Helen: “Dad, what is a knapsack?”
Me: “Knapsack is another word for backpack.”
Helen. “Oh, I see. So, you have a knapsack. Only yours is called a Man Purse 2000.”
Helen: “Dad, what is a knapsack?”
Toys can be an important merchandising tie-in for summer’s blockbuster Hollywood movies, and this summer’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation is no different. As it is based on characters which appear in Hasbro’s G.I. Joe toy line, which made its debut in its current format in 1982, toys are a focal point of the merchandising for this film.
The movie features 11 main characters — seven heroes on the G.I. Joe team and four members of their adversaries in the evil terrorist organization known as Cobra. Each of those 11 characters are represented in action figure form in the merchandising for this summer’s film. However, given that the history of G.I. Joe now dates back more than 30 years, those interested in pursuing toys of these characters might also be interested in digging into the deep and often varied stories of these characters as they have appeared in toy form throughout the decades.
Some of the characters in Retaliation have been mainstays of the G.I. Joe universe for the entire life of the property, and collecting each of their appearance in toy form will require chasing down more than five dozen different toys. Others have been rather infrequently immortalized in plastic, with as few as three different toys made of the character.
In total, pursuing every toy made of the 11 primary characters in G.I. Joe: Retaliation would lead to a collection of more than 320 action figures. Here’s a breakdown of the number of times each of the film’s 11 primary characters have shown up as toys in the last three-plus decades.
Cobra Commander is supreme leader of the terrorist organization which contains the villains in Retaliation. Hidden behind a helmet for the majority of the film, Cobra Commander is played by Luke Bracey. The Commander was one of three villains released in the very first series of G.I. Joe figures in 1982. Since then, he has appeared in action figure form 51 different times, including three times in the line of toys to support the film. However, none of the three film-line toys represents how the character appeared on screen.
Duke is the field commander of the G.I. Joe team, played (briefly) in the film by Channing Tatum. Duke first appeared in the second series of G.I. Joe figures in 1983, and has since appeared as 48 different action figures. He has one figure in the toy line to support Retaliation, but it does not represent how he appeared on screen.
Firefly is Cobra’s saboteur and demolitions specialist, and the character was played by
Ray Stevenson in Retaliation. Firefly has been represented as an action figure 26 times since the character first appeared in the third series of G.I. Joe figures in 1984, including three times in the line of toys to support the film.
Flint is a warrant officer on the G.I. Joe team, played in the film by DJ Cotrona. The character first appeared in the fourth series of G.I. Joe toys in 1985, and since then he has appeared as an action figure 20 times. He has two toys in the series supporting the Retaliation film.
General Joseph Colton
Joe Colton is the original G.I. Joe, the man from whom the team of heroes takes its name. However, he did not appear in toy form until the 13th series of G.I. Joe figures in 1994. The character is played by Bruce Willis in the film, and in total he has been represented in toy form only three times. He has one figure in the toy series supporting the film.
Jinx is a ninja affiliated with the G.I. Joe team, and the character first appeared in 1987. Played in the film by Elodie Young, the character has appeared in toy form six times under three different names — Jinx, Agent Jinx and Kim Arashikage.
Lady Jaye first appeared as a character in 1985 and is one of only a handful of female members of the G.I. Joe team. The character has been represented in toy form nine times, and was played in the film by Adrianne Palicki.
Roadblock appeared for the first time in 1983 as part of the third series of G.I. Joe toys. The main character in the Retaliation film, Roadblock was played by Duane “The Rock” Johnson. There have been 23 different versions of the Roadblock character over the years, with three in the toy line supporting the film as of this writing.
Snake Eyes is one of the 12 original G.I. Joe figures released in 1982, and has appeared in more incarnations than any other character in this property. The ninja commando, who cannot speak, was played in the film by Ray Park. Since making his first appearance, there have been 66 different Snake Eyes action figures released — including a total of six in the toy line supporting the Retaliation film.
Storm Shadow is Cobra’s ninja assassin; the character made his debut in the third series of G.I. Joe toys in 1984. Played in the film by Byun-hun Lee, Storm Shadow has appeared in toy form a total of 47 times, including three times in the toy line supporting the film.
Zartan is a master of disguise and was played by Jonathan Pryce in the film. Zartan first appeared in the third series of G.I. Joe figures in 1984, and has appeared as an action figure a total of 21 times. He has one figure in the toy line supporting the Retaliation film, but the figure does not represent how the character appeared on screen.
Interested in learning more about the hundreds of characters and thousands of action figures that make up the G.I. Joe toy line? Visit YoJoe.com, the most complete fan-maintained encyclopedia of G.I. Joe collectables on the Internet and start your own collection today.
Took the girls to an event at Bemidji Community Art Center where they each got to make five Cristmas-related crafts, then hung out with Helen a bit while Millie napped.
Plus, I resurrected Derka and have him about halfway to 86. The differences don’t make it not WoW; I, enjoying leveling so far but I can totally see being done again as soon as I get to a place where I have to group with other people to progress. Missed the game, but the people who play just kill it.
BSU hockey picked up a much-needed win today at Duluth; Andrew Walsh had 33 saves and helped BSU win for just the fourth time in 14 games this year. They needed it.
Exhausted. Time for bed.
What I’m Buying
I actually got this on Monday; I signed up for a three-month trial to Birchbox. This was a total impulse buy; it just seemed silly and fun to get a little box full of unknown loots in the mail every month. The first box came with a pair of really nice green and blue Richer Poorer socks, a trial size bottle of Zirh shave gel (which I’ve actually used for years), a bar of this Kiehl’s soap, and some Billy Jealousy facial cleanser. Super-fun. I’m curious now to see what sort of goodies I get next month…
What I’m Reading
Tons of good stuff today. Tons. Batman #9 continues the Court of the Owls storyline, as a weakened Batman tries to flush the Court’s Talon assassins out of the Batcave; this entire series has been comic book brilliance, and today’s issue was absolutely no exception. It’s incredibly well-written, and Greg Capullo’s just been in the zone on the art for all 198 pages so far. It’s one of four DC books I’m still buying after my experiment to try out around half of DC’s New 52, and as long as the creative team of Scott Snyder and Capullo stays together, it’s getting my four bucks a month. I just love it. G.I. Joe #13 came out today as well, and I wrote a review of it last night for The Terrordrome. Just read this morning’s post; it sucked and I really don’t have much more to say about it.
The two digital comics I buy also both came out today — Invincible #91 and Morning Glories #18. Both of those were really good as well. Invincible also ends with a great cliffhanger, as we discover that the Viltrumite scourge virus meant to kill Mark might have altered him in noticeable — and exceptionally painful — ways. And there really aren’t enough good things to say about Morning Glories at this point; it’s just now a year and a half old, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever picked up. The story is phenomenal; Joe Eisma’s art is gorgeous. This is just a fantastic comic.
I’m also a couple of weeks behind on this, but I finally got the second issue of the Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples collaboration, Saga, today as well (two bucks on iPad — I freaking love digital comics). This series is amazing. Absolutely fantastic. The premise is simple enough — boy soldier from Army A falls for girl soldier from Army B, resulting in child C; powerful people who don’t like that they’ve combined forces send assassins to kill them. So they run. Vaughan’s using a really clever narrative trick to drive the story along, and Staples’ art is just flat-out beautiful. The full-page cliffhanger splash at the end of the second issue is just a genius comic book page; based on how the issue progressed, the ending is nothing you would expect in a million years, and visually it’s just stunning. Fantastic page.
I am really enjoying the fact that I am to the point that I absolutely love everything I’m buying now. So fun.
Who I’m Following
There has been a bunch of research regarding social media that says people tend to surround themselves with people who share similar opinions on political issues, and that despite the infinite ability of the Internet to connect people of every imaginable viewpoint, people tend to freeze out those who don’t agree with them. I’m really finding that I am exactly the opposite. After today’s news that President Obama came out and explicitly supported gay marriage, the reaction from my social media circles has been overwhelmingly and basically exclusively positive. I’m not sure I have seen anything from any of the people I follow on Twitter or are friends with on Facebook that has come out and complained about the position. The only remotely anti-Obama things I’ve seen today have been obvious jokes on Twitter, really. I think I have a diverse group of people that I’m following; it could be that is not true, or that the people who lean to the left just tend to be far more vocal. And, it could just be that the right-leaning people who are vocal (and I do follow some) just haven’t felt like commenting about this. Whatever the reason, the overwhelming one-sidedness of the reaction stood out.
As for this particular announcement — for those who are pursuing this right (and they should be; the 14th Amendment, equal protection under the law, First Amendment, religious freedom (and this is a religious issue, and only a religious issue), all of that) what the President said today is a shot in the arm. Unfortunately, in the grand scheme of things, right now it’s meaningless. North Carolina is passing constitutional amendments banning it; Minnesota’s trying to do the same thing. There’s no possible way the federal government passes anything; the Supreme Court doesn’t seem to be touching it. It’s a feather in the cap, for sure, but, functionally, nothing seems as if it will actually change any time soon.
What I’m Studying
Grades are posted for both of my spring courses at Winona State; I have officially completed my first year of grad school with a 4.0.
What I’m Reading
I just finished Clive Barker‘s Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War (literally just finished, within the last 15 minutes). I’ve fallen into a “like it but don’t love it” kind of place with Abarat; I started out really enjoying it, but it seems to be dragging on for the sake of requiring more books at this point. I’m positive I’ll buy and read the third book in the series, Absolute Midnight, but honestly I’m up for taking a break from this series to read something else first. As long as it takes me to finish books once I start them, it may be 2014 until I get around to Absolute Midnight, and that really isn’t much of an exaggeration.
Candidates for Next Book that are sitting on my shelf right now – G.I. Joe: Tales From the Cobra Wars, an anthology of short stories edited by Max Brooks of World War Z fame; Neuromancer by William Gibson; and finally A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.
Truth be told, I have a ton more books that I haven’t read that should be on this list. But, y’know, they are all the way upstairs. So, of the three that my laziness makes accessible to me, Neuromancer is probably the leading candidate. It just feels like something I should’ve read a long time ago, back when I was actually reading books. I have Barker’s Coldheart Canyon upstairs as well, and that’s probably a candidate also. I just like reading Barker’s books; I enjoy his use of language and the worlds he builds, and I’ve always had this notion that his mind works the way I wish mine would sometimes, in terms of the things he’s able to dream up and then produce — either in prose or on a canvas with his paintings.
I also got assaulted with hardcover comic collections today as a result of my birthday cash score from Parents. The four most-recent volumes of Invincible to catch me up with all seven of those; both of DC’s absolutely gorgeous New Teen Titans omnibuses; volume two of Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca’s Invincible Iron Man series, which is worth owning not only because it’s a run of very good Iron Man stories, but for Larocca’s absolutely awesome art; and the first volume of Dynamite’s adaptation of A Game of Thrones which I have purchased because Tommy Patterson seems like a great guy I’d like to have a beer or six with, and I like his art — and for basically no other reasons.
What I’m Studying
I’m going to turn in my final research paper for one of my grad school courses tonight, and with that I will close the books on my spring semester. I took a final exam last night, which was the most bizarre test I have ever taken in my life. It was a 30-question multiple-choice test given online with a 75-minute time limit — two and a half minutes per question is obscene, and basically meant there was more than ample time to repeatedly Google any answer I didn’t know immediately. That’s not the odd part. The odd part was that we were initially told that the test would be only 60 minutes, and the questions we were asked were not related to anything we had directly discussed in class, ever, or anything that was even in our textbook or the PowerPoint presentations that served as our “handouts” over the course of the spring. The questions were all tangentially related to the course’s main topic, but almost all involved tiny details that were never remotely part of the coursework. It was almost like the test was specifically designed to mess with us — to the point that after five questions I honestly wondered if the wrong exam had been posted. Still, of the 30 questions, I missed two, and one of the questions I missed was because the instructor wanted a specific response from two that were for all intents and purposes the same — one was a symptom and one was the resulting problem. I answered the problem; he wanted the symptom. So, still — I got a 93 percent on a test that was almost entirely material that I was seeing for the first time when I sat down to take the exam.
But, turning in tonight’s paper will have me 12 credits toward a master’s degree, and as of tonight I am still on track to finish everything in the spring of 2013. I’m taking two summer-school courses, which is not going to be much fun, but that’ll only leave me four classes (and an internship that will likely get written off) to take next year to finish the degree — two in the fall, and two in the spring. I need to check course schedules, etc., to see what the fall will look like, but, really, after tonight I’m going to be 40 percent done with this degree (and I should have 12 credits of As).
That’s about it for now… I’ll save a couple of my other “What I’m (whatever)” for tomorrow.
Helen started softball tonight. I didn’t get to see much of her debut, as I was chasing Millie all over the adjacent playground, but I think she had fun. But instead of wearing Millie out, she just got extra amped and was up until nine. Crazy baby.
You know those days where you can just tell that you’re on from start to finish and you know when you’re done that you’ve left everything you had on the table and done a really good job?
I just had one of those days. My sense is that I absolutely killed it at my job interview today. The screening committee might actually be meeting right now. I could know by the end of the week if the people making the decisions here think I did as well as I think I did.
I had so much fun today, but I’m really glad I’m done. It’s time to go home and relax…