IDW’s ‘G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero’ #300 Celebrates Larry Hama And All Things G.I. Joe

by Olly MacNamee

As well as losing the Transformers license, IDW are also relinquishing the G.I. JOE comic book license too. But, not before going out with a celebratory bang as it marks the 300th issue written by G.I. Joe legend, Larry Hama.

G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #300 will also feature art by legacy contributor SL Gallant, inks by Maria Keane, colours by J. Brown, and letters by Neil Uyetake. and out this November,. Not only that, but IDW are aiming to break the world record for most characters featured on a comic book cover as illustrated by Jamie Sullivan.

Here’s a summary of the G.I. Joe publishing story:

“G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #300 marks the culmination of a culture-shifting 40-year franchise helmed throughout by industry legend Hama. Nearly every issue of the original 155-issue run was written by Hama until Marvel Comics ended publication in 1994, and when IDW acquired the license 15 years later, Hama was welcomed with open arms to continue the storyline right where he left off!”

Hama, who was recently recognized for his lifetime of achievements as an inductee of the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame, discusses his time on G.I. Joe and the emotional upheaval of handing in the script for the milestone 300th issue:

“I handed in the plot to G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #300, which is the final issue of the series for IDW, with a mix of sadness and amazement. Sad, that a storyline I began in 1982 is coming to an end, and amazement that it has lasted this long. Back in 1982, it was common knowledge that a toy licensed comic lasted one to two years at the most, and toy companies were reluctant to let a series based on a toy line run longer than three years, lest they get stuck with warehouses full of unsaleable Cabbage Patch Dolls or Beanie Babies. Every year that G.I. JOE and Transformers made it to the next season seemed miraculous.

I remember finishing the very first G.I. JOE story, and thinking to myself that that was it, those were all the ideas I had. I had no clue what to do for the next issue. 

So I did what I’ve been doing now for forty years: I jumped into the deep end of the pool and wrote page one without any idea about what would happen on page two. Then I slogged ahead, page by page, until I got to the end.

I’ve never been concerned about ‘plot’ or ‘continuity.’ Most of G.I. JOE is a long, continuous ret-con. My main concern has always been the characters, getting them to stand up and walk around inside their own universe. My second concern is visual storytelling—making sure the story is carried along in an impactful way by the succession of images. The words always come dead last, and that’s why I don’t identify as a ‘writer,’ but as more of a ‘penciler with a word processor.’

I did 155 issues at Marvel, and they pretty much gave me free reign to do what I pleased. When IDW got the license, they wisely chose to turn me loose with my own methods, and I happily produced a run that is only five issues short of my Marvel run. The editors and staff at IDW have been incredibly understanding and supportive.In particular, they’ve been highly respectful and considerate of all my odd working methods and peccadillos. I’m thankful to all of them. Now, however, I have come to the end and it truly feels like leaving home, leaving characters that have been my friends for four decades—many of which are, in fact, based on my actual friends and acquaintances—and I can feel a real emptiness looming.

Somehow, though, I suspect the story doesn’t completely end here, that the story will go on and the PIT will not be in mothballs for long. See you in the next incarnation!”

As to the synopsis of this final issue from IDW Publishing?

“In the bombastic conclusion to IDW’s G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero, Cobra is on the verge of creating its deadliest army ever by resurrecting both dangerous villains and heroes. Will the warriors of G.I. JOE foil their archenemy’s evil machinations before it’s too late? Or will the devious Revanche robots have the last word over both the Joes and Cobra?”

G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #300, will be available with six cover variants, including Covers A and B by Jamie Sullivan; Cover C by Netho Diaz; Cover D by Kieran McKeown; two retailer incentive covers by John Royle and Ron Joseph, respectively; and a special retailer incentive wraparound of Sullivan’s world record-setting cover without trade dress, and out November from IDW Publishing.

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