Stephen King is one of the most highly regarded authors in American history. He’s written countless excellent books under his name, and his pseudonym Richard Bachman, and he’s known as one of the world’s true masters of horror. Did you know he also has a big connection to our favorite Hasbro toy line? Let’s examine Stephen King’s relationship with G.I. Joe.
It’s said that it was the great author’s son’s great love for the toy and comic series that led to the conceptualization and execution of this frightful relationship. According to the G.I. Joe Wikia, King’s son Owen (remember that name for later in this post) was a giant G.I. Joe fan, and he wanted a magician to be added into the mix. Let’s see the fruits of King’s (and his son’s) labor, shall we?
Crystal Ball: Cobra Hypnotist
You’re getting sleepy. Sleeeeeeepy. Your eyes are geting very heavy. So tired… So, so tired. No, you’re not being hypnotized by Crystal Ball, the resident Cobra Hypnotist, you’re probably just bored to death by this action figure. Just kidding, I’m actually OK with this figure, but according to the Wikia, it’s one of the more hated figures by fans of the toy line. I mean, I don’t know what’s so bad about it. I do hope Dennis Farina (RIP) got loyalty payments for the use of his likeness though. Seriously, had King just seen Manhunter or something? OK, I know it’s probably based on Vincent Price, but come on. Dude’s got on a nice fur collar too. I’m also very impressed with his Spirograph creation, although I don’t really understand why he’s bringing that to battle. Oh, that’s his hypnotizer? Fair enough. I still think he drew it himself though, so Kudos, Crystal Ball!
What I do like about this figure is the detail put into his description. It’s in that description that we can see an inkling of a connection between this figure and the great author. You see, Crystal’s father was Romalian (I think that’s just a made up G.I. Joe country, and not a typo on the file card), but his mother was born in Bangor, Maine. Does that seem like an odd place for a Cobra hypnotist to be born? Well, it doesn’t seem like a strange place for a horror author to live! That’s right, King’s famous estate is located in Bangor, Maine. Pretty clever there, Hasbro. I’ll give you that!
My favorite part of his file card, which I’m sure you read above, is the following quote:
“Cobra doesn’t use torture to interrogate their prisoners, when Crystal Ball is having one of his good days, they simply don’t need to.”
C’mon on, man! Cobra doesn’t use torture to interrogate their prisoners? What kind of an evil organization are they? I call total bullshit on this. Also, what’s a “bad day” for Crystal Ball? Are we talking about when he’s just come down off of an all-night cocaine rager? I mean, look at his eyes! He’s clearly on something. I mean, hey; It was 1987. Would you be surprised if a couple of Cobra dudes were partying a little on the side? What does Cobra do when he’s on his coke-rager bad days? Is that when they resort to torture, or do they just not get any information out of anyone that day? Doesn’t seem very reliable, if you ask me.
Sneak Peek: Advanced Recon
In exchange for designing Crystal Ball, Hasbro allegedly agreed to name a G.I. Joe figure after King’s son. First of all, you should notice from the file card above that Sneak Peek is billed as being from Bangor, Maine, which, like in the case of Crystal Ball, should be telling. Secondly, his real name is Owen King, which, as we discussed earlier, is Stephen King’s son’s name. That’s clue number two. It’s also the last clue, because you really should have put two and two together after that.
Sneak Peek is a bit of a terrible figure as well. Basically, his job as advanced recon, is to go out ahead of the troops, watch the enemy and send back intelligence. So good was Sneak Peek at his job, that he would only come back when called, willing to stay out for as long as it took for the job to get done. The file card tells a funny story about one time, when he accidentally stayed out on recon for two weeks because nobody remembered to call him back! How funny is that? Oh wait, no. That’s dumb. He’s an idiot. Didn’t he get hungry? Didn’t he think to maybe radio in and find out what was going on? Why did they even tell that story on the file card? It’s like when your parents show people pictures of you in your underwear. There’s no need for the world to know about that, mom and dad!
Ahem… sorry, I got carried away. Anyway, if this guy’s supposed to hide out and do recon for days or weeks on end, why is he carrying a giant, neon green periscope? How did Cobra not spot this thing from five miles out and just light him up with their laser missiles? Look at that thing! It’s so bright and huge! Maybe Cobra should invest in some better advanced recon guys… Sneak Peek’s other things aren’t neon, so why the giant scope? That’s literally the last thing he’s carrying that should be neon green. His file card also says that, when the shit goes down, he’s got the balls to stay around… to watch! OK, I paraphrased, but you get what I’m saying. Thanks, Sneak Peek! Good to know that, when Cobra attacks us all, you’ll sit around watching it happen.
Any time you get an easter egg like this in your favorite toy line, it’s a pretty cool deal. This particular partnership may not have yielded the greatest action figures of all time, but it didn’t yield the worst, and that’s gotta mean something. Ah? Either way, Stephen King will forever be the master of horror, and I’m glad Hasbro made this deal. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.
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