Big Boa's origin, like much of the Marvel Comics G.I. Joe characters, was developed for the Hasbro toy line. He was developed as an opponent to Rocky Balboa, who was supposed to become a member of the G.I. Joe team. Hasbro and writer/director of the Rocky franchise Sylvester Stallone, never came to an agreement on making Rocky a member of the G.I. Joe team, but Big Boa was still released as Cobra's trainer.
The man now known as Big Boa started out in the marines. He was very committed to the men he served with, willing to do anything for them. When his unit was caught in an intense firefight, Big Boa drove their vehicle through the streets trying to find an exit. He saw a female pedestrian in their path but chose to drive over her, killing her, for the simple reason that he was afraid and would do anything to escape. Afterwards there was an investigation, with Boa possibly facing a court-martial. He instead hooked up with a private security firm called Colossus Security and went AWOL. He spent some time in southeast Asia, fighting in mixed martial arts matches. Eventually Boa went back to Colossus Security, which is owned by Cobra, and soon began training the many ranks of Vipers. Big Boa is extremely devoted to the Commander.
Big Boa was created for the Hasbro G.I. Joe toy line in 1987. He was adapted and used by Larry Hama in the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic series from Marvel.
In both the Marvel and IDW versions of Big Boa, he is presented as a "tough as nails" trainer who is rarely beaten by his students. In many cases, he often leaves his students banged and bruised. The only change in the character has been his physical appearance. In the Marvel series, Big Boa has a mask and boxing gloves and is always bare chested. In his short stint in IDW's G.I. Joe: Cobra volume 2, Big Boa dresses all in black and has a steel brace around his jaw, which acts as a support since he had it broken.
Major Story Arcs
Big Boa was released by Hasbro as a part of the G.I. Joe toyline in 1987. He was packaged with a pair of removable red boxing gloves and a punching bag. He was discontinued in 1989. He was later released in 2008 as a part of the G.I. Joe 25th anniversary collection series.
Big Boa appeared in two G.I. Joe novels, Divide and Conquer and Fool's Gold. In the latter, he attempts to take over Cobra with the use of a disintegration gun, but his attempt is thwarted.