02 03 Nerd Lunch: I don't know any "Zartan!" 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

I don't know any "Zartan!"

So, the G.I. Joe trailer debuted during the Super B...er, the big game. Recalling the fact that this is directed by Stephen "Van Helsing" Sommers, I am in no way looking forward to this movie. However, I am excited about the boost it's giving to the G.I. Joe property.

I have ended a three year drought of action figure collecting and have been picking up some of the new G.I. Joe action figures. These things are great. Infinitely better than the original "A Real American Hero" line from the 80s/90s. And the G.I. Joe Resolute web cartoon promises to be a billion times better than the 80s cartoon.

Still, there's something to be said for outright wackiness of the classic line. Take Zartan for example...my first exposure to him was in the 1984 catalog (image below from YoJoe.com). He sounded real menacing. Here's the copy:

Zartan: The Master of Disguise
with Swamp Skier: Chameleon

Watch out, G.I. Joe! There's an evil enemy out there, a master of disguise out to fool you. His name. . . Zartan. His mission. . . to spy on G.I. Joe and report back to COBRA. His strategy. . . he changes colors to conceal his true identity and blend in with his environment! And to deceive you further Zartan dons a face mask, then pulls it off and hides it in his backpack. Look out!

I'm not sure I completely understand the logic of his strategy. He'll blend in with his surroundings, that part I get. But then he puts a mask on. So, does his mask blend in with his surroundings? Doesn't read like it does. If Roadblock or Barbecue happened to be walking by would they not notice a floating head? Oh wait, I forgot, Zartan can put his mask in his backpack! NOOOOOO!!!!! LOOK OUT G.I. JOE!!!!!! YOU ARE DOOOOOOOOOMED!!!!

Boy, if that weren't enough, there's this TV commercial also from the awesome archive site YoJoe.com:


I guess when you add up all the silliness from the file cards, cartoons, comic books, maybe Stephen Sommers doesn't seem so bad a choice as a director. It could be a lot worse. It could be whoever made that commercial.

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