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Friday, November 29, 2013 

Newsarama slips "jingoism" into a Larry Hama interview

While interviewing Larry Hama about the GI Joe comics he's now writing for IDW - a continuation of the stories he'd written when Marvel had the license - the Newsarama interviewer had the gall to put some insulting propaganda into his question:
Nrama: Re-reading your recent issues I noticed how, despite this being about an American fighting force, they aren’t much for patriotism in a jingoistic fashion but more about doing the job and taking care of the people fighting beside them. Can you talk about that?

Hama: That's not the way soldiers are. Nothing is abstract in the field. The reality is the five guys in your fire team, and the ten guys in your squad. Soldiers throw themselves on grenades and run through intersecting fields of fire for their buddies, not for a flag or a concept.
Just what are they insinuating? Since when was patriotism not about doing the job and helping their fellow soldiers? Or are they suggesting American patriotism has no idea how to care for their fellow fighters? Very fishy. That's a pretty mind-boggling assertion they're making to suggest Americans in general only care about themselves and about foreign innocents, if that's what they're doing.

I never got the impression GI Joe comics were admired by leftist reporters like the Newsarama idiots, and not because they're based on licensed properties, once considered too juvenile for some people's tastes, but because they don't like what the whole franchise could stand for. It must stem from their modern disdain for the military. Too bad.

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At least, Hama rolled with the punches, so to speak.

However, that pinhead reporter should have read the semi-recent ARAH Annual 1. The story is basically a Crimson Guardsman undercover finally snapping after a lot of pressure, and Hama doing a not-so-subtle criticism of the "White suburban male" complete with the obligatory scene of racism/xenophobia before said snapping. It was an appalling read, and frankly, I respect Hama less for it (which is sad, as I really like his work).

Incidentally, I do sometimes read the ARAH revival (as I did when Marvel had the license), yet I'm reading less and less, as I now find it rather boring. Conversely, whatever Chuck Dixon or Mike Costa does, can't say it personally bores me. Now the new series by Fred Van Lente, I don't dislike it, yet I know it's a lot more polarizing (e.g., Duke's revised backstory and Baroness relishing cold-blooded torture/murder). So I don't begrudge fans for dislike it, either.

The interviewer's comment was based on the assumption that a strip about an American military unit would be inherently "jingoistic," and that avoiding such jingoism is surprising. Suppose an interviewer said, "Despite this story being about an Arab, there is surprisingly little homophobia, warmongering, misogyny, or terrorism." Or, "Despite this comic having an African-American lead character, there is surprisingly little drug dealing, pimping, mugging, carjacking, and burglary."

Disdain for the military is common in the media, including comics. Some of it is sour grapes. Most comic book creators (and Hollywood stars) would not have the courage to enlist in the armed forces. And Dan Slott would be too fat to pass the physical exam anyway.

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