Larry Hama's G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero AMA Highlights
We recap the Skybound-hosted AMA with legendary G.I. Joe writer Larry Hama
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Larry Hama is perhaps the only person alive whose very name is synonymous with G.I. Joe. Now in his fifth (!) decade of writing G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, he remains as focused as ever on giving fans the most entertaining stories possible. Hama’s own military background is evident in his famously no-nonsense demeanor, which shined through the AMA Skybound hosted with Hama this week. In case you missed it – or would just like a recap – you can check out the highlights of the chat below. And don't forget that this month Silver + Insiders will be automatically entered to win a copy of the definitive edition of G.I. Joe #1 signed by Hama himself!

On whether he’d write an autobiography…

All the best stories can’t be told. Too many of the guilty are still alive.

On seeing characters he’s created come to life through costuming/cosplay…

It’s always a thrill! The first time I went to Dragon Con and did the group photo shoot with the FINEST, I was overwhelmed.

On whether he’ll ever tire of writing G.I. Joe

As long as they keep asking me to work on the title, and I am physically capable, I will continue.

On the creative process of creating stories for a licensed product like G.I. Joe

I got pretty much free reign from Hasbro as per story direction. I created what I called the “dossiers” as a guide for myself to keep track of the characters. Kirk Bozigian from HASBRO was visiting my office, and saw them, and said, “These should be on the package back!” and that was that. My dossiers were two pages and he edited them down to two paragraphs and managed to keep the original tone and intent.

On his favorite Joe to write…

My faves are the core group: Snake-Eyes, Storm Shadow, Scarlett, and Stalker.

On his advice for someone trying to break into the comic industry as a writer…

I tried to get writing work from Marvel for years (when I was a full editor there!) and no Marvel editor would give me script work. I only got GI JOE because I was literally (yes, I know the meaning of the word) the last person they asked.

On any RL inspirations for Magda and the White Clown from the Maldovian arcs…

The White Clown was inspired by a B&W photo essay on European circuses that I ran across in some Euro art magazine.

On whether he had veto power over any one line in the first live action G.I. Joe movie…

I had no veto power. I just realized that the most important thing I could do as the tech consultant was to insist every day that “Snake-Eyes can’t speak.”

On what helps the most to get into a focused and creative headspace…

I deep dive into the CHARACTERS. The plot just exists to hang great characters on, and all the action comes from elaborating on the interactions of the characters. I try to nail the characters so that they pretty much write themselves.

On which Cobra character(s) he enjoys writing the most…

Destro and Baroness are the most fun.

On the inspiration to place the original Pit at Fort Wadsworth…

I was in a HQ company and I knew a chaplain’s assistant who was from Staten Island and I remembered him telling me how great it was to be assigned there -- and it stuck with me.

On his favorite artists to work with…

I’ve worked with so many fantastic talents it would be unfair to pick out any from the crowd.

On the most exciting period to be working on G.I. Joe

Around the third year when everything was really taking off.

On any new product launches or film releases that he felt re-invigorated the brand…

I thought Renegades and Classified were big boosters.

On how he came up with the characters, their personalities, quirks, abilities, and appearances…

Most of the characters are based on people I know. It was my way of keeping the characters consistent since I had a living model to refer to.

On anything he would have done differently with G.I. Joe

I have no regrets.

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