We’ve been over how much I love Ninja Turtles at least twice. You may also remember a long while back I had a thing or two to say about the G.I. Joe toys based on the movie. But it’s taken me this long to realize that what I really need to do is talk about the real G.I. Joes and why they rival Ninja Turtles for Greatest Action Figure status. Ready? Oorah!
The Second Greatest Action figures of all Time
I have to come clean about this here: I didn’t own a ton of G.I. Joes when I was a kid. I had a few, such as a Lifeline I got from a mail-in cereal thing, and a high-ranking sort of guy whose name I can’t for the life of me remember or find on the internet. You want to know what figure from my G.I. Joe plotlines I used the most? A Lone Ranger action figure I swiped from my grandma. Yup, for some reason, I had the Lone Ranger fighting G.I. Joes on a regular basis. I had turned every G.I Joe into a villain (except for Lifeline, who was the Lone Ranger’s incompetent sidekick) despite the fact that they were branded as Real American Heroes. And they were still awesome.
I had a total of two official G. I. Joe figures for much of my childhood, plus two full-size dolls. I also had a few off-brand G. I. Joes that you wouldn’t be able to tell apart from the real thing, and that got me by just fine. Also, of course, I had a friend with dozens of the real thing, so any time we got together it was an hour of deciding who gets to play with which figure in which vehicle at which base with what weapons, giving us maybe a few minutes of playtime, tops. And once again, they were still awesome.
Tons of Variety, Only One Childhood
That’s one thing that appealed to me most about the Joes: The amount of variety in play. There were tons of vehicles and weapons to mix around and give to whomever you felt. While none of the Joes could really grip anything worth a darn, it was still cool to hand a sniper rifle to the medic and place him in a tank. All of my G.I. Joe-related stuff came from garage sales and things my grandma found in her day-to-day of finding awesome things for me to play with. Pretty sure that was her day job. At one point she gave me a G. I. Joe tank she found at a garage sale that somehow transformed into a fortress. It was broken and the pieces were just in a bag all willy-nilly, but that didn’t stop me from reassembling it and finding some use. Than again, what kid can’t figure out how to convert something into a tank? Honestly?
So what was my favorite thing about G. I. Joes? They have the perfect level of articulation. Seriously, those things are built with kids at heart. The midsection was the best part of this articulation since it gave such smooth move-ability as it used a rubber band to hold the torso and the legs together. The downside was that it used a rubber band to hold the torso and the legs together. One of my proudest moments came when I repaired a broken Chuck Norris-looking G. I. Joe with a standard rubber band I found. He went from being a standard evil character that couldn’t move to the strongest, most dangerous character in my plots.
I can’t really pinpoint what it is about G. I. Joes that everyone loves so much as my experience is limited to what I grew up with. Still, I want to know what other people did as kids, or even now. What was your favorite aspect about G. I Joes? Did you have a whole army or just a lone soldier? Or did you absolutely hate the Joes? Even if you don’t currently own a Joe, you could get one for under $10. When you have a memory to retell, leave a comment and let me know.
Also, I’m proud that I went a whole G. I. Joe article without using the phrase “Go Joe!” Oh wait…dang it.