Little friends with Big Heads

Earlier this week my pre-order from Back to the toys arrived.

I had the figures pre-ordered way back in January. So it was a nice surprise to come back from a short holiday and see the box in my package locker.

The Baroness, Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Scarlett.

I know some people aren’t fans of the Funko Pop! line, but I really like them. They display nice and aren’t too expensive – most of them. So far, I’ve got quite the collection (see some of the previous posts on them). From these 4, the Storm Shadow digital camo figure has to be my favorite. Withe the Baroness and Snake Eyes a close 2nd. The colors on Scarlett don’t look quite right to me. The tan and green may be more reminiscent of the original Joes, but I like the faded blue/purple better with the tan of her costume.

Storm Shadow
The Baroness
Snake Eyes

In the end, I’m very glad to add these 4 figures to my collection.

Until next time. Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Talking about good versus bad

I’m definitely not bad at math, but I honestly lost count of how many Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow figures have been released. This morning, I got these two figures delivered by the mailman. The packaging was a bit banged up, but the figures itself aren’t really damaged, just some dents in the bubbles and some creaks in the cardboard.

Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow

These are from the new cheaper 6″ line that was released with the new Snake Eyes G.I. Joe Origins movie. They are less detailed and have less articulation than the Classified figures that will be released as well.

Snake Eyes

They are cheaper than the Classified figures because of the lesser features, but that makes these toys more playable and accessible to a new audience. It’s much easier for a parent to say “Yes” to their kids asking for the new Joe toys when they’re cheaper and so more kids can get to know and love the brand. I don’t think this was a bad move by Hasbro.

Storm Shadow

These figures should cost around $10 in stores, so compared to the Classified figures, that’s easily half price. Looking at it differently, you can have 2 toys instead of 1 for the same amount of money. Sure, they are a bit more basic, but they are really intended as toys, not as collectibles. I ended up paying a little over $17 a piece (including shipping to Belgium and taxes & import duties). Still almost double of what you pay in the US, but all things considered, still very reasonable compared to the prices in the local toy shops for similar toys (the Fortnite figures go for around €15 ~ $18 over here).

Snake Eyes – back of the card

No checklists or other references on the back of the cards, just instructions on how to assemble the weapons and how to make the figure do his signature attack move by twisting the body.

Storm Shadow – back of the card

Same story with the Storm Shadow figure. He does come with a bow and arrow set as well as 2 katana swords.

I’ve mailed and called to several toy store chains here in Belgium, but they all said they won’t be selling the G.I. Joe toys any time soon. That is quite sad if you think back to the 80’s and 90’s where we had such great catalogs, a number of exclusive toys and merchandise and a very well organized and lively fanclub. There really is a market for the G.I. Joe toys here in Belgium (and The Netherlands), it’s a shame Hasbro doesn’t seem to be interested in selling over here. The thing is, on the back of the cards, you can see that the contents, warnings and what have you are marked in several languages. Including DUTCH! So why isn’t Hasbro selling these toys here? On the bottom of the card (the cardboard in the bubble, what else could I call it?) there is even an address in The Netherland for the representative importer. I truly don’t understand.

With new tax rules and shipping costs ever on the rise, it’s getting increasingly difficult to keep collecting everything (I’m skipping on the Super 7 figures for instance). Sometimes you catch a break, like with these figures, and get something fairly priced, but most of the time the price we have to pay to get our hands on the toys is just getting out of control. Let’s hope that the new movie does well over here and Hasbro can get convinced that sales will be good here.

That’s it for now. Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

This title is not a Red Herring.

No, it’s for a Red Ninja. The Special Edition Funko Pop Retro Toys Cobra Red Ninja to be precise. And a little something extra…

Cobra Red Ninja

Based on the original Storm Shadow outfit, but in red. This figure really looks the part of a mean ninja.

#79, the box’s side

This figure is released as part of the 2nd set of the Funko Pop Retro Toys G.I. Joe figures. On the back of the box is a checklist of the figures. They include Scarlett, The Baroness, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow.

There is another Snake Eyes figure, a Funko Exclusive, packed with Timber. Naturally, I have that one too.

Funko Exclusive Snake Eyes and Timber

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

#21 RAW B&W

If you’re wondering what the numbers and letters in the title are all about, keep on reading because I’ve found something really cool a while back.

See, there’s this French company called Original Comics and – aside from the regular imported (and translated stuff) – they have a series of hardcover books, European Comic Book size, of famous comics, but just in Black & White, the RAW series. The book is has a limited print run of only 250 copies.

The Front Cover

On the front, we get Snake Eyes climbing down the large Cobra statue. Not a lot of detail on this drawing, but still a very powerful cover.

The back cover

On the back, the series red banner with all the necessary information. The retail price for one of these is €29, so quite pricey, but the quality is there to warrant this pricepoint.

The introduction of Storm Shadow and the Arashikage I Ching.

The inside of the comic book, is the #21 story as we all know it, just in Black & White. The art really pops out. Below is one of my favorite pieces, the look on Scarlett’s face when she’s dumped in the pit by Storm Shadow.

Badass Scarlett

Upon re-reading (well, there’s not a lot of text in this comic, can you call it reading?), I realized that while it’s all good for the story, Scarlett escaped on her own. She even had to come back to save Snake Eyes from being hit by Storm Shadow’s sword. Although, Snake Eyes does end up saving her then. It goes to show that Larry wrote the female Joes as strong and independent women who could fight their own battles. This was back in the 80’s! This comic book – and the whole series – is truly evolutionary in more than one way.

That’s it for now. Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Big in Japan

This week we visit a son of the Land of the Rising Sun. Tommy Arashikage, better known as the Cobra Commander’s ninja bodyguard and assassin, Storm Shadow.

As with every good written character, the real situation is not that black and white. Tommy really is a good guy, an honorable ninja. He got his ninja training, before enlisting in the US Army and serving in the Long Range Recon Patrol along with Snake-Eyes, Stalker, Wade Collins, Dickie Saperstein and Ramon Escobedo. (Listen to A Letter from Snake-Eyes Pt1 from Wordburglar)

He became besties with Snake-Eyes and after the war and drama in Snake-Eyes’ personal life. They both went to Japan to (re-)join the Arashikage Ninja Clan. Snake-Eyes soon became the better of Tommy and it was rumoured that he would become the new leader, even though Tommy was the nephew of the Hard Master. No spoilers here, but long story short. The Hard Master was killed with one of Tommy’s arrows – intended for Snake-Eyes- and Tommy fled from the ninja clan. He joined Cobra because the Commander promised him he would reveal the true identity of the masked man who killed the Hard Master. If you want the long story, check out the entire A Real American Hero run (from Marvel and IDW) 🙂

In the original cartoons, his rivalry/friendship with Snake-Eyes was replaced by honorable fights with Spirit and Quick Kick. The DIC cartoons however, follow the toy line more closely and in these episodes, Storm Shadow is a member of the G.I. Joe Ninja Force. Later on in the Spy Troops and Valor vs Venom cartoons/movies, Stormy is back with Cobra and does have some face-offs with Snake-Eyes.

As for what the figures is concerned, there are about 7,452 different versions of Storm Shadow out there. (The actual number may be closer to 50, but hey, who’s counting). I recently got the v9 from 2002. Here he is wearing his suit from the Ninja Force, but it’s red and has a Cobra sigil. The most cherished Storm Shadow in my collection is the v4 from 1994. This is the color changing Shadow Ninja one. I have the Belgian Ducth/French carded one (I also have Snake Eyes v6 carded). Lastly, I just saw the v1 of Storm Shadow posted by a fellow collector an Instagram I want to show to the world. It’s like a toothpaste commercial, so WHITE! Check it out here. In Dutch, Storm Shadow is called “Bliksemschicht”, which translates into Lightning Bolt (落雷 in Japanese).

Next time, we’ll tackle one of my all time favorite figures.

Until then, Happy Collecting and YoJoe!