G.I. Joe and the history of Springfield


Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1

    G.I. Joe and the history of Springfield

    It’s interesting to poke fun at the city of Springfield, Illinois giving Cobra Commander the key to their fine city, but the truth is there is a long, established connection between Springfield and Cobra that goes all the way back to the first year of A Real American Hero, 1982.

    Interestingly, when Larry Hama chose this mythical “Springfield” as Cobra’s hometown base of operations, he did so for much the same reasons as the Simpsons chose it several years later as their imaginary home town.

    I plan on speaking with Larry Hama about G.I. Joe's relationship with Springfield, and will post that next week, but for now, continue reading to explore a little of Springfield's history.
    After you read it (or before) check out GIJoeCon.com to see how you can go see Cobra in their natural habitat in Springfield, IL!

    Springfield is innocuous there is supposedly a “Springfield in every state” which leaves it up to the reader to decide where the real Springfield truly is.
    In the Marvel Comics, the small town was mentioned in issue #5, but made its first actual appearance in Issue #10, a mythology defining issue which first explored Snake Eyes’ ninja history, introduced Billy as Cobra Commander’s son, and brought the Brainwave Scanner and Dr. Venom to the public consciousness at the time.

    Over the course of several years, this “Nice Little Town” served as a backdrop to Cobra’s United States operations, and many times, readers have attempted to try and translate which Springfield was truly the Springfield. Hama himself as never confirmed one way or the other.

    It’s interesting to note that in issue #14, which brings Destro front and center, there are other references to a hidden Cobra Compound in Springfield, and that Springfield is clearly identified as “a five mile square section in Vermont”, though it’s still unknown whether that is truly the Springfield or not. In fact, Cobra Commander, within that same issue, identifies the Vermont location as their “toxin test site” so it’s a safe assumption that Springfield is far away from the real one. I’ll tell you, I live about 25 miles north of Springfield, VT, if Cobra was milling around in there, I think I’d know.

    Interestingly, Springfield, VT not only got called out by Cobra Commander within the early issues of the Marvel Comic, but also won a national contest to be considered the true Springfield home town of the Simpsons as well. It would appear all rivers flow through Springfield, Vermont.

    Throughout the next few years of the comic, Cobra is seen frequently within the town of Springfield, with Destro, Major Bludd, and the Baroness lurking around in the sewers, and with Cobra Commander’s aforementioned son Billy donning a Springfield Cub Scout uniform and threatening to gun his own father down.

    When men in chrome masks and purple capes weren’t wandering around, overweight ninja masters were tearing up the police station and genetically engineered clones were being brewed in large vats concealed in high school gymnasiums and local museums.

    Innocent towns folks mingled among undercover Crimson Guards, who walked the streets as normal during the day, then performed insidious experiments and tried to conquer the world from the shadows. The town of Springfield itself became a character in G.I. Joe history, and was tightly interwoven among all the threads of great stories within the 80s.

    But all good things must end. When Zartan made his dramatic move to take the place of Ripcord and uncover the location of G.I. Joe headquarters in issue #46, he set a chain of events in motion. Ripcord ended up being taken in by Cobra, thinking he was actually Zartan, and was brought into the town to recover from his injuries. Instead, he smacked Buzzer in the face with a bedpan, squared off against a 6 year old toting a Magnum .44 caliber handgun, then called for reinforcements.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    Ripcord’s call for help coincided with the birth of Cobra’s new Emperor, and in the double-sized landmark issue #50, G.I. Joe and Cobra had a pitched battle in the streets of Springfield itself, tearing apart the small little town and sending its civilians scattering. When the smoke cleared, Cobra was nowhere to be found and the Joe team was under scrutiny for apparently decimating an innocent United States town. They had suffered a serious blow, which would be followed up three issues later when the very Pit itself was torn to the foundation.

    Cobra and Springfield go hand-in-hand, and have for many years. Sure, after Springfield there was Milville and Broca Beach, but nothing that quite matched the charm of that first nice little town.
    Last edited by General_Hawk; 03-12-2015 at 04:12 AM.
    Managing Editor YoJoe.com
    Webmaster GeneralsJoes.com
    Reviews, News, and Opinions

  2. Remove Advertisements


  3. #2
    I believe it was G.I. Joe #35 where Rock 'n Roll, Breaker and Clutch were driving to Malibu, CA for vacation. On the way they were attacked by the Dreadnoks, who were "borrowing" Zartan's special bike, which was located in Springfield. I once used Mapquest to chart the most logical route from Ft. Wadsworth to Malibu, just to see if the guys' journey would take them near a Springfield in any of the states they crossed. I concluded the best states were in the east, but issue #10 did indicate that Springfield was pretty far from New York City.
    Last edited by seaneley; 04-01-2015 at 02:39 PM. Reason: typo

  4. #3

  5. Remove Advertisements


  6. #4
    You just added another piece to my puzzle...one that supports my theory of the location of Springfield.

  7. #5
    Great work, Skinny!


  8. #6
    Here's my info. on Springfield that I posted on the IDW boards:


    I pulled out the issue and Mapquest to check the route [taken in Marvel RAH #35] again. Clutch, Breaker and Rock 'n Roll were on an interstate, "not too far away" from Springfield, when Buzzer steals Zartan's bike. It had to be on a direct route from Staten Island to Malibu. The Joes are in the hills (probably the Appalachians) when Buzzer and the others attack them. Once Zartan realizes that his bike is missing, he is right behind the Dreadnoks and actually catches up with them. He couldn't have known about the Joes' route towards California, so this makes me think that everything takes place near Springfield.
    Big clue: I'm thinking Springfield has to be located on the eastern section of the U.S., otherwise Ace and Lady Jaye would not have met up with Wild Weasel and the Baroness while out flying in the previous issue. They're fuel limits wouldn't have allowed them to cross paths.
    One other big clue: right after the Dreadnoks attack the travelling Joes, they head "ten miles further up the highway" and destroy an unnamed Air Force base!!! This means that Springfield is located close enough to an actual USAF base. How many of those exist on the route between New York City and Malibu?
    My guess is that Springfield is located in either Pennsylvania or Ohio, since these are on the way and have hills. Indiana, maybe, thought I don't know how hilly it is. The question is, are there nearby Air Force bases on this route?
    P.S. I've ruled out Illinois, even though it follows after Indiana. I think we can safely say that the huge city of Springfield, IL is not the same as the small suburban Springfield that went bust, but was "rescued" financially by Cobra Commander back in the day. Plus, I think the state's too flat imho. (Does any state have 2 Springfields? I suppose that's a possibility...)

    Okay, the main highway Rock 'n Roll would have taken looks to be U.S. 80 through New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio. We know Springfield can't be in New York or New Jersey due to location, because the Cobra pilot that Scarlett, Snake-Eyes and Zap captured in Marvel RAH #10 told them [paraphrased], "You want me to fly you to New York City? Are you crazy? Do you know where you are?"
    Back to Highway 80 which I believe to be the only road that Rock 'n Roll would take heading to Malibu at this stage of their journey (all the way to Julesberg, Colorado!): U.S. 80 and U.S. 90 do converge for a time around Lake Eerie in Ohio, but this area is relatively flat and it is a long while from eastern Ohio before there are any real hills again. I realize we have to make allowances for artistic imagination, so this isn't definitive. Still, when you draw hills and mountain tunnels (like the one that Buzzer came out of, morphed into a demonic big rig), I'm still saying we're dealing with an Appalachian setting. So, I think we have to say that Springfield is in eastern Ohio or Pennsylvania.
    Note: since the Dreadnoks intercepted the 3 Joes on their destructive journey, we can supposedly look at an original perpendicular route from Hwy 80 via a connecting road. However, the parts of New York state that lie above Pennsylvania seems to be too far away to be a location for Springfield. The same is apparently true for Maryland and West Virginia below Pennsylvania (though there is that tricky part of West Virgina that rises up and slips in between Ohio and Pennsylvania -- can't rule that out even thought it's a long shot!). Hwy 80 lies in the middle of Pennsylvania and follows this course throughout. The Dreadnoks seem to be out on a joy ride, maybe a half hour to a couple hours' worth from their original location at the most (imho). The events that take place all transpire within a day's time and along the same freeway.
    Now, I just have to figure out where there's an Air Force base along U.S. 80!

    May have found our unnamed "Air Force base" located close enough to U.S. 80 to serve as a target for the Dreadnoks!
    Wikipedia: "Youngstown–Warren Air Reserve Station (IATA: YNG, ICAO: KYNG) is a military facility located in Vienna Township, Trumbull County, Ohio, 11 miles north of Youngstown and 10 miles east of Warren, in Trumbull County, Ohio, in the United States. The installation is located at Youngstown–Warren Regional Airport. The host wing for the installation is the 910th Airlift Wing (910 AW), an Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) unit operationally gained by the Air Mobility Command (AMC)."
    And: "The current host wing, the 910th Airlift Wing (910 AW) traces its lineage at Youngstown to 1963 when it was established as the 910th Troop Carrier Group flying the C-119 Flying Boxcar. The group later trained as a forward air control/tactical air support group from 1970 to 1971, as an air support special operations group from 1971 to 1973, and as a fighter group from 1973 to 1981, during which time it operated the A-37 Dragonfly and U-3 Blue Canoe and was operationally gained by the Tactical Air Command (TAC). It converted to an airlift mission in 1981 and received its first C-130 aircraft on 27 March 1981, at which point it became the 910th Tactical Airlift Group and operationally gained by the Military Airlift Command (MAC)."
    The only question is, would this "Air Reserve Station" house the type of fighter jets that we saw being destroyed by the Dreadnoks? I have doubts about this, but a little imagination could account for it. For instance, when a base hosts an annual Air Fair or some other celebration, pilots will bring in jets and other military planes for the show. We saw this in a Special Missions comic when Firefly stole Maverick's Vector jet. So it is possible that the Dreadnoks destroyed a bunch of unarmed jets that were in town for a local show.
    So, if Youngstown, Ohio is where the Dreadnoks attacked, then Springfield would be close by in the same state or just over the border in Pennsylvania (or the upper "nub" of West Virginia), only a few hours away at the most...
    Last edited by seaneley; 04-11-2015 at 09:15 PM. Reason: added webpage

  9. #7
    Interesting read!
    Check out my store: http://stores.ebay.com/The-Nerdiest-Store

    For EXTREMELY cheap Joes check us out at www.thenerdieststore.com

  10. #8
    Skinny, you sent me a couple of private messages about the location of Springfield, but I was told your board is too full to receive my responses. I hope you don't mind, but I'm printing them here because they are such great questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by skinny
    Antarctica and I have been bandying about this theory and Seaneley, you helped push another piece into the puzzle that supports ONE of the Springfield's being in California.

    Here are my thoughts from an email I sent to Josh.
    I think I may have stumbled onto something that Larry Hama wove into the ongoing GIJOE saga many issues ago. At a convention Larry said something to the effect of there being a story element no one had caught on to yet.
    Well I think I may have it, or at least an inkling of it.
    The return to San Francisco strengthened my theory.
    There are several hints dropped in several issues, beginning with the story of Billy in issue 10, moving to the Snake Eyes origin in 26 ,27, Wade Collins story in 43 and the origins of Cobra in 84 and possibly more.
    Let us review some facts:
    1. Snake Eyes' family and Cobra Commander's brother were killed in the same accident.
    2. Hawk said he was four hours late compared to the time Snake Eyes family should have arrived.
    3. It took him 2 hours to drive to the airport. So using that data let us assume that wherever the family was coming from was around a two hour trip.
    4. Let us skip ahead to issue 43, when Wade Collins returned from a POW camp. He is pictured sitting in the San Francisco airport.
    5. Let us make a big assumption here that San Francisco is the same airport that Snake Eyes returned from Vietnam to.
    6. The Presidio is roughly 2 hours from the San Francisco airport. If Hawk was stationed there that makes sense.
    7. Springfield, California is roughly two hours from San Francisco.
    8. The Sierras are near Springfield, California. Snake Eyes cabin, is in the Sierras.
    9. Back to issue 43, Wade says he "wandered" for a bit after his return to the US before coming to a town that welcomed him with open arms and indoctrinated him into Cobra, then he volunteered to be a Crimson Guard. Again Springfield, CA is not far from San Francisco.
    10. Storm Shadow's hideout is in San Francisco.
    11. Billy trained with Storm Shadow in San Francisco along with Jinx.
    12. Billy's mother is able to find him at that facility rather easily. Perhaps she lived nearby?

    So is it not possible that Snake Eyes' birthplace (classified), is also from Springfield? Could Cobra Commander have known him as a neighbor or at least a resident of the same city?
    Wouldn't that be a more plausible reason to want revenge on Snake Eyes by sending Zartan after him in Japan than just a random car accident?
    Is it not reasonable that people tend to return to a certain area that they consider home? If Snake Eyes was from Springfield, California it is not a huge leap to consider that the family had a cabin in the nearby Sierras.

    Do the puzzle pieces all fit or am I way off? I did bounce the theory off on a few people and they seem to agree it is possible.
    I will send Josh's reply in a second mail. (It's too long)
    Skinny, My 1st problem is with #5. I think it's too much of a stretch to believe that San Francisco Airport is the exact same one that Snake-Eyes returned to, unless it can be verified that this was a common airport for troops to be left at after returning from the war. (I've also heard that all troops actually arrived at respective military Air Bases where they were picked up by family members or - possibly - took a plane from the air base to a regular airport afterwards in order to be picked up by family members who were too far away. I've heard this is the so-called reason that the "Vietnam protesters" spitting on Vets is supposed to be an urban myth.)
    My 2nd problem is the fact that Ace and Lady Jaye took off from an Air Force base in New Jersey close to Ft. Wadsworth (I forget the name, but it is well known) in issue #34 and Wild Weasel and Baroness took off from Springfield (Cobra H.Q.). No way (imho) they accidentally crossed paths if the Rattler was flying all the way from California. Does an A-10 even have the fuel for that? (I could be wrong, but still - what a COINCIDENCE if Springfield is in California on the other side of the country!)
    I could be wrong, but those are my thoughts, Skinny!

    Quote Originally Posted by skinny
    WHAT Josh (Antarctica) said in response to my theory:

    Wow. Wow. Wow.
    So my question is in around late 1982 / early 1983 would Larry have thought that far ahead? What is his personal connection, if any, with that area? Cause it's possible his personal return from Vietnam was through that area. He notoriously talks about how he doesn't plan ahead that much, but to certain degree he does. If he is writing from personal experience that could be how he pieces it together? Or he is just creative making it and randomly centered on San Fran.?
    Remember no Google [back then] to figure out what you figured out. So he would have had to do it old school, which he is, so it's not a terrible stretch. How hard would it be too find Springfield, CA, if u didn't know about it, didn't have Google and were working in NYC?
    In SE Declassified, pre-Cobra Commander teams up with SE to kill the judge involved in his brother's death but SE decides not to go through. I remember Jerwa saying something along the lines of he needed a connection between CC and SE that would be solid enough to warrant an attempted murder.
    Your theory works better being from the same town. What works even better is old elementary school / high school rivals. Lots of classic villains / heroes started out as real young in life friends. Hate fills one who goes bad and creates Rivalry = world domination plots.
    The Springfield invaded in#50 is widely assumed to be in Vermont. Although, I am not sure if that was a hard confirm. Definitely on East Coast, due to drive / flight times, in several issues. So they aren't the same Springfield. But this could be a repeating pattern for Cobra [i.e. Springfield is a name given to all Cobra controlled areas].
    It's some great investigation. Well done. I suggest u Facebook Larry, he communicates through there pretty regularly with fans.
    SE is definitely a West Coast guy.
    I just looked through #150 & 151 where SE fights CC. Didn't seem to be any reference but I might have missed something. Billy, SS and Baroness are there also, but brainwashed. Might be a hint. If u find something there in those very late issue it's for real.
    I doubt IDW has any clue about your theory, the editors can't even keep dead Joes from appearing & switch weird bubbles and character names, much less a connection from way back.
    Keep digging cause the classified parts of his dossier are still huge mysteries that would excite fans like very few other events. SE's past has remained hidden longer than Wolverine's past has.
    I have to agree that Springfield, Vermont is a different location than Springfield, Cobra H.Q.
    That aside, one thing that bothers me is that in issue #5 the Cobra courier receives the micro-film in New York City and then takes the "usual safe routes" to Cobra H.Q. (which we assume is in Springfield). He appears to walk the route (though he may have used a vehicle in-between panels)! Then, in #10 Zap, Scarlett and Snake-Eyes hijack the weird Cobra aircraft and tell the pilot to fly them to New York. (This is the same ship that had brought them to Springfield.) The Cobra pilot says something like: "New York City? Do you know where you are? Oh, of course not, you were all unconscious... blah blah blah..." Well, how far is Springfield from New York City? It should be noted that the strange craft did make it to New York City, but the Joes had no clue where they had been at that time. This means the Cobra courier in #5 sure did a lot of walking!
    So, I'm still guessing East Coast, in the Appalachian Range, a good distance from New York City, but doable in a day's time because of the time-frame of the Cobra courier and the airship's flight and the Skystriker's interception...
    Last edited by seaneley; 04-19-2015 at 09:38 PM.

  11. #9
    I think that the original Springfield is in CA, and then Cobra expanded its operations to several other Springfields. However the original one, the one where Cobra Commander and Snake Eyes family died in the crash, would be in California.

    The Air Base in issue 34 was McGuire in Jersey.

    Is there any reference to "going back home" or anything when Cobra goes to Rancho Corba Acres in California?
    The PIT is in Nevada and Cobra drove their HISS tanks there to attack...

    As far as the airport, Snake Eyes home away from home, his cabin, is in the Sierras which coincidentally are very close to Springfield California.

  12. #10
    No! You're wrong! Burn in h---!!!


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts