Today we resume the GI Joe Of The Day with the character that started it all for me, GI Joe’s Laser Rifle Trooper, Flash. Flash would be the very first GI Joe I would ever pick up. He started me on my whole fascination all things Joe including my vast collection of 3 & 3/4″ A Real American Hero action figures and vehicles.
Going from memory here, Flash’s real name was Anthony S. Gambello and he was from Lodi, California, a memorable fact for me since my home state of New Jersey also has a Lodi not far from where I grew up.
Now my history with GI Joe began with some scraps of the larger 1960’s Joes inherited from my brother. I was never too keen on those since those larger figures with their cloth clothing reminded me too much of dolls. I did however always admire their detailed weapons and accessories. The A Real American Hero 3 & 3/4″ line had all those accessories plus vehicles and playsets and a durability that those larger earlier figures lacked.
GI Joe seemed to go away for a while during the 70’s. My reconnection to the franchise came when I encountered the A Real American Hero line for the very first time at the legendary Heroes World comic shop in the Livingston Mall of Livingston, NJ. I remember seeing the wall of this amazing new line of figures. The figures were small but fairly detailed… at least by the standards of the very early 80’s post-Kenner Star Wars action figures. They came with at least one weapon and most had an additional accessory like a backpack of some kind. Although the initial wave, known as the Original 13 to Joe collectors, was largely built on a handful of repeated parts and used about two or three bodies, each figure looked distinct enough and specialized enough to be an entirely separate unique character. Flash was even more unique with his red padding and visor. Plus he had that cool laster rifle with the line that attached to his backpack. He hooked me immediately. Soon, I’d add Breaker, Snake Eyes and many more to my GI Joe army.
Flash here is on 9″ x 12″ Bristol paper. He was colored with Copic and Chartpak markers. More Joes are on the way so please keep checking back here.
Now you know… and knowing is half the battle!