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G.I. Joe File Cards! See what your toys can *really* do...
Matt - 08/11/00

Liquorhead and I are of the same mind. The reason I enjoy working with him so much is because we've both wasted our lives on the same stuff - toys, television, and Mr. T. Now, somehow, he managed to land a wife and kids in between this. I landed a rabbit. So he's kinda in the lead there. But the point is, Liquorhead knows what's going to make me tick. That's why a few weeks back he sent me probably the funniest things I've ever read in my life. No, not Chick Comics. Not a Book of Shadows, He-Man comic, or even Shakespeare loosely translated from Japanese. I'm talking about G.I. Joe File Cards!

These so-called 'file cards' were on the back of the figure's package, and they gave you the particular character's stats, accomplishments, and favorite color choice. But most specifically - they made you feel like you were buying the most important fucking thing on the planet. These weren't just action figures - these were action figures with a more storied history than Colin Powell and Rhea Pearlman combined! Seriously, when I was 5 I didn't understand a word written on the back. I see terms like 'high scrutiny' and 'industrial espionage', and I just blank it out and start chewing on the plastic toy gun. But if I saw these figures on the shelves today? I'd be afraid to buy the things. Nobody is important enough to hold this much power.

Let's take a look...

You know, I'm looking at this file card, and I'm reminded of the age old question: would you like 'lol' or 'lmao' with your steak? There are just so many ways for me to approach making fun of this, it's absolutely absurd. I feel like a kid in a candy store.

Let's just go for the direct approach. He's an Indian. I have nothing against that at all...but why do all these people have to wear their frigging religious garb in battle? This is the guy who sticks the word 'Native' in before 'American' really quick when the Joes sing their theme song.

According to the file card, Spirit is the ultimate Native American mystic warrior. As opposed to the 'regular' and 'subpar' Native American mystic warriors that are vastly populating our special forces units. And because Spirit is 'one with the eagle', he's the Air Commandos leader of GI Joe. He got that distinctive title because he's the only Joe who's willing to go into battle while taking a shit. Don't believe me? Check the face, people...

"When the Eagle Spirit is in me, I'm the lightning from the skies. I am the thunder from the storm." Yeah, that's his quote. His trademark quote. Trademark as in...Spirit says this a lot. Can you imagine having to work under this guy? It's not like you can tell him to shut up about the eagles and the skies and the tomahawks or anything. You've just gotta sit there while he makes his constipated face, spitting off cryptic messages about thunder. And what's worse - you've gotta do it like a soldier.

It gets better - according to this, Spirit is a shaman ofdeep mystery, a peerless tracker, and - a doctor of psychology! Holy shit! If only that said 'psychiatrist', then this following parody would make so much more sense...

Patient: Doc, I've got some real problems today...
Dr. Spirit: Tell me about them, young wolfchild.
Patient: Wife left me...gone broke. My son's really ugly. And I've got this awful, awful rash.
Dr. Spirit: Well, as you know, when the Eagle Spirit is in me, I'm the lightning from the skies.
Patient: Excuse me?
Dr. Spirit: I am the thunder from the storm!
Patient: When I saw that the name of your practice was 'Totem Talk', I had a gut feeling this was a bad idea. But this is just highway robbery. I want my money back, Doc.
Dr. Spirit: So sorry. As the great Chief Bison once said, 'non-refundable must be all fees'. My apologies.

As if things weren't getting crazy enough with Spirit, you've gotta read about the accessories he comes with. Hasbro was one tricky company. If they put a dot of red paint on the figure, they felt it was okay to call it a 'grenade' and list it with his accessories. The foot pegholes also double as 'secret storage units'.

There are about ten of them on here...and while I'd like to just give you the jist of things by listing one or two...they're all too ridiculous to leave out:

* Cluster bomb grenades. No problems there.
* Headband with tribal decoration. Cobra better beware! I know I'd start shitting myself if troops started running at me wearing headbands with tribal decorations.
* Warrior's battle dress attack shirt. Huh? Attack shirt? Why? In fact, there's two very big 'why' questions. Why do you have to try to fuck with our heads and force us to be stupid enough to believe this was an attack shirt? And why is his frigging shirt even listed with the accessories?

I'm going to market myself as an action figure with the most accessories of all time. I'll name every strand of hair on my head with a roman numeral and call it 'Battle Hair'. If I put the word 'special' in front of 'fingernails', and get another ten accessories out of it.

* Shaman's medicine bag. Always an essential during air battle.
* Sure-grip, all-purpose combat glove. Okay, this frigging figure comes with a gun. It doesn't come with an attack shirt, a combat glove, a Ford Pinto, or a can of Salsa. It comes with a gun.
* Rugged, western pants with sewn-in knee protectors. Okay, that's it. I give up.

Destro has always been in a tough position. Firstly, he's got this on-and-off relationship going with the most perfect human specimen on the planet, The Baroness, but he can't even frigging kiss her. That's what happens when you wear a metal mask that can mysteriously move around when you talk. But when Hasbro decided that G.I. Joe needed to move into space, Destro really got fucked. Now, not only does he have a ridiculous metal helmet...he's got an even more ridiculous bubble helmet on top of it! Can you imagine the hassle Destro goes through when he wants to eat Doritos or something? And forget about the idea of 'fast food'...

Destro also got screwed with the outfit. I understand that the Joes and Cobras might fight up in space, but it's also my understanding that they'll be doing it from ships, not ludicrously oversized spacesuits. Check out Destro's outfit....

If battling in space ever falls out of Destro's favor, he could be that guy the girls kick in the balls on Ricki Lake whenever they do one of those shows on how to avoid criminal assault. What, are these guys going to be floating around in zero gravity trying to grab each other? There's a reason people in bars ask the people they don't like to 'step outside', and not 'step into outer space'. Because there's just no fucking point. Though I've gotta admit - it'd be really entertaining to see Destro and Shipwreck aimlessly drifting through space, shouting obscentities at each other while giving the whole thing a misnomer as a 'battle'.

Apparently, since his new suit and helmet left much to be desired, Destro felt his quote should match: "Someday the Earth will bow at my feet, and I'll drop kick it like a football!" You know how you go through life really really regretting that one absolutely and totally idiotic thing you said? Well, for some reason, Destro's chosen to make that his trademark quote. When the Joes found out Destro said that, they immediately disregarded him as a serious villain and put his files in with in the 'comedy' cabinet, so maybe Destro was on to something after all. Pretend to be so stupid that nobody pays attention to what you're doing.

This whole space phenomenon was one of Hasbro's final attempts to recapture the success of the fleeting G.I. Joe line, and looks like they made some sacrifices.

When I'm picking out which G.I. Joe figure I want to buy, I always ask myself: 'Self, which one of these figures would you think is the most tidy? The most neat and clean?' And because of that, Hasbro created Colonel Courage, G.I. Joe's strategic commander and pillar of everything proper! Man, I really want to get into toy marketing analysis. I don't think it takes an IQ above my shoe size to realize that kids probably aren't gunning to buy the neat and tidy army man figure.

'I'll never surrender when wearing a tie 'cause I can't be beat when I'm neat!' Not only is the Colonel ripping off Roadblock's trademark bad rhymes, but he's making possibly the scariest face I've ever seen:

According to this file card, because of the Colonel's attention to detail, neatness, and organization, they usually shaft him and assign him desk jobs. Right. They'll sit this guy at the desk and send the fucking Indian out with his amazingbattle shirt. Is the person on G.I. Joe's booking committee blind? From this logic, it's like saying it's okay if the Joes get their throats ripped out by Cobra because they had the feeble Indian or Shipwreck leading the crew - as long as the Colonel keeps all the trash off the floor back at the Joe HQ.

Here's another figure who apparently comes with dozens of fun accessories for you to play with. First, look at the toy.

Now, listen to what the card tell you it comes with.

* 'Fritz'-styled helmet with colonel's eagle insignia
* G.I. Joe officer's accessory harness
* Standard combat issue knife
* J2J-pineapple grenade (yes!!)
* Colt .45 'quick draw' pistol
* G.I. Joe officer issued dress tie
* Armor piercing assault gun
* Polished leather colonel's boots
* .9mm pistol
* Machine Gun


Something seems a tad amiss. Either the Colonel was robbed, or you're going to feel really jipped if you bought the figure based on that. In fact, all the Joe figures were like that. You'd buy 'em expecting them to have all this great equipment and amazing knowledge for you to work with during playtime...but when all was said and done, the only thing you could really get your figures to do was dance...

It's really a sad commentary.

I've got dozens of these file cards layng around here spreading evil. Each gets worse than the one before. At least five times I had to reread sentences ten times over because I refused to believe Hasbro's really writing this shit. As an example, here's some character quotes from the other cards...

Countdown: "The only stars I want those Astro Vipers to see will be after an uppercut to the face!"
Dr. Mindbender: "I get a real CHARGE out of shocking G.I. Joe!"
Toxo-Zombie: "Destroy! Eat! Gimme!"
Cross-Country: "I'm always ready to battle anything rotten like I did in my days back in the land of cotton."

And my personal favorite:

Headhunters: "If anyone so much as looks at us the wrong way, we'll just have to adjust that person's vision by knocking his lights out...literally!"

Um...Headhunters? I think you meant 'figuratively'.

Yo Joe!

- Matt