STRATEGIC & TACTICAL OPERATIONS  
  Code Name: G.I. JOE  
 

G.I. Joe was, well, the original G.I. Joe. I’m not going to go into his history too much and show my complete ignorance of the 12” line, I’ll mainly note that 3 ¾” version of the character have been surprisingly sparse. In 1994, for the 30th Anniversary of the original figure, a selection of 3 ¾” figures were made – one named G.I. Joe was available as a mail-in, while a group depicting other original uniforms as Action Whatever (Sailor, Soldier, Pilot, Marine, Astronaut) were issued. In 2010, the Official G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club issued a set of Generation 3 style figures modelled on the 1970s Adventure Team, but those are quite pricey.

Between these, the bearded 1970s version had previously appeared in toy form. It had started in 1989, when Larry Hama decided to reference the 25th anniversary of the original figure by featuring him (and G.I. Jane) in a particularly dreadful issue of the Marvel comic, which set standards of clunking in-jokes that it would take the employment of a Wayans brother to surpass. I think he turned up again in the comic a couple of times, though the last thirty or forty issues tend to blend together into one big horrible cake of tired contrivances, badly-thought out ideas, failed attempts to revisit old glories and Hama disappearing up his own arse. Nevertheless, in 2006 Hasbro put out a set influenced by the incarnation of Joe Colton seen in the Marvel comics. The Viper Lockdown pack included Joe, Jane, a nice beefy version of Interrogator and a trio of redesigned Vipers. I ended up with Joe and Jane from a job lot (Jane was soon jettisoned for being a slightly less interesting version of Bombstrike) and decided to keep him in recognition of DDP’s amazing work saving the character from being a tiresome walking meta reference and instead turning him into quite an awesome commander for the team.

Coming from the Generation 2 period of the line, Joe features roughly comparable articulation to a 1980s figure, but employs a bit more variation in proportions. A common problem with figures from this era is the big round shoulders, which often stick out a bit more due to the broader shoulders used. However, it’s not a problem with Joe – firstly the shoulders of the torso curve out just a little bit, and secondly a more muscle-bound physique suits the guy. The head cast is nice as well – it captures the rough look of the original guy without looking like he’s not changed since the 1970s, something it again shares with the DDP incarnation.

In addition to this, there are a couple of nice touches. Hasbro were starting to add to the articulation of the O-ring format a little by this stage, and Joe has rotating fists – sure, it’s nothing compared to Generation 3 figures, but it makes a surprising amount of difference to the number of poses the toy can hold a weapon with. Another thing that was sneaking in by this stage was functioning holsters, and the pair of six-shooters fit the character nicely. Not so good is the massive machine gun the figure originally came packed with; it just looks comical, and I’ve downgraded him to a no-nonsense shotgun. Joe’s actually a decent enough figure, and this incarnation is about the only one which can believably interact with Real American Hero characters; in that sense, it might be lacking for funny photo comics, but is a nice enough homage for those who enjoyed DDP’s sensible handling of the original article.

G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe