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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 219

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at the famous “Silent Issue” of G.I. Joe in honor of the release of the GI Joe film today (or perhaps to shame the GI Joe film?).

G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero #21 was written and drawn by Larry Hama, with finished artwork by Steve Leialoha.

The concept of the story is that Scarlett has been captured by Cobra and is holed up in some Cobra castle somewhere. A presumably impenetrable fortress that, naturally, Snake Eyes penetrates.

Meanwhile, Scarlett has escaped from custody and has stolen a jet glider and is ready to fly away. She doesn’t know that Snake Eye is meanwhile fighting his way to her, where he knows he has to fight Storm Shadow (just making his introduction this issue) and a bunch of red-shirt ninjas.

It’s tough to pick any ONE sequence or moment in the issue, which is just done extremely well by Hama, but I suppose if I had to, I’d pick the ending, where Snake Eyes stops the sword with his hands.

Maybe the look of Storm Shadow as Snake Eyes and Scarlett fly away?

Or is it the reveal that Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow share a similar tattoo (and thus clearly have SOME sort of connection)?


The moment is probably the reveal that Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow have the same markings (the Arashikage Clan Hexagram) on their forearms.

The sword stopping thing was pretty cool too, though.

I enjoyed the look of terror as Snake-Eyes tosses that grenade in that ninja’s face. Not THE moment, but still pretty damned awesome.

Was that the first time the readers saw they had the same markings ?
I’ve never read the Joe comics, but curious now…

@ Snapper, It was the first time people had seen Storm Shadow at all.

It was a great piece of the myth that Hamma added. Unfortunately it eventually overshadowed the rest of the franchise.

Wow, the red shirt ninjas are literally red-shirted ninjas. Groovy.

I wonder if Hama was inspired by Indiana Jones for that first panel.

I remember waiting two long months for the epilogue to #19 that appeared in #22, with these other issues in between. But they were great comics. Steven Grant penned #20, the spotlight on Clutch. Hence my moniker. And of course, this one became a classic.

Awesome art, awesome ending. The only downside as mentioned above is how the ninjas eventually took over the book and it was all about either them or the Dreadnoks. That’s when my interest in the series began to die, except for the Special Missions spin-off which was a throwback to this simpler era.

Even though they were little more than 22 page toy ads I was hooked on the series as a kid. This issue still holds up to this day because of the stylish simplicity of it. Man, did I ever anticipate that two part Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow origin story like it was the biggest thing to ever hit comics at the time. The movie, however is not something I am eagerly anticipating.

I am not a GI Joe fan. But as a comics fan GI Joe is legendary, BECAUSE OF ONE COMIC BOOK. This is that book.

GI Joe #1 was the first comic my dad ever brought home for me. This issue was a masterpiece! I knew that at seven.

Yes, great stuff. For the uninitiated, someone should come up with a “G.I. Joe Isn’t As Bad As The Movie” trade paperback collection…

That’s the first appearance of that tattoo, even on Snake-Eyes’ arm. And sort of interesting that Storm Shadow was not named in his first appearance.

It always interested me how little Hama actually drew anything, and how good he actually was. And for some extra fun trivia, his inker Steve Leialoha shares his last name with the Joe’s SEAL, Torpedo, according to the toy file card written by Hasbro.

“And for some extra fun trivia, his inker Steve Leialoha shares his last name with the Joe’s SEAL, Torpedo, according to the toy file card written by Hasbro.”

Hama wrote the vast majority of those cards, so I doubt it’s a coincidence.

As for why Hama didn’t do more art, he gave a simple answer during an interview on the recent GI Joe cartoon DVD: a writer can finish his work on an issue faster than an artist, and as a writer he could work on more comics and get paid more.

Here’s to hoping a major G.I. Joe collected edition comes out soon of the Marvel series.

I’m not knocking the new series, but this scene reminded me of why I so very loved G.I. Joe. While it might not have been THE MOMENT, I like the Comics Code Moment where after Snake Eyes blew up the ninja with the grenade, all that’s left is a smoke plume.

IDW has been releasing 10-at-a-time TPB collections of the original series. In fact, the first few are identical to Marvel’s own TPB series from a few years back. Those ended with Volume 5, and we don’t really know yet if IDW will make it further.

IDW has also been releasing smaller “Best of” character collections, though any of those with older issues — past Marvel’s first 50/60 or so — are not in the pretty recolored “remastered” format, and are in more like color “photocopies” of original issues. Not sure if Marvel has some original art or something that IDW has no access to. Seems kind of iffy how Marvel could reprint these years ago, but someone else is now. I assume there’s some odd technicalities with a licensed property.

For some reason Hama’s art here really reminds me of Marvel’s old Team America comic.

And that leads to the link between the Team America film and how it was a parody of mindless stupid action movies and then the G.I. Joe film has been compared to that but as a straight film without the satire. OMG vicious circle to the max level of irony……WHAT IS THE FREQUENCY KENNETH?!?!?!

i would go with snakes eyes catching the sword and taking off with scarlet as storm shadow looks on. going wt just happen

I had no idea Hama was a penciler. Learn something new everyday.


August 8, 2009 at 7:19 pm

WOW! I have never seen an episode of G.I. Joe or read a comic, but now I want to get my hands on as much as I can, that was just plain BADASS!


August 8, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Were there always such visceral action sequences in the early runs of this comic? Or was it just this “Hamas” fella? If so, has he done any other books?

Most issues weren’t this “EPIC” as it were. Hama wrote some really entertaining pseudo-military fare for the book (pretty much the entire long ass run) and did stuff that actually influenced the direction and content of the toy line. However, on the other end of it I’m pretty sure he was constantly given mandates by Hasbro to include figures, vehicles, and to a lesser degree playsets that were part of the then current line of toys. For example with this awesome issue he was probably told specifically to use the Cobra jet glider and then a white suited ninja name Storm Shadow to be an opposing force to Snake Eyes. Then he just took those bits and ran with it. Later when they introduced more outlandish toys you could tell he was having to force the stuff into his story-telling, but at that point I had long since moved on to other comics I found to be more “mature” or at least I had moved on to High School and didn’t want to be caught with a toy based comic book….I became and teenage comic snob…lol.


August 9, 2009 at 6:53 pm

I had the exact same experience that you did Gavin.
But man those first 30 or so issues were EXCITING!
It’s funny, both G.I. Joe and Secret Wars have been featured this week.
These two comic book series are what basically got me into comics at all.
How many other kids were roped into a lifelong comic obsession by a toy based comic book?

G.I. Joe # 3 is the moment “sickness” began. Secret Wars #6 was the moment it took hold.

Ethan, nothing weird about it.

At the time, Marvel owned the rights to print the comics, now they don’t. Hasbro, meanwhile, owns the rights to the comics themselves. Similarly, IDW can and does reprint the Marvel Transformers, and Dark Horse the Marvel Star Wars.

All depends on the licensing agreement when the things are set up.

Good old blue eye’d asian Stormshadow.

I particularly like the later annual issue story “Hush Job” (I think) which is an homage to this issue, but with the roles reversed: Snake-Eyes as the captive and Storm-Shadow and Scarlet breaking *him* out. Also featured the Baroness in skimpy lingerie!

Man, what a great moment. Never noticed when reading it as a kid that the tattoos were revealed.

My favorite Hama comic is Young Master from New comics with art by Val Mayerick. The later painted ones are better than the first few. Thought I’d mention it since it is kind of rare. Hama has done a lot of work Iforgot 19. Most of it is good action. The non Hama issues of G.I.Joe. Can’t say. Haven’t read too many.

i was always hoping snake eyes was black or Latino under his costume…butt like always the white guy got all the action….

Snakeeyes catching the sword is the moment. Mainly for avoiding the cliche of someone sacrificing themselves.

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