1984 Sharc

When I was growing up, my family alternated summer vacations between the east coast and west coast of Canada. My grandparents were in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, but my Uncle Jim lived in British Columbia, much closer to where we lived, in the Northwest Territories. For our western road trip in the summer of […]

1988 Hardball

I think it’s a mildly unpopular opinion to feel fondness for Hardball. He was from 1988 and everyone knows that the only good figures from that seventh series were Shockwave, Hit & Run and Storm Shadow. And maybe Destro and the Iron Grenadier. And Tiger Force has some cool repaints, and has become de rigueur […]

1982/83 Flash

When Hasbro brought back GI Joe in 1982, their marketing machine was ready to roll. It included an aggressive TV advertising campaign featuring animation to promote the Marvel comic book. The toy packages had beautiful, action-oriented paintings by Hector Garrido, and the perfect, Reagan-era catchphrase, “A Real American Hero”. The toys followed the trail blazed […]

1983 Snow Job

As a young kid, I had an interest in comedy. I grew up on TV and watched a lot of sitcoms. I like to credit Seinfeld, The Simpsons, and, later, The Office, for my comedic sensibilities. But my history goes far, far back, to watching reruns of Welcome Back Kotter and Three’s Company on CBC. […]

1986 AVAC

Through the first four years of GI Joe, there weren’t too many figures that I didn’t see up close. Me and my friends had all of the original Joes, either in their straight arm or swivel arm incarnations. The one figure I don’t remember was the silver pads version of Grand Slam, and Listen ‘n […]

1985 Alpine

Our house growing up had a central, split-level staircase covered in ultra-stylish, fire red, shag carpet. The stairs led up from the entryway to an open-concept, L-shaped hallway on the second floor that spanned the distance from my parents’ bedroom to the dining room. The floor of that main hallway was a continuation of the […]

1989 Python Officer

My childhood familiarity with Python Patrol was limited. At 12 years old, I babysat a boy who had a GI Joe collection, including Iron Grenadiers and Python Patrol. But I had left GI Joe after the 1988 figures came out, sometime around GI Joe #84, and there was no looking back anytime soon. I didn’t […]

1985 Eels

Of all the environment-specific figures, the underwater troops might be my least favourite. As a child, I could imagine my bedroom floor being anything – jungle, grasslands, desert, snow, water, the surface of the moon, but imagining swimmers under my carpet required significant suspension of disbelief. Regardless, I owned all the frogmen – Torpedo, Eels […]

1987 Steel Brigade

The Steel Brigade promotion was a stroke of genius for Hasbro. In recent years, they had been pushing harder to make kids feel like they were part of the GI Joe team in commercials where kids shrink down to the size of the deck crew on the USS Flagg, in the 1986 catalog that featured […]

1984 Duke

I bought Duke in Banff, Alberta, in the summer of 1984. He was only the second Joe figure that I acquired from the remarkable third series. A few weeks earlier, my grandmother had bought me Blowtorch at the Bay in Fort Smith. She had come to visit our family in the Northwest Territories, accompanied by […]