With another “G.I. Joe” movie hitting theaters this weekend, I’ll spare you the hyperbole. The movie might not live up to expectations, but it won’t ruin my childhood, much of which was spent playing with 3 3/4-inch dolls, um, I mean action figures. Here are my 10 favorites. Yo, Joe.
10. Sgt. Slaughter
The first G.I. Joe based on a real person — well, a real pro-wrestling character, anyhow — was also my introduction to the concept of a drill sergeant (until I saw R. Lee Ermey in “Full Metal Jacket”).
G.I. Joe leader Duke was a prettyboy, the Luke Skywalker of my G.I. Joe world. My imaginary missions tended to lead to Duke getting killed off and Flint — the Han Solo of my G.I. Joe world — taking the lead. Plus, he had a jaunty beret.
A lesser character, sure, but little Brad was fascinated with this jungle trooper’s hat, that weird Fedora thing that was pinned up on one side. I’m guessing that somehow repels anacondas when you’re in the Amazon.
G.I. Joe was way ahead of the curve on allowing women in combat roles, even if redheaded heroine Scarlett only got a (laser) crossbow as a weapon. Now I like to think she’s the grown-up version of Katniss from “The Hunger Games.”
Dude, the baddie weapons dealer had a shiny, metallic head. Little did I know this would be a precursor for future me’s hairstyle.
When you were purchasing G.I. Joe figures, you always had to weigh the value of their accessories. Shipwreck was a walking nautical cliche, right down to the anchor tattoo on his forearm, but his figure’s saving grace? It came with a parrot!
4. Snow Job
First of all, Snow Job came with skis, which is pretty cool. He was always key during those all-important snow missions, although one would think the fiery red beard is not the best for hiding one’s position in a whiteout.
One of my favorite COBRA bad guys was this supporting character, mostly because little Brad wanted a full-body, black camouflage suit SO BAD!
2. Snake Eyes
The Holy Grail at the G.I. Joe rack was the Joe’s ninja, especially the later version that came with his own pet timber wolf. C’mon, what could be better than a ninja?
1. Storm Shadow
A bad guy, ninja, that’s what. A toy that makes a little boy want throwing stars and a tattoo of a hexagram on his forearm? What could go wrong?