Thursday, June 13, 2013

Serpentor v1 - GI Joe '86

Serpentor the Cobra Emperor was a great figure and a cool character created by Hasbro, who then had to be shoehorned into the comic and cartoon stories. Both handled his well, but it was awkward having a new character who was the leader above the original leader, Cobra Commander.

I still remember being in first grade and we had to draw what we wanted for Christmas. This kid near me drew a funky drawing of Serpentor and his Air Chariot. Later in the school year I would become best friends with that kid. If you've read anything on the blog where I mention my buddy Derek or see his name in any of the Animation Creation and Action Figure Adventures credits... he knew a cool toy when he saw one even in first grade. I didn't think he'd get Serpentor because this is 1988 almost 1989, but his parents found one on the shelves somewhere. (This brings up something I want to talk about in a future post about how toy marketing has changed with waves of products vs years)

Serpentor is really a vehicle pilot. He came with the Air Chariot as well as a bunch of great accessories. He has a cool cobra backpack/hood, a green sparkly cape (mine is ripped), a silver knife, and a golden snake. There are several variations to the color of the snake. His entire outfit is a really cool gold, yellow, and green snake motif armor. His snake head helmet being the coolest part.

As a kid one time, my original Serpentor's helmet cracked off his head while another one of my buddies was playing with him. (If you want to read about this or other GI Joe horror stories from my childhood check out this older article) I was devastated. He was such a cool figure and was so ugly afterwards. I've never seen another one without his helmet, but I see lots with broken fangs.

A buddy of mine named Paul (who is a toy and video game reseller - his video game show, Too Many Games, is this weekend.) gave me a Serpentor who has a broken fang and a broken arm just so I could crack his helmet off to show people. After I removed the helmet I glued it back together and filed off the fangs.

He really is ugly. He's got the big bald head with bushy eyebrows like Darth Vader under that thing. The top of his head is very square and he has no chin. It's just freaky. Clearly they didn't plan on the helmet coming off when they glued it on in the factory. There is also a variation of Serpentor where his neck is painted yellow. I've owned at least 4 of him in my life, (and seen dozens go through Paul's business) and I have yet to see the yellow neck version in person. Something for me to keep my eyes out for at the flea markets I guess.


  1. With out his hood he looks like Jason from Friday the 13th lol.

  2. He looks like the snake man in Dreamscape!

  3. Awesome and tragic to see him finally unmasked!

  4. Wow! I've never seen him without his helmet! I really liked this figure. From the sparkly cape to the whole snake look, he was so cool. And I look forward to your future post about marketing of toys. Because that is so true. There were certain toy lines that were still available at TRU or Children's Palace years after they ceased to be made. Things have changed for sure. I can't wait to read it! And that is really cool that you are still friends with your friend Derek after all these years! Hope you are doing well.

    1. Well, I guess I'll write that post sooner rather than later since you are so interested in the topic. Today is actually Derek's birthday... but he has been living in Europe for the past 6 months or more. I got a little sentimental last night and wrote this post which was about a toy that in my mind has a strong connection to him.