Thursday, June 12, 2014

1992's Firefly lives up to his namesake.



It was the summer of 1992. My parents and I were making the trek to Berlin, Maryland for a long weekend of cooking out and fishing with my uncle and his family. He wasn't technically an uncle, but one of those people that had been friends with my parents so long, he was practically family. My "uncle" had a son that was a few years older than me, but he never acted like he was too old or too cool to play with action figures. So I loaded up a bunch of my G.I. Joes, expecting to spend the weekend fishing and playing with toys until my fingers bled.





On the way up to Berlin, my parents made one last stop at the Ames department store. They needed some last minute paper plates, or beer or something. I don't know. They needed to buy whatever people forget when they leave home on a short vacation. While they were busy picking up some last minute items, I made my way over to the toy section. I already had a buttload of toys packed away in the car, but I wanted something I could play with on the way there. So I looked over the aisles, and noticed there were new G.I. Joe figures hanging from the pegs. As a child, you are faced with many hard decisions. Which movie/game do I want to rent? What cereal do I want this week? Which figure(s) do I want to buy? It might not seem that important now, but when you're 11 years old and have a limited amount of allowance money, the wrong decision could be life threatening. Or at the least, it could mean a weekend full of regrets. I can't remember the other figures I bought on this particular trip, but I do know that one of them was Firefly.


The original Firefly is one of those figures I had always wanted. For me, only Snake Eyes was cooler, and only by a small margin. So, when I saw a new version of Cobra's number one saboteur, I just had to buy him. It's hard to believe now, but this was only the second version of Firefly released. It's quite a change from his original look too. Where the first Firefly wore gray camouflage clothing, this one looks as bright as his insect namesake. Maybe that was the point. He got tired of blending in, so he went neon. Granted, this was about the time G.I. Joe was all neon and missile launchers anyway, so you can't blame him. It was the 90's, everyone was doing it.


I'm pretty certain that I had all but two of the figure listed on the back. Most of them were probably bought at the exact same Ames store. The cardbacks hadn't changed too much by this point. You still got an overview of the charcters in the main line, but they also mentioned the other sub-series that were available that year. The big concernss in the early 90's were drug use and the environment, and G.I. Joe was there to blast both of them into little pieces. Also, ninjas. There were a lot of ninjas back then.


The filecards still gave us a little background info on the character, but now they also give a breakdown of their gear. So now you know what all those little bits and pieces that are molded on to his body actually are. I think most of them are needlessly wordy though. For example, is it really necessary to call it a delayed detonation shrapnel bomb, when "grenade" would work just as well? The same could be said for his spinning lethal blade launcher armament. Just call it a death top and be done with it.


The figures from this year really didn't come with too many accessories.  You basically got their main rifle, then some sort of launcher. This was the year before they started including a bajillion guns with each figure. Firefly's rifle is a pretty accurate representation of an HK G3, just a little greener. Speaking of green, I'm still puzzling over the choice of color for his uniform. This is a guy that has to sneak in, blow some stuff up, then get out before he's seen. With a uniform that bright, he might as well carry a boom box over his shoulder the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" blasting at full volume. Despite his fashion choices, it looks like Firefly must be doing well on Cobra's payroll, since he only seems to buy gold plated explosives. He's got his gold plated detonators, gold grenades, and even a gold plated launcher for his spinning top of death.


Speaking of that spinning top of death, it's one of the more unusual launching weapons to come with a figure. Everyone else was happy with conventional missile launchers, but no, not Firefly. Always the showman, he wanted something with a bit more panache. And you can't spell panache without big, bladed tops of death.



I bet you're all wondering how well the top works. If you're on a perfectly smooth, flat surface, it works great. Sadly, the platform I was using was neither smooth nor flat, so it would only spin a few seconds before toppling over. I have to question the effectiveness of a weapon that requires a perfectly smooth surface to be effective. If your ultimate weapon can be defeated by a patch of carpet or some dirt, it's time to reconsider things.

So that's 1992's Firefly. He may dress like he's colorblind, and he has an odd choice of weaponry, but he's still tops in my book.


8 comments:

  1. HAHA...Great commentary! Yeah the neon look doesn't translate well for someone trying to be sneaky and be in sabatage...I think he should have changed careers to walking NY billboard. People would notice.

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    1. Or he could have been one of those sign twirlers. He'd rake in the money.

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  2. The Retaliation version of Firefly is truer to this 90s rendition.

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    1. I was thinking about that as I was writing this post. I think he even had a "light-up" action too.

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  3. Great story from your past Chris and so very true on spending your hard earned money as a kid on the right thing.

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    1. Thanks John. That's the thing about an allowance, spend it on the wrong thing, and you had a whole week to stew about it.

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    2. That's another great idea for a post Chris.Childhood action figure/video game regrets!

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    3. Ooh..you're right Tony. There were sooo many wasted allowances over the years..

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