In the history of war comics, there’s one name that has been synonymous with the likes of military heroes going above and beyond their call of duty. Hama. Larry Hama.
Announced at San Diego Comic-Con by Dark Horse Comics, Call of Duty: Black Ops III pairs up Hama with artist Marcelo Ferreira and takes the best-selling video game franchise to the comic world. The series follows an elite squadron of cybernetically-enhanced soldiers as they travel the globe, fighting a war in a futuristic world.
Newsarama had the opportunity to talk to the comics veteran so he could give some insight about the upcoming project, which hits comic stands November 4th.
Newsarama: So, Larry, writing a book about an elite, super-powered military squad is really nothing new to you on your resume, so how did you make Call of Duty: Black Ops III a challenge for yourself?
Larry Hama: The challenge lies in adapting the experience of kinetic game-play to a static medium. Since it is impractical and self-defeating to replicate POV action and the friction of on-the-spot decision-making inherent in the game, I thought it would be better to concentrate on those narrative elements not so easily conveyed in gameplay, ie: internalized character development and character interplay. The real challenge is in doing that without having the characters sitting around in rooms expositing and explaining.
Nrama: Tell us about the characters in this squad. Now, from the press release it seems there's a double agent. Is there a main character, or is this really an ensemble book?
Hama: It's totally an ensemble piece. Instead of having all the characters present from issue #1, I am feeding them into the narrative over the course of the arc, so that there is logic and form to their introduction, and the reader gets to "know" the characters in a more natural way. And yes, some characters are not what they seem to be, and other characters have surprising hidden agendas.
Nrama: You're working with artist Marcelo Ferreira who is already doing great things on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers over at IDW. What was it about his style that you felt connected the most with your story?
Hama: He's strong on the acting and naturalistic gestures, which is important in creating empathy for the characters. I've always felt this is the most important thing in visual storytelling- otherwise, it's all just choreography with emotionless mannequins.
Nrama: How hands-on are the creatives over at Activision on this project? You have a heavily-established legacy already, so were you granted heavy freedom because of that or were there still certain parameters you had to meet?
Hama: There are always parameters and guidelines, and I don't mind them at all. I have been given a goodly amount of leeway on this project, and everybody I deal with has been extremely enthusiastic, cooperative, and helpful.
Nrama: How does the creative process differ from you working on something like Call of Duty to something like Ghost Source Zero?
Hama: Apples and oranges to a degree, but also similar in that we are dealing with scenarios extrapolated from current situations and geo-political trends.
Nrama: Have you played any of the Call of Duty games before being signed on for this? Do you have a favorite, if so?
Hama: I've only played Call of Duty games briefly because I developed arthritis in my basal thumb joints more than ten years ago, but I had played other FPS [first person shooters] before that, and I actually scripted and storyboarded the cut scenes for Activision's "Wolverine’s Revenge." (Although, I must admit, I was never able to get past the 3rd level in actual game play- but then, I couldn't get past the second level on Nintendo’s Bucky O'Hare.)
Nrama: What are you hoping fans of the video game get out of from reading Black Ops III?
Hama: More insight and empathy for the character