Gi Joe and Cobra

Looking back after 25 years
January 23, 2008
When I was a young boy I can remember back to when I became interested in GI Joes. It was largely in part because my friend Clay had an army of them at his house and I marveled at the backyard wars he would set up.

Being from a single parent home, I didn't quite enjoy the same levels of toy luxury that Clay did. My Mom busted her butt to get us by. Still, even when it was tough to do she would buy for me and my sister when she could. I am grateful for that to this day. Trying to think back I am afraid I may not be able to list all the names of the Joes I did have. But I will try.

Sgt Slaughters Renegades-Red Dog, Taurus and Mercer
Captain Grid Iron
Stalker (Tundra Ranger)

Crystal ball
Techno Viper
Road Pig

Joe Mobile Command Center, Joe Locust Helicopter, Cobra Piranha speed boat

In retrospect, it wasn't alot. But I had other toys from other lines and I was content. I always knew that my mother did what she could.

I enjoyed the cartoons as well. I really followed Flint and Shipwreck a lot. But when the GI Joe started fighting toxic terrorists, I was already teening up and taking other interests such as girls and football.

It's funny how things long gone become important. How retro becomes the in thing. In my mid 20's I started watching the Gi Joe cartoons on Toonami, and I found myself setting VCR to record.

Shortly therafter Gi Joe made a comeback which lasted longer than Masters Of The Universe short lived return. I was happy for the kids of the new generation. They could have Gi Joe the way I remembered it, well....sort of.

So what makes a man buy a toy for himself? It sounds taboo right? Like said man has developmental issues. Maybe said man is regressing. If it's a problem, it has become a multi million dollar money maker all over the country.

So many men today are not detered from buying blasts to their past and collecting and displaying them. I don't even know what the women of Gen X are thinking about us. But I cannot point the finger at anyone else.

Just yesterday I walked into Wal Mart and curiously walked over to the boys toys. I found 25th anniversery editions of Cobra Commander and Shipwreck, and I bought them. They're displayed behind my computer. I plan on purchasing more of the 25th anniversery line.
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12 years, 1 month ago
Next to Hot Wheels GI Joe was my favorite toy line as a kid. I never really paid much attention to the comic series though or comic books in general for that matter. I felt if I wanted GI Joe adventures as a kid I got the action figures so I can just make up my own. One thing taht bugged me though was when the gumband holding them together broke. Despite being an auto body man my dad didn't have any screwdrivers small enough to disassemble them at the time so sadly it was the ghetto fix...Tape. Eventually when I got older action figures and die cast cars gave way to model building and actual cars.
    13 years, 11 months ago
    the Cobra Emperor! awesome! i remember in the movie he'd scream "Cobra-LALALALALA!" like an idiot. much cooler as a toy than a cartoon character.
      13 years, 11 months ago
      Well I remember that I had a rather big GI Joe collection. Here in Poland the TV show was not aired (at least I don't remember ever seeing it in the early 90s, correct me if I'm wrong), but the toys were very popular among kids.

      I had mostly figures from the early 90s, I remember having Sub Zero, Range-Viper, Undertow, Lamprey, Night Vulture, Clean-Sweep, Duke, storm shadow, snake eyes and a others that I don't remember the names of. Never had any vehicles except a cobra hang-glider.

      Back then a huge collection of GI Joe figures were a dream of every boy and some girls (including myself) :)
      The only bad thing I remember about GI joes was that they were fragile, much more fragile then other figures of that time like He-Men ones or TMNT ones. My GI Joes lived in a toybox and the rubber band that connected the torso with the legs often went broke and I had to superglue them back togeather, but after that they were no longer able to turn their torso around :(

      I have warm memories of these toys, I guess I should make a Joe article of my own.
        13 years, 11 months ago
        I don't see sepentor or cobra commander on that movie list. Hope this does good and they can put them in later films.
          13 years, 11 months ago
          I was never allowed GI Joes. My momma was a hippy and used to feed us lots of Tofu. She told us that if GI Joe was a real person, he'd burst into the house, shoot my little sister's legs off, and laugh at her. Like you, sir, she was a solo parent and a real hero, but those Tofu Years were a weird time to try and enjoy pop culture.
            13 years, 11 months ago
            i 'collected' all the action figures back in the first half of the 80s and loved all the cartoons - gi joe, transformers, he man, gobots, mask, etc. - but gi joe was the best in my opinion. i had everything except the aircraift carrier up until i lost interest circa 1987 or so. it was always a huge thing when a new character came out (zartan, serpentor, etc). and the comic book was awesome too.
            the movie sounds interesting.
              13 years, 11 months ago
              He's a stage actor, reportedly well built with dark hair, a deep voice, and kind of an aristocratic edge.
                13 years, 11 months ago
                Great Article I it brought back memories. I was glad to see this line again I have bought all I could find. The only one i could not find was Storm Shadow. But i'm working on it and i can't wait to get the twins once they are released.
                  13 years, 11 months ago
                  David Murray?! Who the hell is David Murray?
                    13 years, 11 months ago
                    If anyone's interested, the GI Joe movie cast list thus far:

                    Randy Quaid (General Hawk)
                    Channing Tatum (Duke)
                    Ray Park (Snake Eyes)
                    Marlon Wayans (Ripcord)
                    Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Rex)
                    Rachel Nichols (Scarlett)
                    Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Heavy Duty)
                    Said Taghmaoui (Breaker)
                    David Murray (Destro)
                    Arnold Vosloo (Zartan)
                    Sienna Miller (The Baroness)
                    Byung-hun Lee (Storm Shadow)

                    Randy Quaid is a bit of a surprise as Hawk, since he's so well known. The others seem to be, physically, pretty decent matches for their couterparts. Whether or not they can pull off the characters remains to be seen. Rumor also is that the film's main villain is Destro... so perhaps it will be kind of an origin story for Cobra Commander or something. Hard to say.
                      13 years, 11 months ago
                      GO JOE!!!

                      I spent most of my childhood running about the house yelling that phrase.
                      Good times, good times...
                        13 years, 11 months ago
                        i like g.i joe because its fun to watch the cartoon.I remembered in 1998/one of our tv stations used to show it and it make the station popular by the children because they always use to mention the name of the tv station.
                          13 years, 11 months ago
                          Loved watching GI Joe.

                          But COBRA has to be the most inept terrorist organization ever! They have trillions of dollars worth of weapons, with the ability to attack anywhere, and they couldn't even take over a day-old loaf of bread or even incite panic in the public!
                            13 years, 11 months ago
                            Wow,this really brings back memories
                              13 years, 11 months ago
                              Confidentially, I can do you one better, I can recall in the 70s when GI Joe was rather big, not as big as it's pre-COBRA days, but rather unique in the fact before they were fighting a serpentine-named terrorist group, it was a toy based on an army soldier.

                              What was funny was, in the Seventies, GI Joe fought against unknown enemies, probably because I guess toy makers feared giving them some foreign faction might make the line too political or something. But in the Eighties, COBRA emerged and I do have to agree with Supercade, thanks to censors, COBRA wasn't really much of a terrorist organization.

                              I mean think about it, back then COBRA schemes seemed as if they were lifted from MAD and Dr. Claw. Even COBRA Commander had his face hidden for the most part, and you wondered about the people he associated with.

                              I think the most hilarious plots COBRA came up with was downing all the communication satellites, in order to control television (which Seth McFarlane used as an inside joke with the FCC on FG) to subtly brainwash the masses with altered programming by COBRA themselves.

                              And to keep the Joes from stopping them, Zartan infiltrates the Joes' satellite with tribble like creatures that transform into monsters by the sound of a high-pitched whistle. All the while I'm thinking, yeah, spend millions of dollars on genetically-altered creatures, when you could've simply used a mind-control device, or hired the Scarecrow from Batman to take out the Joes with Fear Gas and eliminate the overhead.

                              The other one, which I never got to see how the Joes managed to foil them was a plot devised by Zartan. Apparently being Master of Disguise wasn't enough for him, so he develops this duplication device for making copies of important people and the plan is to subtly take over the world governments. And for the coup de grace, have one of the duplicates cut military funding for the Joes' equipment budget so they can't possibly stop COBRA this time. You think, hey, COBRA's really got something here, but there's one flaw: apparently Zartan uses a frequency device for controlling and creating the duplicates, and if the frequency modulator is set too high, it literally nukes the expensive beings he so painstakingly had his machine create.

                              In fact we know this when COBRA Commander almost pulls a blunder and Zartan freaks, as the Commander resets it going, 'oops... sorry..'

                              Kinda makes you wonder why they were a feared terrorist organization from the beginning.

                              But that was the fun of it, you really didn't care, it was action and entertainment for the kids.

                              In fact, remember the ending public announcements the Joes always did? You know where the kids are doing something they shouldn't, and somehow, somewhere, a Joe bursts in and stops them?

                              Rather than freak out, they just marvel that a soldier--who obviously has a LOT of downtime--just barged in wherever (usually in the home or trespassing) preventing them from doing something incredibly stupid.

                              But overall, at least GI Joe did have a decent toy line as well as great adventures, in fact, I recall when Marvel Comics did a Transformers/GI Joe crossover, and I'm not really certain what the story was about, but I think it had to do with the Joes confiscating a Cybertron artifact, and COBRA fighting with the Decepticons because they inadvertently ruined an attack.

                              Great article, though, definitely brought back some memories!
                                13 years, 11 months ago
                                I loved GI JOE....freaking always loved it!!
                                  13 years, 11 months ago
                                  That's not entirely true:

                                  Duke is indeed the leader, and he will "embody the values of bravery and heroism that the first generation of G.I. Joe figures established."

                                  Additionally, Ray Parks is playing Snake Eyes. You may remember him best as Darth Maul from Star Wars. Say what you will about the movie, but this guy is a heck of a stunt perfomer. I'm excited about him being cast as Snake Eyes.

                                  They've also cast The Baroness and Rip Cord and some others, which they should announce in the next few weeks. The route they've taken with the film is a classic Joe vs. Cobra story with all the classic characters involved. So there's reason to be optimistic about it. (Plus in a recent change, the team is based in "The Pit" as opposed to Europe.)

                                  Great article, by the way. I had a ton of Joe toys and vehicles as a kid and seeing those images definitely brought it all back. There's nothing wrong with a grown man buying toys for himself - I've done it, too. Be proud!
                                    13 years, 11 months ago
                                    My mother is a pacifist and she wouldn't let us have G.I. Joes because she didn't want me and my brother to have war toys.
                                      13 years, 11 months ago
                                      They are making a live action...
                                      But be careful what you wish for. The GI Joe movie isn't "a Real American Hero", it's in Europe. And the leader of the Joes isn't Duke or Flint, its Ripcord! WTF!!!
                                        13 years, 11 months ago
                                        Damn right!!
                                        Yoooooooooooo Joe!
                                          13 years, 11 months ago
                                          Display your toys proudly!
                                            13 years, 11 months ago
                                            Now I know... And knowing is half the battle...
                                              13 years, 11 months ago
                                              Great Article pictures.
                                              Please Please Please... Can they make a live action movie of GI Joe it would be sooo cool, look what they did for Transformers!
                                              Lets start a rally to Hollywood!
                                                13 years, 11 months ago
                                                last year i found at the local flea market the H.A.V.O.C. i asked how much, and the guy said both boxes (filled with G.I.Joe toys) for 60 bucks. as billcozby said... DISPLAY YOUR TOYS PROUDLY!!! (but i'm runing out of room... that battle platform that was in the one box really takes up room!)
                                                  13 years, 11 months ago
                                                  What an awesome article! I'm headed to Walmart after work to get see if I could get some. I had quite a few and I don't even remember what happened to them. Remember that movie "The Boy Who Could Fly"? The boy on there had such a huge collection of Gi-Joe.
                                                    13 years, 11 months ago
                                                    all of my G I Joes are in my Masters of the univers metal lunchbox at my grandma's house. i heard there was going to be a movie
                                                      13 years, 11 months ago
                                                      I ended up grabbing Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, and Red Ninja (which is just the original Storm Shadow from his time in Cobra). I'm waiting for them to release Destro... and unfortunately for me, the Wal-Mart here in Orangeburg doesn't carry them at all.... the bums....
                                                        13 years, 11 months ago
                                                        Great article! I myself am a child from the 80s and have been snatching up all the reissues and redo's i can get my hands on. One of the great things about being an adult is being able to have the money to get all the things you so desperatly wanted as a kid. My mother was also a single parent and did what she could to get my sister I through but my grandparents were also there to lend a hand. Reading your words have brought me back the greatest time in my life. The time when my biggest concern was not missing a single episode of my favorite cartoon or walking through elementery school like a pimp knowing that I owned Megatron. And for that I thank you kind sir.
                                                          13 years, 11 months ago
                                                          I've been collecting the 25th Anniversary figures. They're really damn cool. What the article didn't mention was that the 25th Anniversary figures are using the old art. Still good job on the article.
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