The 11th Joe A Day of the Holidays
Just one more day to go until the final day of our 12 day holiday celebration, and this one ties in nicely to Christmas Eve for me. My family has always had the tradition of exchanging gifts during that evening, rather than the usual morning routine. I think it sprang from my parents not wanting us kids to bug them another day about opening gifts. My sister in particular was especially brutal about pestering Mom and Dad to open at least one gift early. She usually got her wish.
Issue number 11 of the Marvel GI Joe comic ties in well with some of the gifts I received on Christmas Eve, 1983. I had obtained a three pack which included two characters (Doc and Snow Job) who debuted in this very issue. Doc and Snow Job were more than a passing part of the story, and both got a memorable intro within the comic mythos. The Polar Battle Bear, another winter favorite, made its initial appearance right here, along with the gliders and HISS tanks. Wow, that’s an impressive lineup of newness. Sure, the cynical could just call it product placement for a toy line, but that would be discounting the solid Larry Hama storytelling. These were issues that you wanted to read, and not just to see what new pieces of hardware the Joes or Cobra might trot out.
The animated TV spot for this issue also sticks out in my mind, not only for the cool snow action, but for the introduction of the new mystery Cobra agent. Looking back at this issue, I think it stands out as one of the great landmarks of the 80s Joe line’s early years. It was an exciting yarn, a great jumping-on point for new readers, and set the stage for so much of the future of the Marvel comic run. Iconic stuff.