G.I. Joe Action Figure VS. Comic Book: Zartan

by Norman Robinson III

GI-Joe-300x157 G.I. Joe Action Figure VS. Comic Book: ZartanG.I. Joe has many interesting rogues, but few as nuanced and entertaining as the deadly mercenary, Zartan. Zartan’s first appearance in comics is worth about $600 in near mint to mint condition. How does Zartan’s comic book compare to his original action figure from 1984? Further, what are some of the nuances to collecting this key action figure? If you have been an avid collector of comics and retro toys for any length of time you have stumbled across G.I. Joe toys in thrift shops. I hope you been buying them regardless of condition.

Why? Because they sell despite the condition. Even action figures with no arms, or tanks with teeth marks from Fido. Worse yet, a missile launcher with no missile. Suffice it to say, I have purchased them all and resold them for a solid profit every time and quickly. Is it G.I. Joe? Then it moves faster than the Strike Force on amphetamines.

74911-180x300 G.I. Joe Action Figure VS. Comic Book: ZartanZartan G.I. Joe Toy and Comic Book

“The 1984 Zartan action figure featured UV reactive plastic. In its natural state, Zartan appeared Caucasian, but when exposed to sunlight, Zartan’s skin changed to a dark blue. The action figure also came with thermal sensitive stickers that were applied to Zartan’s chest- and thigh-armor. These stickers changed from maroon when cold, to aqua at room temperature, and blue when hot.” (Source: Wiki)

Thermal Reactive Plastic!cleardot G.I. Joe Action Figure VS. Comic Book: Zartan

Zartan Components Face Mask chest armor shield Chameleon swamp skier pistol backpack thigh armor knee pads
Price $30 $5 with sticker $45 $30 item and the rope connecting box is $75 $8 $8-15 $8- with sticker and pegs $20 each
Zartan Figure 1984 with OEM o-ring $75
Zartan Figure without o-ring separated uncracked $25

G. I. Joe #25 A Real American HeroeyJidWNrZXQiOiJnb2NvbGxlY3QuaW1hZ2VzLnB1YiIsImtleSI6ImE4NzgyMDI5LWIxZmEtNDUwNC05NGEzLWM1YjI2YzM4MTU1Zi5qcGciLCJlZGl0cyI6W119 G.I. Joe Action Figure VS. Comic Book: Zartan

His comic has no such chameleon powers, instead, it just goes up in value. G. I. Joe #25 A Real American Hero, Zartan is the leader of the Dreadnaughts, brother of Zarina. It was created in 1984 by Mike Zeck and Frank Springer art with a script by the able Larry Hama. This book is one of the solid Copper Age keys, especially for G.I. Joe fanatics.

I might be overstating this, but there are collectors, and then there are G.I. Joe collectors, the term “voracious” comes to mind. Let’s compare this comic book key first appearance of Zartan to his first appearance in toy form based on the previous sections info. It will be fun to see how the two avatars of Zartan match up?

Title Grade Last Sale Return Long-Term
G. I. Joe #25 A Real American Hero 9.8 $384 +160.2%
Zartan no box 1984 9.2 $300 ( Ultimate G.I. Joe 3rd edition)
Zartan with box mint condition 1984 9.8 $650
Zartan Components 1984 N/A $186

1e53b3ce2dac740d1be4a9b989cde40b G.I. Joe Action Figure VS. Comic Book: ZartanConclusion

In a head to head match up the larger comic book market makes for an easy resell at very specific price points. Despite the fact that I have given “by the book” value estimates for the Zartan G.I. Joe action figure; it is very much like the Wild West approach to markets, a free-for-all! You can often find it cheaper but at what cost to quality?

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