“That’s right, boo. I’m the fucking emperor.“
There is so much more to G.I. Joe than a cartoon designed to shill action figures for Hasbro. G.I. Joe was, and still is, one of the edgiest cartoons made for children, featuring a rich and immersive character culture, adult themes such as terrorism, and a “too smart for their own good” series of plot-lines. While G.I. Joe was made for children of my generation, it still holds up today next to only a few other cartoons that can be enjoyed as much (or more so) as an adult than as a child.
G.I. Joe certainly had its fair share of generic throwaway episodes, but when it was smart, it was brilliant. The storyline that left the greatest impact on me is also the one that is singlehandedly responsible for my love of history. Way back in 1986, G.I. Joe ran a 5-part mega event in which Cobra, the coolest terrorist group of all time, combed the tombs of the greatest leaders in history, stole their DNA, and then cloned a perfect emperor. For an impressionable youth like myself, this was everything.
Serpentor was amazing. A man made of better men who had a bitchin’ air chariot and wore snake armor. Serpentor gave zero fucks. He didn’t ask, he commanded. He threw snakes at people and would backhand his followers with the precision of a pimp and the ruthlessness of Chris Brown.
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