It was 1982 and the first G.I. Joe action figure that I begged my parents to purchase for me came with the codename of Flash. From the file card that I cut out from the back of his package, I learned that Flash's real name is Anthony Gambello -- and this is how I referred to him until I realized that wasn't the way it worked with a G.I. Joe character. Flash, as it turns out, wasn't a very important Joe in either the '80s cartoon series or the excellent Larry Hama Marvel comic book series, but he was my introduction to this wonderful adventure storyline of my youth. A storyline that, post 'Star Wars,' would deliver me, in theory, to my teenage years when this kind of stuff wouldn't matter to me anymore. (That theory would prove false.)
I am not alone in my love for the '80s G.I. Joe storyline, and this is why the abomination that is called 'G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra' pisses all of us off so much. And this is also why the upcoming 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' gives us some semblance of hope.