Category Archives: Xander Martin

G.I. Joe Secret Agent Man: Chuckles

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Rocko: Chuckles wasn’t a Joe I was particularly interested in as a kid, because he came with a simple pistol and holster instead of the heavy machine guns or ninja swords that made a figure a must own.

Now, in no small part to the brilliantly written filecard by Larry Hama and the Mike Costa/Christos Gage IDW Cobra comics, Chuckles is a favorite. I really relate to this guy. We even have a similar fashion sense.

Go ahead and google “hole and corner,” and consider how few children in ’87 had any idea what the hell that was.

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Xander: I dig Chuck now, but as a kid he was middle ground at best. I recall it came down to he and Falcon once at a Nickel &Dime. Falcon won out in droves.

It wasn’t until the Impel trading cards that turned me on to the comics, and the Special Mission series in particular, where Chuckles really shined.

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Rocko: I remember that there was a kid in my third grade class who was just a little bit smarter than me, and always had ideas that were a bit better formed than mine. Now I wonder if he was just parroting something his older brother or someone said, because he was savvy as shit for a 7 year old. I remember that he didn’t like any of that ’87 class of Joes but Chuckles. When I said “He’s OK…but he just has a pistol.” The kid said “That’s why I like him.”

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Xander: That’s pretty deep for 7. Really speaks volumes though. I imagine there were a lot of us who didn’t “get” Chuckles until much, much later.

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Rocko: Espionage related things did little for me as a kid. It was really the post 9/11 world that made me develop an interest in counter intelligence concepts. Which I think is true for a lot of people, given modern Bond, Bourne Identity, the Americans, Cobra…

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Xander: Rocko, if you want to write a piece on Chuckles I’ll shoot the pictures.

Rocko: You got it! Give me a little time. Great idea.

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Hello. What have we here?

For a while now I’ve wanted to take a look at the different Landos from Kenner’s Star Wars line much like I did with the Leias. Even with few costume changes there were still three versions of Lando in the vintage run.  Colt .45 not included.

Lando Calrissian, 1980

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The original the way most people remember him as the Baron Administrator of Cloud City all decked out in monochrome blue on blue.  If Solo was going to have best bro you can sure bet he’d be a smooth-talking cat with a thirst for malt liquor dressed like a sci-fi version of Superfly.  The figure nails the look seamlessly right down to the shirt collar and snazzy belt.  He also sports the last of the vinyl capes in the Star Wars line as Kenner soft goods.

Lando Calrissian (Skiff Guard Disguise), 1983

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When I was a kid I didn’t have many Star Wars figures, but this version of Lando was one of them I did have. I’ve always loved the “sneaking around in enemy uniforms” cliche ever since The Wizard Of Oz , and the fact that this figure had a removable helmet really pushed him over the edge for me.  Additionally this one is a prime example of of how far Kenner had come in terms of sculpting.  The intricate details really speak for themselves.

Lando Calrissian (General Pilot), 1984

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A general, huh?  Somewhere pre-Jedi Lando gets promoted as does Han Solo.  The Rebelion is gearing up for their last-ditch effort in defeating the Empire so they may as well promote everybody,right? His look is similar to the duds other members of the Rebe high command are wearing save for one distinguishing feature: a CAPE.  That’s right.  Lando’s still keeping it real with a touch of soulfull flair, and the resulting toy doesn’t disappoint.

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Happy 100th Birthday, Bill Finger.

Batman had two creators. Bob Kane had the idea for a masked vigilante in bright blood red with big Bat-wings. Bill Finger had the vision to make him unique looking with the addition of a horned cowl, and a scalloped cape that when spread open would resemble said wings. Among Finger’s other contributions were the Batman being more of a detective and forensic scientist than your average pulp-era vigilante, as well as coming up with the character’s secret identity: Bruce Wayne.
Finger passed away in 1974, and unfortunately his contributions still go uncredited to this day as Kane’s contract with DC (read Warner Bros.) gave him exclusive creator rights to the character. But I, like countless others, wouldn’t have the character I love if not for a prolific visionary in a dusty New York flat c. 1938 who created a man that would become a Bat. Thank you, Bill.

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