Was ‘G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero’ Originally a Knockoff of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Some knockoffs ultimately become better than the original thing they were ‘knocked off’ of. I think a lot of it depends on how obvious of a knockoff it is (it seems the more successful ones end up being referred to as “tributes”). While some knockoffs are more obvious than others, I came across an article recently that claims G.I. Joe was nothing but a knockoff of Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D., which, as a lifelong G.I. Joe and comic book fan, I had never put together.

Now, the article calls G.I. Joe one of the 5 “Greatest Knockoffs in Comics“, so there is no intended slight to G.I Joe’s popularity and longevity, but it still struck me as an odd classification. Here’s author Chris Sims’ basis for the comparison:

Soldiers with super-technological weapons waging a kinda-secret battle against an organization that, for some reason, is always capitalized, and is involved in increasingly ridiculous plots of world domination.

Before you get your Snow Job undies in a bunch (you guys wear those too, right?), apparently there is a historical basis for labeling G.I. Joe as a knockoff:

When Larry Hama created Hawk, Scarlett and Snake-Eyes, his original intent was to provide Marvel with the next generation of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. called the Fury Force. Instead of Hawk, the team would’ve been led by Nick Fury’s kid, and rather than COBRA’s attempts to steal Alaska, employ mind-control perfume or take over the fast food industry with nuclear missiles, their opponents were slated to be the slightly scarier neo-Nazis of a resurrected HYDRA.

I guess this all makes some sense, but wasn’t the fast food scheme exclusive to the Red Rocket’s Glare episode of the Sunbow G.I. Joe cartoon series? Not that that point alone is enough to sustain a counter-argument. Also, does this mean we would have seen the U.S.S. Flagg (or it’s G.I. S.H.I.E.L.D. equivalent) take to the sky, Helicarrier style?

You’re playing with it wrong, kids. You have to pick it up. It flies!

There are a lot of people out there who know their Marvel and G.I. Joe history better than I do- was the 80s era G.I. Joe originally intended as a knockoff of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

READ ALSO: The 50 Greatest G.I. Joe Characters of All Time

Top image via YOJOE.com

 

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