New concepts for an American Hero

Archive for the ‘Character Art’ Category

Fast Draw, R.P.V. Driver

It’s been a little while, but here we are with another driver for a vehicle that came without one, missile specialist Fast Draw driving the R.P.V. (Remote Piloted Vehicle), which launches a drone back before drone warfare become such a big thing. (Vehicle image comes from

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Grand Slam, SLAM driver

We continue the driver series with one that admittedly is a bit of a cheat. This design for original team member Grand Slam is based on his appearances in G.I. JOE #59, the first issue to feature the SLAM vehicle. (The vehicle image here is borrowed from the really great website.)

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Zarana, Dreadnok Cycle driver

Back to giving a bad guys’ vehicle a driver it never had, with a version of Zarana to drive the Dreadnok Cycle!  (Vehicle photo from

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Steeler, Armadillo driver

The next vehicle driver is the team’s original tank driver, Steeler, assigned to drive the Armadillo mini-tank. He’s looking a little less formal, wearing a hat from his hometown’s NFL team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Wild Weasel, Flight Pod pilot

Adding to the list of drivers for vehicles that weren’t sold with them, we’ve got a new Wild Weasel ready to pilot the Cobra Flight Pod — aka the “Trubble Bubble.” (Vehicle photo from

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Spirit, Recon Sled driver

Another drivers-for-vehicles-without-them post, here is Spirit. And what better vehicle for a tracker than the LCV Recon Sled? One of the toy lines’ strangest but unique vehicles. And again, here’s a vehicle pic from!

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Torpedo, MANTA pilot

Continuing with giving drivers to G.I. Joe vehicles that didn’t come with one, here we have a version of Torpedo meant for the MANTA windsurfer toy, which was available through mail order only. Also, here’s a pic of the vehicle, borrowed from the great Joe website!

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Lady Jaye, Silver Mirage driver

Here we’re continuing with giving official drivers to vehicles that weren’t sold with action figures back in the day. Today we’ve got Lady Jaye, as the driver for the Silver Mirage motorcycle. This one has kind of a vintage look, but that’s nothing new looking at the classic era of figures.

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Airborne, Sky Hawk pilot

To get inspired to create new designs, it helps to try to come up with a theme. Here we’re starting something new. The premise of the next batch is giving drivers/pilots to some of the G.I. Joe vehicles that were sold without a figure, but to use existing characters. Starting with Airborne, Sky Hawk pilot. A new version of the little one-man aircraft did get a pilot (Tomahawk) in 2010, but here we’re talking about the original toy line.

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Tiger Force Clutch

Continuing our Tiger Force repaints, here is Clutch (along with his original design). The sub-team had the Tiger Sting, a repainted version of the Vamp Mk II. Who better to drive it?

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Slaughter’s Marauders Stalker

Once again, another “repaint” based on a figure’s first design. This time, Stalker has joined Slaughter’s Marauders. Here he is, next to his original look.

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Steel Brigade Grand Slam

The somewhat obscure Steel Brigade Command action figure set came with the expected generic troopers, but also included Gung-Ho and Dragonsky as commanders. A while back we had a Scarlett “repaint” here, and now we have a similarly themed Grand Slam.


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Tiger Force Steeler

Another action figure “repaint”, this time the team’s original tank commander, Steeler, gets a Tiger Force makeover. Here he is alongside his original design.


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Slaughter’s Marauders Rock ‘n Roll

Let’s go back to some repaints. This time it’s Rock ‘n Roll joining Slaughter’s Marauders. But this time, we’re basing it on the variation of Marauders’ uniforms as seen in the DIC cartoon series. As usual, we have the original Rock ‘n Roll here, too.


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Cobra Commander – Jungle Assault Squad

Continuing the Cobra jungle-themed sub team from a while back, here’s Cobra Commander as part of the Jungle Assault Squad.

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Stealth Jinx

There isn’t really much of a concept behind this beyond a new version of Jinx, but it turned out to be dark and maybe a little sinister, so Stealth Jinx seemed like a good description!

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Star Brigade Flash

Not much more to say here beyond… Here’s Star Brigade Flash!

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Star Brigade Lifeline

Star Brigade is one of G.I. Joe’s most infamous sub-teams. It included a lot of over the top designs, and many simple repaints, but I never thought it was a terrible concept. So, just on a whim I thought about making some new members, so here we have Lifeline, Star Brigade medic.

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New Voltar

Voltar is a somewhat obscure character and not often seen Iron Grenadier general. His figure does stand out thanks to that crazy gold helmet, purple uniform and pet condor. Here, we have a version that I think gives him a more realistic look but keeps him flamboyant enough to be Voltar.

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Tiger Force Cover Girl

Returning to the series of “repaint” figures, looking at what if some other characters became part of the early sub-teams. Here’s Cover Girl in Tiger Force colors alongside her original look.


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Zandar – Jungle Assault Squad

Here we’re continuing the Jungle Assault Squad, but it’s sort of cheating as it’s also a repaint. This is jungle gear Zandar alongside the original.


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Baroness – Jungle Assault Squad

We continue Cobra’s Jungle Assault Squad with the Baroness, a character that has rarely had any design that strayed too far from the original.

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Firefly – Jungle Assault Squad

Placing characters into different environments is always a good way to come up with a new concept. Here we have Cobra saboteur Firefly in a new jungle outfit. This may be the first of a team of “Jungle Assault Squad” Cobra agents.

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Cobra Laser Trooper

Hasbro gave us a Laser-Viper in 1990, but why wouldn’t Cobra have had a Laser Trooper earlier than that? This trooper is based on the idea of what that may have looked like back in 1982.

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(Evil) Breaker and Grunt

Sometimes the designs on this site are based on half an idea that sounds like fun. Here we have kind of a “mirror universe” where G.I. Joe is evil and Cobras are the good guys. These are pretty simple mostly “repaint” designs of Grunt looking more like a Cobra trooper, and a Tele-Vipery Breaker.


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Combat Keel-Haul

Here’s a new version of Admiral Keel-Haul, this time wearing something closer to an actual uniform you may find Navy officers wearing on a ship. I kind of imagine here the admiral has to quickly arm himself when Cobra boards his aircraft carrier.

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Crankcase – Slaughter’s Marauders

This “repaint” figure is another member of Slaughter’s Marauders. Despite having a few vehicles as part of the team, the Marauders had no official driver, so Crankcase has been given the job. Here he is alongside his original figure design.


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Cobra Tank Commander

Before the HISS tanks appeared, Cobra did have regular style tanks in the comic books. So, why not a Tank Commander based on the Cobra Stinger Driver mixed with a traditional army tank driver uniform?

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New Python Officer

This repaint is actually an update to an older Python Patrol figure. This Python Officer is updated to match the colors of second version of the sub team released in 2003. One confusing aspect of this figure was it was actually based on the 1983 Cobra trooper and not the Officer, so the second image is of the original trooper.


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Python Patrol Buzzer

Moving on with more figure “repaints”, here’s a follow-up to Python Patrol Zarana, another Dreadnok, Buzzer. As usual, he’s here alongside the original Buzzer.


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Tiger Force Airborne

We’re back to another of the “repainted” action figures, this time Tiger Force Airborne. Like most of the others, his original design is here, too.


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Snake-Eyes – Trimpe concept

The second post featuring early Herb Trimpe concept art for the original G.I. Joe. Here we have Snake-Eyes, looking mysterious but with his face visible. Colors here have to be improvised, so I gave him an appropriately dark outfit, but didn’t go all black like the final version of the character.

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Scarlett and Zap – Herb Trimpe concepts

Months back, the G.I. Joe Museum Facebook page posted concept art of some of the original G.I. Joe characters as designed by Marvel’s first G.I. Joe artist, Herb Trimpe. also posted the images here on their site. It is interesting to see that some of these are very similar to what eventually appeared, but some are not. Many do not even resemble Hasbro’s eventual action figure designs. In my mind, these could be seen as young versions of the Joes at the very start of the team. Here we have Scarlett and Zap based off Trimpe’s concepts.


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Tiger Force Gung-Ho

One more Tiger Force repaint, this time G.I. Joe‘s original Marine, Gung-Ho, alongside his original figure design.


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Tiger Force Sparks

An often-forgotten member of G.I. Joe is Sparks, who showed up in a few episodes of the original cartoon as another communications soldier, got no action figure, and didn’t appear again until a Devil’s Due comic in the 2000s, then made more comic appearances after that. He got a figure finally in 2007, but was built from other figures’ parts. This version is based on the cartoon, and his new Tiger Force design is inspired by the brightly-colored Action Force version of that team.


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Steel Brigade Command Scarlett

Another repaint sub-team is about as obscure as they come. The Steel Brigade Command set came with the expected generic soldiers, but also included Gung-Ho and Dragonsky. Here is Scarlett in a similar design to those figures, based on her original 1982 figure.


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Python Patrol Scrap-Iron

As the G.I. Joe convention rolls on this weekend, featuring some new Python Patrol sets, let’s continue the classic Python Patrol repaints with Scrap-Iron.


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Polar Force Zap

This repaint design is cheating a little, since Polar Force was invented just for this web site. Here we have Zap as a member of that team, beside the original 1982 version.


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Python Patrol Zarana

Another action figure repaint that never was, Python Patrol Zarana, alongside her original 1986 figure design.


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Hawk, Anti-Venom Task Force

Here we go with another “repaint” figure, this time it’s 1982 Hawk as a member of the Anti-Venom Task Force, a six-figure set from 2004. See it here on It’s a fairly obscure team, but with some interesting colors. As before, the original version of Hawk is here, too.


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Night Force Short-Fuze

Two days in a row? Here is another of the G.I. Joe repaints, turning original figure designs into one of the many Joe sub-teams. Today it’s Night Force Short-Fuze, alongside the original version.


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Slaughter’s Marauders Flash

As I did earlier with Grunt and Breaker joining Tiger Force, this time around we have the original Flash “repainted” as a member of Slaughter’s Marauders, the very strangely colored sub-team from 1989. This time, I’ve included the original version of Flash, too.


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Tiger Force Breaker

Some more fun using the original action figure designs, and making some “repaints.” This time we’ve got Tiger Force Breaker.

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Hardball – Polar Force

The new sub-team, Polar Force, continues with Hardball the grenadier. This time a lot more bundled up compared to his original “baseball uniform” look.

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Tiger Force Grunt

I was trying to faithfully recreate some of the original G.I. Joe action figure designs, but figured seeing the unchanged designs on this site would be somewhat boring content. So, here is Tiger Force Grunt, as if he were a repainted version of the original 1982 figure.

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Snake-Eyes & Cover Girl – Polar Force

Sub-teams in G.I. Joe are one way to be inspired to create some alternate designs for characters. This site may invent more as a common theme for characters. Here we have Polar Force, another excuse for the often popular “arctic” theme, along with their own polar bear patch. To start, here’s Snake-Eyes and Cover Girl.


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Oktober Guard, Pt 8 – Horror Show

And finally, the last member of the Oktober Guard. Horror Show the Georgian is probably the most memorable of the team besides Daina, and was one of the most prominent in the original G.I. Joe cartoon series. He was designed here with an attempt to make him look bigger than the usual characters seen here.

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Oktober Guard, Pt 7 – Ruslan

Today we’ve got the most obscure member of the Guard, Ruslan. He was a young member of the team that appeared in only a few scenes in the G.I. Joe: America’s Elite “World War III” storyline, and didn’t even have any dialogue.

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Oktober Guard, Pt 6 – Big Bear

The next member of the Oktober Guard is Big Bear, the last new member added to the original toy line era. Here, we’re playing more into his anti-armor specialty then his original figure, which made him look more like an arctic trooper.

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Oktober Guard, Pt 5 – Brekhov

Getting back to the Oktober Guard, here is original team leader, Colonel Brekhov. As before, these designs ignore the stories so this is a modern Brekhov despite the character dying in the comics years ago. The Colonel was born in Ukraine so these days he wouldn’t technically be Russian. His design includes a Ukraine flag and a symbol of its armed forces.

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Jinx Character Design Timeline

The Oktober Guard will return later, but now it’s another character design timeline, this time Jinx. The choice of Jinx was made sort of randomly, after just looking for a character with some interesting design differences and that didn’t have TOO many versions. There are more versions of Jinx than you may realize. (There may be a Snake-Eyes timeline in the future, but that would be a LOT of variations to tackle.)

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Oktober Guard, Pt 4

Continuing with the updated Oktober Guard, we have Dragonsky the flamethrower/mechanic who first showed up in the Guard’s second comic appearances. Then it’s Sgt. Misha, who was one of the new replacements years later. Both are Russians.


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Oktober Guard, Pt 3 – Daina

Next up for the updated Oktober Guard is maybe the best known member, Daina, who survived the deaths of most of the original Guard, and even joined the G.I. Joe team as “Vorona” in the Devil’s Due series. She’s got her sniper rifle here, and an attempt at Czech Army insignia on her uniform.

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Oktober Guard, Pt 2

The updated Oktober Guard continues, this time with some lesser-known members. First, one of the replacement members from the Marvel days, Lt. Gorky of the Russian Naval Infantry’s Black Sea Fleet. Even more obscure is Wong, the only Chinese member, appearing in a single episode of the ’80s G.I. Joe cartoon. He was mostly used as comic relief. This version sticks with the “cowboy” design but with a more military tone.


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Oktober Guard, Part 1

After creating mostly Joes and a few Cobras, let’s change things up with new designs for the Soviet Union’s equivalent of G.I. Joe, the Oktober Guard. We have seen them since the fall of the USSR, though it doesn’t really make sense for them to still exist. Though most of the original Guard was killed in Larry Hama’s comic we’re still using the originals here, and giving them updated uniforms including the flags and some uniform details of their modern home countries.

To start we have Stormavik the Russian, and Schrage the (formerly East) German:


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Heather Collins

Recent issues of Larry Hama’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero reintroduced Heather Collins, the daughter of Wade and sister of Sean who we first saw as a child. Despite being a civilian she proves to be a skilled hacker and a capable fighter. Here she is if she did join the Joes.

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Dial-Tone – Urban Assault Team

The final member of the six-Joe Urban Assault Team is the team’s communication expert, Dial-Tone. This also happens to be the 100th post on this blog! Thanks for following along, and there will be more to come!

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Clutch – Urban Assault Team

The newest member of the Urban Assault Team, Clutch. The original G.I. Joe driver seems like a good choice to be speeding through the city to backup the team.

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Bullet-Proof – Urban Assault Team

More of the Urban Assault Team, this time its leader: Bullet-Proof. Last seen leading the Joes’ D.E.F., he has a more “law enforcement” design here.

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Red Zone – Urban Assault Team

It’s been a while again, but now we continue with the next member of the Urban Assault Team, following Mayday and Mutt. Red Zone is a pretty obscure character, only appearing in the 2006’s Plague Troopers vs. Steel Brigade set as Steel Brigade’s urban assault expert. A fact not noticed by me until after coming up with this concept! His file name (Luke Ellison) and his likeness come from a real fan who won a contest to be made into a G.I. Joe figure. Note that Red Zone proudly displays his Steel Brigade patch!

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Mutt & Junkyard – Urban Assault Team

After creating a new design for Mayday earlier, I thought of focusing on other characters who could also specialize in urban warfare. This newly designed Mutt (with Junkyard) was meant to compliment her design, and others will soon follow as part of a G.I. Joe Urban Assault Team. Customizers have been known to create action figures with common themes, and this is the same idea.

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Updated Cutter

Today we have a sometimes-forgotten G.I. Joe character, Cutter, the team’s only member from the Coast Guard. Here his uniform is similar to the modern uniforms worn by the Guard.

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New Mayday

In the early 2000s, Devil’s Due gave us the G.I. Joe recruit Paige Adams, who went on to become a full-fledged member code named Mayday. (Not to be confused with G.I. Joe Extreme character Mayday.) This new design includes “urban camo” to match her Urban Warfare Specialist title.

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New Dr. Venom

Here’s a new version of Dr. Venom, this time trying something other than the traditional “scientist in a lab coat” look.

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For a brief change of pace…

More of the usual style designs seen on this site are in the works, but here is something from a fun website. The SP-Studio website allows visitors to design characters in the style of the Comedy Central cartoon South Park. That show is not exactly in keeping with the family-friendly tone of G.I. Joe. But it was fun playing with the site. Maybe a few more will show up now and then.

Here’s Stalker and Joe Colton


Gung-Ho character design timeline

This has only been done twice before, once for Grunt, and a much longer one for Scarlett. Gung-Ho‘s character design timeline includes 24 variations of the Cajun Marine, though a few simple repaints were left out. Obviously these take a long time to create, but hopefully you’ll see others now and then.

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New Gears

1994 Star Brigade action figure Gears was another straight repaint of another figure, 1992’s Barricade. He came with the Power Fighter mech, but his filecard says he is an “invention technician” so this outfit is meant to fit in well at an R&D lab.

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New T’Gin-Zu

The 1997-2002 era of G.I. Joe was not the only time straight repainted figures became new characters. Ninja Force included T’Gin-Zu, the operator of the Pile Driver vehicle and repainted Storm Shadow. This variation makes him more unique, muting the bright colors and mixing the ninja style with a more typical G.I. Joe driver design.

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New Vypra, Cobra courier

Another of the “clone” action figures released in The Real American Hero Collection of 1997-2002, Vypra has appeared a few times since, always as a Jinx repaint. That includes a 2015 release. Here, some earlier Vypra elements remain, but most ninja elements are gone.

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New Rumbler

Wow, two updates in two days! Today’s concept is for an obscure character that came with the remote control Crossfire vehicle, Rumbler. I don’t think he ever showed up in any stories (the Marvel comic incorrectly used his code name for Armadillo instead), and he’s just a cobbled together figure. This is somewhat inspired by Rumbler being the latest Joe featured at This new Rumbler is based on a NASCAR driver, combining those colorful logo-covered outfits with some military details.


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Soldier Serpentor

Now for a sort of random concept. What if Serpentor spent more time on the battlefield and dressed in something more appropriate than his snake “costume”? Here, Serpentor is dressed more like a modern soldier but adds some ancient Roman-style armor and weapons, so he can fight alongside his troops.


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IDW’s Hard Drive

IDW has introduced new variations on a number of characters. Hard Drive, a sometimes overlooked character from the Valor vs. Venom toy line, reappeared as a female character in “Season 2” of IDW’s G.I. Joe and appeared prominently in their Special Missions series. This is one of several uniforms she appeared in.


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New Beach Head

An updated version of Beach Head, this time ditching the balaclava and giving him a Ranger beret. no special theme here, just “new Beach Head.”


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Marcy Malone

Here is a character many have never seen. A while back, cartoonist Ryan Dunlavey provided alternate covers for some of IDW’s G.I. Joe series chronicling the story of Marcy Malone: Intern of Cobra! The only person to join Cobra for the college credits. Click here to see the whole story.


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IDW’s Brainstorm and Ronin

While fans sometimes overlook new G.I. Joe material in favor of the “classic” Joes, IDW’s comics have introduced characters to the canon, too. From those books, here are tech guy/scientist Brainstorm, and Ronin (formerly known as Chameleon). Both characters’ designs vary in their different appearances, so these include some elements from various issues.

brainstorm-idw  ronin-idw

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