Are you a green Clutch fan or a tan Clutch fan? That’s a tough choice. It’s not a question of Kirk vs. Picard, Death Star vs. Enterprise or Elvis vs. Beatles proportions, but still worth consideration in geek circles. While the first version is all about the iconic first 1982 series, the later tan version stands for me as a big part of the Real American Hero line’s evolution into the greatest boys’ toy line of the 80’s. It built upon what had come before, and by adding just a bit of a twist, opened up the line to many possibilities. So which figure do I like more? From a color perspective, the tan version.
There were also two versions of Clutch in the 80’s Joe media, since he was featured in both the Marvel comics and the Sunbow cartoon. When I look at which media version of Clutch I prefer, the comic version comes out on top. Of the original thirteen Joes, he always stood out to me as a well-defined character. Clutch was someone that while you could almost guess what he was going to say in a situation, you were still surprised at his audacity. The cartoon version, obviously not as fleshed out, had a more simplistic portrayal. While he was still quick with a smart comment, the cartoon Clutch seemed to be a good-old-boy, a far cry from the comics’ sometimes uncouth Jersey gearhead.
It’s funny that after all the years, and the hundreds of figures released, that I still find something interesting about this simple repainted figure. While the modern Joe figures are amazing, there’s something you just can’t beat about the old guys. Is it the paint scheme? Is it the vehicle he was packaged with? Is it the comic portrayal? I think all of those elements contribute to my fondness for the figure.