1985 Buzzer

The Dreadnoks are one of the most love or hate concepts in G.I. Joe. For such a high-concept idea, the Noks almost seemed like an excuse to throw references and homages to things that would otherwise be impossible to add to a children’s toyline of the early 1980s. Buzzer, for example, seems to have a lot of references to gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

Buzzer’s figure itself has the aviator sunglasses, male pattern baldness and what really puts it over the top, the sheriff’s badge on the torso, a reference to Thompson’s run for sheriff of Aspen, Colorado. His filecard (which, including the numerous edits happens to be my favorite filecard in the entire G.I. Joe line) mentions that Buzzer went to Australia to study the Biker gang phenomenon, a nod to Thompson’s 1966 book on the Hell’s Angels.

From a figure perspective, Buzzer is fairly well done, he’s got enough Biker cues such as the denim and lack of sleeves, and the little details are pretty cool, like his Skull And Cross-Bones belt buckle, he also has armor on his thighs, which based on his weapon of choice indicates he likely watched the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I know Buzzer’s face hasn’t always been the most well thought of, but his (along with Ripper’s) show the disastrous results of decadent Biker living. Not very many toyline’s had figures that looked strung-out!

Buzzer’s portrayal in Joe media wasn’t very good, as the Dreadnoks were nothing more than comic relief, but he’s got a great filecard! The whole idea of an intellectual who’d gone off the deep-end, hooked up with a group of Losers and Outsiders who’s now hell-bent on destruction, is great in my opinion. The final edit contains the line “–One year later– transformed into a vexated wanderer” which has always painted an image in my head, that I’ve never been able to capture a picture of Buzzer, that fits.

The Dreadnoks, are a hard idea to actually work into G.I. Joe. They’re great figures, but the unfortunate reality of biker’s is that, pushing drugs, running guns and pimping is not a particularly fun thing to play out in the world of 3 3/4 inch action figures. Even as a kid, they wound up in body guard roles for either Destro or Zartan. Though Buzzer did have one strange role in my collection when I was a teenager and not in possession of many G.I. Joe figures. I only had about 6 or 7 Cobra’s available to me, so Buzzer wound up leading a COBRA that consisted of 2 HISS Drivers, a Python Crimson Guard, Scrap Iron and a Hydro Viper. COBRA Command wasn’t particularly successful in those days.




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9 Responses to 1985 Buzzer

  1. A-Man says:

    I never made the Hunter S. Thompson connections, as I’m not that familiar with the late Mr. Thompson’s work (I recall some odd bit on Conan O’Brien from years ago where he visited Thompson and they were shooting machine guns!). Cool stuff.

    Who puts Buzzer in charge over Scrap-Iron…actually, I think the HISS drivers outrank everyone else. Funny, the original 3 Dreadnoks were amongst my earliest Cobras. I probably had them before Destro. I really liked them at the time, the 80’s was Road Warrior era. I’d have them steal the Silver Mirage cycle, totally not their style but their hands didn’t fit on the Fisher Price Adventure people motorcycle I had. I had the RAM, but it could’ve hold all three of them. Real biker crimes never crossed my mind.

    • atticagazette says:

      Haha, they never crossed mine either! As a kid my COBRA dividing line was “do you wear a COBRA symbol?” those that did were loyal to CC, those that didn’t wound up in either Destro or Zartan’s camp.

      I recognized the inner-Cobra conflict, but simplified the hell out of it. More people should do that.

  2. Like A-Man, I never made the HST connection, either– but you made a strong case for it.

    I also really like Buzzer as he’s portrayed on the filecard. An intellectual who “went native,” started taking speed and listening to Motorhead, and ended up with Torch, Ripper, and then Zartan. I think he’s my favorite Dreadnok, with Zarana as my second and Road Pig as my third (this is if we’re not counting Zartan, btw). He was okay in the comics, but in the Sunbow series he remarks to Destro that he can’t read! A pretty far cry from the comics. I would love to see him in a fist fight with fellow tough guy egghead Psyche Out, for some reason.

    I never had any Dreadnoks as a kid. Or at all until 25th Anniversary (that Buzzer is really good, still). I do think I would have liked to include them in the Joe adventures of my childhood, though. Now I’m slowly working on them, but kind of have a hankering for weird versions of each one. So far I only have Funskool Ripper, Funskool Road Pig, and Sonic Fighters Road Pig. I kind of want the stupid convention Buzzer, and I think I’m gonna have to just settle for an original Torch.

    As for motorcycles for them, I’ve found the vintage Corps! dirtbikes and supercycles work well. The handles are small enough for them to hold, and they’re a good size. They’re not Harleys, but I think they work better than Ferrets (also a good choice) and the Dreadnok Cycle (yuck, in my opinion).

    • A-Man says:

      I rationalize cartoon Buzzer saying he cannot read as either him lying to appeal to the other Dreadnoks or that his psychosis has gone that far.

  3. I loved that Buzzer was a Cambridge Don. The comics showed him as smarter than the others and someone who could overthrow Zartan. For that reason, he was easily my favorite Dreadnok. I felt he could be a far more valuable character: certainly in regards to the Dreadnoks as a whole.

  4. Zach Morris says:

    The Dreadnoks were, and are, awesome. Zartan looked like Alice Cooper so what did you expect his hangers-on to look like? The motley collection of Bikers and Punks left you no doubt who the bad guys were.
    As far as Buzzer is concerned, the Hunter S. Thompson angle never occurred to me but it’s spot on. I find it interesting that the original members’ names were Tom, Dick, and Harry. Then Monkeywrench came along and he was “Bill”. Thrasher wasn’t supplied with a name on his card, but we may as well call him “Sid” as he looked exactly like a buff Sid Vicious.

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