When I think back about my childhood in the eighties, several things stand out, including my introduction to Apple computers, Transformers and G.I. Joe. Growing up, I had a subscription to the monthly comic book and many G.I. Joe toys, as you can see in the photo to the right. Yes, that’s me back in 1987 with the dreaded Cobra Terror Drome toy set! I also watched the cartoon, but I much preferred the more realistic comic book, written by Japanese-American writer, Larry Hama. No one ever died in the cartoon and everyone always had a parachute in their back pocket when their plane or helicopter exploded. And, don’t get me started on the G.I. Joe animated movie with Cobra-La!
As I progressed through high school, my interest in the toys and comics naturally waned, but my love for G.I. Joe never really went away. I’ve always thought a G.I. Joe movie could be awesome, but only if it took its lead from the comic book and not the cartoon. When Michael Bay’s Transformers came out, I was very disappointed; it was all special effects and eye-candy; for instance, you couldn’t tell the Autobots from the Decepticons, as grey metaled robots beat up on similarly grey metaled robots. Transformers 2 was better, but not enough to improve my thoughts on the franchise. When the initial photos of Darth Maul/Ray Park dressed as Snake-Eyes came out, I thought, “Wow, this could be a really good and faithful adaptation of G.I. Joe!” Those initial thoughts turned to WTF after seeing the rest of the Joes dressed like Matrix/X-Men characters. The initial trailer — accelerator suits and all — only served to reinforce the potential trainwreck building in my mind. The kicker was the photo of Cobra Commander’s mask. The producers basically said f-you to 27 years of Cobra Commander canon, saying the hood was too KKK-like and would scare children. Ummm… isn’t that the point?