Chuckles has long since been an interesting character to me, even though he barely got any attention in the cartoon (and what attention he did get was woefully misrepresented). He seemed like a fast-talking secret agent, but was basically a strong and silent goofball in a loud shirt. Larry Hama touched on his coolness throughout spots during the Joe run, but Chuckles didn't really get his due until Brandon Jerwa wrote an entire story surrounding him for Devils' Due Frontline series. Ever since then, the character has had some serious fan appeal, which catapulted him right into the G.I. Joe: COBRA series, one of the best story telling a Joe book has seen in a long time.
It's pretty tough to even see the COBRA Chuckles as the same Chuckles we've grown used to since 1987, the tone is so different. Still, I feel like the essence of the character is the same with the wise-cracking tough guy act nearly getting him tossed off the team. Back in '87 the loud Hawaiian shirts were very "Miami Vice", so seeing him in that vein as an undercover agent, really worked, and I've liked the character enough to give him a lot of stuff to do during my own dio-stories. But does the Anniversary figure really capture the spirit of him? Yeah, I think it does, though there are some changes I would have made.
First of all, I love his head sculpt. The somewhat feathered hair, the smarmy grin, this seems a lot like Chuckles as he should be. The main foundation of the figure itself is based on Shipwreck, which also works, wearing a basic button-down shirt with baggy sleeves. His legs are pretty basic military with the oversized knife sheath on his right thigh, but essentially a nice replication of how he looked twenty-plus years ago.
The paint apps are really fantastic, too. The Hawaiian shirt looks like an actual Hawaiian shirt, while still keeping the different masks to a minimum and paying tribute to the vintage version. I must admit I was a bit nervous when we saw pictures of the darker colored Hawaiian shirt on some overseas auction sites, but thankfully the final release maintained the loudness of the original that was such a trademark.
Chuckles doesn't come with a whole lot in the way of weapons, with a simple shoulder holster (with pistol permenantly attached -- d'oh!) a nice briefcase with enclosed pistol, and his removable knife. Now, granted, the briefcase is a "MARS" briefcase, but playing the undercover angle, that still makes sense. I am a bit dismayed about his holster, though. It doesn't seem right that this figure made twenty-two years ago was able to use a functional holster, yet with all of the changes in sculpting and design in 2009 we can't get that same effect here. Oh, well.
All in all, they did a decent job with Chuckles, I think. I've seen some folks with issues with his hands, but I don't have any major problems myself. Yeah the two-finger salute doesn't serve much purpose, but if nothing else, it offers a different gesture when put in a group, and he can still hold his pistol quite well in the other hand. It almost looks like a cocky wave-off move that Chuckles might use, too, so honestly, it works much better than I thought it might. Sure, the original had bare hands, but ultimately I don't find many issues with this change, and I find myself liking this figure a LOT more than I thought I might originally. A good addition to the boxed set, for sure.
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