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.