Friday, May 15, 2009
Snake Eyes was, without a doubt, the coolest G.I. Joe "good guy" ever. Although he first appeared as "Commando, Code Name: Snake Eyes" in the original run of 16 3.75" G.I. Joe action figures in 1982 (shown at right, his costume was all black to save money on paint - true story), and reappeared in a second run in 1983, the CLASSIC Snake Eyes action figure was the one released in 1985 (shown above). Why was the 1985 Snake Eyes so cool? I'm glad you asked.
Snake Eyes was packaged not only with a sword and an uzi (he was a master of ALL types of weaponry, according to his filecard), but also with a canine companion, who went by the name of Timber. As if this wasn't sweet enough, I also had a dog named Timber at about that same time, which gave me a very real, heartfelt connection to Snake Eyes. We were kindred spirits, Snake Eyes and I, silent ninjas stalking the forests on secret missions for the Joe team.
Snake Eyes had a dark and mysterious back story, according not only to his packaging but also the G.I. Joe cartoons and comic books. A classically trained ninja, he studied ninjitsu with a guy known only as the Hard Master, alongside the Cobra ninja Storm Shadow. During the course of their training, the two became "sword brothers", meaning that although they fought for different teams, either would sacrifice his life to save the other. Heavy shit.
Snake Eyes was also a Vietnam veteran, and was horribly disfigured in a helicopter accident (hence the mask) that also cost him his ability to speak. But even though he was mute, he still managed to hook up with Scarlett (above left), no small feat considering the scarcity of ladies at G.I. Joe HQ.
Snake Eyes was a commando, a ninja, a covert missions specialist, and a ladies' man all in one package. According to official G.I. Joe history, his "real name" has never been discovered, and his air of silent mysticism has always been a central element to the ongoing Joe story arc. The bummer = G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra comes out this Summer, with Ray Park (Darth Maul from The Phantom Menace - uuugghhh) playing the role of Mr. Eyes. Hella weak.
But I choose to remember him as he was in 1985, a kick-ass ninja warrior with a score to settle, fully poseable and fully RAD.
"Them man is good at his job. Heck, he's the best."