119: “Gung-Ho” (v2). G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.

Let’s be honest here. As a KID, a 10 year old KID, this figure was fairly underwhelming. However, one bizarre/interesting thing is that he was one of the few (if only) figures that came with DECALS. For his arms and chest, for his decorations. Needless to say those did not last long on my copy of this figure. :(  As an ADULT (sorta) I appreciate this figure on a different level of course.

109: “Thrasher.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.

My best friend Paul and I used to have this on-going thought/joke that the green streaks in Thrasher’s hair were from him taking his hand and wiping his nose up his face and the slicking the snot back through his hair, hahaha. Ahh the minds of kids!

Thrasher came with another of my all-time favourite vehicle ever in the entire A.R.A.H. line: The THUNDER MACHINE. Talk about being dialed into the entire idea and aesthetic of everything the Dreadnoks are about! It looks like it was cobbled together with bits and pieces from a junkyard and then had a stolen jet engine welded onto the back. Hop in everyone!

What made this toy so awesome was the points of articulation (wing-style armored side doors, front wheels turned), the shape and lines of the design - it’s overall “look”, AND the fact that it had rubber wheels! Seems like maybe not a big deal, but I remember AS A KID EVEN just really appreciating those rubber wheels. It felt like it “upped the quality” for some reason.

010: “Stalker.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 1, 1982.

I remember being so excited about getting this figure because of his “full camouflage” attire - being the first (and only, of the figures released in 1982) to have such camouflage. Stalker was a strong character in the comics and cartoons, and close friend of Snake Eyes and Scarlett.

027: “Cover Girl.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 2, 1983.

I always figured I would end up marrying Cover Girl. As a 6-10yr old all I could think was “Any lady who drives a bad-ass vehicle like The Wolverine must ALSO be bad-ass.”

Anyways we aren’t married. Yet.

EDIT: I recently was informed by Kirk Bozigian that Cover Girl’s real name, Courtney, was chosen after his newborn daughter at the time they were creating the character!

118: “Fast Draw”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.

This guy was another one of my favourites. As you’ll discover (if you haven’t already), I am a sucker for cool masks and helmets. I liked Fast Draw’s visor design, a lot. Also this guy was seriously padded up. Likely because he had a freakin double rocket backpack strapped to him on hair triggers.

106: “Sgt. Slaughter (v2)”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.

Sgt. Slaughter is modeled after the WWF Wrestler from back in the 80s. I am not exactly sure how this match-up came to be, but regardless, in the cartoon show he was brought in to “whip the Joes into shape” (he has a whistle around his neck, you see). Basically the Joe’s drill sergeant!

031: “Wild Bill”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero”  Series 2, 1983.

This was one of my most favorite figure / vehicle packages of the entire series, I have to say.  

Wild Bill wore two six-shooters at his sides, sported a leather vest, mirrored aviator sunglasses, a bright orange ‘stache, and what I can only assume is a confederate hat. WILD Bill, indeed!

But seriously, the G.I. Joe Dragonfly Assault Copter XH-1 was the first Helicopter to emerge from the series and IT WAS AWESOME. There was a white sliding button you could push on the side of the copter as held on to it, to enable you to SPIN THE ROTORS as you zipped around your living room until your mom yelled at you to go play outside.  

I loved this helicopter so much. It seated two figures in the front cockpit and there were pegs to stand more joes on the landing legs of the copter AND there was a winch under the belly so you could lower and raise Joes up!

In my opinion one of the best vehicle designs of the entire series.  

023: “Torpedo.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 2, 1983.

Another great example of attention to detail. Those flippers! Torpedo was def one of my main tub-time toys. And of course the same problem as Snow Job always trying to NOT loose either of the flippers. :(

Another memory I have of this figure is that his lower legs got quite loose compared to some of the other figures. MEMORIES!

022: “Snow Job.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 2, 1983.

I remember getting Snow Job as a kid. I was 6. I was so excited because the dude had SKIS. He came with SKIS. So yes, of COURSE I would go out and play with him in the snow.

Such attention to detail. His skis and poles attached to his backpack! However, one recurring problem for me was constantly losing one of the skis. Not both. Just one. I remember one joyous day when I pulled out the couch cushions and found some change and one of his skis. :D

101: “A.V.A.C.”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.

I was really looking forward to drawing this guy. He was always one of my favourites as a kid. I was lucky enough to have gotten the Cobra Terrordrome as a present, and this guy came with that giant beast of a play set. He piloted the Firebat plane that had folding wings and was concealed inside the dome. You could push a lever to raise it up and the dome on top opened it’s pie-piece-shaped flaps as it rose up. Pretty cool.

I was prompted to do a big art piece as the supplemental art for this guy actually (11x17 poster) which I will make available soon. I’ll also post the full view larger so you can see it all.  

Part of the inspiration that went into the Terrordrome / Firebat art is on A.V.A.C.’s file card where it says:  “Piloting a firebrat is somewhat akin to strapping yourself onto a cannonball.” Ha!!

114: “Crazylegs”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.

Crazylegs’ filmcard is amazing and hilarious. This is the genius of Larry Hama, I guess, in that key details help us form the personality of the character and thusly influence our imaginations when we are playing with the figures as kids. For Crazylegs BACH was his jam. Johann Sebastian, that is. Crazylegs is a master organist, and drops into a hot LZ running into battle humming his favourite Bach jam.

As for the figure itself, he came with a pretty neat rubber parachute-style backpack that you could sort of “harness” him into, where it would wrap around his legs, etc. Only drag was it didn’t deploy anything, like a shoot, for example. However, under the backpack was sort of recessed, so I often hid a little weapon in there, or accessory or something.

107: “Slip-Stream”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.

Slip-Stream came with he totally awesome Conquest X-30 jet. Such a cool design and colour palette! I plan on doing a full art poster version of the Conquest annnnnd a new animation! But I don’t have time right at the moment, but stay tuned!