Comic Book Legends Revealed #420
Welcome to the four hundred and twentieth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and nineteen. This week, was the film Armageddon based on a G.I. Joe comic? How did Neal Adams defend Batman’s honor in a drawing? And finally, it wouldn’t be a proper 420 column if I didn’t include something related to marijuana, so did Stan Lee really mean for Mary Jane Watson’s name to be connected with a slang term for marijuana?
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Larry Hama based a G.I. Joe arc on an old screenplay that may have also influenced the film Armageddon.
Oddly enough, I already had a Movie Legends Revealed planned for this week at Spinoff Online involving the film Armageddon (you can check it out here) when I received a COMIC BOOK legend suggestion about the film from reader Scott F. Pretty odd coincidence!
In 1993-94’s G.I. Joe: A real American Hero #146-148 (written by Larry Hama and penciled by Phil Gosier), the Joes and their Russian counterparts, the Oktober Guard, meet up with each other in outer space to stop an asteroid from hitting the Earth…
They land on the asteroid…
And they have to blow it up…
Eventually, they succeed…
As you might imagine, that sounds vaguely similar to both the film Armageddon…
as well as Deep Impact…
The aforementioned reader Scott F. heard that there was an actual connection between those G.I. Joe issues and the film Armageddon and amazingly enough, there very well might be!
I asked the great Larry Hama and he let me know the deal…
I worked on mini-series development for David Wolper (he produced Roots) back in the ’80s and one of the projects was called “Project X” which was about an 11 year old amateur astronomer “sky-watcher” who discovers a new asteroid, becomes famous and gets on the cover of Time Magazine. The asteroid is then determined to be on a collision course with earth, so a team of off-shore oil drillers is sent up in a space shuttle to drill into the core of the asteroid and plant nuclear devices that will blow the thing off course and save earth. I wrote a fifty page treatment for this with co-writer Gabrielle Kelly, and I got paid, but it never got produced. I interviewed astronomers at UCLA and also visited some craters. Sometimes concepts and stories are simply in the zeitgeist, and who knows how long that treatment floated around Hollywood and how many people read it and had pieces of it enter their subconscious.
Sounds pretty darn familiar to both the plots of Deep Impact AND Armageddon, right?
The problem is that since Hama wrote this as a work-for-hire, the copyright would be held by the production company that hired him. And since said production company was no longer around to defend said claim by the late 1990s (Wolper passed away a few years ago), there was no one who could actually pursue any sort of claim about the script. Therefore, it was basically just free game for anyone to make use of it.
Hama, himself, adopted a few elements of the treatment for the aforementioned G.I. Joe story arc but it seems like the other films took much larger chunks. Again, though, Hama is correct to note that it is hard to necessarily PROVE any of that, as perhaps the other scripts WERE developed independently.
Still, it’s a fascinating story and thanks to Scott F. for turning me on to it and thanks, as always, to the great Larry Hama for dropping all that info on us.
Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!
Was the Last Episode of Ellery Queen Aired as an Episode of Murder…She Wrote Instead?
On the next page, was Mary Jane Watson really named after a slang term for marijuana?