GI Joe was right behind Masters of The Universe, Super Powers, Star Wars and WWF in my world when I was growing up. Although I wasn’t as obsessed with G.I Joe as some of my friends were, I watched the cartoon religiously and had a decent load of Joe figures. I remember being so envious of my neighbor who got the U.S.S Flagg aircraft carrier for Christmas the year it came out. I never had any of the playsets but I did have several vehicles. My favorite characters were Zartan and his Dreadnoks. I have yet to watch 2009’s G.I Joe The Rise of Cobra feature film but I think I’ll have to give it a shot since I’ve been on a Joe kick lately. Oh, and if you’re wondering, I did indeed make the G.I Jersey graphic, you dig it?
Recently I’ve been watching my DVDs of the original G.I Joe cartoon. Although the 2 early mini-series were a little slow and a bit disjointed story wise, the series as a whole is legendary. After I recently viewed a few episodes of the original Transformers cartoon, I determined that the original G.I Joe cartoon holds up way better.
In every episode of G.I Joe there were so many cool characters both good and evil who could be brought into your action figure adventures by a mere trip to Toys R Us and some pathetic begging. All the figures had a file card on the back of their package so you were able to find out facts otherwise unknown about the character. I thought it would be interesting to scour YoJoe.com and randomly click on their comprehensive database of G.I Joe file cards to see if any of the characters were from New Jersey.
Could you believe that only 3 or 4 clicks into my research I just happened to pick the Joe K-9 Dog Handler, MUTT, who was born in Iselin, New Jersey! Mutt and his appropriately named dog Junkyard made a cool team. You can read more about him on his file cards:
Perhaps a modernized version of MUTT would be Indian American? Since the 2000 Census, Iselin, NJ has had the 2nd highest percentage of Indian Americans in the United States. In fact, just like New York City has Little Italy and Chinatown, Iselin, NJ has “Little India,” which is a stretch of town filled with authentic Indian shops and restaurants. यो जो – That’s Yo Joe in Hindi.
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…
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…