The 80s Cartoon Cobra Commander Differed From The Comic Cobra Commander
What shocked me as I was growing up was that cartoon Cobra Commander was NOTHING like the comics. The comics version of Cobra Commander is pictured to be more ruthless, a real terrorist that you should fear and one you could compare to real life international terrorists. So what's with the comic version? The comics version of Cobra Commander used to be a used car salesman who ended up going from nobody to nightmare. He wasn't some whiny idiot like Megatron (and later Starscream when Serpentor took over) but a real threat you couldn't discount.
But what happened in the cartoons? Considering that G.I.Joe was in the 1980s and censorship was one of the issues. The G.I.Joe comics was a lot more violent than the cartoons. The cartoon Cobra Commander ended up becoming a typical cartoon villain. While he's formed the international organization known as COBRA he's also displayed a lot of stupid traits. He's always coming up with Dr. Evil type of plans and he refuses to fire his ever-obvious treacherous assistant Destro. If Transforners had Megatron vs. Starscream then we have Cobra Commander vs. Destro. Destro was subtle in the comics but not in the cartoons. Almost every episode had Cobra Commander and Destro arguing like Megatron and Starscream. Funny that the talented and late Chris Latta voiced both Cobra Commander and Starscream though one is the true leader, the other is an usurper towards the true leader.
Everything went downhill in the G.I.Joe series from season two onwards. Serpentor was introduced to be nothing more than an even more stupid cartoon villain than Cobra Commander was. The G.I.Joe movie jumped the shark with Cobra Commander's origins. While he was human in the cartoons but why in the world did they make him a part of some ancient civilization called Cobra-La? Not only has Serpentor been demoted to a lackey in the movie groveling at Golobus' feet but Cobra Commander gets further demotion. So why did they decide to change Cobra Commander's origins? Also, sending Cobra Commander into the world to form a mighty army to reclaim Cobra-La's domain MAKES NO SENSE. Golobulus said that the use of inorganic matter was a travesty but wasn't COBRA's own way of living also a travesty? Serpentor wasn't using purely organic matter like Cobra-La was well so WTF.
I guess the whole issue why Cobra Commander was turned into a Dr. Evil type of villain was because of censorship. You couldn't have a Cobra Commander who's bloody cruel or killing people in the G.I.Joe cartoons. It's a cartoon for children under TV-Y7-FV. So instead of someone who's evil personified he ends up as a typical hammy cartoon villain. He had his own evil laugh which was still scary but doesn't help the fact he's a Dr. Evil type of villain. Half-brained schemes after the other just defined an iconic cartoon villain for a lot of 80s and 90s children.