G.I. Joe began, and ‘ended,’ for me in 1980s

Snake-Eyes, version 4, released in 1991.
Snake-Eyes, version 4, released in 1991.

When I think of my childhood and playing with my toys, it’s always my G.I. Joes.

I used to go outside and play in front of my apartment building with the figures in the dirt and bushes. They’d have elaborate adventures, battling Cobra while climbing through the branches and hiding behind leaves.

But as the 1980s came to an end and the 1990s began, my interest in the Joes waned. Not in the figures that I had, mind you. Or the animated series I watched religiously, the Find Your Fate books I loved to read or the comic books I still have. It was in the new figures and shows being produced. It was during this time that the figures started to get… silly.

Glimpses of this began in 1989, but really took hold in the years after.

Snake-Eyes went blue. Cobra Commander got some strange orange face mask. The B.A.T. got lime green highlights. These ridiculous designs continued well throughout the 1990s, along with some oddball character names such as Long Arm, Muskrat and Headman.

The decade also gave us two new animated series.

There was G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero – Series 2. The animation was pretty standard for the time, highlighting the ridiculous colors of the classic characters, while at the same time turning them all into bloated super humans.

By the time Sigma Six debuted, the time had pass for me (although if I get a chance I may revisit it now).

The second half of the 1990s saw years where new figures weren’t even released. No wonder. They’d turned the action figures into goofy cartoon versions of themselves.

In the 2000s the figures went retro, revisiting the classic designs of characters and giving them more realistic color schemes. They also featured more detailed sculpting and muscular physiques. In the latter half of the decade, the figures also got new torsos.

Not that I paid any attention. As I mentioned in my first post here, I had virtually forgotten my G.I. Joe obsession at this point. It wouldn’t be reawakened until the films and the last animated series, G.I. Joe: Renegades. And I’ve enjoyed them, for the most part.

But no matter where G.I. Joe goes in the future, my affection for the characters and the series will always be entrenched in the 1980s.

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One Comment

  1. i liked the crazy color combinations in the early 90s. 93 they started putting out a few plain characters but there was a few interesting ones. the eco warriors were pretty interesting as well. sgt marauders had weird colors that i loved and the orange and blue alley viper camo. most of those colors couldnt be used for real camo but they looked really cool on a figure

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