Rip Cord (1984)
The 1984 Joe series really took the line’s concept to the next level. In terms of breadth of characters, accessories and styling, it was the second year in a row that evolved the line into the blockbuster it became.
Rip Cord is a perfect example of Joe’s evolution. While the previous year presented an airborne specialist, ’84 gave us the next level of specialty in a HALO jumper. I’ll admit that as a kid, Rip Cord’s purpose was a little lost on me, particularly due to his look. The jumpsuit he wears just didn’t seem as battle ready compared to Airborne’s togs. It seemed puffy looking and unexciting, and more akin to a flight suit than combat fatigues. Rip Cord was cool when imagining him dropping high from the sky and chuting in at a low level, but once I imagined him fighting it out on the ground next to guys like Gung-Ho and Recondo, I wasn’t enthused.
The comic put that image to rest, and that’s where I wished for a different look for the figure. Rip Cord was such a central character during the Cobra Island story arc, and his figure seemed like a departure from his comic portrayal. The face was the biggest difference for me. While the comic Rip Cord had classically chiseled features, the figure had a rounder face, and appeared to be older as well.
The accessories and weapon however were and still are excellent. Even in this era of hyper realism, removable gear and ultra-tiny accessories, Rip Cord’s parachute pack, helmet and rifle still stand out as some of the best pieces of Joe gear.