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Dec 08

Stalker (1983)

There are lesser known GI Joe characters that discussing from time to time seem like breaking new ground. Then there are the big guys that have been major players in the toy line, comics, and cartoons and whose ground has not only been broken, but entire homes, strip malls, and condos have been built upon it. Stalker belongs to the latter category.

This Stalker figure always had a place on my Joe team as a kid. While some other first series figures fell off my radar and out of my regular lineup, Stalker was one that I continued to use even when new recruits showed up in ’84 and ’85. His portrayal in the comic was certainly one reason, as he was a cool headed, in control and effective field leader. Issues six and seven of the Marvel comic were the earliest Joe comics I bought, with Stalker leading the team through a pretty hairy situation in its first encounter with the Oktober Guard. His continuing presence on my team was assured after reading those comics.

What else kept me interested in the figure even after many new and more colorfully designed Joes had come along? I suppose in contrast to many of his ’82-83 teammates, it was his uniform. The unique all-over camo, beret, and distinctive machine gun set him apart from the rest. The best analogy I can think of among other early Joes is Flash, whose look also maintained a continuity with the other figures, yet stood out as a distinctive part of his character.

Stalker had new looks later in the 80’s and 90’s, and fell out of the Marvel comic for a time. He returned in the 2000’s with a fair share of new sculpt and comic pack figures, and he continues to hold a spot in modern lines. Sure, this version looks simplistic next to later releases, but the strength of his character combined with one of the more effective early reuses of molds in the line makes for a figure that to me is still unforgettable.

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23 comments

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  1. Acer

    I hope to find one of these someday. While I do plan to collect all of the original Original 13 (Steeler is the first of them I got), it’s strictly swivel-arm for me.

  2. JD

    This figure defines and exemplifies the word “classic” and the character is simply one of the very best to come out of the 30 years of the ARAH mythos. I STILL love this one.

    1. Clutch

      Amen to that, bro.

  3. Michael

    Stalker was one of my first and one of the first to beak his thumbs and get replaced by a swivel arm version. I used him right til the end. Stalker eventually aquired more gear as time went by…. I think it was the camo and Grenn Beret that encouraged his longevity, he just looks like a all around great soldier. My love for the Marvel comic probably enforced that !!

    1. Clutch

      I think I gave him the machine gun that came with the MANTA since it kinda looked the same but was far sturdier and more detailed. (Plus, Stalker was pictured riding the MANTA on the mail-in form!)

      My love of the figure was also influenced by the comic, although I tend to overlook that he was the first Joe to sport camo and a green beret, years before other faves of mine such as Lt. Falcon.

  4. Mkultratroll

    I like his colour scheme. Being born in ’86 my first and only Stalker for many years was that silly “talking” dairy cow camo version. I used to get so jelous whenever i saw someone else with this one at school.

  5. Clutch

    I couldn’t agree more, Rob. Stalker was tops on my want list when I first began collecting Joes on an active basis after reading my first issue of the comic, the classic #12 (“Three Strikes for Snake-Eyes.”) The figure is solid, a timeless design which should have been kept on store shelves for at least one more year than expected, as was the case of Storm Shadow.

    Based on an actual friend of Larry Hama’s whom he wishes not to speak of in greater detail, it comes as no surprise that Stalker became one of the better characterized Joes of all time. Sadly enough, he didn’t receive an updated figure until the arctic suit version showed up in 1989. He was still being prominently featured in the comics as a part of Snakes’ ‘Nam vet buddies along with Tommy and Wade, but not as much in a leadership capacity. In my book, Stalker should always have been Hawk’s second-in-command.

    The majority of Stalker figures have indeed shown up well after his legendary status had been solidified, but to me the original figure remains iconic in both design and appeal.

    1. Jester

      I thought he WAS generally depicted in the comics as being the primary team leader in the field (Duke really didn’t move into this position until the early 90s).

      1. Clutch

        Yeah, Hama basically ignored Duke in the comic at first while keeping the spotlight on Stalker as field leader well into the mid-80’s, but Duke was firmly back in charge by the end of the run.

        From ’89 onwards, Stalker mostly helped his ‘Nam buddies out, went on the run from the Jugglers with Tommy, or merely tagged alongside Hawk during the book’s final years. One notable exception to this rule was his field command role at the Battle of Benzheen during the Trucial Abysmia story arc.

  6. Scot

    Two words: jungle cat. Stalker was the original badass (sorry, Snake Eyes). I used my figure extensively until both his thumbs were broken, then he became a pilot. As simple as this figure is, I never get tired of seeing him around.

    1. Jester

      Two words: jungle cat. Stalker was the original badass (sorry, Snake Eyes).

      Stalker himself would tell you otherwise.

  7. Neapolitan Joe

    “In my book, Stalker should always have been Hawk’s second-in-command.”
    I agree.
    He was the first real field commander, G.I.JOE team really did not need Mister “Captain America” Duke!

  8. Jeremy

    Stalker is probably my over all favorite Joe due to having him as a kid, I remember an older cousin of mine being somewhat amused of the line that Stalker ” was a warlord of a large urban street gang prior to enlistment.”As ch.archter, Stalker had honor and integrity as clearly shown during his forgien captivity in the gulags of Bolivia. I have always felt that chest camo looked like Pac-Man to this very day. I hope to some day get a swivel arm version, though I do think the 97 version is terrific also.

    1. Clutch

      The whole gulag storyline was awesome, right down to Stalker’s payback rifle duel with Mosiev. It truly was one of the grittiest issues ever in the series’ run.

  9. Rob Buzan

    The 1997 version is great, and has some terrific paint apps, especially considering the stinkers that were alongside him in that pack.

    1. Clutch

      That figure was one of the pack’s few saving graces. It was just as cool as having the ’83 version again.

  10. Carson

    Classic figure. I love the Green Berets. He definitely earned a spot on almost every mission I ran. He looked perfect alongside Joes like Falcon, Ripcord, Recondo, Footloose, Falcon, and Tunnel Rat.

    I always gravitated to the more military looking Joes, and he was the standout camo Joe of the early 80s.

    1. Jester

      Stalker is technically a Ranger though, despite the colour of his beret. The first actual “Green Beret” on the Joe team seems, ironically, to have been Duke.

  11. kurt_eh

    Issues 6 and 7 were my first G I Joe comics. And I credit those 2 comics to a lifetime of collecting.

  12. Leaky Suit Brigade

    I love all the international versions of this mold; Manleh and Red Stalker are awesome. And, if you are in the mood for Red Stalker I might know where one is….

    1. Rob Buzan

      Do tell…

      1. Leaky Suit Brigade

        I’d check out my blog tomorrow for something special :)

  13. Dreadnok: Spirit

    This is the standard when it comes to Stalker, but I don’t really like the face on this one. I much prefer the heads of the ’89 Stalker and talking Stalker to this one. If this figure had the head of the talking Stalker, this one would be perfect.

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