As the Real American Hero line was winding down, Boys Toys in Pawtucket had in mind something new for late 1994. It would be bigger than 3 3/4 inches, and it would look back to World War II rather than the slightly futuristic angle G.I. Joe had carried for twelve years. Sgt. Savage and his Screaming Eagles were greatly inspired by Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos (Marvel Comics), and Sgt. Rock and the Combat-Happy Joes of Easy Company (DC Comics), so much so in fact that Boys Toys VP hired Sgt. Rock artist Joe Kubert to draw the initial designs, package artwork, and insert comic.
Joe Kubert passed away last weekend at the age of 85. Amazingly, he was still writing and drawing comics, and his work only got better with age. While the Watchmen prequels aren’t my cup of tea, I very much enjoyed the last major Rock story by Kubert, and both as a reader and retailer look forward to his upcoming Joe Kubert Presents 6-issue anthology for DC.
Something simple today: A blister card front sample for 1987 Law. No blister, no figure, no accessories.
I’m attributing the artwork to Hector Garrido.
Many fans know Law was sculpted to resemble Kirk Bozigian, number 2 marketer for G.I. Joe when it relaunched in 1982. In fact, several figures from the whole ’82-’94 span resemble Hasbro employees, but it was much less often that the package paintings did. I can’t find my Law figure, so that’s why there’s no accompanying photo today, but the toy does match the person, and in this case, the painting appears to as well.
It’s Monday or Tuesday, which means another preview of rare, lost, and never-seen art from the making of G.I. Joe 1980-2000 to whet your appetites for my book. Today’s image is a 1994 Kurt Groen pencil and marker drawing of a proposed X-Soldier.
Very little is publicly known about X-Soldiers. It’s telling that they are neither mentioned nor pictured at the encyclopedic yojoe.com. I don’t say that as a swipe against the site as I love it and have referred to it weekly for the past six years of writing my book. Just that the line, unlike many other unproduced Joes, hasn’t been widely seen or discussed. Google searches yield almost nothing.
But print offers a succinct explanation: According to G. Wayne Miller’s Toy Wars, “[Kirk] Bozigian’s biggest setback had been X-Soldiers. Shown prototypes, boys in focus groups had been disinterested. The concept needed work, and the line was unlikely to reach market before the summer of 1996, if then.” (pg 185)
A line of traditional super-heroes that would battle for and with G.I. Joe, and each figure would have had an action feature. Seven X-Soldier characters are known to exist as color marker illustrations.