The constants in GI Joe since the 80s are I think a large part of what keeps collectors coming back to new iterations of the line. The well-known characters are like a well worn ballcap, or a favorite couch. They just feel really comfortable, and we (at least guys like me) can be averse to throwing them away when they’ve outlived their intended lifespan. Heck, some guys will wear the same underwear until it’s just an elastic band. And lest you think I’m not inclusive enough, I hear some ladies do the same with a bra. Now, I shared the latter with the understanding that this is all said to draw a rather stark point, and is not an actual fact that a lady of the female persuasion may have revealed to me. In the world of goofy toy collectors, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt. We expect to go back to the old favorites time and again, and Hasbro has thus far been willing to oblige.
Alongside the fellas like Duke, Snake Eyes and Roadblock, the ladies continue to be represented. The Baroness was an early recipient of a new sculpt o-ring figure when small Joes relaunched. She was also one of the unfortunate group that were apparently designed by Takara along the lines of a highly cartoonish style. Hideous is too kind a word for that toy. However the later Valor vs. Venom series produced an improved Baroness. Rather than her classic black armored outfit, she wore a bright blue. Not familiar, unless one was around for the early Marvel comics or the initial Sunbow mini-series.
The single-carded VvV assortment available in discount stores included a more accurate repainted black uniform version of the Baroness, and despite a sloppily painted Cobra sigil, the figure quickly replaced the earlier as my default version in the new sculpt style. It’s definitely a warts and all situation of course, thanks to the weirdly large shoulder joints and slight facial resemblance to Joey Ramone. Despite these issues, the memories of Joe’s retail presence at the time looms large in my memory. Looking back, it seemed like the last time Hasbro really made a push for the kid market (without the benefit of a film) and I don’t think we’ll see that again.