When we were first kicking around the concept for The Adventure Team Chronicles I submitted this story as an outline. I can't remember who I had in mind for characters but by the time I got around to writing it Ace and Skip had emerged as the obvious buddy duo.
Separately the slick, pretty boy pilot and the scrappy, quick-tempered sailor were fairly uninteresting archetypes, but paired up they could talk, or fight, their way out of almost any situation.
This is another episode where Jesse Wittenrich's coloring talents really made the panels pop.
In the early stages of G.I. Joe development the Action Sailor was called "Skip," the Action Pilot "Ace" and the Action Marine was "Rocky." While these names didn’t make it into final production
I decided to revive "Skip" and "Ace" for the Sea and Air Adventurers respectively.
Since one of the Challengers of the Unknown was already named "Ace," using another of their names "Rocky" for the Land Adventurer would have been pushing it.
True story. While writing this episode I was in my office eating lunch and I decided to look over what I had written the night before. As I was rereading the script it struck me that the character I was calling "Sherpa kid" should probably have a name.
I opened Google, typed in "Tibetan names" and was interrupted by someone behind me saying "Hello." I should explain that I work at a boarding school, which is, for the most part, empty during the summer. In a given week I see maybe a dozen people walk by my office. I turned around, and standing in my doorway was a Tibetan Monk, orange robes, the whole deal. I am not sure how long it took me to finally reply. He gave a smile, a slight wave then shuffled off down the hall.
A short time later I was told that the monk, who spoke almost no English, had wandered off from a group of visitors who were touring the school. Until I learned this I was VERY impressed with Google search.
I described Zhang Bu or "Sherpa kid" as looking pretty much like Short Round from Temple of Doom, but with a Red Sox cap rather than a Yankees one.