I know I’m not alone when I initially considered late 2009 my “off time” from collecting G.I. Joe heavily. Since 1982 I’ve been a “completist” (yes, even as an 8-year old I had a bizarre compulsion to get every Joe item released in any given year, a goal which I was never able to accomplish until the late 90’s). The anniversary line actually cured that completist “disease” due to the numerous repaints and re-releases, but I figured my desire for a full run of figures would even further deteriorate as the movie grew closer.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from a Real American Hero “purist”…I want to see G.I. Joe grow and evolve, and I think there’s something distressing about how “stuck in the past” some overly-nostaligic collectors can sometimes be. I am, by no means, married to G.I. Joe being exactly what it was in the 80’s, but I really didn’t see anything from a design perspective that made me think the movie line would be the least bit appealing. I’m a big Sigma 6 fan, so I really like those “super hero” type uniforms, but honestly a whole run of figures in various shades of black and blue doesn’t appeal much.
But then a funny thing happened… I actually saw some pictures. Take, for instance, the movie version of Shipwreck:
I’m about as uninsterested in Shipwreck as a character as I could possibly be. He has really never appealed to me whatsoever. From his dated “sailor” appearence to his sarcastic “goofball” persona in the Sunbow cartoons, he was just someone that I had no desire or inclination to really work into my G.I. Joe world. Devils’ Due was able to update his look a bit, but the character was still pulled from the 80’s cartoons, which again, sort of turned me off.
But this is the movie, and thus, pretty much a whole new world. And even though the Shipwreck character isn’t one of the main cast, he has been rumored as a potential “cameo” and I think this pretty much confirms that. So what is it about this figure that makes him so cool to me? Well, they managed to take elements from the classic (the full beard, the parrot, and somewhat cocky facial expression) the Devils’ Due version (his knit cap), and the movie look, and they managed to merge them all perfectly. He also manages to pretty strongly resemble the Sigma 6 version, which is neat, too– (continued…)
But honestly, it’s the execution here that blows me away. His face sculpt is just…perfect. It seems so solid, so clean, so well sculpted, that it just oozes character. Also, this is really the first movie figure we’ve seen so far that uses the familiar spandex and chest pad uniform, and if this is what they’re all going to look like, I’m sold. Like the head, the torso and arms are flawlessly detailed and intricately sculpted with an impressive amount of surface detail. The potentially drab black paint job is enhanced by some awesome gray/silver dry-brushing that gives the uniform a deep, “worn” look. The sculpting even gives him a somewhat angular appearence.
Lastly, from what I’ve seen, he comes with a TON of gear, and awesome gear to boot. A great full-face scuba mask, a nice backpack, flippers, and weapons galore. Yeah, he comes with a blatantly oversized spring-loaded hand-cannon, but there’s enough smaller, more realistic gear to make it all work.
As silly as it might sound, seeing this one figure had already almost sold me on the movie line, and then we saw Heavy Duty, Ripcord, and the Viper Commando. Even if the colors and character choices aren’t thrilling, the execution and overall figure design have really won me over, and made me really look forward to the movie items again. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely will not be buying everything that comes out this year…I don’t have enough money or enough room. But even being selective, I think there will be an awesome assortment of great stuff to come, and I’m really looking forward to it. At some point the fandom has to stop looking back and start looking forward. Maybe 2009 is the beginning of that shift.
Images courtesy of cmdrinchief from the Coil Club.