On our final GO JOE Saturday we take a look at one of the most iconic leaders of Cobra, The Baroness. Once again, this character would be the creation of Larry Hama for his comic book at Marvel. Hama looked at the Cobra team he was building, and it clearly needed something. For one thing, there weren’t any women on the team, and he thought that was an issue. It would also help to have a character that didn’t have a piece of metal over their face. So, Baroness was born to fill these gaps.
Baroness was the Lt. of Cobra Commander and the head of Intelligence within the organization. She was feared by her underlings and was a constant threat to the Joes. Hama put work into this character, and as with many of the ideas involving Cobra he pitched to Hasbro, they promptly told him it was garbage. Hasbro had already caved on Joe member Scarlett even though they believed that women had no place in a boy’s toy-line. To Hasbro, that bullshitism was especially true for the bad guys, and they didn’t have any plans of creating a figure nor did they think it was a good idea to use her in any other media.
Larry Hama’s response was to do whatever the hell he wanted. At this point, he was in the middle of saving their entire GI Joe figure series, so Hasbro wasn’t going to tell HIM he couldn’t put her in his comic book. Baroness even appeared in the first issue of the book and was a major part of Cobra’s plan of capturing an unwilling scientist for their nefarious plot.
Hasbro could not have been more wrong. Baroness was so popular she was made a character in the animated series, being the first comic character to make that transition, and that only fueled the fire. Soon it became a legitimate curiosity of child consumers why she didn’t have a figure of her own.
Finally, after years of waiting, Hasbro caved and a Baroness figure was put to plastic and released to an awaiting public and vindicated Larry Hama. Hasbro gave her the signature black jump that was iconic to the character, a Cobra-themed pack, and a laser rifle. Finally, the Cobra leadership was complete. Baroness would become a staple to the group from that point forward and Hasbro learned an important lesson about female character representation. That’s why we all remember our Transformers Arcee figures fondly… right?… right??