Jinx (1987 and 2003)
By Past Nastification
When GI Joe relaunched as “A Real American Hero” in 1982 and into 1983, there seemed to be two cardinal artistic rules about good guys and bad guys within the toy structure:
1. Good guys didn’t hide their faces (except for Snake-Eyes, of course). Figures like Tripwire and Snow Job, with only exposed partial faces, were frustrating. Bad guys did hide their faces, which made the concept of army building figures easier.
2. The Joes wore outfits that were green or tan or white (Snake-Eyes gets another pass, of course). Cobra wore blue or black or red.
By 1987, those rules were mostly thrown to the wayside. In many cases it didn’t matter. Fast Draw, for example, featured a permanent helmet and lots of red, but was still identifiable as being a Joe.
Let’s look a two Jinx figures using the ARAH mold. The original from 1987 and its 2003 repaint and see how they were somewhat hampered by violating the rules.
The 1987 Jinx violated those both rules and it was a disservice to the character.
In the Action Figure Dark Ages, before figures came with alternate pop-off heads, Jinx was cursed to have her face hidden by a mask. With so few female characters, obscuring the face of the only Asian woman in the entire ARAH line felt awkward and a missed opportunity. By comparison, when it was used for the scuzzy Vypra in 1998 that was a good use of a mask. Bad guys hide their faces.
And the red uniform, arguably the first generic ARAH Arashikage ninja outfit, just looked too much like a Cobra uniform. The HISS driver and Crimson Guard were decked out in red, of course.
The 2003 Jinx improved on the 1987 one, at least in terms of the color.
The Tiger Force green uniform/mustard stripes provided Jinx with as a more plausible and field-ready uniform as a martial arts gi could ever be. This Jinx came in a TRU 5 pack of Tiger Force figures. Jinx had the best uniform, with Stalker and Dial Tone having pulled the short straws for worst uniforms. Wreckage and Big Brawler were okay, but not as well done as Jinx.
I would have preferred a new head, one with the mask pulled down around the neck. As Hasbro made some unnecessary replacement heads for the Comic Pack figures, the idea of a new head isn’t entirely inconceivable. But for holding true to form, keeping the original head has merit as well.
The 1987 and 2003 Jinx have the same gear: a backpack, two swords, and a naginata (that’s what yojoe.com calls it). The 1987 backpack was black and the weapons were metallic greyish silver; the 2003 were a lighter silvery grey and noticeably flimsy. The 2003 backpack doesn’t fit snuggly into the back, either.
The 1987 wave was a year loaded with classic characters, including Jinx and her iconic red uniform. But the 2003 Jinx is green and fits my tastes better. Many collectors really like the red uniform- and I don’t hate it- I’m just not locked into it. The 2003 figure admittedly doesn’t have the visual impact of the original figure, but the subdued green is better than red when it comes to Joe uniforms.