Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Mystery of Crystal Ball

As a lifelong GI Joe fanatic, I feel like I've neglected to bring it up on my humble blog here. I've done a review of that sweet Fridge mailaway, and a Sgt. Slaughter review too, but for the most part, it hasn't had much of a presence as much as I thought it would. Today we change that. Good timing too, because today we discuss the mystery of Crystal Ball...

What's that? Don't remember him? There's a good reason. See, he was part of the 1987 line which featured more goofy gimmicky characters. Raptor, who was a falconer, Big Boa, who was a boxer, CrocMaster who was...well, he was a gator wrestler. It was one of those weired years where Hasbro started shifting away from the militaristic theme and more onto science fiction infused storylines. Front and center of this was our boy Crystal Ball, Cobra's resident master hypnotist. Now, looking at him, you can already guess his likeness was based off the legendary Vincent Price, but last I checked, Vincent Price didn't run around with a giant 4 foot lenticular disc and forced people to squawk like a chicken.

How is hypnotizing GI Joe's useful in the battle field? Search me, brother. Maybe Crystal Ball caught Leatherneck during a piss break and told him to bring him mashed potatoes. I don't know.



So, other than being a real lamewad of a character and an even goofier looking outfit and specialty, what makes him so blog worthy? His origin story. Comic writer Larry Hama was responsible for creating all of the characteristics and file cards for the entire line. Well, except Crystal Ball. He was created by someone else...



Yup. The master of horror himself...Stephen King...

Now, as it's told, Crystal Ball was pitched to Hasbro by Stephen because his son Owen was such a huge fan of the line. He apparently pitched the character origin and even writing his filecard. It's later been disputed that his son Owen was the one who came up with the character and suggested it to his dad to pitch. Either way, the name King will always be responsible for this character. Which makes sense seeing as it's one of the most creative yet bizarre characters, even if he was the most maligned.



Interesting sidenote: Owen King was blessed with a character in his likeness and name! Sneak Peak was also released in 1987, with an origin of Bangor, Maine and his file name being Owen King. Which makes sense as it could've possibly been an agreement between the King family and Hasbro as a weird payment for Crystal Ball. As lame as Crystal Ball is, I'd gladly accept a character in my honor. It's never been 100% confirmed, but that's what I've always heard.


So, next time you horror fans see a Crystal Ball figure at your local flea market, maybe pick him up for your horror shelf considering his secret origin...


GI Joe photos credit: YoJoe.com

-Chad

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