RIP CORD (SPC ALTITUDE)
Rip Cord was first released in 1984 as the Joe team’s H.A.L.O.(High Altitude Low Opening) jumper. His design was pretty simple with a green camo pattern covering his jump suit from the neck down. He had a green rubber parachute pack that strapped around his body, a green rifle, a black helmet and his coolest accessory: a black air mask that strapped around his face. That removable mask was the one thing that made him stand out from being just another green soldier. There were new Joes coming out every few months and a guy like Rip Cord may have easily got lost in the shuffle. Most Joes made very few appearances in the cartoon as the story lines tended to revolve around a core team of Joes. Guys like Rip Cord were left with scraps of dialogue and appearances in group shots only. Rip Cord was rescued from obscurity however by Larry Hama, the genius who wrote the Joe comic and the many file cards on the back of the figure packages. Starting in issue 32 Rip Cord was involved in a very memorable story line where he was dating a daughter of a Cobra Crimson Guard. She was kidnapped and Rip Cord went to Cobra Island to rescue her. It was there that he battled Zartan and the two of them ended up switching identities. This event lead to Rip Cord finding out the location of Cobra’s secret base in the town of Springfield but unfortunately Rip Cord’s girlfriend was murdered by Scrap iron in issue 43. Rip Cord was never featured very prominently in the comic after that but at least he got one good story in.
And then the live action G.I. Joe movie came out in 2009 and Rip Cord was one of the few Joes to be featured. Only someone decided it would be a good idea to cast Marlon Wayans the black comedian as the hard nosed red haired paratrooper. This drove me nuts. Why do this? It’s not like they needed a paratrooper in the movie, it’s not like Rip Cord was ever funny. I just don’t get it. It’s certainly not a matter of them wanting to cast a black actor but there not being any black Joes. There are a ton of great african-american Joes: Stalker, Road Block, Doc, Red Dog, Hardball, DJ. Or why not make him a new character entirely? The main reason this bothers me is because the cartoons and comics that came out after the movie have followed suit, Rip Cord is a black jokester now. I hope no one misunderstands what I’m saying here I just don’t see why they had to basically erase a character that was already established and had a fan base. I started to wonder if I’d ever see the Rip Cord that I grew up with ever again.
Well Hasbro came through eventually. They released a 7 pack of figures called “Assault on Cobra Island” that featured many fan favorite characters who had not yet gotten a modern era make over. Rip Cord appears in the pack in his original green camo and his ginger red hair. Only now they’ve changed his name to Spc. Altitude since Marlon has stolen his name from him. Name changes are common these days though so I can ignore that, I know he’s Rip Cord, and he’s awesome. 8 out of 10.