couple pages of material per issue to keep page count down. Back when these were coming out, the early back issues of G.I. Joe sold for an insane $20-40 apiece, so these books were the only way kids like me could afford to read the first couple years of the comics (unless they lucked into a three-pack of random second prints at Toys R Us like a few of my friends did). I read the digests so many times that when I revisit modern reprints, the material that the digests edited out (like the bit with the elderly couple in the stalled car in issue #10) still seem out of place.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    I never read the digests, so the closest I ever came was in the recaps in the G.I. Joe Year Books.

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