Everyone needs a muse. The Fine Brothers have several, each molded from a plastic resin, mass produced, acrylicly colored, and a near-perfect replica of a famous comic book, cartoon, television, or major motion picture character. Some of them even have Kung Fu grips.
Under the banner of Ravenstake, Benny and Rafi Fine have created action figure-inspired satire since way back in 2004. That’s when the former Orthodox pre-Hipster, Brooklyn Jews and sons of a Rabbi first debuted their three hour trilogy that was two years in the making – G.I. Joe: The Epic Saga.
It’s a potty-mouthed, not Kosher for work, pre-YouTube era romp through the world of a hyper-sexualized G.I. Joe team embattled in its perennial struggle against a newly semetic Cobra Command.
Imagine a sordid Red vs. Blue lacking in subtlety and without the machinima or if the brothers of Delta Tau Chi had ties to the Torah and were more interested in filmmaking and Hasbro toys than toga parties. That should give you a good idea of what to expect.
Over e-mail, the Fine Brothers told me how the series began:
“We created a trilogy of feature films, one hour each, that we broke up into mini series format for the internet. Along with the series we created an entire website dedicated to it where we had weekly updates and interactivity including newspaper, blog and voicemail updates, and over 50 email and MySpace profiles set up for fans to be in touch with the characters.”
It was a labor love that the G.I. Joe copyright holders did not appreciate. After 12 of 17 episodes aired, Hasbro sent the Fines a cease and desist letter, and the series was shut down on May 30, 2006.
But The Saga had a dedicated fan base, determined to see it continue. Over the past two years, a handful of YouTube accounts popped up, re-releasing the series one scene at a time over the course of 100 episodes. Most of those accounts were banned (as was Ravenstake’s YouTube Account, which I’m told “was complete BS, and a whole other story altogether), but one resilient little YouTube account was able to post away, under the radar, somehow avoiding any litigious actions.
Thanks to youtube.com/gijoeshow the internet can finally see the conclusion of G.I. Joe: The Epic Saga. Ben and Rafi are ecsstatic:
“The saga is likely to be removed eventually even from that channel, but we can not express how pumped we are even for the thousand or so people that seem to be following it, and seeing comments from fans who have been watching for the past three years since it was housed on our website alone.”
If you like Ravenstake’s brand of comedy, check out their action figured version of Lost, their Kung Fu Grip series exclusive to the The Escapist, and a number of live-action sketches. The Fines also tell me that deals with new media studios are in the works.