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  1. #1

    thoughts on Hama

    Hama was a village in nothern Syria that was destroyed in a terroris insurgency during the early 80s. The Allawi* erm, sorry, wrong Hama.


    Okay, serously:

    Larry Hama's writing is, to be perfectly frank, seriously overrated. He does better than average dialogue, competent idea/premise based writing, and can clearly articulate a moral arguement that incorporates elements from cultures that are often seen as exclusive. (It is amazing that he could credibly write ninjas with western sensibilities.)

    And, Hama is able to demonstrate real world knowledge, be it technical, historical or anthropological, in his writing, often without seeming like he is trying to show off what .


    But, look at many of his plots. They are contrived as all get out. So, how many characters are related, or know somebody involved in one of several car-wrecks?

    Additionally, Hama was prone (even by the standards of the time) to leaving plot threads hanging for excessively long periods of time. Along similar lines, he stayed on GI Joe too long. After the first 80 issues or so, the comic got drifty and expecially contrived. (So, how many characters were in VietNam, under various banners?) I am all for thematic consistency, but in excess, it can seem juvenile.

    Along the same lines, Hama is not the only writer to produce a good GI Joe story. There were very intelligently written episodes of the cartoon (No Place Like Springfield), and even non-Hama issues of the comic (some not even American). By any objective standard, Josh Blaylock's "Return of Serpentor" equals, if not surpasses, anything Hama wrote. (And, it avoids Hama's tendency to get heavy handed with showing how much history he new.)

    So, is Hama terrible? No. He recent track record aside, he has a good body of work (GI Joe and otherwise) to his credit. But, his track record hardly justifies any special claim to any franchise.

    (I assume this will turn into a a larger discussion of the GI Joe comics.)

  2. #2
    I'll post some more in a bit, but I am in total disagreement with you. While it's true that GIJoe sort of floundered for a bit around the 80s, he brought it back to greatness with the storylines that encompassed The Snake Eyes Trilogy, Scarlett's coma and recovery, Major Bludd vs Snake Eyes, the Battle of Benzheen, and Destro: Search and Destroy shortly afterwards. Unfortunately, after that, Hasbro and Marvel began clamping down and trying to make the book both more commercial to "fanboys" and kids at the same time, with stunts like crossing over the Transformers or actually putting Snake Eyes' name in the title.

    The funny thing about Hama is, for me at least, I think of Wolverine immediately after GIJoe. You may be familiar with a (slightly played up) obsession I have with a certain Chinese-American mutant with a totally useless power. Totally to Hama's credit. The man crafted a better Wolvie story than even Claremont and Byrne could do.

    The only comic I've read by Hama that disappointed was his brief run on Batman. I suppose my hopes for the meeting of the two were impossibly high. Then again, the only thing to come out of that union was the ridiculously stupid villain Orca.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  3. #3
    I agree with you, as one who also collects joes. I also don't get the joe-fanboy lament that the comic would be better if Hama wrote every episode. While I realize that from time to time he did have to push what Hasbro wanted, he was free to do as little or as much as he wanted.

    I'm all for fresh blood, new ideas and changes of direction as long as the plot goes with this (ie deaths and character reactions). If you want a specific on GI Joe comics, I would be all for a total De-ninja-fication with the exception of "pick a side" Storm Shadow, and maybe a little of Snake Eyes.

    From that standpoint, Reloaded was an excellent "reinventing" of GI Joe that didn't mean you had to have all the preconcieved GI Joe as Larry Hama saw it. Same thing has happened in Star Wars with the books (Kevin Anderson, Timothy Zhan, and now James Luceno are given too much directing power) so a new story arc comes along and resets it all.

    The biggest flaw I have with the ongoing GI Joe story and the continuing of all these guys who served in Vietnam, they'd be in their 50s and 60s now. Who wants to see some fattening, balding, middleaged semi-retired guys run around and keel from a heart attack or stroke? Please, invent new characters, or have old ones pass on their names to new people (hell give up the idea of codenames altogether).
    Star Wars & GI Joe Customs
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by pbarnard
    The biggest flaw I have with the ongoing GI Joe story and the continuing of all these guys who served in Vietnam, they'd be in their 50s and 60s now. Who wants to see some fattening, balding, middleaged semi-retired guys run around and keel from a heart attack or stroke? Please, invent new characters, or have old ones pass on their names to new people (hell give up the idea of codenames altogether).
    Devil's Due has taken much the same approach with the Joes in Vietnam that Marvel has taken with the involvement of characters in previous wars (Punisher in 'Nam, Thing in WWII, etc): downplay, downplay, downplay. It's also been hinted that the war in question was in Vietnam, but not the real Vietnam War as it happened in our world.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  5. #5
    Hama died valiantly at the Battle of the Hornburg after years of service as the captain of the guard under King Theoden.

    ooops wrong hama

  6. #6
    SnakeEyes Trilogy was one fo Hama's most contrived stories. (It seems everybody is related to him in some causal fashion.....) Maybe if some of the contrivancy and reveals had staying power, it would be more forgiveable.

    Plot contrivance has nothing to do with Hasbro or editorial policy.

    The non-aging is especially annoying as Devil's Due started off by aging the characters. In the early run, several had kids, and all of them looked appreciably older.

    The problem with Reloaded was that it was trying too hard to seem "current and real", and came across (especially pre-Dixon) as sophmoric.

  7. #7
    Early Wolverine comics were just terrible. Part of it was the set up Claremont gave the character. The eyepatch and madripoor left me cold. I think he works best in a team setting.
    Peeps who have hooked me up: General Grievous Dark Marble jjreason Ramy GrandMoffLouie Josephe vader121 Val Da Car

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by JON9000 View Post
    Early Wolverine comics were just terrible. Part of it was the set up Claremont gave the character. The eyepatch and madripoor left me cold. I think he works best in a team setting.
    Except he didn't write Wolverine until around #40.

    I agree to an extent that he's a bit fond of coincidences, but I think it worked well in the context of GIJoe. It almost seemed a parody of long-running team books written by many people over the course of several years, where eventually it turns out everyone is related to everyone else, even though that was not the original intent.

    And need I point out that we're posting this on a website devoted to the collecting of memorabilia based upon a story that is so rife with corny coincidences that it makes Snake Eyes' story seem positively normal?
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  9. #9
    I have often argued that GI Joe comes off as self-parody. But, the ability to write a parody (self or otherwise) is hardly indicative of being a great writer.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
    Except he didn't write Wolverine until around #40.
    I s'pose that's why I gave up on the title around #60. Maybe the character just doesn't work as well without a team (although I always preferred team titles). The stuff before Hama took over was just rubbish. The fun of Wolvie was watching him fight and interact with his own pals rather than the baddies.

    I always liked the few GI Joe stories I read.
    Peeps who have hooked me up: General Grievous Dark Marble jjreason Ramy GrandMoffLouie Josephe vader121 Val Da Car

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