by Token Straight Guy Nicholas Zorro Iway
The Joes have never been taken very seriously by anyone with the means to do something serious with them. The comic books of the 80s and 90s were a response to excellent toy sales, as were the TV series and cartoon movie. Larry Hama, creator of most of the classic GI Joe mythology, gave us a jewel. He gave us a very deep pool of interesting and intriguing characters in the form of 3 3/4-inch action figures for, like, $1.97 each. With these wonderful characters, pre-pubescent boys all over the globe created their own personal worlds, universes even, in which we could express our boyhood angst and violence in a fashion unlike any other outlet of the time. We had the Star Wars toy line, He-Man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, among others, but none of them had as much complex pliability to give us the sense that we were really in control. As a figure, He-Man was too rigid, wouldn’t fit in your pocket and was altogether out of proportion even to the largest heroes of our reality. Star Wars was great, but the universe was already so well crafted by the movies that many of us felt limited. Han and Chewy were always best friends, as were the two droids. Luke and Leia were brother and sister, and Darth Vader was their pop. Whenever too much imagination came into play, I for one felt like I was either tearing apart a family, separating friends or committing acts of incest. Those are all the kinds of fun that don’t last. With GI Joe, the universe was a blank slate with one simple constant: good and evil, right and wrong, Joes good/Cobra bad. Life was simple (before the introduction of functional sex organs, anyway). Even if you read the comics or watched the cartoon, your imagination was never dulled down or stifled, because no one took the GI Joe universe seriously. The half-assed universes created then stayed only briefly in our young minds and we were free to create whatever we wanted, no matter how insane and personal. The movie feels the same way, except this time, the only connection I feel towards the characters is purely nostalgic. Were it not for this nostalgia, I might have walked out.
Read the rest of Nicholas’s review after the jump.