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.