Comics / Comics News

G.I. Joe Classified


By Hervé St-Louis
July 18, 2020 - 21:12

Hello. I’m in the process of getting all of the first series of G.I. Joe Classified action figures from Hasbro. They were announced at the 2020 Toyfair in New York and have slowly begun to make their way into collectors’ hands. This series means a lot to me. I am one of those kids who grew up on G.I. Joe A Real American Hero. I remember watching the Mass Device mini-series for the first time as a kid and being completely taken by this cartoon wh9ich today looks cheesy and ludicrous. But back then, it was the best thing on television. It still is.

G.I. Joe Classified is based on G.I. Joe A Real American Hero which first introduced a villainous group against which G.I. Joe would fight. The villains were the evil and terrorist organization known as Cobra. In hindsight, Cobra was more than a terrorist group as it waged conventional war against G.I. Joe. But putting the problem of asymmetric warfare aside, Cobra was the best mashup of several villainous groups that already existed at Marvel such as AIM and H.Y.D.R.A. These In turn, were heavily influenced by the global villainous groups seen in James Bond. The Cobras were headed by the evil Cobra Commander along with the treacherous Baroness, Destro and Major Bludd.

On the G.I. Joe side, the cartoon introduced Duke as the field leader of the team, the beautiful Scarlett, and the mysterious Snake Eyes. The first series of G.I. Joe action figures focused on a few of the best known characters from the comics, the original three and three quarter and a half action figures, and the cartoons of course. So Hasbro released two Snake Eyes action figures, one of which is deluxe action figure that came with a diorama of his dojo with extra weapons. There is a regular Snake Eyes action figure with alternative weapons and colours, and less props, a Scarlett action figure, Duke, Roadblock the big black heavy machine gunner, and arms dealer Destro.

Each action figure, except for the deluxe Snake Eyes retailed for about $19.99USD or $30CAD. The action figures could be bought from Hasbro Pulse, the collector’s portal of the toy maker, and other online and retail stores. More action figures are on the way with Two versions of Cobra Commander, the Cajun marine Gung Ho, an artic version of the Cobra Ninja Storm Shadow, Cobra ninjas known as Red Ninjas, and a variant Destro.

What’s special about G.I. Joe Classified is that they are the first six-inches action figures in years. Each action figure is a representation of a character that attempts to be as iconic and as possible, often combining features from different versions. These are not reproductions of the first A Real American Hero, nor the movie action figures. These are current interpretation who Snake Eyes, Duke, Scarlett, Roadblock, and Destro are. The weapons that come with the figure abandon the military accurate/inspired weapons of old for science fiction variants that seem to be laser-based, much like the cartoon. Even the ranks and titles of the characters are not like those of old.

While borrowing from the military, Hasbro is taking the G.I. Joe into a space outside of realism and closer to video games and properties like Fortnight. Some argue that this is necessary to appeal to more than my generation of collector. These toys need to appeal to younger audiences too if they are to succeed. Hasbro had been silent on G.I. Joe the last few year to the extent that people thought the franchise dead or abandoned. Hasbro could not do that. With G.I. Joe, Hasbro invented the action figure. G.I. Joe as a comic property is older having begun as a comic strip in 1942 by cartoonist and Dave Breger. G.I. Joe has a lot of history and I want to feature that in the upcoming series of reviews on the Classified toys.

First, I want to take my time to produce some beautiful photography for these action figures. They have many updated articulations and features that make them superior to Marvel Legends action figures also produced by Hasbro. Unlike the Transformers whom Hasbro shares with Japanese toy make Takara, G.I. Joe belongs to the former alone. G.I. Joe action figures have always had more articulations and features than most other toys for boys. Even when Hasbro produced science fiction and supernatural based toys for G.I. Joe, there was always great care taken with the playability and the sculpts.

G.I. Joe matters because it perfected the trifecta of cartoons, toys, and comics created in the 1980s where each supported the other creating the model many other properties would reuse since. G.I. Joe for now exists only as a toy but there is an upcoming Snake Eyes debut film scheduled for whenever the studios think they can release the film with the ongoing pandemic. There are currently many G.I. Joe comics published by IDW Publishing. All that is missing is a cartoon, although there is a popular G.I. Joe mobile game available right now.

I have already unpacked my Joes and put them on my shelf for over a week now. I am not rushing with the reviews. There are already many reviews of these wonderful toys, but I want to take my time to do something that I will be proud of. I really love G.I. Joe. I think that I may love G.I. Joe more than Transformers. It is difficult to tell as over the years, I have jumped from one to the other. Transformers, however, is more complicated and difficult to collect. There are so many series and versions often running at the same time. G.I. Joe Classified is easier to get on board. They are not as many products as Transformers and the toys are less popular. They were always meant for older kids. That is why I want to jump in. I will not collect everything either. I am not a completist.

 Next in line: Scarlett.

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Last Updated: September 6, 2021 - 08:15

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