Wednesday, April 4, 2012

G.I. Joe-a-Day

In March I took on another Fun-a-Day project along with Alien-a-Day because I figure why not make things harder for myself. I fell way behind on these guys but finally finished them (does it count as fun-a-day if i did like 15 in one day?)

When I was a kid, going grocery shopping with my mom meant that we might also get to go to Woolworth's (when they were still around), K-mart, or Hera help me, KB Toys. That is if we didn't act up. I tried my best not to because I desperately needed to have a new G.I. Joe toy whenever I would come within 50 feet of a purveyor of the little, plastic soldiers. I would brake out in a sweat and probably drag my mom forward the way my dog pulls me along when he has to go O-U-T.

Toys are great and I was a very lucky kid to be able to have so many (did I appreciate them then?). My brother and I would wake up Christmas mornings when our parents were still together to find He-Man and Skeletor mid battle around Castle Grey Skull. Look over to the left and you'd find Luke Skywalker hanging out of the bottom of an AT-AT Imperial Walker surround by Storm Troopers. My dad had taken all the toys out of their packaging and set them up all around so that it looked like a bunch of toys broke into the house and decided to reenact the Battle of Waterloo on our living room carpet. Dad would go to a dozen stores to make sure he found every single character known to be part of the set as indicated on the back of each figures cardboard packaging. When the smoke cleared and all the toys were put away (which rarely happened), my favorite, hands down, is definitely G.I. Joe. They were just the right size to manipulate with my little kid hands and also stuff into the G.I. Joe fanny pack I wore at all times. They came with me to get pizza, they came with me in the car ride to my grandmom's house, I took them to the dentist office, the beach, the woods, everywhere. I kept them all neatly arranged in a big fishing tackle box. Knives and small arms on the first level, heavy machine guns, special weapons, and helmets on the next, the bottom compartment was filled with Joes and backpacks. I even had little plastic containers, about the size of a roll of quarters (i think they original were some kind of M&M candy pack), that had extra rubber bands, screws, and hip joints, in case I needed to perform any medical triage on the casualties of play. In short, I had a problem.

I still have a bunch of Joes. I don't really do much with them but I think about them a lot. As an artist I really appreciate the character design of my favorite guys and gals. Some designs were rubbish, especially as the toys neared the 1990's, but when they were good, in my opinion I think they were pretty great.

This is a set of 31 G.I. Joe action figure portraits painted from my little collection (4 or 5 of these I actually don't have but were some of my favorites so I included them). Let's start off strong with:

STORM SHADOW - Cobra - Ninja Assassin/Intelligence - 1984


  1. this is great! two of my older brothers used to collect g.i. joes and i have fond memories of gathering the animal pals of those who had them and assembling a sort of veterinary clinic for them. i love the story of your dad creating battle scenes for you and your brother! can't wait to see all the portraits.

  2. haha! yes!! that's great! thanks Katie!

  3. i played with g.i. joes til i was like 16. beach head was always my favorite dude. and your rendition of him is sweet. blog rules, keep after it.

  4. yeah man! beach head was totally my favorite too! i think he just has a cool design! i like any of them that wear masks i guess also! thanks!