Bullet Man (1975)

What do you do when you’re trying to breathe new life and interest into a product? Anything you can, of course. For Hasbro’s GI Joe brand over the years, that’s meant venturing into hitherto unknown areas of science fiction, fantasy, and even super heroics. It only stands to reason that a product whose existence has been fairly omnipresent over the last 50 years would need to be refreshed now and again due to a changing popular culture and marketplace. It happened first with the introduction of the Adventure Team in 1970, and as the times changed, the mid 70s brought fantastical heroes like Mike Power and GI Joe’s first villains (the Intruders) into the mix. Alongside the new more super-powered Adventure Team was introduced Bullet Man, the Human Bullet.

Bullet Man (1975)What can I say about this figure that hasn’t been said before? As goofily loveable toys go, he’s sort of the Plan 9 From Outer Space of action figures. More contemporary goofballs like Funskool Windmill are fertile ground for fun-poking, but with this guy, the land’s been plowed, planted and harvested many a time. Still, I feel the need to chime in as an 80s Joe fan, and declare that I dig the Human Bullet. And I don’t mean that in a snarky way. It helps to look at these things with an eye on history. He’s definitely the product of a more innocent time, and if I had been old enough (I was all of three when the figure was released) he certainly would have captured my attention as a tyke. The packaging, which cleverly depicts the figure crashing through a (cardboard) brick wall, is even more eye-catching. Heck, as a pure toy, he captures my attention as a collector with a fondness for toy-first aesthetics. First off, I’m a sucker for vac-metalized figures. The chrome arms and helmet instantly draw your attention, make you stop and say, “Hey, who is this guy?” Then, a moment later, you also say, “Whoa, I know you’re rocking the singlet thing, but those are some tiny shorts, Bullet Man. You might wanna think about going a size up.” However, his heyday was 1975, when hotpants were in style, so maybe it’s not as concerning a fashion choice as it seems at first glance.

Bullet Man (1975)

I also enjoy action features, and Bullet Man had a flying feature built into his outfit. A line could be threaded through eyelets sewn into the back of his onesie, and kids could streak him through the air. What’s not to love about any form of zip-line technology, no matter how primitive? Underneath that crazy chrome cap lies a rather doe-eyed visage that’s neither classic 60s nor Adventure Team Joe. It’s actually the same head mold seen in Hasbro’s cheap blow-molded The Defenders toy line of the same year. Bullet Man however was afforded a more intricate paint app on his eyes, most likely to give his dreamy peepers more prominence when they’re hidden behind his helmet.

Though he’s not known too well outside of comics fans today, a Bullet Man comic character was popular in its days with Fawcett comics, the publisher of other costumed heroes like Captain Marvel. Bullet Man, along with other Fawcett heroes, was brought into the DC universe in the 1970s, and even starred in the retro series All Star Squadron. So, was DC aware of this at the time, or did Hasbro pull a fast one? Speaking of comics, the figure was also introduced in a comic ad, alongside other Joe heroes like Mike Power and Eagle Eye Joe. It evokes all the quick-hitting one-page insanity of a Hostess comic ad.

Bullet Man is…unique, to say the least. I don’t think there’s a more tonally different figure, taken in the context of the brand’s identity. Stand him next to an Action Solider, or even one of the many Adventurers of the 70s, and he stands out like, well, a shiny red thumb. Wearing tiny shorts. If you can dig that juxtaposition, he’s a fun character to have in the mix. We’ve got a twelve inch and a Kre-O version, so when are we going to get a 3 & 3/4 inch figure? Maybe in FSS 12.0? I’ll be waiting.

Bullet Man (1975)



Bullet Man Comic

Bullet Man Ad


  • You must dig Bulletman, I haven’t seen you write that much in a while!

  • One of these days, someone should sit a veteran from Hasbro and one from DC together to give us the whole story on this.

  • In that last comic, AT Leader is getting high-fived by two bionic-armed guys: OUCH! Bulletman is a weirdo to me, but kinda likeable that way.

  • In looking at this figure, I can’t help but wonder if he was not the inspiration at Plastirama for the Cobra Mortal figure. The chrome and red combo seems oddly close. And, the timing of their releases makes it entirely feasible that the designer of the Mortal had knowledge, if not an actual figure, of Bulletman. While the foreign toy companies were allowed to create their own figures, they were often done with at least tacit Hasbro approvals to maintain character consistency around the world. That could be at play here.

  • The Plan 9 referance makes we want to type something about “Stupid, stupid, minds” but instead, i wonder if he was the isnpiration for the C.O.P.S villain “Buillit” and the TICK character Human bullit?

  • Bullet man does not use Viagra for sure!


  • Does he get shot out of a gun? Looks like he can fly and has super strength.

  • Bulletman is my favorite Joe simply because I was a superhero kinda kid and I also liked war toys but my mom was opposed to buying them. I always wanted a G.I. Joe but it never happened until Bulletman arrived on the scene. Because my mom knew I was into superheroes, Bulletman was different enough for her to say “hey, I’ll get you this one”.

    So I’m five years old with my first Joe/Superhero combo…Bulletman, freshly ripped off the card in the backseat of my parents 1974 Oldsmobile tank, playing and having a good time. Well, as kids do, I fell asleep on the ride home. When I woke up, I remember looking down in the floorboard and seeing Bulletman, but with groggy five-year-old eyes, I just followed mom and went inside to finish my nap and left him behind. Later on that night, I remembered, “Oh yeah, BULLETMAN!” So I took off out the back door and up to the driveway and looked all through the land yacht and there was no Bulletman to be found. I asked my mom about it and she knew nothing of its whereabouts.

    Fast forward, 45 years and for whatever reason, the memory struck me during a conversation with my parents. “… I looked all over and never could find it. Do you guys remember what happened to it?“ My mom sat there for a minute while trying to remember the figure but for her it was just another toy and did not spark a memory of any kind BUT my dad was sitting next to her with a smirk on his face. I said, “Dad, do you know what happened to it?” And he said, “Yep, shur do. I ‘member that thang… I threw it ina traish, cos ain’t no boy of mine fixin’ ta play wit no dolls!

    Well you would think after 45 years, I would’ve been over it but it was almost like he did it yesterday. I said, well thanks a lot! I didn’t even have it for 24 hours. So your action of throwing it in the trash to keep it from me has done nothing but make me obsess about it and now I own 7 of them!

    The next time I visited, I took the best example of bullet man to their house and showed my parents. All Dad did was shake his head and say all types of homophobic things about it. He said, “Let me see that thang up close. Give it here!“ I said Dad, from the immortal words of former President W., “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” The End 😜

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