Hasslein Blog: G.I. Joe: Ride of the Valkyrie


Hasslein Blog

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

G.I. Joe: Ride of the Valkyrie

By James McFadden

Just released last week, G.I. Joe: TheComplete Collection, Volume 2 not only continues to reprint Marvel's G.I. Joe comics in a high-quality, hardcover collection, but also includes an in-depth look at the creation of Larry Hama's profiles for two prominent characters: Destro and Duke.

In the book's introduction, Mark Bellomo discusses Hama's development of Destro (under an alternate code name) and shares the arms dealer's original typewritten profile. One excised, seemingly forgotten bit of lore is the fact that Destro operates from a "custom-converted oil super-tanker, the Valkyrie." The concept of an ocean-going command center isn't surprising coming from Hama. In a few issues of the G.I. Joe comic series, Destro is seen transporting his troops in a converted cruise ship, while others feature Cobra Commander actually using an oil tanker as a base of operations.

Panel from G.I. Joe #73

Panel from G.I. Joe #117

But was the concept of the Valkyrie itself abandoned? Not quite. Though Larry Hama's detailed character profiles helped defined the entire G.I. Joe franchise, he had no real involvement in the popular G.I. Joe cartoon. Even so, it appears that even his unused concepts influenced the series. The Valkyrie finally does appear in the 1985 cartoon episode, "The Synthoid Conspiracy, Part II." In that episode, Cobra has replaced key military officers with artificial imposters known as synthoids, who shut down the G.I. Joe team and make the Joes outlaws (a plot that may sound vaguely familiar to moviegoers). Destro, recently offended by Cobra Commander, offers his old enemies refuge on his ship, the Valkyrie. When the ship finally appears, it happens to look exactly like an oil tanker-turned-aircraft carrier.

The Valkyrie

The Valkyrie never appeared again in any corner of the franchise, but with G.I. Joe movies, toys and comic books still going strong, it may only be a matter of time before someone dusts off the concept.

G.I. Joe: The Complete Collection, Volume 2—including Mark Bellomo's introduction and behind-the-scenes notes for every issue—is now available. The original G.I. Joe cartoon series is available on DVD and streaming on Netflix.

James McFadden has written more than a dozen articles for the United Kingdom's Official Star Wars Fact File, as well as the article "The Forgotten War" for StarWars.com. In addition, James has contributed to a number of fan Web sites. His first book, Fightingfor Freedom: The Unauthorized G.I. Joe Chronology, is coming soon from Hasslein Books.

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