Vids I Dig 088: Toy Galaxy: The History of ‘G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero’ – the Cartoon, the Toys and the Comic Books

From Toy Galaxy’s YouTube description: On this episode we dive deep into the history of GI Joe: A Real American Hero.

The cartoon, the action figures and the comic books all working together in a first of its kind effort to resurrect a property that had been dormant for a number of years.

Vids I Dig 074: Toy Galaxy: The History of ‘MASK’: 1985 Toyline and Cartoon

From Toy Galaxy’s YouTube description: It was birthed at the retro pop culture nexus in 1985, had a relatively short lifespan and it’s fans have been teased with a reboot or resurrection multiple times since.

We are, of course, talking about MASK. That uniquely amazing toyline combining action figures, vehicles and transforming.

Here is the history of MASK.

TV Review: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero – The DiC Era (1989-1992)

Release Date: September 2nd, 1989 – January 20th, 1992
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Based on: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Larry Hama
Music by: Stephen James Taylor
Cast (voices): Kevin Conway, Chris Latta, Sgt. Slaughter, Ed Gilbert, Maurice LaMarche, Morgan Lofting, Dale Wilson, Scott McNeil, Garry Chalk, Ted Harrison

DiC Entertainment, Hasbro, Claster Television, 44 Episodes, 22 Minutes (per episode)


“What am I paying you for, anyhow?” – Cobra Commander, “You’re not paying me! I haven’t seen a dime from you in months!” – Destro, “…Minor detail.” – Cobra Commander

I recently reviewed the feature length miniseries that kicked off this era. I didn’t think that G.I. Joe could sink to lower depths than Operation Dragonfire but this series that followed proved me wrong.

Sure, I had seen these episodes before but not since I was in middle school when I didn’t have a refined palate.

The DiC era of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero is an example of what can happen when you take something perfect and try to replicate it with less money and shoddy resources. It’s not even like a Chinese knockoff it’s more like a North Korean knockoff. And for some reason, even though “American” is still int he show’s title, G.I. Joe are now presented as “international heroes”. So are they a U.N. thing? Or is that because the United States has a base in nearly every country anyway and this cartoon was pointing that out in a tongue and cheek sort of way? I doubt that it is the latter, as the people behind this show don’t seem smart enough to know how to flush a toilet let alone create some sort of clever, subtle and sarcastic “fuck you” to U.S. foreign policy and the military.

Well, this is an inadvertent “fuck you” to the military regardless, as it takes once heroic and badass soldiers that defended Old Glory and turns them into the Three Stooges with laser rifles. I have never seen dumber characters fighting for freedom than the ones represented here. And really, it’s a big “fuck you” to all the fans that loved G.I. Joe because the quality of the stuff before this (excluding The Movie) was friggin’ solid.

The biggest complaints I have about this era of G.I. Joe are the same as those I discussed in my Operation Dragonfire review. But to summarize, the character designs are ugly, the dialogue is atrocious, the animation looks like shit and the writing is painful and baffling.

Granted, Hasbro is probably to blame for the character designs but this show does nothing to make them better and in fact, it enhances the vibrant colors and goofy flourishes.

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero was once my favorite thing on television. Then DiC Entertainment came along and took a giant f’n shit on it.

And my god, man… that theme song they did is enough to make your eyeballs melt and your ears explode.

I must run this turd pile through the trusty Cinespiria Shitometer. The results read, “Type 2 Stool: Sausage-shaped but lumpy.”

Rating: 2/10
Pairs well with: Nothing good.


Film Review: G.I. Joe: Operation Dragonfire (1989)

Release Date: September 2nd, 1989 – September 6th, 1989 (first run syndication, 5 parts)
Directed by: Michael Maliani
Written by: Doug Booth
Based on: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Larry Hama
Music by: Johnny Douglas, Rob Walsh
Cast (voices): Sgt. Slaughter, Chris Latta, Morgan Lofting, Michael Benyaer, Jim Byrnes, Kevin Conway, Ian James Corlett, Lisa Corps, Lee Jeffrey, Maurice LaMarche, Dale Wilson

DiC Entertainment, Hasbro, Claster Television, 5 Episodes (first run syndication), 22 Minutes (per episode), 102 Minutes (movie cut)


If G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero jumped the shark with G.I. Joe: The Movie, than this is where they decided to just jump right into the shark’s mouth wearing a suit made out of chum and a sign around the neck that read, “I’m your tasty lunch, Mr. Shark Dude!”.

DiC Entertainment took over animation duties from Marvel/Sunbow. Apparently, Hasbro couldn’t reject their offer to take over the show, as they promised to do it for much cheaper than what Marvel/Sunbow could offer.

Well, I once bought a generic knockoff G.I. Joe in a baggy from a one dollar bin at Rite Aid when I was an idiot seven year-old. I discovered that the figure didn’t even come with accessories or elbows that bent. The thing is, you get what you pay for and what the fans got was the cartoon version of cheap Chinese G.I. Joe ripoffs. This era of G.I. Joe was to the first two seasons what Gobots were to The Transformers.

So what’s wrong with it? Well, just about everything.

The animation is terrible and I mean, super f’n terrible. It’s so bad when compared to the first two seasons of G.I. Joe that it almost gives you a headache. Plus, the character designs are appalling. Granted, this could be due to Hasbro reworking the action figures for their 1989 line but the colors of the uniforms were ugly and the new look compared to the classic characters was unnecessary and a total waste of resources. Hasbro could have created more new characters or altered existing figures colors in a way that wasn’t so vibrant, gaudy and goofy.

Operation Dragonfire was the five episode miniseries created to kickoff this awful era. It was done in the same vein as the original G.I. Joe: An American Hero miniseries, The Revenge of CobraThe Pyramid of Darkness and Arise, Serpentor Arise! And while it’s said that imitation is the highest form of flattery, imitation without soul is pretty much just dickish thievery.

At least this story tried to fix some of the problems with G.I. Joe: The Movie by wiping the slate clean, doing away with Serpentor (who should have been dead, actually) and reestablishing Cobra Commander as the leader of Cobra. And at least it had Copperhead in it, a favorite Cobra character of mine, and it gave us Python Force, one of my favorite things to come out of the toy line. However, the story used to establish Python Patrol was so stupid and asinine that it made me kind of hate those toys now.

Operation Dragonfire is, without a doubt, the worst of the feature length G.I. Joe stories. It’s dreadful and sitting through it in one sitting was a tremendous feat. I should be given a damn medal.

As horrible as this piece of shit is, I must run it through the trusty Cinespiria Shitometer. The results read, “Type 6 Stool: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool.”

Rating: 3.5/10
Pairs well with: Nothing good.

TV Review: C.O.P.S. (1988-1989)

Also known as: CyberCOPS (rebranded in later syndication)
Original Run: October 5th, 1988 – February 20th, 1989
Created by: Hasbro
Directed by: Kevin Altieri, Rick Morrison
Written by: various
Based on: C.O.P.S. ‘N’ Crooks toy line by Hasbro
Music by: various
Cast: Ken Ryan, Jane Schoettle, Brent Titcomb, Mary Long, Paul De La Rosa, Nick Nichols, Dan Hennessey

DiC Entertainment, Crawleys Animation, Hasbro, Claster Television, 65 Episodes, 22 Minutes (per episode)


*written in 2015.

C.O.P.S. (also one-time branded as CyberCOPS in an effort not to create confusion with the reality show Cops) was one of my favorite after school treats when I was nine years-old in 1988. It was produced by DiC, who made some quality stuff at the time and it was tied into a really badass Hasbro toy line (similar to the G.I. Joe and Transformers brands) and it had a comic book series published by DC Comics.

Every few years, I revisit G.I. Joe and Transformers and am still entertained, as those two animated series have held up tremendously. Remembering C.O.P.S. almost as fondly, I always wanted to give it another watch through. It wasn’t as easy to access and I actually just got my hands on it, as I found a DVD set of the series for $5 in a discount bin.

Well, it definitely hasn’t held up as well as those other great shows from my childhood. The animation isn’t fantastic. I can’t say that it is bad, as some scenes are well done but there is a lack of fluidity at times and the character design is pretty generic. Additionally, the voice acting is borderline cheesy in every scene. Yes, it is a cartoon made for an audience of ten year-old boys in the ’80s but so were G.I. Joe and Transformers and they were just so much better in dialogue, voice acting and overall quality.

The characters in C.O.P.S. are interesting at first glance and each has their own unique and cool gimmick. The problem though, is that there is little-to-no character development. Comparing it to the competition of the time and going back to G.I. Joe, look at how well and awesome of a character Shipwreck turned out to be by the end of the first season. Look at Shipwreck’s character journey, it is pretty amazing for a little cartoon just made to sell some toys. C.O.P.S. doesn’t present the audience with anything close to that level of character development.

Each episode is pretty generic and the criminals are just complete idiots – all of them. At least in G.I. Joe and Transformers you had good strong villains to offset the bumbling ones. For Cobra Commander there was Destro and Serpentor. For Starscream there was Megatron and Soundwave. For Beserko… well, there were just more bumbling idiots.

I wanted to feel the nostalgia; I wanted to really get re-immersed in this. It just didn’t happen and I found this hard to watch after giving it a chance with five or six episodes.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: any other DiC Entertainment animated show from the era: the later G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero seasons, Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ WrestlingM.A.S.K.Jayce and the Wheeled WarriorsThe Real Ghostbusters, etc.