Skidmark (1988)

Okay, I talked about Big Brawler, and at the time I thought he had the worst Joe code name. I still think he does. It’s generic and ridiculous at the same time. When looking through candidates to write about next, Skidmark’s name struck me as the best unintended double-entendre code name. Make up your own joke here…

Skidmark, in collector parlance, is a driver. Toy commercials for playsets and accessories have and continue to tack on the line at the end, “figures sold separately.”¬† The vintage GI Joe line started a great trend when it began in 1982. Most mid to high price point vehicles included an exclusive figure that was not available otherwise. This added value to the product and created a nice play pattern. Vehicle drivers also added personality to the accessories, and each included the same kind of brief but well written file card that was included with the carded figures. Some of the driver figures, like Clutch, Wild Bill and Wild Weasel have become Joe mainstays and quite popular characters over the years.

Skidmark hails from the late 80’s, when Joe figures were really breaking away from the pure military designs of the line’s first years. The sculpts were also becoming bulkier, and Hasbro seemed to be including more varied textures to the figure’s outfits. Skidmark’s details include a well equipped vest, and sculpted sweater-like sleeves. His helmet even has some dents in it, which adds a nice touch of personality. The only downfall to the figure are the colors. While not quite the day-glo colors of the 90’s, the orange here detracts from the overall look.

His file card again is a great example of writer Larry Hama’s ability to create a character with just a few lines of text. “Skidmark was the kid that was held up by your mother as a shining example of everything you were not. He was annoyingly polite, maddeningly well groomed and excruciatingly successful in his studies. There was a collective sigh of relief from his contemporaries when he received his first drivers’ license and subsequently shattered all known records for the accumulation of speeding violations.”

Skidmark’s vehicle – the Desert Fox 6WD.

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