Gung Ho (1997)
Gather round all ye Joe fans and let Uncle Joe A Day tell you a story of the dark days of the mid to late 90’s. They were dark times indeed. With nary a small Joe on a shelf, wandering bands of collectors were forced to venture into the wilderness of flea markets, garage sales and swap meets to stifle their hunger for Joes. It was a lawless, wild time; when information was scarce and sketchy, and magazines with arbitrary price guides dominated the landscape. There was no EBay, and the tubes of the internet had yet to be completely connected. Collectors sometimes even exchanged information and made purchases via the Web 0.5 entity known as Usenet.
After two years of a dearth of new product, Toys R Us stepped into the gap and released an exclusive series based on some of the earliest Rel American Hero molds. Early prototype pictures were exciting, showcasing 1982 to 1985 molds with fresh and apparently well detailed paint schemes. But as happens within the toy industry, things changed between prototype and release. What we ended up with was lackluster at best. And that’s the place from which this Gung Ho hails. I assume they were going for a different look, while trying to pay homage to Gung Ho’s original colors while making him look more military accurate, but the paint buckets must have gotten mixed up somewhere along the line.
Sure most of the 1997 series were sub-par and some were downright terrible, but we sucked it up and took it like men (who buy toys). Did we complain? Of course, it’s in every collector’s DNA. But in our hearts we were grateful–grateful I tell ya! There was new stuff to buy again! So the next time you get peeved about the latest Joe offerings, take a look at Gung Ho here. Take a long hard look, and remember that it could always be worse.
“…arguably one of the ugliest Joe figures of all time.”
-Don from the Flag Points podcast
“I heartily agree with you, sir. You’re a gentleman and a scholar.”
-Joe A Day