Herc Armstrong (1986 Inhumanoids)
I know what you’re saying, “Wait, what?! Inhumanoids on Joe A Day?! You’ve broken the site!!” Well, then repeat to yourself it’s just a blog; I should really just relax. Besides, I’ll get to the Joe connection in a moment.
Hasbro’s Inhumanoids toy line is probably best known for its creature figures, particularly the three giant monsters Metlar, Tendril and D. Compose. Each is a marvel of the era, due in part to their sheer size as well as the weird, almost Lovecraftian qualities of a storyline featuring ancient monsters from the inner Earth. The human figures in the line seem to take a backseat, and that’s unfortunate, as they’re odd yet endearing. They’re also quite innovative for a Hasbro toy of the era. Beyond the outré designs, each one had a built-in action feature and a removable helmet with light piping (take that, Transformers!)
That’s all well and good, but how does it link to GI Joe? First up, the scale of the humanoid figures. Underneath each Earth Corps member’s helmet sits a human head sculpt. These sculpts are quite close in scale to the vintage Joe line, and all four were also darn goofy looking, a trait shared by many a Joe. Of particular note is Herc Armstrong here. As the leader of the Earth Corps in the Sunbow cartoon, he strikes quite a heroic image. Unfortunately the head sculpt of the figure looks like a human version of Fred Flintstone.
Which brings me to the second point: the Sunbow cartoon. Most Joe fans know of the GI Joe and Transformers connections in the Sunbow universe (Cobra Commander and a character who could be Flint’s daughter make appearances) but what about Joe connections with Inhumanoids? Hector Ramirez, the Geraldo parody and frequent Joe cameo, is also present through the course of the show. Later in the series, an Air Force pilot by the name of Brad Armbruster (also the name of the Joe team’s Ace) is downed by one of the Inhumanoid monsters, and the jet in which he has becomde trapped is re-built into an exo-suit. He makes an appearance in the final episode as Sabre Jet. Are these links to GI Joe tenuous? Certainly, but fun little nods like these are what set the Sunbow cartoons apart from most of the 80’s other animated fare.
So while the Inhumanoids figures don’t quite share the same construction as Joes (they shouldn’t since they’re wearing clunky exo-suits) one can still imagine them fighting alongside the team against the threat of monsters from deep within the bowels of the Earth. Hey, stranger things have happened. Who knows, maybe there’s even a connection to Cobra-La in there somewhere.