I got into G.I. Joe in its 3rd year, so while I hadn’t missed the VAMP (or the VAMP 2) at retail, other “basic” vehicles were vying for my attention and dollars — the Snow Cat, the A.W.E. Striker. But the VAMP is such a visible part of the first ten episodes of the animated show that I always wanted one. And even though my family wasn’t connected to military culture I knew from magazines and history that the iconic military Jeep was, well, iconic. So I always wanted G.I. Joe’s Jeep to be a part of my toy play. (Our agents of Cobra had their Stingers — the VAMP repainted in black — and I did finally get a bright yellow VAMP in the form of the Tiger Sting, but not until G.I. Joe’s 8th year. Don’t feel bad for me, though, my Joes did well with the Snow Cat and A.W.E. Striker.)
Tag Archives: Wayne Luther
…And we’re back. Sorry for the radio silence. Thanks to visitors who keep clicking over here.
Today’s post features Zartan’s swamp skier, the Chameleon. No one ever called it by name in the TV show, and offhand I don’t recall it appearing in the comic, though if it did, it would have been around issue #25, and I don’t think anyone called it by name. Here’s Wayne Luther’s design art for it, dated September 13, 1983.
Here also is a photocopy of a photocopy of an early sample of the Chameleon. That figure looks like the HISS Driver, but I’m unsure.
Why the HISS Driver, you ask? This photo must predate any production samples of Zartan back from China, and likely any handmade samples, so for reference, any figure was placed on the vehicle. HISS Driver debuted a year before Zartan, so one was on hand. (Or whoever it is.) These photos were sent to the TV producers, writers, and artists, and probably also the Marvel offices for comic book reference.
The water cannon was used in episode #6 of G.I. Joe, but I don’t recall ever “using” it when I played with my G.I. Joe action figures. As the Chameleon was not a robust construction, and was always falling apart, I stopped including it in my G.I. Joe games soon after getting it.
There were two TV ads for Zartan and the Chameleon. One for issue #25, all animation. Here’s the toy one, which uses some of that animation: