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DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company


Yessssssssssssssss there will be so much Ninja Bullshit

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DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company



Not gonna lie, I'm pulling for this thread to go all the way so we get to see All The Ninja Bullshit. Because Larry Hama is good enough to make the Ninja Bullshit compelling reading, which ain't nothin'.

DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company


Nipponophile posted:

Thus ends issue 2, but don't worry. It won't be the last we'll see of Kwinn!

Everybody jump for joy!

DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company


habituallyred posted:

Did the old thread ever figure out if Kwinn ever made it into plastic?

It took until 2004, but yes, he did.

DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company


howe_sam posted:

I assumed if it's GI Joe and somebody is acting out of character then it has to be Zartan.

Sadly, Zartan won't exist for a bunch more issues yet.

E: Also I think the RTV was Hama and Trimpe saying "we need a vehicle for this story and none of the toys really fit, let's just make some poo poo up."

DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company


stealie72 posted:

When I was a kid in the 80s, I was all about russian poo poo and was reading "real" war books by like 3rd grade. Would have owned the hell out of the Oktober Guard, because Cobra was kind of lame as an enemy.

Sadly the Oktober Guard didn't get toys until 1998 - there was a three-pack with Col. Brekhov and two later characters named Volga and Lt. Gorky. Horrorshow didn't get a toy until 2005.

DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company


Man, the coolest thing about the earliest issues of G.I. Joe is how awesome Stalker is. He gets such short shrift in the cartoons and later on he fades into the background but Stalker is clearly the ace badass soldier of the earliest issues of the comic. Well, okay, there's Snake-Eyes, but he's basically a plot device.

Also this story is amazing because of the way that Hama portrays the military. They're constantly pushing themselves to near-superhuman levels to achieve the goals that command has set for them, only to later learn that those goals were utterly meaningless - and that the guys in charge don't even feel bad about all the bullshit they've been through. Makes you wonder just how many times Hama found out how important his objectives had been in Vietnam...

DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company


So let's talk about Herb Trimpe.

Herb Trimpe got his start on The Incredible Hulk and then was the main penciller of that book for about seven years, which is a pretty impressive run. As the main Hulk artist he co-created a huge number of long-running supporting cast members like Jim Wilson (who later was one of the first HIV-positive characters in comics and whose death, written by Peter David, was actually a really positive and heartfelt depiction of a man with HIV at a time when those were pretty hard to come by in pop culture) and Doc Samson. He was also the first guy to ever draw Wolverine, which in retrospect is sort of a big deal. He has also been credited with inventing the idea of, and style of, the "Hulkbusters" - a division of the U.S. Army that was tasked with hunting down the Hulk, led by General "Thunderbolt" Ross - and his experience in thinking of military units in a comic book setting pretty clearly influences his work on G.I. Joe. He co-created Captain Britain (with Chris Claremont) and his work on the Hulk was so iconic that when Rolling Stone did a story on how Marvel was becoming a cultural juggernaut they tapped Trimpe to draw the Hulk for the cover.

Trimpe's artwork was heavily inspired by the style used in EC Comics back in their heyday, and was a big fan of EC's Jack Davis, who was an amazing goddamn artist that more people should know about. Trimpe said that one of his early Hulk issues was actually rejected by Stan Lee, who made another artist do the layouts for him to pencil over, not because there was a problem with his storytelling, but because it was "too EC"!

Anyways, Herb Trimpe was what was called a "quota artist" - he had a set number of pages he was expected to deliver each week, and he got a regular salary instead of being paid a page rate, as well as benefits. It wasn't a contracted gig, but it was a pretty sweet system, because if he exceeded his quota he was allowed to voucher the excess pages for freelancer rates. This is how despite getting his start in 1968 he was still doing G.I. Joe books in the '80s - and, in fact, was still regularly pencilling comics for Marvel in the mid-90s when the company went bankrupt. He was essentially Marvel's go-to guy for licensed properties, working on Godzilla, Shogun Warriors, G.I. Joe, The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones, NFL Super-Pro, Robocop, Star Wars, and Planet of the Apes! Oh, and a couple issues of Transformers now that I think about it. When Ron Perelman drove Marvel into the ground and started fighting it out with Carl Icahn in court (yes, these things happened), Trimpe found himself out of work for the first time in decades... so the dude went to college, got his master's degree, and taught art for a couple of years. Oh, and he kept getting comics work here and there - his last Marvel work (I think, I could be wrong) was an eight-page story in a Hulk special in 2008.

Oh, and along the way he was ordained as an Episcopal deacon and spent a month as a volunteer chaplain at the site of the World Trade Center after 9/11.

Herb Trimpe passed away in 2015 and the dude was a giant; one of those unsung heroes who never quite manages to stick in the consciousness like a Kirby or a Romita but who's always there, year in and year out, churning out quality work. He mattered as much to comics as anyone, and he seems like he was a pretty awesome dude, and I want more people to know about him. So now you do.

DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company


GPTribefan posted:

The saddest thing about Herb is the way he was pushed out the door. He would literally get turned away by the receptionist, who would tell him there was no work for him and to stop asking. He even tried a completely new style to try and fit in with the 90's EXTREME look, which unfortunately led a generation of fans to look upon his work with utter contempt. He did a few issues of Fantastic Four Unlimited and an FF Annual in this style - I used to think it was pathetic, but after learning more about the guy's situation I realized it was a veteran artist's last attempt at trying to hang on in an industry he helped shape.

Chances are, if you liked a licensed property in the 80's, you have Herb Trimpe to thank.

This is an article from the New York Times consisting almost entirely of Herb Trimpe's journal entries from the time when Marvel gave him the boot. It's heartbreaking and kinda uplifting, actually.

DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company


So continuing my theme of "let's do infodumps on the people who wrote these comics other than Larry Hama" (because we're going to have pleeeeenty of time to talk about Larry Hama), let's talk about Steven Grant.

(not the dude who murdered his wife, if that's where Google brought you, BTW; the one who wrote comics)

Steven Grant was a big deal in the 1980s for Marvel - never the guy who got name recognition, but definitely someone who wrote comics that, if you were reading Marvel at the time, you almost certainly read. One of my favorite little things he did was a quick two-issue story in The Defenders that served to wrap up Steve Gerber's bizarre and wonderful Omega the Unknown - a series that got 10 issues before being cancelled due to low sales about a weird little kid and his friend the superhero who might be a robot from outer space. Anyways, fans kept writing in demanding to know how the story ended, because Gerber never had the chance to finish it, so Marvel had Steven Grant wrote a story where the Defenders met most of Omega's supporting cast and then a bunch of them died. It did wrap up most of the loose ends, and while Gerber apparently didn't care for the story, he never said it was bad - just that he didn't like it. A strange little coda to a strange little book.

Anyways, Steven Grant's biggest comic book claim to fame is probably that, more than anyone, he's probably the guy responsible for The Punisher not being a forgettable former Spider-Man antagonist. In 1986 he wrote, and Mike Zeck pencilled, a Punisher miniseries that was 5 issues (it was originally intended to be 4 issues with a double-sized final issue, but production proved to be a pain in the rear end so they turned the final issue into two issues - only that screwed up more of the production, so issues number 1, 3, and 4 advertise it as being a 4-issue miniseries while numbers 2 and 5 advertise it as being a 5-issue mini - look, it was a whole thing).

quote:

Originally Mike and I wanted to do the 4th and 5th issues as one double-sized like the first one, but Marvel wasn’t keen on it, so we split it in two. But that was long before production started, so it shouldn’t have been a factor. I think the first issue reads “of a four-issue limited series” and Mike and I raised holy hell over that so the second issue has “five” on it. But production couldn’t keep it straight because nobody DID five issue series. People did four issue series. Mike and I had a bet with each other that the fifth issue would read “#5 In A Four-Issue Limited Series,” but they managed to get it right that time.

This miniseries was a roaring success, and soon the Punisher had his own ongoing monthly series. And then another. And then another, because it was the '80s.

(The Punisher, Punisher War Journal, and Punisher War Zone, for the record, plus the semi-regular Punisher Armory specials and the assorted one-shots and mini-series and guest appearances; for a while there putting the Punisher into a book was basically a license to print money)

One of the things that Grant always strove to do when writing the Punisher was pay attention to the gear the guy was using - he specifically chose real-world weaponry and equipment. Frank Castle never fired "a machine gun" or "an assault rifle" - he fired an M16A2 with attached M203 grenade launcher, dammit! Marvel even had technical artist Eliot Brown draw up photorealistic depictions of the weapons that Frank Castle used and write up accompanying text blurbs and sold them as the aforementioned Punisher Armory specials - no story, no plot, just "here are guns the Punisher uses and some of the things he thinks about them." They made like a dozen of these things! And people bought the poo poo out of them! The '80s, man...

At any rate, you can really see the parallels between those early Punisher books - which so often involved shadowy cartels and double-crosses and the bad guy never being quite who you thought they were - and this G.I. Joe story; the ambassador being the real assassin is classic Grant. The bickering Clutch/Scarlett team is, too, and honestly I'd always wished we got to see more of these two working together; Clutch was probably my favorite of the first wave of Joes, and I always thought this was a really fun story.

Grant also wrote two columns for the website Comic Book Resources about the comics industry, called "Master of the Obvious" and "Permanent Damage." He also also wrote, believe it or not, several of the Hardy Boys books, and his story 2 Guns was made into a motion picture with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg which I never saw.

So that's Steven Grant. You know the Punisher? Yeah you do. And it's because of Steven Grant. So there's that.

DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company


Incidentally, the factoid that there is a Springfield in every state is incorrect. There are actually only 34 states with a town or city named Springfield (most named after Springfield, Massachusetts, which was an important manufacturing center once upon a time and is now kind of a shithole). All but 4 states have a town or city named Riverside, though!

Also, the fact that Cobra is actually Evil Amway is just the best drat thing.

DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company



Honestly I don't think I would consider "Hey guys there is SO MUCH NINJA BULLSHIT coming" a spoiler, given that the OP has said as much.

Because there is SO MUCH NINJA BULLSHIT coming. It's glorious.

DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company


Ghostlight posted:

The Geneva Convention does prohibit combat medics from using arms except in direct defense of themselves or their patients.

Or, more accurately, once they do so they forfeit their medic privileges and just become regular combatants.



Doc takes the Geneva Convention very seriously - he is an avowed pacifist.

The fact that a pacifist character is appearing in the military shoot-'em-up book, and is consistently treated with respect and allowed to be awesome, is a testament to how excellent Larry Hama is.

DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company


Proteus Jones posted:

That went from being a good schtick to a great schtick now that I know that. I love poo poo like that. This is almost as good as the midget assassin in Defenders.

I believe you mean the Elf With A Gun.

(Steve Gerber was so great)

DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company


FredMSloniker posted:

You might even say he's... gung-ho about it?

You might... if you were terrible.

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DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company


Baroness' glasses being thrown from the explosion is a nice touch.

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