Apr 032009

Back when I was a kid, there was this insane little phenomenon called G.I.Joe. Apparently Joe started out as some sort of boy’s version of the Barbie but by the mid 80’s, he had shrunk down to a five inch toy fully accessorized with CRAZY. The old Joe wore army fatigues and had sensible weapons. The new Joe was about 50 figures, all different shades of the rainbow and equipped with Ninja swords and laser rifles. It was like some sort of science fiction military that looked like the Justice League. I loved it.

And then there were the women. The good guys had a token girl. She was a redhead named Scarlet and her gun was a crossbow. Hmm, that seems silly now. I had a Scarlet and she was always dating my favorite Joe at the time, whomever he may be.

The bad guys got a token female named Baroness. Black hair, black leather and most important of all, she had glasses. Heck, I think she was the only toy I had ever seen with glasses. 14 year old Shon had glasses and so did an evil woman with an undetermined accent. Obviously we had a lot in common.

G.I.Joe was a huge franchise. They had a cartoon series that was written by many ex-comic book writers. The actual comic book was a surprisingly mature book that introduced young Shon to such terms like ‘extreme prejudice’. The comic also introduced a subplot where Baroness was in love with a Scottish Arms Dealer named Destro. I remember at one point Baroness sacrificed herself to save Destro and was horribly scarred by a fire. Young Shon was very upset. I didn’t see Scarlet sacrificing herself. Baroness was obviously the better woman.

Looking back, it is easy to see why so many geeks my age still have a thing for Baroness. The glasses are a big key as she was essentially the first geek girl many of us would encounter. Princess Leia was a tomboy, Dale Arden was a victim and Wonder Woman was a goddess, but Baroness had glasses and in the 80’s that made you a nerd no matter how sexy your leather outfit. At the time, being a bad girl was a determent. Today that would get you a blog and a Suicide Girl interview.

The picture is a sketch from the fabulous Frelncr. He was selling some of his preliminary sketches and although I usually have little interest in art of franchise characters, I couldn’t resist picking up this one of Baroness. It’s amusing and a little juvenile which is something young Shon would have drooled over every waking moment. Now I just need to finish that time traveling mail system.

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