Although it had a rather modest start in 1982 with a handful of figures mostly dressed up in fairly traditional “green” army gear with basic specialties & designations, as the Real American Hero line of G.I.Joe line progressed through the years, things got a lot more creative and colorful really fast. Pretty soon, the Joe ranks were populated by soldiers wearing sports jerseys, bright neon colors & seemingly village people inspired uniforms. And the more basic combat specialties like rangers, commandos & marines were joined by deceptive warfare & hostile environment specialists.
In 1985, one new Joe in particular really stood out. Well his card art was pretty tough to ignore considering he had his bare foot aimed right at your face. Despite getting an almost offensively stereotypical American Indian character the year before, for me, Quick Kick was the first Joe that really stood out to me as different. Maybe it was because his uniform basically consisted of long black pants, a red sash and a headband, or maybe it was his unconventional specialty “Silent Weapons” or it could have been the fact that he was the first obviously Asian character introduced to the Joe ranks, whatever it was….Quick Kick was definite proof, that Hasbro was thinking out of the box for this army based toy line.
His back story is also pretty interesting. His real name is MacArthur S. Ito which was made by combining the names of World War II military leaders, Gen. Douglas MacArthur of the United States and Lt. Gen. Takeo Ito of Japan. Before joining G.I.Joe, he was actually a Hollywood stuntman. And according to his debut in the cartoon, he was shooting a frozen fudgee bar commercial in some place cold (ok sorry I forget where exactly but it involved snow, ice & leopard seals) when he runs into a couple of Joes in trouble and rescues them. It’s quite a memorable debut since one, on his first outing, he defeats Cobra’s resident fearsome ninja, Storm Shadow, a bunch of Crimson Guards and a couple of leopard seals on his own. And two, he does all this without wearing any shirt and shoes!