Name: Tube Worms
From: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (1983)
Classification: Giant underwater, man-eating worms that live inside stone pillars.
Sorry to dip into the ’80s cartoon well again so soon, but this was the first beastie that popped into my head when I sat down to write today.
In 1983 Hasbro and Marvel Productions teamed up to bring the first cartoon G.I. Joe mini-series to TV. Simply titled G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, the mini-series focused on the Joe Team and Cobra traversing the globe to obtain elements to power the M.A.S.S. Devise. The M.A.S.S. Devise (Molecular Assembler Scrambler Sender Devise) was a powerful weapon that could teleport large amounts of matter across the globe instantly.
One of the elements that both Cobra and G.I. Joe needed was a form of Heavy Water. Located in one of the deepest trenches in the world, both teams arrive at the location. As a battle ensues on the top of the water, both G.I. Joe and Cobra teams send divers into the water to collect the heavy water they need.
While diving into the deep, dark water both teams notice large looming stone pillars attached to the ocean floor. After the Joes and Cobra forces start fighting, the inhabitants of the pillars awaken. Large shrieking worms spring from inside the pillar like tubes and begin attack both teams. No one was safe from these terrible monsters of the deep.
After both sides started suffering causalities, The Baroness and Duke call a truce and begin working together to fight back against the Worms of Death (great name for a band btw). As both sides open fire on the worms they soon discover that breaking the pillars away from the ocean floor causes the worms to float off and bloat up and die. We learn that the worms are anchored to the ocean floor by a central foot with tentacle like fingers.
After all of the worms are killed, both teams collect their hard water. In an act of treachery the Baroness goes back on the truce and begins to attack the Joe force. Her and Cobra’s attack is stopped when Deep Six and a group of S.H.A.R.C.s (the vehicle, not the fish. He’s not Aquaman after all.) arrive to help the Joes.
The shrieking of the Worms of Death is a sound I will never forget. It is just one of those things that has imprinted on my brain ever since I was 7 years old. I have always had a fear of open and deep water because of not knowing what could be lurking there. These creatures only added to that.
This mini-series, along with the follow-up mini-series The Weather Dominator set the tone of the whole G.I. Joe animated universe. What a wonderful universe it was too, full of ghosts, gods, and monsters. G.I. Joe was a total mash up of all genres and it was a large part of making me the dork I am today, heck all ’80s cartoons fit that bill too. As I think of them I’ll try to include some of the other crazy critters that appeared on G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero as well as all the awesome and wacky ’80s cartoons of my youth.
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