As a kid growing up in the 80s, there was a lot of toy lines over the decade for us little boys to play with and also watch on TV. One of the biggest of that era was the return of G.I. Joe. The franchise that coined the term “action figure” back in the 60s was back with smaller toys with more character and personality, and they had a comic book and a cartoon series to follow the adventures with. The line lasted from 1982 all the way until 1994 and had numerous comeback attempts since. But with dozens of figures coming out every year during that time, not all of them were winners. Some ideas just did not work out for one reason or another. So here are 5 G.I. Joe figures that just were not very good ideas.
5) Capt. Grid Iron (1990)
A football player, not only that but a COLLEGE football player. Not exactly the most threatening thing you could see coming at you across the battlefield right? This guy was released in 1990 and actually had a prominent part of the later version of the cartoon series, not only that but the figures were everywhere at the time. Not a bad idea until you realize that he is throwing football grenades at you. Even worse is when you actually read the bio that came with every figure, you will find he was a stand out quarterback at West Point. In other words, he USED TO BE a good college football player. On top of that, the bio talks about how he constantly imitated John Wayne. Thankfully that was not used in the cartoon version.
4) Chuckles (1987)
This figure was released in 1987 and was one of the new characters introduced during the original animated movie. If you can’t tell by looking at him Chuckles here was heavily inspired by the popular cop show at the time, Miami Vice. He was a Miami Vice-inspired character who was introduced in the 1987 movie. One of the big voice stars of that same movie? Don Johnson, one of the stars of Miami Vice! Not only that, but he didn’t even voice the character he helped inspire.
3) Frostbite (1988)
One of the bad habits of Hasbro then and now is to take a figure, repaint them, and say they are a different special figure to buy. This is probably the biggest example why that doesn’t always work. As you could guess by the name, Frostbite is a winter/artic type character. He was the driver of the Snow Cat, an artic half track. So why would anyone think taking not only the figure, and the tank he drove, and check it out in jungle tiger stripe colors? Kinda defeats the point of the camouflage doesn’t it? This only takes a little logic to see this was the ultimate example of a figure recolor going wrong.
2) Name your own “Create a Cobra” (1993)
It was born out of a good idea of sending out mail order sheets that you filled out to create a character. You could create your own name, their specialty, skills, and write up your own bio. They had done it with the Steel Brigade figure for years. Near the end of the toy run, Hasbro made this, an evil Cobra version of the same concept. The problem? Look at him! It looks like it just left a 1984 bridal shower. What’s worse is that this is one of most valuable figures to get nowadays with eBay prices topping 800 bucks. It looks awful and worth way more money than it should be.
1) Sgt. Savage (1995)
Sgt. Savage wasn’t part of the “Real American Hero” line of toys. It was the replacement. The figures were taller, less maneuverable, and the storyline was just a rip off of Captain America. Seriously. The idea was this world war 2 era villain Sgt. Blitz was cryogenically frozen in 1945 and thawed out in the 90s. To counter that, G.I. Joe found an entire army unit frozen from the same era and thawed them out to fight him. Logic will tell you that modern G.I. Joe would have crushed the outdated nazi (though they never actually said that for obvious reasons). A pilot for the cartoon was sold on VHS with some of the figures, but G.I. Joe fans HATED the whole thing and it was canceled in short order.
And trust me. This is just the tip of the iceberg with the years of new characters and figures this line released. There is plenty more where that came from!
Thanks to yojoe.com for the pics, info, and being an awesome resource for an old collector.