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Springfield, Illinois Just Gave Their Town Key To A Cartoon Supervillain

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What do you do when a terrifying evil dictator from an ’80s cartoon comes to town? You give him a key to the city, of course. Someone should tell Skeletor and Gargamel, ‘cuz they’re going to want to get in on this.

Yesterday (March 11) J. Michael Houston, the mayor of Springfield, Illinois, met with the villain of “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” to bestow upon him the city’s highest honor. No, really. This is a thing that actually happened in the world. According to the press release from General Joes, Cobra Commander then addressed the crowd with a moving sales pitch to become part of his paramilitary terrorist organization, Cobra. But did he do the speech in the lisping voice from the show? It doesn’t count otherwise. We checked.

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Sure, it might seem weird to bestow such a high honor to a guy who’s trying to take over the world and enslave all is people. But in “G.I. Joe” lore, Springfield (Just like in “The Simpsons,” it’s a fictional town with a real-life name) is where Cobra Commander first established his base of operations, converting many of the down-on-their-luck town residents into covert Cobra agents in the process. In a particularly creepy two-episode storyline called “There’s No Place Like Springfield,” G.I. Joe member Shipwreck is brainwashed into believing that he lives there with a wife and daughter, so that the Cobras can extract classified information from him while he’s caught unaware. Eventually he escapes from the town, defeating synthetic clones of all his friends and his fake family members in the process.

Man, “G.I. Joe” was actually a really messed up show for kids to be watching, if you think about it.

Of course, there’s another more practical reason to highlight Cobra Commander’s visit to Illinois — from April 9 to April 12, Springfield will be home to the official G.I. Joe Collectors Convention. Known colloquially as “JoeCon,” the weekend will be filled with panels and seminars by Hasbro Toys, autograph sessions with the show’s voice cast, a showroom filled with collectibles, and even a giant G.I. Joe parachute drop. You can find more information about tickets and specific events at the con on their website.

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