Ah GI JOE, A Real American Hero......and Really Awesome Action Figures as well.
Yes, like most children of the 80's, I too was a huge fan of GI Joe, whether it be the the cartoon series every Saturday morning(following Care Bears of all cartoons on my local tv station) cartoon movie, comics or figures, I was into them like crazy.
And who wouldn't?
They were basically dressing like super-heroes, minus the whole super-power thing.
But they were still badass, and thanks to longtime writercreator Larry Hama, you had all the inside and backroud info you needed/wanted on them, you know, in order to better organize and decide which of your Joes went on which imaginary mission you sent them on. I didn't tend to be that organized, instead just going who I had my eys on at the time.
They were amazingly well-articulated for the time, and were only 3 and 3/4", meaning you could send them anywhere, even hide/carry them in your pocket on the way to the grocery store(which I tended to do a lot)
Plus, if you were older, and knew how to use small screwdrivers(which I did) you could play Dr. Frankenstein, and mix and swap body parts from other Joes. Which I did.
One major problem though was the rubberbands that held the legs up to the torso, would just break on you without any warning sometimes.
I used to have to get my mom or dad to fix them, as they noted "Oh well I can just used a washer to replace that."
Yep, Hasbro either advertantly, or inadvertantly, helped boost the sells of little washers sold at hardware stores everywhere. Well they did if the parents were smart enough to go that route and not, you know, just buy you a replacement;)
So, without further ado, here in particular order, except the last two, are my Top 10 all-time favorite GI Joe figures:
10). Lifeline(Version 1)-1986
Who doesn't remember Lifeline. The dude looks like a walking ambulence, what with the loud red and white outfit, you'd think he didn't want to be a walking target considering he's the medic.
At least he outlasted Doc....
Despite the fact that the guy probably should be on Cobra's team since he specializes in psychological warfare(Hence his codename), I like his design. Sure that weird chestpiece kinda looks like a face you'd proabably see on some Mayan ruins, but it works for me.
Plus he's got earmuffs. How handy is that in battle? Helps cut down on the noise all those guns and tanks make, but it also helps block out those annoying jokes one of his fellow Joes loves to make, as well as tuning out any number of his asshole bosses.
When you really think about it, Psyche-Out's got it made, what with listnening to his I-Tunes while kicking some Cobra ass. Pretty sweet gig this guy's got.
This is his 1990 Tiger Force repaint job. I had this one too.
8). Dee-Jay(Battleforce 2000)-1989
Coming from the brief, and not too well-recieved Battleforce 2000 line, Dee-Jay caught my eye....for some reason. I'm not entirely sure, but I got him nonetheless.
He really doesn;t look that spectacular I guess, but in my imaginary world, he was more important than he should've been. SO important, that later on, he became the first of an experimental group of Joes to recieve/develop super powers. Yeah I know, only in the imagination of a child does that happen.
Dee-Jay did not last long after his intial appearence in GI Joe#113, I think, as he got killed off either in that same issue or the next. Never has the phrase "Born to Die" been more appropo.
Alas poor Dee-Jay, we hardly knew ye.
7). Flint(Version 3 Eco-Warriors)-1991
Sure its not Flint's iconic look, but it damn sure hooked me enough to buy it. This is back when the Joe line was trying to be environment-friendly or some shit. Hence the colorful Toxic waste suit.
It even showed up toxic sludge marks on it when you exposed to cold water....or something like that.
I later used the body with the Chuckles head to make my own shitty Havok figure during his X-Factor days. Man did that not turn out anywhere as well as I wanted it too.
6). Rock and Roll(Version 2)-1989
With a name like Rock and Roll, you just know that guy;s gonna' be the life of the party....especially when he's bringing party favors like those portable 50.caliber gatling guns.
I like this version of Rocky waaaaay more than the first. He just looks that much more badass than his original look.
5). Quick Kick(Version 1)-1985
How cool was/is this guy am I right!?
Between the comics and the cartoons, Quick Kick was naturally matched up against Storm Shadow due to being the GI Joe's version of Bruce Lee, so go figure.
I have to say, it defintiely takes massive balls to go around fighting Cobra, hell anyone, in bare-ass feet.
But he did, and still does to this day.
4). Outback(Version 1)-1987
Probably inspired by Chuck Norris, but way, way cooler, it's Outback. I have no real complex reason for way I liked this figure so much, other than the simplistic outfit, and that ginger beard. Plus, you know this guy was tough because he was rocking the words "Survival" right on his shirt. Badass son, badass.
3). Chuckles(Version 1)-1987
Fuck yeah Chuckles! Laugh at the codename, sure, I'll give you guys that, but this guy works undercover, yet still chooses to rovk the Miami Vice-flavored Hawaian shirt.
That and he wa a fellow blonde that didn't get enough comic time for my liking. I enjoyed him throughly in GI Joe#'s 116-118, the storyline where The Joes like Flint, Chuckles, and I think Snake-Eyes, help Destro rescue the Baroness from Cobra Commander.....right before he rejoins Cobra for the millionth, billionth time.
2). Storm Shadow(Version 2)-1988
Ah Storm Shadow. What a pure badass right? Sure his first look is iconic and better know, but for me, it didn't translate as well figure-wise. This one did though for me. It was the look I saw the most when I was reading that era of GI Joe comics, and just overall, I love the Camoflague Ankraigage Clan outfit the most.
1). Snake Eyes(Version 3)-1989
But of course #1 would be Snake-Eyes? What list shouldn't have him as the top figure?
I like this version of Snake-Eyes the best, and not just because this was the first ever Snake Eyes figure I bought, but also because I just prfer this look overall. Sure his classic visor look is iconic, but for me, this is like Wolverine's Brown and Tan costume; it may not be the first, but it's the better of all his various outfits.
And here's a Top 10 favorite Cobra list, because I didn't want to to take up those sweet, sweet Joe spots....
10). S.A.W. Viper(Version 1)-1990
This guy's just a pure favorite off his two-issue storyline he had in GI Joe#'s 109-110, where he killed seven Joes that were held up as prisoners in a giant pit out in the middle east. He killed some favorites like Doc and Crazy-Legs, and eventually got his comeuppence from Lt. Falcon, but damn what a pure badass that gave zero fucks at all. Just a very cool overall design.
9). Alley Viper(Version 1)-1989
With a crazy-ass color scheme like that, you'd think he was a huge Florida Gators fan right?
Maybe, but he's also the Cobra equivalent of a SWAT/S.O.S. officer.
I remember he had a storyline in the 90's series where he was childhood firends with one of the GI Joes, Scoop. Just a really solid design, even if the colors chosen are a bit questionable.
8). B.A.T.(Version 1)-1986
Fuck yes, its the evil Cobra robot itself, B.A.T.S. I used to have the issue where he invades the Pit(the Joes' main base) and it takes the sacrifice of two regualr generals to take B.A.T.S. out. The kicker? Well duh, it was a robot! That means there's plenty more where that came from. Kick-ass design though, especially with the whole hologram of his internal circuits thing going on.
7). Rapture(Version 1)-1987
This is basically the evil version of the Falcon. Like you could't already tell that though right?
He never appeared in the cartoon that I know of, and only appeared in a handful of comics, but his look to me just sold me on him. He just looks all sorts of cool, in a comic book-y way.
6). Night Creeper(Version 1)-1990
I bought this guy when I moved to the states, and visited Wal-mart for the first time. Growing up previously in West Germany, there really wasn't anything quite like a Wal-mart over there. So to see the massive variety of stuff you could buy, blew my little 9 year-old mind away. Case in point, this guy, the Night Creeper. Think of the evil ninjas for the Hand, and you'll automatically get the concept here of evil ninjas working for Cobra.
Nornally you'd think the dominating purple colors wouldn't work, but here they do. Shit even the Cyclops-like visor just looks cool on the guy.
5). Viper(Version 1)-1986
You're probably wondering why a lowly Cobra infrantry trooper makes the list. I'll tell you why. Smart design work. Seriously, I can't underscore enough how cool the whole overall look works for me. The face helmet is the main thing, but the color coordination and design bring it on home for me.
I gotta' say, for me, even the cannon fodder troops like these, are better designed than their comic book counterparts. Just saying.....
4). Tomax and Xamot(Version 1)-1985
The term "Double Trouble" may have existed long before this duo debuted, but it still fits nonetheless. Twin brothers who are as adept to fighting you on the battlefield as they are in boardroom, Tomax and Xamot were very well designed and sculpted. Even the little things like the little scar on their cheeks is smart design work.
They just rock.
3). Big Boa(Version 1)-1987/Croc Master(Version 1)-1986
An evil Rocky Balboa? That'd be pretty damn cool.
Speaking of cool, Crocmaster here is like the evil version of Crocidle Dundee, Steve Irwin, and any professional 'gator wrestler that ever existsed. This is the kind of sicko that loves to swim with the crocks. He just has a basically badass design and look to him I think.
2). Cobra Commander(Version 2)-1984
Yes, the main man of Cobra, Cobra Commander himself makes this list, and why wouldn't he? The guy's had more outfits than most of his peers, and seemingly looks great in all of them. Now while I prefer his classic first look overall, again, figure-wise, it just didn't translate that well for me.
But his hooded look sure did.
Honorable Mentions for his other outfits are as follows:
This is his 3rd outfit from 1987, and it definitely looks more space age-y.
It appeared in the comics, and the last original cartoon series back in the early 90's.
Probably not as well-known as his other outfits,
I used to have this one that came out in 1991.
Not a big fan the whole helmet/face mask thing, which were two separate pieces, but the rest of the design of the outfit works for me.
1). Zartan(Version 1)-1984
How could this figure NOT be on a top ten list? It's fucking Zartan! And it came with two fake faces for him to where when he was doing his whole disguise thing. I still think it's the one of the most unique and creative figures that Hasbro made in the line. Bar none!
Oh and did I forget to mention he could color-change as well? Yup. And that's why he's my #1 favorite Cobra figure.
Yeah I know, how could this test tube dictator not make the main list?
I don't know, but he should've. Just everything about his design is extremely over the top, but it works for him. And after watching the GI Joe movie, and before that, his debut in the regular cartton series, how could you not love this guy?
Crimson Guard Immortal
These guys were basically the next wave of elite Cobra Crimson Guardsmen troops.
I love the then updated look(1991) as the new helmet and overall outfit looks a million times better than the originals.
You've taken the time to read mine, so now I'm curious what were your favorite GI Joe and Cobra figures you guys/gals had growing up.
Drop me a line in the comments' section.