(With the exception of photos by yours truly and promotional images from the G.I. Joe Collector Club, all images in this post appear courtesy of Justin Bell at [Renowned Hack Site] General’s Joes).
I have compiled a massive archive of reference photos with which I plan to compose a Window Shopping: Monster High post, but for now I have decided to set aside some time and space for my long-neglected Y chromosome with a look at some of the manly (dare I say two-fisted?) toys I am most eager to acquire.
Behold: The G.I. Joe Toys I Want Most!
Red Ninja (Retaliation):
I am politely indifferent to the presence of ninjas in the G.I. Joe universe. While I do not see them as a betrayal to the mythos the way some nerds do, I wouldn’t be particularly bothered if Hasbro stopped producing them, either.
But I have an elaborate and ridiculous story I want to someday tell, and this beautiful Red Ninja figure is perfect for it. Briefly: one of my lazy kitbashes is called Gray Ghost (a name I stole from Batman the Animated Series). He is a vigilante from the 1930s. Here he is with his sidekick, Spooky:
You can barely see it in that photo, but Gray Ghost has a Cobra symbol on his left bicep, owing to the fact that he is, from the neck-down, Destro from the underrated Rise of Cobra series. To account for this startling discrepancy (Gray Ghost is a good guy, you see), I have decided that he started an entire group of heroic urban vigilantes. And he called the group Cobra.
As I wrote in my sprawling, self-indulgent, inexplicably semi-popular kitbash thread on the Hiss Tank forum, this whole idea is cheerfully stolen from the greatest show on television, The Venture Brothers, wherein it was revealed a season or two ago that the wicked Guild of Calamitous Intent started out as something of a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen-esque superhero group.
Likewise, Cobra started out as something of a vigilante take on the Justice Society, but over the decades a few zealots and politicians and bastards twisted it until it became a massive terrorist organization.
Meanwhile, when the Real American Hero toys and comic books were first exported to the United Kingdom, the property received something of a makeover. The “American hero” aspect predictably and sensibly disappeared, but initially, there was also no Cobra. Instead, the bad guy group was called Red Shadows.
I have decided that Cobra is not the only group of bad types that started out as a force for good; the same fate befell another vigilante group: Red Shadows. Its founder was called The Red Shadow. He was a friend and supporter of Gray Ghost.
Here is The Red Shadow:
I am probably the only person in the world who thinks this is a cool idea.
Jinx (San Diego Comic Convention-exclusive):
The Red Ninja will serve as the 1930s version of the Red Shadow. Jinx here is the modern day version. Perhaps she is also the granddaughter of the first Red Shadow. I have not decided. (Try not to lose sleep).
Nano B.A.T. (G.I. Joe Collector Club):
Even if I had a job at the moment, I would not likely find a way to subscribe to the G.I. Joe Collector Club’s thirteen-figure plan; it costs something like $300.
Curiously, the Nano B.A.T. is not a figure that most subscribers are clamoring for. Making his appearance on this list more nonsensical still is the fact that I mostly want him so I can make him into a strange take on Sci-Fi, this despite the fact that Hasbro produced a perfect Sci-Fi last year:
Jungle B.A.T. (Pursuit of Cobra):
I concede it’s possible that I am inordinately impressed with the idea of a camo-clad robot. Whatever the case, I want one.
Destro (San Diego Comic Convention-exclusive):
I maintain that purple has been utilized far too scarcely by Hasbro’s otherwise unimpeachable G.I. Joe design team. I have no justification for my desire for this figure other than “Oh my god look at him“, but isn’t that enough?
Duke (G.I. Joe Renegades):
I have included a photo featuring both the single-pack version (on the left) and the Amazon-exclusive revision that was only available in a four-pack, for the simple reason that I would love to have either version. Or both, for that matter. The original figure has some seriously misshapen wrists, but on the other hand I prefer the color of his vest, so it’s a wash.
General Hawk (Pursuit of Cobra):
I will not be heartbroken if this figure never makes its way into my collection. Really, I only want him because he serves as a generic base for customizing; I am always eager to procure more toys I can regard as a blank canvas. This figure is a great example; I can use him as a futuristic super soldier or turn him into a 1970s Adventure Team hero. Fun!
Stalker (30th Anniversary):
I have a previous version of this character, from the Resolute series. It utilizes the same head sculpt, but from the neck down the version pictured here is much more menacing and modern. I should very much appreciate the opportunity to photograph him outdoors.
G.I. Joe Trooper (Retaliation):
Lemme count the ways I love this figure: cool new head sculpt with tons of character and a mohawk? Check. Badass new body with insanely detailed clothes and wicked armor? Yep. An overall vibe that can accommodate military stories and pulp adventure tales? Yes, sir.
Topside (G.I. Joe Collector Club):
I was but a wee lad in the 1980s, and as such I was basically obsessed with G.I. Joe. I can only assume, then, that Topside was after my time; I don’t recognize the name, and his design does not look familiar. Nor does it look particularly interesting.
I only want this figure so I can use the head for a small-scale custom of an original character called Badlands, created with parts from Sigma 6 figures by my friend Bill (celebrated as a “no-account bastard” in a recent post here at Two-Fisted Toy Talk!). Here is Badlands… riding a Taun-Taun:
Check out the respective head sculpts:
Uncanny, I say! (I also say I need to get Badlands out of storage so I can capture a better close-up portrait of his head; the photo above is several years old, and quite embarrassing).
Here’s hoping fate provides me with steady employment soon, so that I can buy these elusive treasures!
…and pay my bills and buy food or whatever.