Spotlight On: Larry Hama
In 1969 a young artist from Queens went to Vietnam with the United States Army Corps of Engineers. His experiences there would influence and inform his career in the comic book industry for years to come. This young man was Larry Hama.
Hama is best known for his long-running work on the comic series GI Joe: Real American Hero, published by Marvel Comics and cherished by children and adults everywhere. It was his character designs that were used for the toys released in conjunction with the comic. Fun Fact: Hama wrote the character bios that appeared as filecards on the back of the action figure packages.
The series was soon recognized for its attention to detail and accuracy of the military aspects as well as fully developing characters’ backstories and featuring strong female and minority roles. Hama wrote almost every issue in the 155 issue series, a feat not many writers can accomplish. In 2010 IDW Publishing approached him to reprise the title. That year’s Free Comic Book Day issue began the continuation of GI Joe: Real American Hero picking up right where the series ended 16 years prior!
At the same time Marvel had him managing Joes Hama was the editor on a project that hit close to home, written by fellow Vietnam veteran Doug Murray. The ‘Nam was a monthly series from 1986-1993, depicting true events that occurred during the conflict as well as interpersonal drama between the soldiers. Unlike other pieces on the war, this comic focused on the soldier’s point of view. No politics, no protests, no Washington; just the soldiers and what they went through on the ground in Vietnam. The ‘Nam was nominated for a Kirby Award in 1987.
Over the years Larry Hama has worked on various projects for Marvel and DC Comics as well as creating his own comic book star, Bucky O’Hare. He was the artist-in-residence at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU from 2011-2012. Few people have been as influential in the comic book industry as Larry Hama. Creating lasting, classic characters and delivering solid stories for years, Mr. Hama has established his presence in not only comics but the entertainment industry as a whole.
**All Larry Hama comics and graphic novels will be on sale all day on Saturday, February 16th during our GI Joe #1 Launch Party!**