Friday, June 13, 2014

Larry Hama - The original GI Joe

2014.05.24 Woodbridge comic Fest, Woodbridge, NJ
The original G.I. Joe

Larry Hama started drawing and/or writing the Marvel Comic version of the Hasbro military action figures G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero in 1982, continuing until 1994 for 155 issues.  Other titles included G.I. Joe: Order of Battle, G.I. Joe: Special Missions

For Devil's Due Publishing, which ran GI Joe stories from 2001 to 2008, Hama, returned to G.I. Joe for the miniseries G.I. Joe Declassified, G.I. Joe: Frontline, Snake-Eyes: Declassified, and Storm Shadow...

IDW began publishing the series in 2008, with Hama writing G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and  G.I. Joe: Origins.

Hama also wrote most of the file cards that were printed on the action figures' packaging.

However during the second world war, a young cartoonist with the 45th Infantry Division volunteered to work for the unit's newspaper. Bill Mauldin would created Willie and Joe, modeled after his friend Irving Richtel and every other regular Joe in the army. The original GI Joe.

July 1943 Mauldin  began working for the Army newspaper Stars and Stripes. Given a jeep and the freedom to roam the front lines to gather stories for his work. Mauldin's cartoons often offended the Army officers for his portrayal of them, but this endeared Willie and Joe to the soldiers on the front line and around the world.

Mauldin was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Cartooning in 1945. His work has been published in several books and Willie and Joe were featured in the films Up Front (1951) and Back at the Front (1952).

Willie and Joe have appeared on 2 US stamps. The first as part of a 1993 set marking the 50th anniversary of the war and in 2010 honoring Bill Mauldin...

Charles M. Schulz, a WWII veteran regularly paid tribute to Mauldin in his comic strip Peanuts during  Veteran's Day...

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