1987 Raptor

1987 Raptor

To celebrate Halloween this week, I’m doing a profile on Cobra’s very own trick-or-treater: Raptor. Raptor is infamous for not being very good, and indeed, I have some obvious things to criticize him for. I also have some things I like reasonably well about him, though, not so much much as to offset his bizarre super-villain reject appearance.

There’s a lot to not like about Raptor. The first and most obvious thing is that the figure is totally outlandish, and looks more like a rejected Spider-Man villain than a Cobra. As I’m still reading some of the Marvel comics for the first time, one thing I really dislike is how much the character’s media appearances are tied to Jinx and Billy, whom I’m very disinterested in. In a slightly more redeeming light though, I like that he’s a direct accomplice to Fred VII Cobra Commander, and that gives me some reason to think about the character a little bit.

If he were a one-off type of character, I think the fandom and myself might treat Raptor with a little more love. The problem is that he’s part of a pattern of crazy Cobra designs from 1987, including shoddy characters like Crystal Ball and Big Boa. An eccentric shirtless weirdo wasn’t too far out of the ordinary for Cobra by this point, with Zartan and Dr Mindbender also coming to mind. It’s just that you got this guy, the other aforementioned ‘87‘s, and Cobra-La, all at once, which left Cobra heading in a bad direction, overall.

With that said, the two main issues with Raptor are that his design is dumb, and his character leaves something to be desired. The toy itself, is actually pretty decent. Besides a kind of derpy head sculpt, he has sharp detailing across the entire toy and plenty of painted details to show it. I really like the feathers on his arms and boots, as well, the falcon-buckle looks nicely sharp. All of his details like this are apart of the silly bird-theme, but the toy is still nicely detailed. If his quality were as low as ‘86 Roadblock, there would be no need to even look at this figure, but contrarily, there’s some redemption for him based on his overall sharpness.

I like his accessories too. Like his contemporaries, he lacks a gun which is a sad omission, but his soft-goods cape/wing thingy looks excellent and has a detailed, premium feel to me. Also included is his pet falcon to add to your personal GI Joe zoo. It clips onto his wrist, and sits there, like any other GI Joe bird. Overall, it feels like he lacks something here just for the fact that his parts don’t really do all that much, though it’s worth saying that figure doesn’t look cheap anyways.

A perfectly mint complete Raptor shouldn’t cost you more than $15, although on odd occasions they will go for more since the market’s so bad right now. With even a little damage, the figure’s value plummets and will only fetch a few dollars, if anyone still cares to bother. Most of the time, the soft-goods are prone to tearing, and his falcon is usually missing it’s feet. For me, I was scraping the bottom of the barrel when I finally decided to go for this figure, the same as most GI Joe collectors. Overall though, I’ve warmed up to him a lot, and I’m glad I have one.

gi joe fred Vii vintage figure hasbro

1987 Raptor Links:

3D Joes

Half the Battle

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6 Responses to 1987 Raptor

  1. A-Man says:

    This year Halloween fell on a weekend
    Me and Renegades are trick-or-treating
    Robbing little kids for bags
    Till a bird man got behind our ass
    So we speeded up the pace
    Took a look back and he was right before our face
    He’d be in for a squab’ no doubt
    So I swung and hit the Cobra in his mouth
    Raptor was going down, we planned
    But this was no ordinary Cobra man
    He stood about six or seven feet
    Now, that’s the bird I’d been seeing in my sleep
    So we triple-teamed on him
    Dropping them motherfudgin b’s on him
    The more I swung the more feathers flew
    Then he disappeared and my boys disappeared, too
    Then I felt just like a fiend
    It wasn’t even close to Halloween

    It was dark as heck on the streets
    My hands were all bloody from punching on the concrete
    God damn, homie
    Crystal Ball is playing tricks on me

  2. A-Man says:

    Now for boring serious comments, since I do have some.
    I think if Raptor looked more like his card art, he’d be more liked. The actual figure’s head is campy. It looks like someone cosplaying as a character. But he is ripped, though. Those abs!

    I think Hama’s characterization is mostly a disservice to already shaky addition to the mythos. For one it leads ignorant fans to assume he’s like Cobra’s accountant…the only one, never mind all the Crimson Guards that are white collar accountants and tax attorneys. It makes Raptor’s contributions to Cobra just a fringe pipe dream or limited scope (breeding larger birds to attack people). On the other by hand casting Raptor as an eccentric yuppie, Hama predicted that future hipsters getting to obscure and archaic hobbies, like falconry.

    I do wonder if any of the writers of SNL “The Falconer” skits were GI JOE fans.

    I probably would’ve lazy and made Raptor the evil counterpart to Spirit. We do see Raptor using falcons to track GI JOE in the comic. So keeping that and making him an offensive non-white villain. (Still bummed we never got that Asian spider wrangler.) Today, they’d reimagine him as a skin-walker or something.

    Last comment, I will always wonder what that spool is molded on his backpack/wings.


    ALL HAIL!!
    I will gladly assist alongside the Cobra Pogo if it gets me on the cover of the comic book.

  4. Dak Knomadd says:

    I believe that spool is so he can “fly” from the ceiling, roof, etc.

    This freaking guy. I’m completely torn by kinda digging the conceptual look (the card art is definitely better than the figure) and absolutely hating the sniveling character (I’d bet Hama made him that way from just looking at the face sculpt).

  5. R.T.G. says:

    Raptor’s not a great G.I. Joe figure, but he’s still a G.I. Joe figure so he’s going to be a good action figure regardless. I find him to be a joy to photograph, for some reason.

    Great pictures in this article, too.

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