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Trying to infuse two-dimensional characters with a three-dimensional
personality and writing an appealing story are two chores that most comic
book writers struggle to master in their craft. Larry Hama, however, dealt
with several challenges while writing Marvel's G.I.Joe series: weaving an intriguing
story based on a toyline, incorporating the new figures and vehicles in
the tale year after year and creating appealing characters that influence
the reader to purchase the toys. How was this Herculean task accomplished?
In the eyes of this fan, with tact and tactics.
The storytelling genius of Larry Hama shines the brightest with the
elegant characterization of Snake Eyes, a masked and nearly mute member
of the G.I.Joe team. By developing Snake Eyes as a man with a past shrouded
in mystery, Hama established a literary doorway which he used to introduce
several new toy-based characters, like Storm Shadow, Jinx, Zartan and Firefly.
As the pasts of Snake Eyes, Destro and other characters were slowly revealed during the course
of the 155 issue series, Hama was able to build a web of relationships
that contained threads of revenge, love, loyalty and betrayal, and these
elements appealed to the literary side of the fan.
Of course, the idea that a G.I.Joe member was somehow connected to a Cobra agent was not the only reason the G.I.Joe storyline was entertaining. The central theme of the comic was good versus evil, and many of the issues were filled with moments from a battle. Unlike some of
the other toy-based comics, which were short-lived because the writers created stories that were filled with one dull battle after another, the portrayal of the struggle between the Joes and Cobras was enriched with Larry's knowledge of military terms and strategies. Plus, with the addition of numerous touches of realism and the occasional black comedy moment, the issues that contained panels of fighting were just as interesting as the issues with character and plot development. As a result, the comic book series attracted thousands of action-adventure fans.
Larry Hama's G.I.Joe stories demonstrated his ability to blend
creativity, commercialism and classic literature references into an incredible
tale that appealed to many types of fans, and new adventures from his imagination are sorely missed by this fan.