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Rotty
03-01-2005, 03:09 AM
In the comic book continuity, what all do we know about the life of the man known as the original Cobra Commander prior to GI Joe v1 #1? In his early adult life, he was a used car salesman. His big brother Dan served in the Vietnam conflict and kept signing up for additional tours to keep his brother from being drafted. One can speculate that this suggests the future CC was around 18 years old circa 1965, narrowing the period of his birth down to the mid-to-late '40s, which seems reasonable as it would make his brother Dan one of the earliest Baby Boomers. Since when Dan killed Snake Eyes' parents and twin sister, Snake Eyes had no one to turn to except Tommy Arashikage, Stalker was presumably still in Vietnam and thus the tragedy had to have occured prior to January 15, 1973 for Snake Eyes to feel this way. Larry Hama implied that the future CC was married prior to the tragedy, and indeed this would explain the timing of Dan's return to the United States, since married status was a draft exemption during the Vietnam conflict. Thus it seems to me that we can infer the following:

1) The future CC was the second of two sons born to a middle-class American couple in the mid-to-late 1940s.
2) In his early adult life, he was a used car salesman.
3) He was married no later than 1972, probably prior to his 26th birthday (the draft applied to young men 18-25).

Well, fans of the Marvel comic know what happened next: the future CC went bonkers, blamed Snake Eyes for his brother's death, and secretly spent his family's savings hiring not one but two assassins to murder him in Japan. When Mrs. Snake discovered what he had done, she confronted him and he walked out on her, taking their young son William with him. He blamed the death of his brother and the failure of his business on a conspiracy between big government and big business to form a plutocracy where the the life of the "little guy" was expendable and slowly building a criminal organization that would grow into the paramilitary terrorist army Cobra!

So I think we know or can infer the facts above, but there are two big questions I have about CC in the Marvel continuity:

1) What clues are there to his real name? After Cobra Commander and Destro led an attack on the Pit and Generals Abernathy and Hollingsworth collapsed it on them, they escaped using an earthboring machine and stole a car. When they were pulled over by a State Trooper, CC had his "real driver's license" and the trooper recognized his "unpronouncable" last name as the same as Billy's. Since CC is clearly portrayed as Caucasian, would it be reasonable to narrow his ethnic background down to European groups whose surnames can be difficult for a typical American to pronounce based on how they're written? Have there ever been any hints to his first name, including the Devil's Due series?

2) Assuming that GI Joe #10 took place in 1983, can we narrow down the year of Billy's birth?

sinnister
03-01-2005, 04:19 AM
Larry Hama implied that the future CC was married prior to the tragedy, and indeed this would explain the timing of Dan's return to the United States, since married status was a draft exemption during the Vietnam conflict.

When did this come about? My father was married in '66 before he was drafted to go to vietnam in '68.

How old do you think Billy was in issue 10? Looks to me they would have had him shortly after they got married as he seems close to 10 years old then.

danielmd06
03-01-2005, 12:51 PM
I am not sure we can presume Stalker was still in Vietnam at the time of Snake-Eyes' return, so that date you gave may not be quite accurate. In issue #10, Dr. Venom uncovers a memory Snake-Eyes has of "the last helicopter leaving Saigon." This leads me to believe that perhaps Snake-Eyes was among the very last soldiers to leave. Would you agree? The other information you posted is all correct.

The state trooper confronting Cobra Commander and Destro in mufti occured in issue #55, I believe. One of my favorite issues!

The only other Commander name clues period come from DDP's new Master and Apprentice II. It is basically a reference to the surname "Kessler" for Billy when Storm Shadow introduces him. I think that this is most likely a counterfeit name to protect Billy's true identity. Or DDP goofed.

Otherwise, Cobra Commander's name was and is a mystery.

whitedalek
03-01-2005, 12:53 PM
It's hard to track down the main snake!! :)

seaneley
03-01-2005, 10:14 PM
Cobra Commander's real name is Marcus Kassels. He later became Baron IronBlood, the most sinister villian to vex planet earth... that is, until Action Force stopped him. When he disappeared into hiding, he changed his face and his i.d. and became... Cobra Commander! Duh! Duh! Duh!
(Man, I wish that www.bloodforthebaron.com (http://www.bloodforthebaron.com/) was still up. Then you guys could look all of this "alternate reality" info. up! :D )

Rotty
03-02-2005, 02:29 PM
When did this come about? My father was married in '66 before he was drafted to go to vietnam in '68.

Truth be told, I just got that off the Wikipedia Vietnam War article ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War ). "In order to gain an exemption or deferment many men obtained student deferments by attending college, though they would have to remain in college until their 26th birthday to be certain of avoiding the draft. Some got married, which remained an exemption throughout the war." That should teach me to trust Wiki as a source. :o Do you want to edit that, since you're the one with firsthand knowledge that it's not factual?


How old do you think Billy was in issue 10? Looks to me they would have had him shortly after they got married as he seems close to 10 years old then.

That sounds about right. Billy's age is a problematic point in the timeline, as kids in comics usually are. He had to be a toddler by the time CC walked out on Mrs. Snake, at least 9 or 10 when we first meet him in #10, and a couple years older than that when he gets his cybernetic leg from Fred VII (he's spent a year in a coma according to the State Trooper in #55). Then Devil's Due came along and established that CC had to have been shot by Fred about 13 years before v2 #22 (Mindbender was buried alive in the freighter "ten years ago", and we know CC spent "a few years" building his assets incognito between having his life saved by Fred VIII and returning to Cobra Island), yet Billy certainly doesn't appear to be 24+ in v2 #20! If not for his Devil's Due appearances, I'd peg his year of birth as '74, giving CC half a dozen years to build up Cobra before '82 after walking out with his 2-year-old son.

Rotty
03-02-2005, 02:44 PM
I am not sure we can presume Stalker was still in Vietnam at the time of Snake-Eyes' return, so that date you gave may not be quite accurate. In issue #10, Dr. Venom uncovers a memory Snake-Eyes has of "the last helicopter leaving Saigon." This leads me to believe that perhaps Snake-Eyes was among the very last soldiers to leave. Would you agree? The other information you posted is all correct.

Ooh, you make an excellent point, Dan! The LRRP unit Snake Eyes, Stalker, Tommy, and Wade were in couldn't have been operating after March 1973. Maybe they got there "for the last six months of the conflict" like Mainframe did, Wade was captured by Viet Cong, Tommy was sent home to serve out the last seven months of his tour, and Snake Eyes and Stalker remained behind until the last helicopter left Saigon? If SE and Lonzo were still there and Tommy had gone back to Japan, it makes sense that Wade could be released from the POW camp, come home in late '73 or '74, and have no friends to turn to afrer being met by a lawyer instead of his wife.

If we go with this "last six months" thing for the LRRP unit, we can pin Snake Eyes, Lonzo, and Tommy to being born as late as 1954, which I would argue makes them no older than their mid-40s in the Devil's Due run (see Billy's age for why I think of it being in the recent past rather than the present).


The state trooper confronting Cobra Commander and Destro in mufti occured in issue #55, I believe. One of my favorite issues!

You have excellent taste! :D


The only other Commander name clues period come from DDP's new Master and Apprentice II. It is basically a reference to the surname "Kessler" for Billy when Storm Shadow introduces him. I think that this is most likely a counterfeit name to protect Billy's true identity. Or DDP goofed.

Otherwise, Cobra Commander's name was and is a mystery.

"Kessler" sounds like a last name of German origin, which doesn't fit the "unusual last name" bit. It must be either his mother's maiden name, or just an alias.

Rotty
03-02-2005, 02:47 PM
Cobra Commander's real name is Marcus Kassels. He later became Baron IronBlood, the most sinister villian to vex planet earth... that is, until Action Force stopped him. When he disappeared into hiding, he changed his face and his i.d. and became... Cobra Commander! Duh! Duh! Duh!
(Man, I wish that www.bloodforthebaron.com (http://www.bloodforthebaron.com/) was still up. Then you guys could look all of this "alternate reality" info. up! :D )

I was wondering if someone would mention Cobra Commander's Action Force origin. :p By my count, this makes a total of four different CCs: Dan Unpronouncable's little brother, the undercover Cobra-La nobleman, Marcus Kassels, and Fred Broca VII. Wow.

sinnister
03-02-2005, 03:04 PM
Truth be told, I just got that off the Wikipedia Vietnam War article ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War ). "In order to gain an exemption or deferment many men obtained student deferments by attending college, though they would have to remain in college until their 26th birthday to be certain of avoiding the draft. Some got married, which remained an exemption throughout the war." That should teach me to trust Wiki as a source. :o Do you want to edit that, since you're the one with firsthand knowledge that it's not factual?

hehe I'm not saying it's factual or not! I just know my father was born in '47. Married in '66, drafted in '68, home in '70 (1.5 tours...second cut short due to 3 bullet wounds), Divorce was filed in 69 by his first wife...finalized when he got home in '70. Got married again (to my mother). :D

Crimson Immortal
03-03-2005, 04:54 AM
I always felt that Dan was in fact Cobra Commander,just that he was pychotic with a multiple personalities caused by trauma in Vietnam.This would also explain Cobra Commander's military like personality,training along with his skills as a combatant.

I think his son was born around 1976 or 1977.

Bullitt73
03-03-2005, 07:24 AM
Rotty,
Is your Jan. 15, 1973 date intended to be when the US pulled out of Nam? That is what I gathered. The US in fact didn't completely pull out of Nam until 1975. The 1973 date was when Nixon suspended all offensive actions.

You may very well still be correct because I believe it was mainly the Marines that stayed on for the remaining two years basically as security forces. Mind you we are talking about ficticous people so it really doesn't matter but the story is interesting regardless.

I do find it interesting to know the origens of the head snake.

Mark W. Bellomo
03-03-2005, 07:58 AM
Oh, this thread is just wonderful... Joe fans actaully going to great lengths to suss out historical allusions.

Makes me smile...

-- MWB

Rotty
03-03-2005, 01:15 PM
Rotty,
Is your Jan. 15, 1973 date intended to be when the US pulled out of Nam? That is what I gathered. The US in fact didn't completely pull out of Nam until 1975. The 1973 date was when Nixon suspended all offensive actions.

My assumption is that the LRRP team with Snakes Eyes, Tommy, Lonzo, and Wade had to be operating before Nixon suspended offensive actions. According to GI Joe v1 #10, Snake Eyes was there (presumably as security) to the fall of Saigon.


You may very well still be correct because I believe it was mainly the Marines that stayed on for the remaining two years basically as security forces. Mind you we are talking about ficticous people so it really doesn't matter but the story is interesting regardless.

I do find it interesting to know the origens of the head snake.

Very interesting indeed! Larry Hama did a stellar job of giving CC understandable motivations without totally stripping the mystery away.

Bullitt73
03-03-2005, 01:24 PM
I would also assume they were gone by '73 as well.

I think it's best if we don't have all the facts about CC. The mystery helps keep readers captivated to the story.

I really need to get my hands on the comics. I only have a handfull.

Rotty
03-03-2005, 02:15 PM
I would also assume they were gone by '73 as well.

I'd say that's true of Tommy, Stalker, Abernathy, Duke, "Wild" Bill Hardy, and Blaine Parker (the future Mainframe). Wade Collins is said in the series to have spent two years in a POW camp and Dr. Venom found Snakes Eyes to have memories of "the last helicopter leaving Saigon".


I think it's best if we don't have all the facts about CC. The mystery helps keep readers captivated to the story.

I really need to get my hands on the comics. I only have a handfull.

Agreed, and agreed. :D

Viper Commander
03-03-2005, 03:03 PM
I have one question, what color are CC's eyes supposed to be? Sometimes its blue and sometimes it looks yellowish brown...:confused:

Rotty
03-03-2005, 06:06 PM
I have one question, what color are CC's eyes supposed to be? Sometimes its blue and sometimes it looks yellowish brown...:confused:

Two pair of each, until he finished transforming into a cobra. ;)

danielmd06
03-03-2005, 06:21 PM
I think it's best if we don't have all the facts about CC. The mystery helps keep readers captivated to the story.




I totally and completely agree. Cobra Commander's true face and true name should never be revealed. Mystery makes the ultimate hook for maintaining interest in a character like this.

Rotty
03-03-2005, 06:53 PM
I totally and completely agree. Cobra Commander's true face and true name should never be revealed. Mystery makes the ultimate hook for maintaining interest in a character like this.

Well, as far as his face, we knew back in 1987 that Cobra Commander looks a lot like a non-blonde Buzzer, given that the moustache was referred to as a fake and he resembled the photo from "my real driver's license".

danielmd06
03-03-2005, 07:03 PM
Well, as far as his face, we knew back in 1987 that Cobra Commander looks a lot like a non-blonde Buzzer, given that the moustache was referred to as a fake and he resembled the photo from "my real driver's license".

Buzzer? To be perfectly honest, I never saw that parallel. :D True, we see a disguised face in the story arc where he escapes from the Pit with Destro, but the sunglasses and moustache keep the mystery intact for me. For what it's worth, he shows up dressed/disguised similarly to the #55 appearance in GI Joe issue #61 (where he strips off his battle armor prior to Fred VII shooting him), and in issue #127 (where he uses the civilian look to escape a secret government installation in a rather interesting Larry Hama tale). I like how DDP tends to show him in complete shadow when he does remove or replace his battle helmet.

Rotty
03-03-2005, 07:59 PM
Buzzer? To be perfectly honest, I never saw that parallel. :D

Just repaint the hair, add on a fu manchu, buy an appropriate 1:18 scale die-cast car, and kitbash the Buzzer head with a damaged figure's neck ball-joint to fit on the Battle Armor CC body and it's him! :p


True, we see a disguised face in the story arc where he escapes from the Pit with Destro, but the sunglasses and moustache keep the mystery intact for me. For what it's worth, he shows up dressed/disguised similarly to the #55 appearance in GI Joe issue #61 (where he strips off his battle armor prior to Fred VII shooting him),

Clearly, he doesn't even trust a Crimson Guardsman to see his real face! That level of trust was reserved for the Baroness and Storm Shadow (Billy, Firefly, and Zartan all know his face from before Cobra existed).

Okay, here's an apparent plot hole from the Marvel run I've been wondering about: why didn't Billy or his mother ever give the Joes photographs of Cobra Commander from just before he started wearing the mask, which the Joes would then share with the FBI and CIA? Obviously the reader should never see such photos, but they're glaring by their absence. Similarly, why were Destro, Anastasia, and Tommy all apparently not willing to sit down for a sketch artist after they turned good?


and in issue #127 (where he uses the civilian look to escape a secret government installation in a rather interesting Larry Hama tale).

Feh, I'm not happy about the art for CC in that story. He was buried alive in a shallow grave, rescued, spent three years in exile from Cobra, and did all the things between #100 and #127, yet he kept the same fake moustache and shades? He should have been drawn with a full beard and a different pair of sunglasses as his disguise.


I like how DDP tends to show him in complete shadow when he does remove or replace his battle helmet.

I have to agree there!

danielmd06
03-03-2005, 09:04 PM
I always supposed that the intense former loyalty that the Baroness had for the Commander, plus the honor and integrity of both Destro and Storm Shadow prevented them each from giving aid to Cobra Commander's enemies. I also supposed that Billy's (and his mother's) still extant love for Cobra Commander prevented them from helping his enemies.

Rotty
03-03-2005, 09:15 PM
I always supposed that the intense former loyalty that the Baroness had for the Commander, plus the honor and integrity of both Destro and Storm Shadow prevented them each from giving aid to Cobra Commander's enemies.

Destro and the Baroness, maybe, but Storm Shadow was leading a US military team of martial arts assassins on behalf of Cobra Commander's enemies!


I also supposed that Billy's (and his mother's) still extant love for Cobra Commander prevented them from helping his enemies.

Billy was willing to shoot his dad with a gun hidden in a bouquet of victory flowers, though. Your idea might explain Mrs. Snake never coming forward...

seaneley
03-03-2005, 09:44 PM
I still think that once it was revealed that Cobra Commander's vet brother died after smashing into Snake Eyes' parents' car, that it would be simple deduction and research on the part of the Joes to discovering Cobra Commander's real i.d. I mean, Dan the Lunatic driver had to have a real last name that coincided with Rag Face's... wouldn't it? :cool: :rolleyes:

Bullitt73
03-03-2005, 10:00 PM
I still think that once it was revealed that Cobra Commander's vet brother died after smashing into Snake Eyes' parents' car, that it would be simple deduction and research on the part of the Joes to discovering Cobra Commander's real i.d. I mean, Dan the Lunatic driver had to have a real last name that coincided with Rag Face's... wouldn't it? :cool: :rolleyes:

not if they were only half or step brothers like Duke and Falcon. But you do have a point. I am sure they had/have a very good reason for never divulging that information to the reader.

sinnister
03-03-2005, 10:26 PM
Billy was willing to shoot his dad with a gun hidden in a bouquet of victory flowers, though. Your idea might explain Mrs. Snake never coming forward...

Billy was willing to shoot Cobra Commander. It was Destro who intervened and mentioned something about patricide. Thats when Cobra Commander realized Billy was his son and Billy realized Cobra Commander was his father if I'm not mistaken. Dont have the issue in front of me. :)

Dug it out. Issue 33 page 17. This is after Destro intervenes and stops the assassination attempt by Billy.
Destro: We may have some differences of opinion and even hostility between us but there are still some things I will not abide by. Patricide is one of them.
Cobra Commander: Patricide? Billy?
Billy: D-D-Dad??

Rotty
03-04-2005, 10:07 PM
Billy was willing to shoot Cobra Commander. It was Destro who intervened and mentioned something about patricide. Thats when Cobra Commander realized Billy was his son and Billy realized Cobra Commander was his father if I'm not mistaken. Dont have the issue in front of me. :)

Dug it out. Issue 33 page 17. This is after Destro intervenes and stops the assassination attempt by Billy.
Destro: We may have some differences of opinion and even hostility between us but there are still some things I will not abide by. Patricide is one of them.
Cobra Commander: Patricide? Billy?
Billy: D-D-Dad??

I checked that too! How bizarre that Billy would forget his father's voice and the fact that he was the guy wearing a blue hood at those shady meetings. :eek:

seaneley
03-04-2005, 10:10 PM
Actually, didn't Billy explain in a Devil's Due issue how he had blocked out the memories of his Dad turning bad and had joined the Anti-Cobra Underground in Springfield after running away? I can't remember the issue, but I am thinking one before issue #21 (Devil's Due's "silent issue")... :confused:

sinnister
03-04-2005, 11:44 PM
Not sure, I have all the DDP comics but have yet to read them. I think I read like 1 and 2 or something like that...up until all the baby serpentors maybe...or I might have read that in a post on here :confused:

danielmd06
03-05-2005, 09:44 AM
Billy was willing to shoot Cobra Commander. It was Destro who intervened and mentioned something about patricide. Thats when Cobra Commander realized Billy was his son and Billy realized Cobra Commander was his father if I'm not mistaken. Dont have the issue in front of me. :)

Dug it out. Issue 33 page 17. This is after Destro intervenes and stops the assassination attempt by Billy.
Destro: We may have some differences of opinion and even hostility between us but there are still some things I will not abide by. Patricide is one of them.
Cobra Commander: Patricide? Billy?
Billy: D-D-Dad??

Exactly! Billy was being psychologically manipulated by the Baroness and Major Bludd for political and financial reasons. He wasn't acting out his own malicious desires. I always felt that Billy was somewhat mentally unstable after the tremendously painful and traumatic childhood he suffered. There are verified reports of trauma-induced "selective memory deficits" written up in current medical journals that would explain Billy's strange memory lapses, too. I still think Billy loves his father and hates what Cobra has brought out in him. He searches for honor, but concurrently refuses to betray his dad.

Same deal with Storm Shadow in my opinion, Rotty. True, he led a counterterror ninja squad in GI Joe briefly; but, he is still bound by his own (probably twisted) sense of duty. It was always my take that he refused to actually betray Cobra Commander on a personal level due to this sense of old allegiance and duty to his former employer, but was willing to oppose Cobra's armed forces on a more practical level. I also think Storm Shadow is a bit mentally "unhinged" due to the tragic death of his uncle and the subsequent destruction of the Arashikage clan. Plus, he was bred to be an assassin--so we are led to think that perhaps he fits in a little too well with Cobra as opposed to GI Joe. Not to mention the numerous brainwashings that he has undergone. ;) And don't even get me started on that whole "he's dead/frozen/contributes to Serpentor's genetic pool/has memories of all of Serpentor's genetic predecessors" gig. ;) Interstingly, DDP pays homage to this last when Storm Shadow refuses to help Destro rescue Cobra Commander from Serpentor on Cobra Island--anyone else catch that? The current DDP series Master and Apprentice II is exploring this loyalty, duty, and mental instability more fully. Sound plausible?