The Power of Packaging: 1985 Bazooka

1980s GI Joe often gets the brunt of jokes about wacky uniforms. If I had a nickel for every time a (usually online) media outlet writer made an overly precious observation comparing the toy/cartoon cast to the Village People, I’d have a pretty hefty piggy bank. Yes—haha—the GI Joe team had several colorful characters within the ranks, and 1985 was a big year for odd ducks.

I hate to go back to this well every time we feature a TPOP entry, but there’s no way around the fact that the character art on packaging was superb. From the rendering to the pose and even lighting, the subjects explode right off the cardboard—even the offbeat guys and gals were compelling. What a brilliant ploy to convince kids to collect them all.


  • Rumor was that Bazooka’s jersey is based on the 85 Patriots.Makes sense since Hasbro is located in the New England area.

  • ”Bazooka was always show in the Hasbro cartoon episodes of ”G.I. Joe:A Real American Hero”, put out by Sunbow,teaming up with Alpine, and the rest of the joes , in almost all of the episodes,during the 1980’s.Acted like he always looked for approval from Alpine or other joes , instead of using his own judgement against Cobra.”

    • I agree with your comment. I like Bazooka a lot, and the fact that sometimes he was funny in the Sunbow cartoons, but, I would have preferred that he had been done as a serious character, instead of been done as a comic relief one.

  • I wish the figure looked as tough and determined as the card art. My dislike for Bazooka aside, I will say that when Hasbro decided to launch their European ACTION FORCE in 1988 (or was it 1987?), they went with the solid 1985 series of JOES along most of the Cobras from that same year (minus Torch) plus Destro, Cobra soldier and Storm Shadow. It was a solid line-up or memorable characters and Hasbro knew it.

  • Thank you for showing both sides of the card. Anyway, you are so right about the Village People. They even made fun of that in an episode of The Venture Brothers. Even though some of the Joes in 1984 got colorful uniforms, 1985 was the year that most of them got colorful uniforms(even Tollbooth was released with a bright red helmet, even though in the cartoons his helmet was painted in green, Army green). Even some of the bad guys were done like that, also. That year the Joe figures went in a totally different direction from the 1982 green uniforms, which were worn by U.S. Army guys(all of the 1982 Joes were Army soldiers, fact). And then came 1983, with the Marine Gung-Ho, and his almost neon blue uniform, and the Air Force pilot Ace, with his white, and red, astronaut uniform. And from there on, the Joes’ uniforms just kept on getting more colorful. Then came the 90’s, and we all know what happened then. And how was Bazooka able to hold that backpack on to his back without any web gear, but, Outback needed them to hold his backpack?

  • Never really understood his handheld rocket launcher and wasn’t big on the red jersey, but the seriousness of his card art sold me. I remember buying him off the pegs at Walmart with Flint.

    • I liked that he was a tank driver. That made him the perfect 2nd fiddle for the Mauler. The fact that he was somewhat redundant since Footloose also had a rocket launcher really helped him being locked inside the Mauler, too.

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