The Washington Times - January 14, 2009, 04:28PM

By Scott Klauder

I found ‘GI Joe: A Real American Hero’ back when they first came out in 1982. I was 11 years old, and was delighted at these small soldiers that were readily available for just a couple of bucks at my local Acme Market.

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Snake Eyes from Sideshow Collectibles

One of the cool things was, they were the size of the highly popular 3 3/4 inch Star Wars figures. And at the time, being so close to becoming a teenager, it was a big deal that I did not have to settle for the 12- inch “doll” like GI Joe.

That, and the fact the GI Joe name was no longer generic. Now you had Duke, and Scarlett, and Snake Eyes, Cobra Commander, Baroness and Destro. There was individuality, character, but it still held onto the idea of a team.

Then there was the arrival of the Transformers in 1984. Even though I leaned more towards the GI Joe figures, Transformers were always a constant for me. Sometimes, Autobots and GI Joes found themselves next to each other on the battle field of my backyard, facing off against the forces of Cobra and the Decepticons. 

Funny thing is, this eventually happened in the cartoon, as well as several times in the comics. GI Joe and Transformers were like cousins that lived right next door to each other.

Now, they are being realized on the big screen. I feel like I’m a kid again. GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra will release during this year, as will Transformers 2. And I look forward to sitting in front of the movie screen, snacks in hand and a smile on my face, just as I did when I watched the cartoons as a kid.

Scott Klauder is the production manager for Sideshow Collectibles.