The GI Joe Steel Brigade

The GI Joe Steel Brigade

Hey kids. Your old pal IseeRobots here again. As some of you may know I’m in the process of some pretty heavy house cleaning around the ISR Command Center. Ya, I have lots of stuff and I’ve been given the order by the higher-ups it’s time to let some of it go. That’s cool, really, I’m fine with it. (not really)

Anyhow, I’ve been cleaning out some stuff and while cleaning I’ve been engaging in the only part of cleaning that’s any fun, carefully examining the stuff you are considering parting with. By that I mean reading old comics and playing with old toys. Hey, I have to make sure that they don’t have any important ads or antique value. I’m doing important work here kids.

So I’m sitting on the floor reading Suicide Squad number 26 from back in April ’88 when I got slapped in the face by a GI Joe promotion that I totally forgot about: The Steel Brigade.


The Brigade was this deal where for a nominal fee you can gain admittance to the Elite GI Joe Team and get an action figure to prove it. That’s pretty cool but not really as cool as it sounds. What happens is that you send in your loot (7.50 plus 1.50 S&H) and fill out the registration form and then in just under 2 months you get a generic Steel Brigade Trooper (I guess it’s supposed to be you under the mask) and a file card with all the info from the application that you sent to Hasbro.


In retrospect the file card is the real money. Imagine having one of those today. Ugh, that’d be sweet. Imagine also that you filled it out with all sorts of timely references like I’m as fast as Scott Baio on The Battle Of The Network Stars and I fight as good as The Junkyard Dog. Man, that’d be sweet.


The Steel Brigade team has been resurrected a few times over the years by Hasbro most recently as an Anti-Zombie team, or the team has been turned zombie. I’m not really clear on the concept. It’s cool either way though. it’s cool to see that they managed to keep The Brigade going. I like it when a company references and uses weird old idea’s from the past. Well. I imagine that we all like it when that happens. It’s the coolest.

Thanks for dropping by and as always, if you have as second pop on over to Iseerobots on Facebook and see what I’ve got cooking over there. You won’t be sorry for long!


Reigning County Fair Comic Book Trivia Champion, Overall doer of good things and general winner. Keep your hoodies on and your boots laced.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. I had a couple of those ads & filled one out back in the day, I never sent any in though. I should still have the comics with the ads in (I still have all my old comics, except individual ones that got damaged at one point or another). The problem is trying to figure out what comics they were in. Hasbro had close ties to marvel in the 80s, so I’m guessing they were in comics from marvel. I had few/no(?) “marvel” comics then though (their obnoxious habit of spreading a single story over 30 issues of 20 unrelated titles was inexcusable), but I did have a number of “star” comics (the marvel imprint for kids). I’m thinking that the ads might have been in star’s “heathcliff” comics…..

  2. This reminds me of a funny incident with my friend Karl Knodel. When visiting his house (in Lynchburg, Va) one day in the mid 1987, he was so excited to show me a very special G.I. Joe figure.

    He first tried to claim that it was a prototype figure sent to him directly by Hasbro. I was amazed and marveled that the company would send him such an exclusive Joe. I first thought that it was the The Steel Brigade trooper but it was all black. I’ve seen the ad for the mail-in figure and wondered if this was another version.

    After quizzing him for a few minutes, Karl came clean and confessed that it was in fact a repainted chop shop figure he created and painted. I wasn’t mad and thought it was a cool figure. Looking back, I bet that’s how the The Steel Brigade trooper came about in real life.

    Sadly, Karl passed away a few years ago and seeing this brought back some good memories. Yo Joe!

  3. According to online sources, the steel brigade figures were essentially made up of leftover/overstock parts from other figures, with a custom head and paint.

  4. Awesome post, I See Robots! And thanks very much Payton for sharing that personal memory, my friend.

  5. i remember the ads for the steel brigade figure and actully filling out the info for the card but then forgot to mail away for it. though always thought the steel brigade figure looked like cobra commander had a love child with a viper. and a touching memory there payton.

  6. I finally found the 2 order forms that I filled out but never mailed in, I was right, they were on heathcliff comics.

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