How many boxes of cereal would you buy as an adult collector in order to capture an exclusive figure? Would you have downed five boxes of Fruit Brute to get a free Membros figure? Come on, don’t be shy. If you’re a toy collector, you know you’ve done it, especially if you were collecting the Star Wars Power of the Force 2 line in the 90s. I’ll admit that I bought two boxes of Froot Loops to send away for the Han Stormtrooper figure. I proudly took those suckers to the checkout line. “Yes, Miss Checkout Lady Ma’am, this cereal is for me–and yes, I am sending in two proofs of purchase to acquire the Han Solo toy pictured on the back. And yes, I am single”
I got back into GI Joe collecting in 1992, just a tad late to take advantage of the Rice Krispies Lifeline offer. Would I have bought several boxes of sugary kiddie cereal in those early days of geekdom as brazenly as I did a few years later? Probably not. I did however pick the figure up bagged back in the days of Usenet trading/buying. Those were the days…
Of course, this Lifeline’s claim to fame is his legs. The story goes that Kelloggs didn’t want a mail-in figure with a weapon, so Lifeline gained the gun-less limbs of Frostbite. How true is this? Who knows, but it does make for an interesting story, much more so than the figure itself. The story also nicely ties in with the pacifist aspect of the character in the Sunbow cartoon. Now that I think about it, I wonder if the no gun story is based on the ‘toon portrayal and not a cereal company’s aversion to firearms? Does the GI Joe intelligentsia know the final word on this, or is it something that Snopes needs to investigate?