So this week’s theme is “Yo, Joe!” Like a lot of my fellow Leaguers, I’m sure, GI Joe was the first thing that came to mind. Since I love it, I’ll go with it.
The image above is from Tom Scioli’s upcoming Transformers vs. GI Joe from IDW. This was from the Free Comic Book Day issue, which was fantastic. It was free, and it was one of the best books I’ve read all year. If you’re not familiar with Scioli, visit his website. Read American Barbarian. Move on to Final Frontier. Marvel at the power of Scioli’s mind. He has written and drawn some of my favorite works (the aforementioned and linked titles, in addition to a few others), and he’s a consummate comic scholar (as well as a Thundarr fan). I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him at HeroesCon the past couple of years, and I always enjoy talking with him. I’m so excited that he’s involved with this project, because the FCBD book was a purely joyful nostalgia bomb.
But this is about Joe, not Tom! So where do I start? Oh, with another Joe! When I was in second grade, I had a friend named Joe Brandon. (I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned him before.) He looked like a second grade version of Mouth from Goonies, except his Members Only jacket was black. He was the coolest kid in the class, at least from where I was sitting. I struggled a lot in my class with being bored, and my teacher hated me. She also hated Joe Brandon because he got in trouble a lot, mainly at the end of the day so his parents would come get him instead of his having to go home alone. So anyway, I can’t remember the actual circumstances surrounding the origins of our friendship, but I do remember eating lunch with him and a couple of other boys and playing with them at recess.
Our little group of friends was like something out of a movie: we played with toys, we had playground adventures, and we talked about cartoons. I was, of course, more obsessed with Masters of the Universe and Princess of Power, but they introduced me to the other cartoons in our after school block: GI Joe and Transformers. I was aware of these two, but I hadn’t really paid that much attention. (I was squarely in the clutches of cartoons like Blackstar, Dungeons & Dragons, Kidd Video, and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.) Once I discovered there were girls fighting with the Joes, though, I was hooked. See, that was my role at recess: Joe Brandon and the other guys had all of the figures, and someone had to play the girl parts. I was more than happy to do so, so I spent many a sunny weekday afternoon as the deceptively beautiful Baroness, the badass Scarlett and Lady Jaye, or my personal favorite, the punk beauty Zarana. I don’t remember any of the stories we created, but those stories fueled a love of plastic that, quite obviously, I’ve carried into adulthood.
To this day I still love the 3 3/4″ Joes. They’re colorful, sometimes ridiculous, and always welcome in my collection. I mean, how can you not love a group of soldiers who have no discernible uniform, have some pretty outlandish characters (like a guy who’s a cowboy! William “Refrigerator” Perry! Sgt. Slaughter!), and have a guy that rhymes. I’ve developed quite an affinity for the more ridiculous characters or versions of characters, like “Punk Rock” Zartan.
If I could have any Joe today, it’d be the European released Tiger Force Outback. This guy has it all: Michael McDonald good looks, keen survival instincts, and a sweet ass tiger t-shirt. Look at this figure and tell me you wouldn’t pay good money to own him. (Incidentally, if you have one that you’re looking to get rid of, let me know. I’m looking for a loose one, and it doesn’t have to be complete.)
Also, if you’ve never seen them, check out the FenslerFilm GI Joe PSA parodies. Hell, even if you have seen them, treat yourself to a few. My favorite is “Porkchop Sandwiches” or the one that convinced me that Snow Job is British or any of them because they’re all hilarious.
So that’s it for this week! What Joes do you know?
Check out these dispatches from around the League:
Shawn at Branded in the ’80s kinda misses the point (according to him).
Las Vegas Yankee creates a crossover.
And if you need some GI Joes to add to your collection, Brian at Cool and Collected can help!