Darwin and the fittest

Many people credit Charles Darwin, but we have Herbert Spencer to thank for the phrase “Survival of the fittest”. This time we have the Impel Trading Card #69, the fittest man in the Joe team, Stuart Selkirk, better known as Outback.

The U.S. army’s Survival Manual says that Survival stands for the following:

S – Size up the situation

U – Undue haste makes waste

R – Remember where you are

V – Vanquish fear and panic

I – Improvise

V – Value living

A – Act like the natives

L – Learn basic skills

I guess that all of the above are skills and trades that every Joe knows by heart. They are the best of the best after all. Outback however is sporting this credo on his chest, so I guess he made a religion out of it and is probably the best of the best of the best.

There have been 11 figures released of Outback (or Stuart Selkirk). I’m including the figure known as Tiger Force Outback, since that was the only version I knew existed of the file until I started collecting as an adult.  The figures mostly stay true to the original.But the ’93 versions turn him into a bright colored construction worker (YMCA anyone?). And then there’s the 2008 figure that kinda makes him look like a badass ginger Jesus. This being said, I may need to see if I can still find one of these shirts. They do look cool.

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Talking of this shirt, Kate’s customs has made an awesome cosplay of Outback (gender-bender style). Check it out via https://www.facebook.com/KatesCustomsPropsCosplay/posts/work-in-progress-tiger-force-outback-so-excited-about-this-amazing-custom-shirt-/288973791658483/

In the Marvel comics,  Outback made his first appearance in #59, the issue also featured the new SLAM anti-aircraft artillery (my first tank!). Outback was out in the field to test some new gear. His report stated the equipment was junk that fell apart and the food was so bad it was inedible. 

Outback went on to play a major role in a story arc that stretched across issues #61 to #67, in which a team consisting of Outback, Snow Job, Stalker, and Quick Kick infiltrate the Soviet republic of Borovia on a rescue mission. As a kid, I had some of the Special Missions in a TPB (and translated in Dutch). One of the stories in there (Special Missions #6) tells the story of how Outback got back to the US after the rest of the team were sent to a labor camp. I read those 2 TPBs from back to front for years, not having access to the other comics. I never really got what it was all about until I bought the Marvel run. By then I already knew that Outback was one tough cookie. We’ll revisit this in a while when we discuss the Impel Trading Card #88.

I’ll finish here with a final pic. Not sure if Larry did use this as inspiration for Outback, but my guess would be yes…

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See you again next time. Take a deep breath and hold tight for the next Impel Trading Card.

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Holiday in Hastings

It could have been a title for one of Action Force’s stories. But it was in fact last week for me 🙂

We spent the week in an AirBnB just outside of Hastings, in St.Leonards-on-sea. The house itself wasn’t very big, but it was very nicely decorated and furnished. We had everything we needed to spend some good quality time here.

I didn’t have much hope of finding some Joes, and I browsed a few secondhand shops, but found no toys whatsoever. I did find a Battle Action Force Annual from 1986 though in very good condition at a secondhand bookstore that had way too much inventory for the size of the shop. Books were stacked on top of the shelves, in front of the racks, in the middle of the floor… basically just about everywhere. Charming, but not very practical when you’re looking for something. I was almost giving up when I noticed this bright yellow book on one of the shelves hidden behind a stack of Doctor Who Annuals. Lucky me I guess.

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So the book collection is growing. Even more so since I decided to start collecting the IDW G.I. Joe Complete Collection in hardcover as well, they look great and should even get a spot on the living room bookshelf 🙂 I already got #1 through #5. Thanks to @JoeonJoepod for drawing my attention to these. I’ll try and get one each month from now on until I have all 9 released (#9 should be released by the end of this month). Check them out for yourselves, they are presenting the full run of ARAH and the Special Missions. In proper reading order and collected in hardcover volumes. I get mine from The Book Depository, they are cheaper (most of the time) than e.g. Amazon and offer free shipping (shipping usually is a bit on the slow side, best to order sooner rather than later). I recently found out that even Bol.com is selling them – sometimes with next day delivery – though they consistently keep saying it’s written by Mr. HaMMa…

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Anyway, back to the trip. In the local toy store, I scored 3 new The Corps figures. They have a new set out. They’re figures that come with dinosaurs straight from the year 25xx… Stranger things could happen, so I just decided to go with it.

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The story isn’t that strong, but I can’t explain how good it feels to see some action figures in stores. As for the figures themselves, they are repaints of previous The Corps figures. Not quite Joe quality, but nice looking.IMG_20180828_105519

On the way back to Dover, we stopped in Ashford and went into the Smyths Toy Store there. I didn’t take any pictures inside, there were a lot of kids inside and frankly I was too busy looking left, right and center. I can honestly say I never saw a bigger toy store in real life. We had some stores here before and I have been to Hamley’s in London which is larger, but since it’s on multiple floors, it doesn’t look that big. Here everything was on one floor and had shelves of about 6m high, stocked from bottom to top with every possible toy. From Barbie to Hatchimals and Lego to Sylvanian families. We bought some toys for the girls and I got one of my all time favorites (even tough it was just released this year). The 3 3/4″ Jurassic Park Jeep Wrangler.

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Did I mention before that JP is one of my favorite movies from when I was a kid. I must have seen that movie (and the sequels) about a hundred times if not more. The Jeep in the Classic JP livery looks absolutely gorgeous and it should fit Joe figures. Since my Joes are all still boxed up, I haven’t tried it yet, but when I get the new Nerd Attic set up, this will get a prominent place in my display.

In the store they had a lot of WWW figures. I didn’t think that was popular outside of the US, but good to see that it’s a success in the UK as well. Maybe this can lead to getting G.I. Joe back on the shelves. Further down the row, they had The Corps stuff as well. I was tempted to buy a lot more, but well, it was the last day of our holiday so the money was running out and I managed to keep my credit card in my wallet, after all, first and foremost I am a G.I. Joe collector and these cheap placebos can work as a temporary painkiller, but they aren’t the cure. I did get The Gryphon – Aerial Assault Craft. That thing looks like it could have been a Joe design and it really does look good and a not-to-distant future like vehicle the Joes could use. See for yourself.

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It comes with light & sound machine guns, a cockpit that opens, adjustable wings that can rotate freely, spinning rotors and a non-descript action figure. When I get Wild Bill out of storage, he can take it for a spin. Or better yet, Windmill or Lift-Ticket. Or Dogfight, Ace or Slipstream. Or Zap (he’s a pilot, look it up).

Well that’s it. I have expanded my collection just a bit again. Can’t wait to start opening up those moving boxes and setting up my Joes again. I’ll keep you posted on any more updates, and the Impel Trading Cards will keep on coming.

YoJoe and Happy Collecting!

Throwing a curve ball

Way back in February 2017, we displayed Impel Trading Card #29 featuring Captain Grid-Iron. Today we have another Joe sporting fanatic. Batter up! Here is #68, Hard Ball.

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I wonder if all these sport references in G.I. Joe were an attempt hy Hasbro to get the kids playing with Joes into sports? In any case, Cobra could always beat Hard Ball since they have plenty of BATs 🙂 I won’t even try and explain that one. If you don’t get it, better find another hobby. Thanks for reading though. And seriously, please continue to read and support the blog.

As one of the first “gimmick” characters in the Real American Hero run, he was designed specifically to make a toy. Being a baseball player, if his codename isn’t enough of a clue for you, then certainly his place of birth, Cooperstown as the home to baseball’s Hall of Fame will settle that matter.

Doing some research on this character, I came across the YoJoe page. I have the figure somewhere in a box, but I didn’t remember him having those grey arms. The color scheme isn’t on point if you ask me. Maybe that’s also the reason there was only one version of this figure released… until the 2018 JoeCon, where Hard Ball was part of Smasher’s Marauders. I did remember his massive grenade launcher. It looked just that little bit too big. But hey, batter up!

The Marvel comic books show Hard Ball for the first time in issue #80. He uses his skills in pitching baseballs by chucking grenades with great accuracy as a fastball. That got him on the team. He then stayed on to even save the President from being kidnapped by Cobra at a baseball game, again by throwing a grenade at the Cobras. Call him a one-trick-pony. Whatever the case, he did a good enough job to earn his place on the Joe team.

In the Devil’s Due continuity, he is featured in issue #38. He joined Glenda and Rampart to investigate a Cobra outpost in Brazil. When they arrived at the training site, all Cobra agents inside had been killed. The then met the killers, who were working for the Red Shadows. Hardball and his team were then killed too.

Did Hardball ever get featured in one of the cartoons? I don’t think so or I can’t remember. Let me know if you do or know.

I’ve been seeing a lot lately about comicgate and all that. Living in Belgium, most of the drama got past me, but I believe it’s all about equal rights for men & women, racism and other socially important aspects of the global world we live in. I won’t start preaching here, but let me just say that G.I. Joe has been introducing people of all races and gender since 1982, and all of them are equal. I admit that I too wasn’t pleased with Aubrey Sitterson turning Salvo into a girl. Why not just come up with a new character? The Joeverse is so full and diverse that one more new character will not be frowned upon. Thinking about it some more, all I can say is: It’s just a comic book. Why all the fuss? A comic book should depict the spirit of the time in which it was published. And we – the audience, the readers – shouldn’t try and project our current values and opinions onto the old comics.

Here in Belgium, the Tintin comics have caused quite a stir because in one of the stories he goes to Africa and the Africans are depicted as stereotypical as you could get. If you would publish this story today, it’s offensive, but remember it was written somewhere halfway the previous century. That’s a long time ago. We shouldn’t debate whether or not it is correct in this day and age. It is a piece of art showing how the world was like in history. So, study it. Sure. But don’t project it’s story and settings into today’s world. The world has changed exponetially since the Renaissance and I guess that’s for the best. Let the creators create new comics for those who want to read them and to those who can’t agree with how these new comics are written: Just keep reading the stories you know by heart. If you do have a more open mind, try out some of the new stories. Who knows, you might end up liking it and in 20 years you can defend it over some new artist that wants to create a new itteration of it 🙂

Wow, that took some more words than I was planning to write. If you survived this, be sure to come back when we take a look at the next card (yes, there’s a hint there).

Until then! YoJoe and Happy Collecting!

 

I have a GIANT new addition to my collection

Hi all,

a quick update on my collection. I’ve got something new, as an early birthday present. It’s kind of  BIG deal. No LARGE introduction for this post. Just my HUGE excitement for adding this figure to my collection.

The Gentle Giant Snake Eyes figure!

How awesome is this? Okay, the plastic got a bit banged up during transport, but I’m really glad I’ve been able to find this one – and affordable at that – here in Europe. As soon as I get my new Joe room set up, this is getting a prominent place in it.

I would love to get a picture of the original 1982 Snake Eyes next to it, but that figure hasn’t made it into my collection yet. If you have one to spare, my birthday is coming up 🙂

Until next time!

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

The Right of Might, the Left of Rockets?

We have another Rocket Man for you today. Yes, that’s right, a man, suck it Mr. Sitterson. Impel Trading Card # 67 features Salvo.

In the Marvel Comics, he first appeared in issue #114. He is part of a large scale operation against Cobra forces in the Benzheen. To say that the guy is a bit buffed would be an understatement. I guess you’ll need a lot of muscle to carry around a 4-stage TOW rocket launcher.

As a Joe of the 90’s, he is however mostly remembered from the DIC cartoon series. He plays a significant part in at least 5 episodes. He gets brainwashed by Cobra, gets to attack Destro’s vulcano base and he helps to stop Cobra’s sun-cream and poison gas from Earth. Gotta love that nineties creativity. Though DIC may have tried to do it cheap, they always replenished Salvo’s rockets between shots 🙂

There have been 3 official figure releases of Salvo over the years, originally from 1990, later in 2005 and then the v3 in 2017 as part of the Club’s FSS 5.0. Most notably on the figures is his bald head (v2 gave him hair!) and the shirt with “The Right of Might” printed on it. I got the original figure as a kid. I know the 90’s Joes get some flack from the community, but you have to admit that they did come with a lot of accessories. Salvo came with a removable helmet, a briefcase, rocket launcher/backpack, 5 missiles, a mine launching type of gun and 5 mines. I’d really like to see toys being this complete nowadays in the stores.

Next time around you might want to put on some thermal underwear, not to get into the guy’s codename, but it sounds painful.

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!