Wild Bill (2004)
I wonder if they were going for a cowboy theme here? For the second time, the Joe helicopter pilot was stereotyped to the hilt. The Battle Corps version put him in 19th century US cavalry gear, and then a decade later this figure went full-on cowpoke. I don’t have a problem with it, simply an observation. But this look does lend itself to the joke of the Joes sometimes resembling the Village People. I don’t think the joke is warranted. In fact, I think Lanard’s CORPS line came closer to that territory. They had an actual motorcycle cop in their lineup.
What I get out of this figure is another example of an adventure character, a concept that the Joe line hasn’t effectively explored since the 70’s. There have been fits and starts, with the modern 12 inch and Sigma 6 Adventure Team sets, as well as the delightfully cheesy Adventures of GI Joe 2010 (from 1999). But the 3 & 3/4 inch lines have glossed over it. I think the smaller scale really lends itself to the concept. After all, look at what Fisher Price did in the past with the Adventure People, and does now with Imaginext, and also what Chap Mei is doing with its non-military lines.
Back to Wild Bill. He’s a fun figure, in a Rescue Heroes kind of way. I see him as Wild Bill when he’s off duty, and working at his ranch. He’s got his hat, boots and big work gloves, and of course he’s ready for trouble with his twin six-shooters (in snakeskin holsters). Bill even wears a big-ass belt buckle. He could have really used a horse though. Come on, Hasbro, where’s our official Joe-scale horse? I’m tired of borrowing from Indiana Jones and True Heroes.