To the surprise of many fans, the comic book included a new Joe member: Rocky Balboa, the same character played by Sylvester Stallone in the Oscar-winning movie series. As a kid in 1987, I was not only a G.I.. Joe fanatic, but a Rocky and Rambo fan as well. Imagine my surprise, then, when I picked up the second issue of "The Order of Battle" and I saw this.
|Click to see a larger version.|
MentalFloss.com fills in the details.
Establishing Rocky’s place in the mythology of the G.I. Joe universe fell on Larry Hama, writer of Marvel’s G.I. Joe comic and a frequent source for hammering out narrative points across the franchise’s many outlets. In a Marvel collection of character biographies titled G.I. Joe: Order of Battle #2, released in late 1986, Hama scripted a brief rundown (above) that presented Balboa as a combat trainer, filling obligations for his "Reserve time" by turning their hands into semi-deadly weapons.
Over at Hasbro, sculptor Bill Merklein was tasked with creating a wax prototype of the character’s action figure:
How did this awkward partnership between fictional boxer and fictional military force dissolve? According to former Hasbro product manager Kirk Bozigian, Stallone’s representatives knocked him out of contention. “The reason Rocky was dropped from the G.I. Joe line is because his agents got greedy,” Bozigian tells mental_floss. “While we were designing and sculpting Rocky Balboa, a competing toy company, Coleco, was introducing Rambo action figures and vehicles to compete with us. The decision to drop Rocky was an easy one.”Hasbro apparently got REALLY close to actually making a Rocky figure. There are even pics of the figure design and a prototype! The prototype picture was posted at YoJoe.com.