Legendary "G.I. Joe" writer Larry Hama, who launched the Hasbro heroes into comics at Marvel in 1982, sends the covert military team on a truly harrowing expedition in July, as he dispatches Duke, Snake Eyes, and company straight to the heart of Comic-Con International.
Running through issues #180 and #181 of "G.I. Joe: Real American Hero," IDW Publishing's continuation of the original Marvel "Joe" universe, Hama pens an adventure which puts the Joes in a race against the clock to disrupt an exchange of nuclear arms launch codes -- and, as anyone who has had to navigate the con floor in a hurry can attest, there are obstacles to this task that go beyond Cobra's vilest machinations. Comic Book Resources caught up with Hama to discuss the arc and his own thoughts on the Comic-Con experience.
"It occurred to me that nobody would bat an eye at Snake Eyes in the midst of all that cosplay," Hama said. "It also seemed like an ideal location for the bad-guys to do a covert hand-off; hard to trail a surveillance target, and electronic tracking is degraded as well."
That is not to say, though, that fans in the story would see Snake Eyes as a Snake Eyes cosplayer, as the Real American Heroes do not have a comic book presence in the world of the series. "In my 'G.I. Joe' universe, the general public is unaware of the existence of the G.I. Joe team," Hama confirmed. "People seem to forget that the original X-Men were not known to the public, unlike the FF and the Avengers who had a very public presence and very visible headquarters. Same deal with the Joes. There are no guided tours of the Pit."
Hama added that Comic-Con's virtues as a place to do dirty dealings works well because it is "very public and very crowded." "If you want to do a covert meet and 'clear your six,' the con is a good place to do it," he said, adding that the infamous traffic flow problems on the con floor would play a role in the plot.
The writer said that none of his real-life con experiences have made their way into the "G.I. Joe" arc. "Most of the horror at cons doesn't translate into good dramaturgy," he said. "Last time I was at SDCC, a friend told me she had to stand in line for an hour to get into the ladies room. That's horrific, but how do you work that into a story?"
The con arc will also introduce a new villain to the "Real American Hero" continuity, though it will be a character familiar to fans who have followed the many iterations of "G.I. Joe" following its run at Marvel. "It's actually a character I used in the run of 'Storm Shadow,'" Hama said, referring to the series he wrote for Devil's Due. "She will be a continuing character in 'RAH.' In fact, there are two female characters from 'SS' I am recycling."
With the massive crowd scenes inherent in a story set at Comic-Con, Hama is putting series artist SL Gallant through his paces, but Hama said Gallant is rising to the challenge. "I am amazed that he drew diagrammatic shots of the main con floor! He didn't cheat by just doing series of close-ups. He draws the whole shebang!" Hama said. "I really like what he is doing with the book."
Appropriately, Hama himself is a guest of Comic-Con this year, which runs from July 11-15. There is no word yet as to whether Snake Eyes and Scarlett will be joining him...
"G.I. Joe: Real American Hero" infiltrates Comic-Con International in July.