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Tag Archives: G.I. Joe model sheets
Ho boy. It’s difficult to discuss the 1989-1991 G.I. Joe animated series without stirring up strong emotions. Pop culture recognizes the fun of the 1983-1987 series, whether it be Cobra Commander’s voice, the Public Service Announcements, or all the property damage. And dig a little deeper, and you get superb voice acting, smart writing, and strong characterization. And of course, action! But these are not as present in the later episodes. Artist extraordinaire Russ Heath, who designed the animation character models for the Marvel/Sunbow episodes, did come back for most of that second round, but the change in tone and lower production budget didn’t treat his design work as well. The DIC run is hard to watch. Continue reading
Season 3 of G.I. Joe, or as the Shout! Factory DVDs call it, Series 2 Season 1, is a mixed bag. Lots of returning writers, characters, and voice actors, but the show is a different tone. It’s funny, or tries to be, and there’s not much sense of danger. I’m never worried for the Joes. But Russ Heath was on board again drawing model sheets, so that’s a bright spot. Today’s artwork comes from a ridiculous episode called “That’s Entertainment,” where Cobra Commander kidnaps actor/comedian Jackie Love and decides he wants to make movies. Really, the less said, the better. Continue reading
In this Ted Pedersen-written episode of G.I. Joe from 1985, “Satellite Down,” the Joes track a lost satellite to somewhere in an “unexplored region” of Africa. There they meet a tribe of primitives called Primords, who worship the satellite as a god. And Storm Shadow and Spirit fight!
Here’s Russ Heath’s original artwork (pencil on animation bond — I cropped out the punch holes) for one version, unused in the episode, for the Primord Chief.
Today’s art peak brings you several photocopies of Russ Heath’s model sheets for the 1985 season of the animated G.I. Joe. While the Snake-Eyes action figure was iconically all black, the TV series had previously shown him in dark blue. (All black doesn’t “read” well in animation.) For 1985, SE went dark grey, which to my eye reads better than the dark blue and works better as a stand-in for black since dark blue is already associated with Cobra. Russ Heath’s front view:
Clearly based, as many of his drawings were, on Hasbro’s internal presentation artwork:
This one, a black and white photocopy, doesn’t have a signature, and I’ll admit I don’t know who painted it. To my eye it’s not Ron Rudat — the proportions and clothing folds don’t match with work that I know is Rudat. The anatomy is tight, which says George Woodbridge, but his Joe work was colored and black ink, not rendered paintings. Maybe one of you eagle eyed Joe collectors can correct me in the comments. There is a slightly better reproduction of this image, still a black and white photocopy of a color photocopy, though, in Vincent Santelmo’s Official 30th Anniversary Salute to G.I. Joe.
Two more views by Heath:
And SE’s undercover disguise, drawn by Bruce Timm, from the beginning of “Battle for the Train of Gold.” To give you a sense of the timeline, this was drawn in August 1984, and the episode aired 14 months later.
And what appears to be an unused alternate from same.
I’m not sure where in the storyline of “Train” there would have been an opportunity for SE to wear this, but there is a horse farm in act 3, so who knows?