the island of misfit toys: my five favorite joes

I know I’m at cross purposes with posting this here. I rationalize Thrift Store Finds posts thusly: “They’re books… they’re usually comics… and as an English teacher who draws comics, that makes sense!” Most of the people who click over here to read a comic about teaching probably are NOT interested in old Family Circus books from the 1960’s, but it’s my blog so I do what I please within reason.

I can’t get around this being a post that 90% of readers who are looking for content about the educational experience will not be interested in reading.

So, without further preamble, here are my TOP FIVE favorite action figures from Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline!

5. Scoop

Bought by my uncle as a random “You’re visiting, so here’s a toy!” gift, there is nothing altogether awesome about Scoop. At least, there was nothing awesome about Scoop in the way that most kids playing with G.I. Joes might want. He wasn’t a ninja, he didn’t come with a gigantic bazooka, he wasn’t based on a WWF wrestler or NFL football player. Scoop was a cameraman. His job was to film the battles, lugging around his GIGANTIC video camera, surely the last thing you want to lug around with you into a firefight. Something about Scoop resonated with me as a kid- I liked the fact that here was this character who was, for all intents and purposes, not a fighter. It made him interesting and unique.

4. Blanka

Ok, you can stop laughing now. Blanka was released in 1993 during the height of popularity for Capcom’s Street Fighter 2 video game. In Street Fighter 2, Blanka was from Brazil, and his special move was the ability to create an electric blast by squatting down and grimacing. This special move was easy to perform and made him the easiest character with which to play through the video game. Released to capitalize on Street Fighter 2, these are even more cheap repaints than the usual G.I. Joe characters, but Blanka was the last “gotta have” toy of my G.I. Joe era.

3. Law and Order

Law was the G.I. Joe… Order was the name of Law’s german shepherd. You got both toys for the price of one! Sure, Order was nothing but a piece of molded plastic, but I remember feeling like I was “getting one over” on Hasbro by choosing this toy. Two toys for the price of one!

2. Snow Job

I got Snow Job for my 10th birthday. Like Law and Order, Snow Job was a character I enjoyed more for the pack-in accessories than any allegiance to the character himself. Snow Job came with SKIS. That’s like getting a vehicle AND an action figure, I thought! Skis are sort of a vehicle, right? Plus, the skies and the ski poles all fit on Snow Job’s compact little backpack.

1. Steel Brigade

Hasbro was king of the “mail-away” figure promotion- for some nominal fee and proofs of purchase collected off of your G.I. Joe toys, they’d send you a new action figure. Steel Brigade was a mail-away promotion that I believe I found about in a comic book. It offered you the opportunity to create your own personalized G.I. Joe! Of course, every Joe they sent out looked exactly the same… but you got to come up with his code name, stats, everything. My Steel Brigade Joe was named “High-Q” because in addition to being a really good fighter… get this… HE WAS ALSO REALLY SMART! Don’t steal my idea, toy makers.

(Here let me mention what an amazing website is. If you’ve EVER had ANY questions that are G.I. Joe related, that’s the place to go. I stole most of the pictures used for this post from there, but I hope by providing links to the individual toy’s bios, I’m somewhat forgiven. It’s really a great resource._

2 Responses to “the island of misfit toys: my five favorite joes”

  1. i’m 90% sure scoop was the first gi joe i ever owned… and i had forgotten all about him until i saw this post.

  2. I teach with the daughter of the man who both invented the 3 inch GI Joe action figure toy line and named the individual characters. He also was instrumental in connecting the action figure line with the cartoon series. I guess he was a high muckity-muck at Hasbro back in the 80’s.

    Just FYI.


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