Throughout my life there’s been many reasons why people have questioned my sexuality. Perhaps it was my pink bandanna phase. I swore that it was inspired by Jesse “the Body” Ventura but no one ever believed me. “Yeah right Jay, sure…Jesse the Body…that‘s it!” Even during backyard wrestling matches I’d come out dressed up like the androgynous Goldust, face paint and all freaking everyone out. My lifelong obsessions with Madonna and Prince didn’t help the cause either. Hell, I’ve even been on the receiving end of a massage and a pedicure! Go ahead, call me metro sexual. Luckily though, in my defense, there’s never been any concrete evidence against me on the subject of questioning my sexuality. Until now that is…
Marvel’s G.I Joe comic book line (1982-1994) used New Jersey as a location quite often. In reality, to set a Joe story in Jersey isn’t all that far fetched. New Jersey is home to many Air Force, Army, Navy, and Coast Guard bases and training centers including McGuire, Dix, and Picatinny to name a few. Also in Jersey, the shore town of Sandy Hook is not only home to a famous nude beach, but at one time was used as the nation’s first proving ground. Coincidentally, the Sandy Hook Proving Ground was eventually moved to Aberdeen, Maryland which is where G.I Joe issue #81’s story begins.
I always knew Cobra was underhanded, but a lame real estate scheme? Please don’t tell me that Cobra Commander was having secret dealings with real estate infomercial guru Dean Graziosi, whom as I’ve mentioned many times in the past, has me convinced that he was formerly a woman and had a sex change operation. If the Commander did engage in a business relationship with that swindler then I’d lose all respect for him.
Regardless, Cobra Commander did indeed strike up a deal which lead to the Dreadnoks getting sent to Jersey. In the issue, families of Cobra employees get hauled on a ship to an undisclosed area somewhere in the U.S. We find out that a small span of the Jersey Shore, the fictional Broca Beach, winds up being the secret location where the families are being moved to. The Dreadnoks are basically instructed to be make sure they are moved discreetly. Fat chance with those hell raisers as your point men. Imagine that, The Dreadnoks – what a welcome wagon!
The idea of the Dreadnoks in Jersey is pretty f’n rad. The ‘noks have a long history in Jersey as they’ve set up many hideouts there since the gang’s inception. In this issue, The Dreadnoks are actually pictured speeding down the infamous New Jersey Turnpike while wrecking up toll booths in the process. Now that’s pretty badass.
Notice the Haunted Castle at the end of the Broca Beach Boardwalk!
We shouldn’t worry our little heads about Cobra and his Dreadnoks plot at Broca Beach because Mutt and Battleforce 2000 are on the job. As we learned in the first installment of G.I JERSEY, Mutt is a native of the Garden State so why would he need maps of the highways? Jersey highways may seem a little convoluted if you’re a first time visitor, but navigating NJ is pretty damn cut and dry in comparison to other states in the country. It’s true that in Jersey all you need to know is “what exit?” Someone get Mutt a damn GPS!
You may be wondering, what the hell is Battleforce 2000? Well, BF200 was a specialized crew of Joes who had high tech armor, weapons, and vehicles. Debuting in 1987, it was one of of the gimmicks that used to turn me off about action figure lines and cartoons. With most action figure lines back then and their cartoon or comic counterpart, there always seemed to be some zany new look for the characters with a fancy new group moniker as an excuse to sell more figures.
You see, as a child growing up with an older sister it was extremely difficult to get her to do “boy things” with me. Somehow when my sister finally caved in on those random occasions, I found myself unfulfilled when she would play as the Princess Leia action figure. Of course if it was He-Man time, she would be Teela. She wasn’t the worst action figure player but she wasn’t quite in tune with the “scene” if you catch my drift. She didn’t know Eternia from Ecuador. Ram Man could’ve been a mythological creature who was half ram and half man for all she knew. But alas she gave it her best effort. My sister’s finest skills weren’t in the creating of an original storyline to have the action figures take part in but they were in merely setting up the figures as if they were going to be in some sort of photo shoot. She would say things like “Let’s put all the good guys over here and the bad guys over here.” She was very organizational with these plastic heroes of mine. I guess I didn’t mind either because at least she was paying attention to me. There’d be times when she actually would play with her Barbie dolls and do their hair and make sure they all had the right outfits on and then set them up against the wall to show them off. To my sister it seemed like the details were more important than what adventures her dolls would be partaking in.
When my sister was in her Barbie doll playing mood, she’d be on one side of the room while I’d be on the other with my action figures. At first I detested these Barbies but then after I watched her through the open mouth of castle gray skull I realized she was having a fabulous time. (There’s another strike against me, I just used the word FABULOUS!) It wasn’t that my figures and playsets weren’t fulfilling me it was just that she seemed like she was accomplishing something with her Barbie Dolls while I sat with a bunch of hunks of plastic and Moss Man. There was a lot more pressure on me to create my own little stories to act out with the Universe of He-Man, GI Joe, WWF, etc. She could sit there and throw Skipper on a horse and have a super good time while Barbie and Ken made out on a park bench. It was that easy. Dammit, you could have anything happen in the ginormous Barbie Dream house she had. Fuck, it was called a DREAM HOUSE! Anything could happen in it! My sister even had the Barbie yacht that floated around in the pool! Talk about a cool invention! She had the Barbie corvette and everything you could possibly think of. This was the early ‘80s when Barbie was expanding her hobbies and accessories beyond your wildest dreams. Barbie’s family and group of friends suddenly grew extensively as if she just found out that she had another entire family in a parallel universe.
With her Barbie collection there was so much to be enticed by. Meanwhile I had already planned Skeletor to invade Grayskull and rule Eternia about a bazillion times. Buzz Off was getting a little boring and Duke, Shipwreck, and Zartan were already fed up with my unoriginal plots that I’d been casting them in. Let’s just say one day we all had a little falling out and I defected to the OTHER side of the room…my SISTERS side of the room.
If you’ve ever seen the episode of That ‘70s show where Kelso lets Jackie do his hair and makeup and then puts him in a dress, that’s the way I felt that day but I had fun. This move was voluntary and purely for investigative purposes. Naturally as a young healthy boy I would never think of playing with Barbie dolls, unless Cobra was plotting a terrorist attack on Barbie’s Dream house. Nah, I didn’t have anything elaborate like that planned but it just looked like fun. After my sister showed me how to primp these bitches then I set off hot-rodding in her corvette and chillin’ out in the DREAM HOUSE. It was that day that I fell in love with a hot little piece of plastic and her name was Skipper.
To be continued…