I was able to have a short conversation with Andrei Koribanics, he was an artist for Hasbro and he did quite a bit of pre-production artwork for the GI Joe line. He worked on Joe from 1983-1985 and did a number of pencil concept sketches as well as full-blown illustrations (in oil on board) for characters that had “passed the first round” of approvals. He was also behind many of the motorized backpacks. And his work was for internal review.
from Andrei: “It WAS more than half my life ago, but I remember it well… it was a lot of fun and I loved the assignments… all done through Fed-Ex and phone calls. That was well before PCs and scanners, and I didn’t own a photocopier, so it was difficult to record what I had executed. Add to that the tight deadlines and there wasn’t much time to record anything. I think I may have some slides about, but I’ll probably never find them! :-)”
Sadly, Hasbro kept all of his work “in-house” so he does not have any mementos of his days with Hasbro. However, there are a few pieces floating around in the wild. While not a major interview or big time news, it is a little nugget of Joe history.