I think its a generally well known fact that in the early 90’s the 3 3/4″ GI Joe action figure line went off the deep end.  Neon colors and gimmicky sub lines were all the rage but they missed the mark and led to the lines cancellation in 1994. Oh sure, they dabbled around in absurdity prior to 1990 (Neon orange Alley Vipers, Croc Master, Serpentor to name a few) but things got really weird in the 90’s.

I mentioned in my previous article, “The wussiest GI Joe/Cobra figures ever” that the 1990-94 GI Joe figures blew the roof off the absurdity meter and I think that’s an understatement.  Not that GI Joe was ever actually based in reality mind you but looking at the figures from 90-94 it might be a safe bet to assume some Hasbro execs were dabbling in their own unconventional mind altering substances, real life Dr. Mindbenders if you know what I mean.  To commemorate the sheer awful awesomeness I have selected 6 of the craziest figures/characters to grace the line for each year and I’ll be doing one year a day.  Lets kick things off with 1990…when things were just starting to get wierd…

1990

(in alphabetical order, not in their order of craziness…)


1990-bullhornBullhorn

Oh sure, on the surface Bullhorn looks all kinds of normal.  There are no neon colors to be found here, he sports some relative normal looking weapons, a muted military-esque color scheme.  What’s so crazy about Bullhorn you ask?  Oh yeah, dude is named Bullhorn and not because hes as rough and tough as a Bullhorn.  Nope its because Bullhorn is GI Joe’s own “Intervention Specialist” and that of course means that he comes with a giant, megaphone-ish gun of some sorts.  His file card says he is “exactly the type of person needed to negotiate with wackos and fanatics”.  Why exactly do the Joes need someone who specializes in talking people off the ledge?  High suicide rate among the Joe team?

Further inspection of this seemingly normal figure reveals he has some sort of brown substance smeared on his face.  I have to question why an Intervention Specialist carrying a megaphone the size of his leg needs to be dirty or camouflaged to get the job done?  Is he sneaking up on the jumpers and then yelling at them? I don’t think that approach is going to have the desired results…

That all seems crazy enough but look at his accessories one more time.  Notice anything odd?  I’ll help you, Bullhorn comes with a sniper rifle…you know just in case the talking thing doesn’t work I guess he just blows them away….

Captain Grid Iron

Whew, we definitely just ramped the crazy meter up with this guy and I’m not talking about the fact that he’s carrying a 3 ft long laser piston in one hand and a rocket firing, scoped pistol in the other.  Lets just get the obvious out of the way, Grid Iron here comes with a football helmet and three “football grenades”…I kid you not.  What kind of military would go out of their way to craft a “football” shaped grenade?  Is he playing Quarterback Challenge with Cobra’s as the targets or just blowing up his fellow Joe team during friendly games of catch around the Pit?

I can forgive the whole football thing though, after all he’s not the first Joe to come with football themed weapons (see the Fridge) so that alone can’t make him crazy.  But combine that with his outfit and now we are on to something.  I don’t know what exactly the rest of his outfit has to do with the football theme and it doesn’t seem particularly military.  Can anyone explain away the camo hoody and boot covers next to the garish yellow pants and odd forest green life preserver/bullet proof vest looking jacket?

Hold up wait a second…football theme…green/yellow colorway…oh crap…this figure is BRET FARVE!!!!  Dude won’t go away!  I told you this line was crazy…


NIGHT-CREEPER-1990Night Creeper

Night Creeper?  More like Night Creepy if you ask me.  The Night Creepers were supposed to be Cobra’s awesome syndicate of “high tech” ninjas (although high tech ninja seems like an oxy-moron to me) so I’m not sure who in Cobra’s organization decided to dress them in purple camo. They aren’t “Ladies of the Night” Creepers after all…

Maybe if we learn a little more about the character we can make sense out of the color scheme.  Lets see…ah Night Creeper’s served the role of field intelligence and covert ops for Cobra.  Hmm if they are so “intelligent” then why did the let anyone dress them in a purple hood, purple shirt, metal vest and gray/purple camo pants?  And who in their right mind would use a 5 bolt crossbow?  Do you know how long it takes to load a single bolt crossbow?  Now times that by 5.  We are talking one shot every 20 minutes…talk about impractical.

Side note, I think someone at hasbro has no idea what “field intelligence” actually is…seemingly every character who was dubbed as intelligence was just a ninja or really good at karate…(or a female…)

Pathfinder

This will be brief…DUDE HAS A SAWBLADE STRAPPED TO A WEEDWACKER!!!  GI Joe or serial killer from a horror film?  Is that all it takes to be a part of the most elite pretend fighting force America has ever assembled?  A weedwacker with a sawblade???

Outside of that, and a slightly odd color combo on his camo pants that would seem to stick out more than blend in (a reoccurring theme for the 90’s GI Joes) this guy is just a swamp based version of Recondo…even has the same hat…crazy and a little sad…

S.A.W. Viper

You’ll be forgiven if you think that S.A.W. Vipers were Cobra’s chainsaw wielding infantry division.   In the world of GI Joe I question why Cobra doesn’t actually have such a branch.  But no, the S.A.W. stands for Semi Automatic Weapon of course which is infinitely stupider to say then SAW.  Would you tell your friends you just got a job as the new Semi Automatic Weapon Viper or the SAW VIPER!!!

Of course “Semi Automatic Weapon” roughly translates to “BIG A MACHINE GUN” in my Joe to English dictionary.  Seriously that thing is bigger then his entire body (like a tree growing out of your body!).  How much must that thing weigh?   Looking at if from the toy perspective I’m pretty sure he was given a gun from another toy line.  Looks completely out of proportion on our poor S.A.W. Viper

S.A.W. Vipers seem to be a lesson in contradictions from reading their filecard.  They are described as “Heavy Machine Gunners” (wouldn’t that be H.M.G. Viper?) and yet we are told that they will pick you off in the darkness in one shot from 800 yards away…sounds like a sniper but what do I know.  My military experience is mainly gathered from the Joe line so it should hardly be considered accurate.  Of course if you have a gun that big what choice do you have but to snipe your enemy from 800 yards away?  Its not like you are going to be moving around at all…

What I do know, is that you better be packing a  machine gun bigger then your entire body if you are going to go into battle wearing that combo of fuchsia and violet…complete with neon green belt buckle to really set off the whole ensemble.  You pack a gun that big and nobody is going to laugh at your atrocious outfit.  Who’s army is this any way?  Sgt. Pepper?


1990-undertowUndertow

Cobra obviously got a great deal on violet hued material in the 90’s.  After outfitting the Night Creepers and S.A.W. Vipers in head to toe shades of purple they also managed to trim out the Rock Vipers with violet/maroon harnesses over their brown camo (if I wasn’t limited to 6 he’d be on the list too.  I have to stop somewhere) and still have enough material left over to put together a great undershirt for Undertow with the leftovers.  I’m fairly certain Dr. Mindbender was in charge of all costume designs for Cobra in 1990.

But for once, the odd color combo isn’t enough to put him on the crazy list…no the honor for that belongs to his accessories.  Lets see…

Diving mask and oxygen tube…Check

Flippers…Check

Underwater diving sled complete with giant red missile which if fired would likely kill me…check

Awesome trident so I can pretend to be Poseidon, the king of the sea, in my downtime…check

Giant silver barracuda thats as long as I am tall…um…wait…A GIANT FREAKING SILVER BARRACUDA?!?!?

Yes that’s why hes on the crazy list…

Be sure to come back tomorrow as we journey into 1991…the year that gave us the ECO WARRIORS!!! Oh the humanity…its just starting to get crazy…

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