Over Stepping

Q. What happens when an irrelevant and decaying website sticks their neck out on social media with a tone-deaf message?

A. A lot of laughs!

Recently the Yo Joe! facebook group decided to make a comment in regards to how they think that mean old Black Major is causing collectors to have just an awful fit because by jove they can’t tell if the bright green and blue Snake Eyes is actually from the 1980s or not!

Now there’s a few things about that, that really causes my hair to hurt.

The first is the timing of this. The Black Major has been making these for a dozen years, you think that maybe this comment should’ve come out in perhaps 2009? Why now?

Another issue in regards to this, is the fact that Yo Joe! is theoretically an archive website, dedicated to information on G.I. Joe from the 80s, 90s and beyond! If they’re so concerned about the well being of collectors, perhaps they should’ve archived Black Major (as well as Red Laser, Letal, and those Early Factory Customs!). It could’ve been in a separate section in the “Collectibles Archive” or what not. Each page could’ve had enough basic information on how to discern the differences between the Factory Customs and Official Releases. To actually protect collectors they could’ve had a link to the appropriate Factory Custom’s page on the Vintage figure’s page. Much the same way they did International variants.

Honestly a small blurb saying “In 2016 enterprising collectors offered a similar figure to 1987 Starduster, however there are some differences etc.” and a link. Honestly Yo Joe! had set a precedent for that kind of thing when they did a heads up on the Hooded COBRA Commander page to let people know the figure was available for 10 years, and wasn’t rare. This is the type of thing that, would’ve allowed Yo Joe! to remain much more visible, and relevant in the days of collector’s books and google.

In actuality the “repros vs. originals” was a cleverly worded way to distract from the fact it appeared to be more of a personal beef between certain members of the G.I. Joe fanbase, whom have a lot invested in being the G.I. Joe country club, and The Black Major.

G.I. Joe fandumb, has often placed members of the community on pedestals, for handing out crumbs of information about the background or production aspects of G.I. Joe. This is a thing that has led to a lot of knowledge not being commonly shared throughout the community, as well some of it being Stalinized, so that we’re at a point in which nobody has access to some of it, and goddamnit if you share it, there’s a pox on your house.

This type of behaviour is actually the type of thing that makes the existence of Yo Joe! so endearing to me, as it wouldn’t have gotten off the ground even as early as 2001. I’m sure we all have vague memories of failed attempts at doing another archive, like “The Joe Index” or the fact HISS TANK of all websites couldn’t get one set up, when they tried and that’s when they RAN the community.

The Black Major (who I will readily admit, I like the guy personally), is a threat to these types of collectors. TBM doesn’t really kowtow to pressure, as he for the most part makes either what he wants or what will sell. While the dude has made numerous figures that clearly aren’t 1984 Storm Shadows, but are the same design in white, it does some damage to the secondary market value of the high ticket vintage figures. There are people in the G.I. Joe community who are sitting on TONS of vintage figures they purchased cheaply in the last 20+ years.  So when someone like the Black Major, who they can’t control, exists, you have collectors pearl clutching their Investments, because the ability to make 70 dollars on a Zap is a bubble that could burst.

What also isn’t really being verbalized in some of the community backlash to Yo Joe!’s attempt at pushing this opinion (Most of which was deleted from their Facebook post, because nobody can disagree), is the fact that there’s other Factory Custom producers, who did some stuff that was far more egregious in terms of the possibilities for being passed off as “originals”. A little nail polish remover and you’ve got a 1983 Snake Eyes v 1.5 waist.

The thing I found most embarrassing and unfortunate about the whole thing, was these people’s willingness to slit the throat of the only thing that’s not moving at a glacial pace, and the only thing that’s actually traditional G.I. Joe construction, in the G.I. Joe community. Yo Joe! tagged Hasbro in their Facebook blast, with the suggestion that Hasbro “Looks into preventing these items from being brought in from China”.

This is a very concerning action, to me. This is a thing that not only is trying to strangle a producer, this is a thing that could potentially put the average collector, that Yo Joe is seemingly so concerned about, into a bind, because if this threat was to come true, how are people that have pre-ordered things, supposed to get their money back?

 

 

 

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2019 Storm Shadow (The Black Major)

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There was a dozen or so Storm Shadow repaints that came out at the tail end of 2019, some of them were fairly interesting, some were quite bland and there was a couple that likely would’ve been a lot better if there weren’t factory issues. The figure I liked the most of the various flavours is a basic 1984 Storm Shadow with the slight change of red highlights.

The plain white Storm Shadow is one of the finest character designs ever to grace G.I. Joe. I’m not sure why, but it just is. In 2002, Hasbro had already returned him to being a COBRA, and began adding more red into his design. So there were some interesting designs that came out in the New Sculpt Era, which were usually inhibited by articulation changes, that usually revolved around Storm Shadow being clad in white with red markings. With red becoming part of Stormy’s colour palette, it extended past the New Sculpt era and into the modern error, with the peak figure being the 30th Anniversary/Renegades Storm Shadow. An overall solid figure, that I actually bought, during my short term with the Modern Figures. The figure was a more traditional take on a Ninja costume, with removable web gear that matched either the 1984 figure, or there was a red sash/belt combo. I quite liked the sash/belt combo with the classic look head.

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Figuring out colour schemes for the 1984 mold, which had already been done in a lot of the sought after colourings, such as Red or COBRA Blue, was probably a little more difficult this go around, as evidenced by a few of the last wave. So, going the route of post 2002 Hasbro, and taking the classic white and giving it red highlights was quite a novel approach. The basic figure is just Storm Shadow v1, but his belts are now red instead of white, and while that would’ve been a justifiable enough difference, in my eyes, the figure takes it a step farther with red wrist wraps and ninja boots. It provides a big jump in the overall colouring of the figure, but at the same time isn’t overly obnoxious colour for colour’s sake.

One place this wave is very solid in, is the fact that the silver highlights on the throwing stars, dagger and buckles are very nice. They’re sharp, have a good metallic tinge to them, and it makes for a nice separation from the rest of the earlier TBM uses of this mold.

This figure is equipped with the classic two swords, backpack, bow and nunchucks. It’s nice to see all of the v1 equipment, and though this time the figure’s weapons are done up in a red that matches the figure’s highlights. It’s actually good to see the weapons in other colours, and while red isn’t my preferred choice, they do look a little better than the tan weapons that came out with the second wave of Storm Shadows. There’s also the historical relevance of red ninja weapons, which started with the 1988 Storm Shadow. So they’re not the best, they aren’t the worst either, and having the backpack done up in red, you could probably add black or silver or whatever colour weapons you prefer to the case, and have an interesting look for Storm Shadow.

The figure also includes a Mortal Kombat Ninja head, done up to match the colour scheme of the figure. This figure has a white head with red face mask painted on it, while it’s not really my cup of tea, it’s a cool addition, and can help change some of the figures up from every one being a direct Storm Shadow v1 repaint. It was nice to get those heads in white, as it wasn’t available with the first TBM Storm Shadow based on the 1984 colouring.

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The factory customs are still an interesting outlet to get vintage style G.I. Joes, but I think it’s looking like the choices of figures and colouring has been less and less ideal over the past couple of years. You don’t see armies of many of the figures, and I guess when it’s not really a figure that’s going to be army built, doing 17 iterations of the mold is the only way to get the ROI. In the latest 12 Storm Shadow repaints, there’s at least 4 variants that if they hadn’t been made, we still weren’t missing out on anything. It’s somewhat of a shame though, as when there’s a dozen repaints coming out at once it can lead to Quality Control issues, as that seems to be the case when a bunch of different figures are produced at one time, not just with Black Major, but Red Laser as well. This figure was spared, but it was kind of a bummer for the Night Force version to be hit with mis-coloured shoulder joints.

Overall, I really like the Storm Shadow mold, and I won’t complain about getting a few more usable repaints of it, and even a few of the oddities are fun enough figures to have kicking around, even if I doubt I’ll ever actually do anything with them. While getting a dozen of the figures at once was probably overkill, it’d been so long since the last batch of this mold. Plus, 2019 was a quiet year on the Factory Custom scene, if you weren’t really interested in SNAKE Armors  or molds from the mid to late 80s, so a bunch of swivel neck Ninjas was going to be highly welcomed by me.

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Manleh (Red Laser’s Army 2018)

 

Manleh

The Argen 7 (Which might actually be a misnomer, but it’s easy to remember, and bugs Mike T. 😛 ) is a fairly famous group of international G.I. Joe figures. They all go for too much money, have straight arms, and are a pain to find, as well! That’s why the 2018 Red Laser’s Army offerings were very anticipated by me, as I was able to obtain some of those figures, in a far more palatable way.

Of the Argentina series 2 exclusives, Manleh is probably the most visually interesting to me, he’s got a blue/yellow colourscheme, and he uses Stalker’s head mold, but he’s now a white dude with a goatee (surprisingly he’s not evil). For what is a fairly common mold, the new take is quite nice, the change made to the Stalker head is welcome, too, as it adds new options. The colours while somewhat bright, make sense in a way, as the original figure came with a Parachute, so it works as a form of camouflage, or something. It’s 2020, and I’m at the point where I don’t care too much about perceived realism, as I’m far more concerned with if it looks decent in photographs.

One thing about the 2018 Red Laser figures, was that they wound up actually using the 1982-83 waist and legs, as opposed to the Steel Brigade/Airborne legs. I never realized how important they were to the look and feel of the 82 torsos. I can honestly say I probably wouldn’t have purchased the 19 figures or whatever it was, if they had been the Airborne legs again.

Still at the end of the day this actually a well done figure, that is such a new take on the 1982 mold, that even though it’s literally just a repainted Stalker, it goes a lot farther than it realistically should. The light blue and yellow also help to separate the dark blue from being too “COBRA”, while also ensuring the figure matches up with figures later on in the line.

Manleh

The thing that I like most about Manleh, is you’ve got a figure that has little to no official backstory or characterization. I’ve never seen his filecard translated, so it’s nice to have a   blank slate character. He and the rest of his Argentinian contemporaries are all too closely linked to be broken up, and I find with the growing number of 1982-1984 style figures, that the Joe team is getting too big for my liking, I see them as members of a an earlier, non-Joe affiliated anti-terrorist team.

They and a few other soldiers were involved mainly in combat with the then top organization, the Red Shadows. Manleh is the leader of this squad, since the Red Shadows, despite being very dangerous, hadn’t been able to tentacle their way into too many regions, a small commando team was deemed to be all that was necessary to deal with them. They were for the most part fairly successful, but the overall ending of the Red Shadows had less to do with this Commando unit, and more with the instability of Baron Ironblood. This less than stellar ending of the whole thing, wound up being a career killer, for the majority of these Commandos, which is why none of them really wound up in any type of role with any of the newer Counter-Terrorist task forces.

What I like about that little story, is it allows me a way to use a bunch of figures I really enjoy, but without having to shoehorn too many new ideas into my already existing universe, which was daydreamed about, with the idea that a lot of these figures wouldn’t ever be ones I’d own. When factory customs allowed these figures to exist, I figured the easiest thing to do, would be to just go earlier in the timeline.

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One theory I’ve had on the Argentinian exclusive figures, is that most of them were aborted Hasbro concepts, that were put to use in a different market that wasn’t going to have too much cross over with Americans. They usually fit in with the general feel of ARAH Joe in a way that you don’t quite get with some of the Brazilian or Indian exclusives. Factoring that in with usually Anglo Filenames, and the fact the card-art is a lot stronger than the card art used on the Commandos Em Acao line’s exclusives, helps me build that straw man argument!

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I don’t really pay attention to much in the way of online G.I. Joe yammering anymore, though I’m sure people had strong opinions about these figures, especially because they’re somewhat similar to figures released in a South American Country in the 1980s. Personally I’m glad that Red Laser made these. He ensured there were some differences (swivel Arms, inverted colours, mirrored camo), and more importantly put fans in the position to pick up some figures that are frankly very cool, and help make the earliest years of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero be more and more capable of standing out as a whole separate line, similar in a way that the New Sculpts or Modern Eras are viewed as separate entities.

Overall, these figures did do one of the things that I’m always glad to see from Factory Customs, and that’s taking a long standing need for the Joe line, and making it a reality. G.I. Joe has long been a line littered with missed opportunities, poor decision making and Monday Morning Quarterbacking on what could’ve been done. I feel that there would’ve been a lot of that, considering some of the molds that had been available, if these figures didn’t get made. I think in the end there were still some missed opportunities, but a chunk of what needed to be made, has happened, so we’re better off now than where we were in 2006.

Manleh

 

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1987 COBRA Earth Borer

 

EarthBorer

Last year, there was a toy, comic, and collectable show held in some strip mall, on the other side of town. I’ve been to numerous collector oriented events, so being able to look at tables of random pop culture artifacts from the last 45 years, placed in the corridors in front of a dry cleaner, travel agent and a Safeway was probably the most surreal one I’ve ever been too. It kind of seemed like a premise from inane early 90s TV movie where a kid is going to have to do something bad to impress the “cool kids”. Of course in that After School Special, it wouldn’t be a bunch of vendors selling Transformers, it’d be a bake sale or craft fair that helps veterans or a church or something.

Since the set-up was so bogus, I decided I was going to buy “the dumbest G.I. Joe stuff I can find or a 1983 Head Quarters, whatever shows up first”. Since this is titled “1987 COBRA Earth Borer”, you can tell I succeeded at buying some dumb G.I. Joe toys! However, I’m not sure if a Motorized Action Pack is a worse purchase than the multiple completely bare Hydro Vipers I bought. However, I think the fact G.I. Joe is a toy line deep enough that you can legitimately purchase something as stupid as a motorized action pack, have it be able to interact with the majority of your collection, and leave you feeling content with a purchase, is a testament to how well that line was done.

The Motorized Action Packs were one of the first steps at putting action features that removed imagination from the play aspect of G.I. Joe. The problem with that, wasn’t so much the idea behind them, but rather the fact these toys kind of suck. The Earth Borer is probably the best of all of them. It’s design is pretty reasonable, and the usage of it makes a lot of sense, as COBRA would be doing all sorts of tunnelling and fortification building, and they’re not going to care too much about proper OSHA guidelines.

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The design of this is actually pretty hilarious, as it’s placement of the stabilizer legs wound up being a total Astro-Mech Droid rip-off.  I was surprised at how blatantly it was done. Maybe it was a coincidence, but I doubt it. The toy looks good, but it’s something that likely wouldn’t be able to drill that far or deeply, but whatever. Colouring on the Earth Borer is actually very solid. It’s got a chromed Drill bit, silver attachments, and a very nice COBRA blue body. I was actually surprised at how good a blue it was, as it’s a good match for the classics from 82-86, which is surprising considering how COBRA toys were going in a “Purple or greyish-blue” direction by 1987. The fact it matches so well, was nice, because when it ties in so well with other figures and playsets, it’s likely to get more use.

The motorized action is fairly typical of wind-up toys, you twist the knob on the back, and the drill spins. Pretty much all that’s required, and it does the job pretty well! I’ve never really cared all that much about wind up toys, as I’ve always been more amused by the noise the gears make rather than the actual spinning aspect! The nice thing about the Earth Borer, is it’s stationary. Things like the Rope Crosser were intended to move figures across the foot of string it came with, which means it’s going to be an awkward and shaky mess. The Earth Borer doesn’t require the figure to be precariously put on to it, so it’s far better for photos or dioramas.

All of the Motorized Action Packs, could be worn by figures as a backpack, it’s not the greatest look, as there’s nothing that can be done to turn it into a backpack, so you’re left with some poor COBRA Trooper walking around with a 4 and a half foot power drill strapped to his back. It’s a neat way to give the thing slightly more interaction with figures, but it also damages the suspension of disbelief. Plus, since the packs are so much larger and heavier than the typical G.I. Joe backpack, there’s a different size to the attachment peg, which doesn’t always fit every figure.

The Action Packs made appearances in the Dutch Catalogs, and the Earth Borer was in one instance used with Snow Serpents, so due to the fact I knew I had some of the new Black Major Snow Serpents coming, I picked this up, because I tend to associate the two. Augering up in the arctic would be a thing that would happen, so it’s a nice tie-in accessory for a very specialized figure. Though, it’s versatile enough to be used for whatever ridiculous “COBRA NEEDS TO DRILL FOR GOLD” Sunbow style scenario you can come up with.

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Great Moments In G.I. Joe History

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The Amazing A-Man, had recently commented on a post on Zartan, mentioning this;

I was watching some video of a convention appearance with Ron Rudat and some fan guys presenting, one guy mentions Zartan and siblings had the shoulder armor because the flesh color change plastic wouldn’t have worked for the shoulder construction due to its softness or something. Zandar and Zarana were originally going to have bare left shoulders with matching dragon tattoos.

Interestingly enough, in European Markets, under the Action Force banner, the original Dragon Tattoo art was used on the cards. They also edited out the weapons the characters were holding, as well as making Zarana far more risqué.

 

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1988 Hydro Viper

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Like a lot of the late 1980s Army Builders, the Hydro Viper is an incredibly frustrating figure. Owed to the fact that he’s common as hell, usually dirt cheap, and for the most part entirely bare. For some reason the Hydro Viper had a TON of easily lost parts, and unfortunately the figure really loses a lot of cool points when he has nothing. So lately after picking up a few Hydro Vipers, I went on some stupid quest to get them to somewhat presentable levels of equipment (Backpacks, Helmets and Flippers). The 5 bucks you spend getting the figure is quickly overshadowed when you’re paying at least the same amount for a pair of Flippers!

The Hydro Viper is a very odd figure, as Hasbro really went all in on this figure, and tried an assortment of new sculpting and accessory ideas, most of which didn’t work, but their failure wasn’t repeated. The removable helmet is something I probably would’ve rather been how they sculpted his head, but that’s neither here nor there. Hasbro did manage to do some impressive engineering with the head and helmet, though. There’s a circular indentation on the inside of the mask, that allows the “lips” on the figure’s face to connect, therefore keeping the helmet on quite snug. If you look at Hydro Viper’s face and see the red paint on his mask still intact, it’s quite likely the mask was never properly put on and lost quickly.

The webbed hand is one of those things that I find to be an impressive level of sculpting, especially considering that figures didn’t quite have fully detailed ears in 1988. It’s somewhat of a waste, as it reduces the figure’s overall usefulness, especially considering he comes with both a knife and a speargun. What really bothers me is the lack of symmetry, I think had both hands been done up in the sprawled out web style, it would’ve probably actually made the Hydro Viper stand out better and likely have a better reputation. Or not, construction changes are serious business that can really bother purists.

Either way, despite Hasbro trying new things on this figure, the fact they weren’t all that well received nor successfully implemented, is interesting, because Hasbro didn’t attempt anything like them afterwards. Undertow, the next diver didn’t have a removable helmet or breathing tubes that attached to the backpack. Shipwreck in 1994 had a mask that’s airbuses were closer to 1986 Wet Suit’s than the Hydro Viper. The outstretched hand never really made an appearance again either, though it was slated to return with the 1995 Dr. Mindbender figure.

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Since this figure comes with so many accessories, that are oft-lost, the fact they’re as well sculpted as they are tends to be forgotten. The Speargun is probably the best one released in the G.I. Joe line, and is very detailed. The knife, is bad as hell too. It’s funny how there weren’t really any knives in G.I. Joe until 1987-1988. The backpack is really well done too, it’s huge, has detailed gauges and dials, and really adds some contrast to the fairly bright coloured figure. The Devil like helmet is quite the topper, and surprisingly well done, even if I think in retrospect doing the figure’s head as the demon, rather than removable helmet would’ve been the way to be. In the end, the knife and speargun are nice, but not the make or break aspect of the figure, that I find the Flippers, Backpack and Helmet to be. The helmet has two pegs for air hoses, that could then attach to the two pegs on the backpack. It’s a neat idea in theory, but they don’t work too well in real life, so I never bother with them.

The Hydro Viper is a late 80s COBRA. Part of what makes it so evident, is the pinkish-purple that he’s cast in. The late 80s were definitely a stylistic shift. The 1988 production year is quite evident as well, since there’s very few paint apps, though the mold is quite detailed, there’s not really a lot of places that were really missing out. The card art gives the impression that the Hydro Viper is wearing a black scaly vest, but it being the basic purple of the figure isn’t really that big a deal to me.

Hydro Viper being a “Demon Of The Deep”, gives an aspect of the character, that is quite interesting. The idea of regular EELs undergoing numerous mentally destabilizing surgeries and injections, to become the ultimate deep sea warrior, is both a plausible enough explanation for the otherworldly design, but also almost the kind of thing you could see happening with a group like COBRA. The fact it’s described as “mentally destabilizing” is interesting, as it explains away a lot of the silliness of why would a grown man dress like a sea-demon? I like it, because there’s almost a sense of worry in the part of the figure’s face that’s visible without the helmet. Or at least that’s what I’ve always seen. I tend to think when helmet less the Hydro Viper is almost at a state of constant unease, probably because he’s no longer underwater.

There’s also a line in the filecard about them leaving damp spots on the furniture, while it’s a silly line, it’s the type of humour I don’t have a problem with in regards to G.I. Joe. Humour is a bit of a difficult to put into a thing like G.I. Joe, as there’s a fine line where it could cross over from the absurd, and into almost irreverent self-parody.

Overall, the Hydro Viper is a figure I like, but I can also see the glaring issues the overall figure has. Even though, those problems likely prevent the figure from being thought of the same way as either the Eel or Undertow figures are, it’s still a solid figure, and in a way it’s neat to see the figure where Hasbro failed at numerous things it tried to pioneer with the Hydro Viper.

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G.I. Joe Moments In Punk History

For years one of the most consistent G.I. Joe message board threads was the typical “G.I. Joe References In Movies/TV” thread. Usually it was every third or fourth post referring to either the episode of NCIS with people who had G.I. Joe filenames, or The Boy Who Could Fly.

This post is very similar, but about the unexpected G.I. Joe references I’ve found in my travels within the punk rock scene. On one hand it’s kind of an odd dichotomy, but on the other, especially with the Hardcore Punk of the early 1980s, we’re dealing with people who were often not much older than teenagers, so G.I. Joe probably resonated with them somewhat.

G.I. Joe # 12

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The Plasmatics, New York City’s finest export, pre-Heart Attack’s first EP, are alluded to in this wonderful group of panels from issue #12.  They talk about Wendy O. Williams (her real name!) who in addition to being the toughest, straight edge vegetarian in history, and a really good singer, would destroy status symbol level material possessions, both to put on a cool rock ‘n roll show, but also to indicate that no matter how nice a television set is, it’s just an object. So for a band with that mindset to be featured in a 26 page toy commercial is amusing. Though they were probably chosen, as The Plasmatics had gotten plenty of media coverage to the point where they were a recognizable name, while retaining enough street cred that it wouldn’t be as hokey as name dropping Billy Idol or Bow Wow Wow, or Talking Heads.

Of course by 1983 the Plasmatics had jumped the shark, as Jean Beauvoir was far more important than one would think, and the signing to Capitol Records, didn’t do much to change the actual musical content, but the change of get-ups took a bunch away from the band. The Mad Max get up, while fitting their dystopian songscape, didn’t have the shock factor that would get people to stop and actually pay attention.

There’s one other issue with this panel. The “Punk Rocker” depicted here, is more in line with Los Angeles Hollywood Punks (That was pretty much dead by 1983), rather than the speed riddled, politically interested crazies that populated San Francisco punk circles, where this part of the issue takes place.

Rambozo The Clown- Dead Kennedys Bedtime For Democracy.

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Speaking of San Francisco, it was home to Dead Kennedys, the biggest hardcore band of the 1980s (a fact that’s somewhat forgotten), who often took shots at many of the current events politically and culturally.

The G.I. Joe Action Stars cereal, originator of our pal Starduster, which originally came out in 1985, just in time to be referenced in this stirring critique of the bombardment of military imagery directed at young people.

Toxic Reasons: Target Home Video 1984

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Target Video, a San Francisco based studio, that would film both live performances of punk bands, but would also do montage videos using stock footage, the news and commercials. The 1982 G.I. Joe commercial for the VAMP was used in a video for the Toxic Reasons song “Killer”, right around the verse that starts with “What About The Children”.

Final Conflict s/t 7″

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Minneapolis had Hardcore bands that weren’t just Hüsker Dü. One such band was Final Conflict, there lone 7″ (Or at least the one re-issued on Havoc Records) happened to have a G.I. Joe reference, as they’d taken a panel from Issue #5 featuring General Flagg and other generals, and modified the dialogue ever so slightly.

Rod/Don’t Call Me Brian Split 7″

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Much like G.I. Joe, punk rock wound up changing in the 90s. Not for the better in my opinion! This split record used the fairly famous cover of issue # 76, the back of the sleeve had Wild Card and the Mean Dog (I think it’s from the Trucial Abysmia war). Musically I can’t remember what it sounds like, I think one side might sound like a wimpier version of Emily’s Sassy Lime, but split 7″ers from the mid 90s aren’t things I listen to with any regularity.

This split 7″ was actually fairly important for the actual formation of this blog. I found this at a record store, texted it to my friend and he laughed and implored me to buy it. It wasn’t really due to the music, but more the fact it was the dead centre of the G.I. Joe/Punk Rock Venn diagram. I knew there had to be more, and I was on a quest to find more references between the two, so after I found them I figured I’d write an article on that, and that’s actually where the true genesis of the Attica Gazette came from!

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There’s also, Punk Rock Zartan. The 1993 Ninja Force Zartan is over the top, and a fairly decent portrayal of a 1977 cartoon punk. The thing is, this is a figure that is unfortunately one of the most realistic G.I. Joes, as there was a time that most punk shows would usually have a guy with an unnaturally coloured mohawk, a leather vest and a shitty attitude. You’d get some dude from Michigan or Oregon with a British accent asking you usually one of three questions “Wanna fight” “Can I have some money” or “Do you like Flux of Pink Indians?” The answer to all of those questions is no.

While a figure dressing like the punk bad guys from an episode of CHIPs or Quincy M.E., might seem surprisingly dated, especially in 1993. While the figure was likely a creation born out of a clueless stereotype, it wound up being fairly accurate portrayal of a horrible subsection of North American punks who despite their mediocre generic Hardcore sound, sure liked to dress up like GBH or Discharge.

There’s one more, that is less ARAH G.I. Joe intensive, but I feel compelled to mention.

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In the late 1980s, you could trade 12″ G.I. Joes for Warzone and Youth Of Today records. The New York City Straight Edge label, Revelation Records, used to put in G.I. Joe wantlists, that they would trade Revelation releases for.  The 150th release on Revelation had a cover using 12″ Joes they got in trade. Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s there was a G.I. Joe comic guru from NYC that used the online handle “Straight Edge”, I’m guessing G.I. Joe was far more popular with the Youth Crew set, than one could possibly imagine.

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