Behind the scenes of G.I. Joe – Heath Snake-Eyes

Today’s art peak brings you several photocopies of Russ Heath’s model sheets for the 1985 season of the animated G.I. Joe.  While the Snake-Eyes action figure was iconically all black, the TV series had previously shown him in dark blue.  (All black doesn’t “read” well in animation.)  For 1985, SE went dark grey, which to my eye reads better than the dark blue and works better as a stand-in for black since dark blue is already associated with Cobra.  Russ Heath’s front view:

Clearly based, as many of his drawings were, on Hasbro’s internal presentation artwork:

This one, a black and white photocopy, doesn’t have a signature, and I’ll admit I don’t know who painted it.  To my eye it’s not Ron Rudat — the proportions and clothing folds don’t match with work that I know is Rudat.  The anatomy is tight, which says George Woodbridge, but his Joe work was colored and black ink, not rendered paintings.  Maybe one of you eagle eyed Joe collectors can correct me in the comments.  There is a slightly better reproduction of this image, still a black and white photocopy of a color photocopy, though, in Vincent Santelmo’s Official 30th Anniversary Salute to G.I. Joe.

Two more views by Heath:

And SE’s undercover disguise, drawn by Bruce Timm, from the beginning of “Battle for the Train of Gold.”  To give you a sense of the timeline, this was drawn in August 1984, and the episode aired 14  months later.

And what appears to be an unused alternate from same.

I’m not sure where in the storyline of “Train” there would have been an opportunity for SE to wear this, but there is a horse farm in act 3, so who knows?

3 Comments

Filed under Animation, G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes

3 responses to “Behind the scenes of G.I. Joe – Heath Snake-Eyes

  1. Wow! This stuff needs to be seen! That Hasbro SE presentation artwork is beautiful. Cliche, maybe, but 85 SE is my fav!

  2. Russ Heath’s daughter was an English teacher at my middle school. (12 years ago)

    • That’s a funny coincidence, Kevin. I’m trying to think of anything similar in my experience, but I don’t have anything. My buddy in grade school was nephew to a Star Trek: The Next Generation cast member, but that’s not G.I. Joe-related. Heath drew a Joe commission for me a few months ago. It’s great.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s