|The rarely-seen Sal's Monday Punt.
(Pin-up from Marvel's G.I. Joe #150;
art by the fantastic Sal Buscema.)
Even with those personality traits, though, Cobra Commander was not a nonthreatening gag-villain: he had an uncanny knack for smooth-talking his way out of bad situations, and in the comics, at least, he was not above sealing traitors to die in landlocked cargo ships - uh, another long story - or shooting political prisoners on random whims. Alas, poor White Clown and Magda...
This absurd, over-the-top brand of villainy makes Cobra Commander the perfect counterpart to the Joe team in my mind, who often have trouble coming across as individuals (unless they're Shipwreck, of course). In short, I care about Cobra Commander way less when he's trying to be Darth Vader and more when he's acting like a paramilitary version of the Joker. I can't help but wonder if some more of this kind of "embracing the ridiculous" attitude might get the G.I. Joe line out of its current funk... but that is a pretty tall order, particular character portrayals or otherwise.