Second acts

For all the fun I poke at the "Bulletman" comics of the early 1940's, I have developed a real fondness for the book and characters. And although I have spent the last few months reading all of his early adventures, I was surprised to learn recently that in my childhood years Bulletman staged a comback to, of all things, join the Army:

Not only did he get a dunk in the Fountain of Youth thirty years after his apparent demise, he also got an image makeover! Next time, though, maybe he should contract with the nice people at "Project Runway" instead of the Army, because this remake doesn't fly with me.

Look, call me old-fashioned, but I think the only Bullet character with long, sexy, exposed legs should be Bulletgirl. And maybe Bulletdog, depending on the day.

As it stands, the combination of the metallic arms with the bare legs on this 1976 revamp is just odd. I also find the eye-covering helmet unsettling for some reason ... maybe it's that with the original, it looks like he's wearing a bullet on his head, but here it look like his head is in a bullet. A subtle, but vital difference, if you're the one with your cranium so ensconced.

I also liked the original color scheme better. The yellow tights and wrist bands, with the red aviator-type jacket capped with a blue helmet was striking. I find the updated version a bit dull, the red jarring against the silver and skin. Plus it's just spandex, unlike the bulkier top he used to wear, which I always thought made sense given the amount of debris he generates flinging his head through walls.

Finally, I hate the logo. Is it not clear enough that we are dealing with a projectile-based fellow here, what with the big silver bullet on his head? Do we really need a big graphic to back the point up?

I particularly find the faux explosion behind the graphic distracting. That's a comic-book convention, used to add dynamism to a panel in a static medium. But in theory this is a real guy doing actual real things, he doesn't need graphic enhancement to punctuate his wall-crushing. He just, you know, crushes the wall and the explosions take care of themselves.

In any event, I thank the GI Joe team for trying to bring Bulletman back for the Super Adventure Club (not to be confused with Scientologists; although both sometimes get involved with aliens, relatively few Scientologists fly around in underwear, dragged by the neck).

Wait, that's "Super Adventure Team", not Club.

Whatever, he needs to get a refund on that costume redesign, or else stand real close to Scruffy Beard GI Joe (later revealed to be not just a Fidel Castro lookalike, but the actual Fidel Castro) so he looks better by comparison.

(Image @copy;1976, Hasbro.)

19 Responses to Second acts

  1. Gero says:

    I may have an explanation for the legs. Did anyone ever see the Family Guy movie where Stewie went into the future? In it, they show that the Griffin’s paraplegic neighbor Joe was able to walk again after his wife died because they grafted her legs onto his body. I don’t see any wrinkely old bulletgirl in this page, so mabye that’s what they did here, too…

  2. Ed H says:

    I distinctly remember a Bulletman action figure being sold sometime in my childhood (the 70s). With the name “Bulletman, the Human Bullet!” sung — I have the little tune to that stuck in my head lo these 30+ years later.

    I didn’t realize it might be the same Bulletman until you posted this.

  3. Danny Beaty says:

    @Gero: Who wears short-shorts? I WEAR SHORT-SHORTS!

  4. Loki says:

    also, the name is redundant, “Bulletman the Human Bullet”. see what I mean?

  5. Gero says:

    Ha! Well, at least I know Danny’s seen it!

  6. Danny Beaty says:

    @Gero: I love Family Guy!

    @”Jazzy” Jeff Hebert: How about a Bulletman redesign contest?

  7. Gero says:

    Yah, you did it with that phantom or whatever the hell he was. Though I guess you’d have to make sure the Bullets are in public domain, or risk being sued by big comics…

  8. Danny Beaty says:

    @Gero: You may be thinking of the Black Terror redesign contest. Jeff has already checked out Bulletman and he is indeed in the public domain.

  9. John says:

    Bulletman’s in the public domain? I thought he was (c) DC Comics these days?

  10. Ed H says:

    It’s on Youtube! Including the little jingle “Bulletman the Human Bullet”! Twice!

    much better audio on this one:

    That stupid little jingle has gone through my head with *every single panel about Bulletman*…

  11. Xstacy says:

    Hmm, I wonder if Hasbro still has any rights. Wouldn’t Bulletman be a [i]fantastic[/i] addition to the next G.I. Joe movie?

  12. Xstacy says:

    Oops, wrong brackets. Oh well, you get what I mean.

  13. remy says:

    “…You went through that mountain like a bullet!”
    “You even look like a bullet!”

    Naaaaw really? Also, his helmet looks like a cereal bowl upside down

  14. Jeff Hebert says:

    Wow, thanks for that YouTube commercial link, that’s awesome! I am amazed they could come up with a jingle even worse than the costume redesign. And Loki, you’re absolutely right, the name is redundant, TWICE!

  15. kingmonkey says:

    Yay! Bulletman saved the thimble! He is the pinnacle of heroism.

  16. John says:

    I always *knew* that bearded GI Joe was a shifty-eyed bastard…

  17. The Imp says:

    Two things:

    1. The bearded GI Joe looks like an inbred cannibal who makes a living growing pot somewhere in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest.

    2. Bulletman’s insignia is oddly suggestive of a Valium or a Viagra.

  18. Frankie says:

    How about bulletgear as a contest prize? Say, bullettupperwear or a Monopoly board game Bulletman Editon.

  19. Well Shazam! I think I might actually have had that action figure (along with that space robot, ROM or CROM or something). Gods only know what I did with it – probably fed it to my dog or something. Probably worth a fortune by now. DOH!