Doc was among the first group of replacements in the Joe comic, and I still remember seeing the commerical one morning before school. I just had to have the Polar Battle Bear afterwards. As wonderful as the toys and comic were, the one-two punch of marketing brilliance in an animated comic book commercial was equally important in getting us little guys begging our parents to buy GI Joes.
Though Doc was a pacifist, he didn’t have a problem throwing down on Destro (with a snowball and a solid tackle) on his first mission. Doc didn’t come out the victor by a long shot, but he did get credit for saving his fellow Joes by securing an antidote from Destro in the scuffle. Doc actually gets quite a large role and some great characterization in that debut appearance.
The 1983 Joes are still among my favorites, both for the explosion of specialties as well as accessories. Doc filled out the ranks with a much needed medic. It’s a long standing army toy tradition; even my old green Marx army men had a couple of tiny stretcher bearing figures. Though he wasn’t equiped with a weapon, Doc still saw a lot of use, thanks to his essential battlefield skills and his great stretcher accessory. Unlike my poor little Marx medics who walked around forever empty-handed, I never misplaced my Joes’ stretcher.
Back to the Marvel comic, Doc was later one of a group of Joes who were gunned down by the murderous SAW Viper in Trucial Abysmia. It’s disappointing that he was a part of such brutal character house-cleaning. I didn’t have a problem with most of Battle Force 2000 getting eighty-sixed in a further culling of the ranks, but I would rather have seen an old friend like Doc simply retired or kicked upstairs.