There’s something inescapably magical about GI Joes; i never seem to lose the urge to play with them, regardless of my increasing age. Those three and three quarter inch warriors were the ultimate in playtime passtimes — cheap, (dis)poseable, and anonymous enough in design that they could play multiple roles in any story. Your Joes didn’t have to take on the roles outlined in their cartoons and comic books; they didn’t have to play themselves.
The times i most miss have an army of pint sized heroes and villains to play with is after seeing a great fight scene. After the Matrix movies i was jonesing for Joes, and after Return of the King i was practically frothing at the mouth, wanting to go to my mother’s house to dig the guys up. Some web investigation proves that Joes lend themselves to more imaginations than just mine… Joe fans all around the net create comic-style dioramas to tell their original stories to the world!
Finding things like these make me wish that the internet was around when i was a kid. For one thing, you can track down any figure you want in a matter of minutes, making it oh-so-tempting to rebuild your dream army for just a couple hundred dollars (especially with the new and apparently unlimited Funskool reprints of the 80s figures). I had never even seen the elusive Cover Girl before i found YoJoe a few years ago (to this day i have dreams about finding that figure in a toy store). Forget eBay for this; the best sites i’ve found include Guru Planet (a little pricey, but well stocked), Small Joes (good for newer figures), and Joe For Sale (which even offers its very own GI investment opportunity, which hits a soft spot, considering my Record Kingdom experience).
One element of the Joes that i always had a conceptual problem with the fact that Cobra Vipers were sold one-per-package; wasn’t the point that they were a single trooper in an anonymous multitude? I suppose i was supposed to buy four or five of each viper to construct a suitable army, but i don’t think my mother would have financially supported that habit. However, other Joe fans built armies in this fashion, and now Hasbro has released it’s first army building set of the popular Cobra robot BAT for less than the $18 it would have originally taken to buy these figures separately. These figures are a hit with collectors (especially since original BATS pull a hefty price on the resale market).
All of these online Joe-resources makes me want to blow a couple hundred dollars on some vintage plastic, but so far i have resisted. When would i find the time to play with them, anyhow? Surely it would only serve to take away from future Trios. But this exercise just left me drooling about all the childhood toys i could re-own via the internet; i could even get a new Bionic Six Meg, who played Madonna on her GI Joe USO tour!