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!

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