Cesspool by Groen

Cesspool turnaround TEASE

Cesspool started out pitched as a similarly eco-themed “Oil Baron.” I’m not sure if that was a codename (probably not) or a title, but the figure and his ilk evolved and we got Cesspool. Along the way, Cesspool dropped his earlier name, “The CEO,” and Eco-Warriors dropped its earlier monicker, “Eco-Force.” We met the Oil Baron here several years ago at A Real American Book!, in fact, another Kurt Groen drawing.

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Filed under G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Toys and Toy Art

Wetsuit original sculpt by Merklein

The “Cobra Assassin” post from earlier today had some factual errors, so I’ve taken that down and am putting up this one it its place!


Bill Merklein sculpted around 65 G.I. Joe action figures in the 1980s.

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Cobra Piranha model by David Kunitz

Close up of grey model GI Joe Cobra Piranha Kunitz

I often forget that half of the G.I. Joe line was vehicles.

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We’re Back! / URL news

Part 1: Sorry for the long delay, readers!

It’s the same old excuse as every other absence: Teaching and store, and this summer I’ve wanted to work on Chapters 18 and 19 rather than this blog. If you’re concerned that I’m abandoning this site, rest assured, I am not. Five months without a new post is no fun for you, like Shipwreck feeding you an orchard’s worth of apples. In fact, I’ve banked a few posts recently, so every week or so for the rest of the summer you can enjoy some rarely- or never-seen G.I. Joe artwork from the 1980s and ’90s!


Part 2: Exciting web development news! Here’s a small upgrade I’ve been meaning to get around to for at least seven years:

arealamericanbook.wordpress.com is now



Thanks to UX and web-person Jordyn Bonds, who also fixed my non-G.I. Joe website.

This probably doesn’t affect you, since any old links you’ve posted still work, but it’s less of a mouthful now — “What’s your favorite G.I. Joe blog?”


Let’s all celebrate with this Wifi-Viper (NOT A REAL HASBRO CONCEPT), culled from the ranks of the best Tele-Vipers, as he looks over my WordPress code.

Tim Finn art of invented G.I. Joe figure, Wifi-Viper, to announce a small upgrade in his blog, A Real American Book!

Thanks for your patience! Back to regular posts in a few days!

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A Real American Book! 2018 in Review

Tim Finn GI Joe

It’s that time of year again, when I list what I did for this book in the last 12 months and apologize that it’s taking so long! Last year in such a blog post I mused on what it’s like to research and write.

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Filed under Book Behind the Scenes, Photography, Writing Process

Photoshoot #17

Two weeks back I spent a day and a half at Glad Works so A Real American Book! photographer Tim Marshall could shoot new images for Chapters 12, 18, and 19.

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Remembering Robert J. Walsh

Robert J. Walsh died last month. This is sad news.

I had the pleasure of meeting Rob for lunch in Los Angeles three years ago, and I’m going to jump to the middle of the story here for some levity and type three important words: Guitar-shaped pool.

But let’s start at the beginning.

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Filed under Animation, Book Behind the Scenes, G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Writing Process