The G.I. Joe toy line had been around since 1964, but in a form that consisted of 12″ action figures. I had one of these awful toys passed down to me. I know they are collectable and a lot of people like them, but I just never really liked the 12″ figures. They were awkward and just not much fun to play with.
In 1982, he toy line re-launched with a vastly superior 3 3/4″ action figure. It quickly overtook Star Wars as the ultimate toyline around my neighborhood. The re-launch was fairly limited, but quickly grew and added new characters and vehicles for years and years.
The original team consisted of some really interesting figures and several duds. No one really cared too much for Grunt or Short-Fuze, and everyone I knew detested Zap (for some reason he had the most fragile thumbs). Breaker, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Scarlett were all definitely cool, but it really came down to Snake Eyes, Stalker, and Flash as the coolest of the initial figures.
The vehicles were also pretty fun, some even came with their own driver, which added more figures to the group — Clutch, Steeler, and Hawk.
Cobra characters were severely limited initially. Only two cobra characters were issued and they were pretty generic, named Cobra and Cobra Officer. You could send away for the mail-order Cobra Commander (which I, of course, did). He was the coolest of the enemy, by far.
It didn’t take long for my friends and I to have several “headquarters” built all over our yards. These were great toys to spend some time outside during the long summers. I am pretty sure I had most of this run…with the exceptions of Cobra Officer and of course, Zap (no one wanted him anyway).