Zap's real name is Rafael J. Melendez and was born in New York City. He served as the G.I. Joe team's "Bazooka Soldier" specializing in all sorts of armor-piercing and anti-tank weaponry. Zap's primary military specialty is engineering but he also graduated from ordinances school and received advanced infantry training. Zap is a "fun loving type" which is an asset considering the massive amounts of explosives his job requires him to handle.
Zap was created for the Hasbro G.I. Joe toy line in 1982. His story and character were developed and written by Larry Hama for Marvel's G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series.
Although Zap was the G.I. Joe team's first bazooka soldier, he is also a capable helicopter pilot. There is a running joke in the comic series that whenever he is asked to pilot a helicopter, he states that he doesn't remember how to. The response from other team members is that "it's just like riding a bike" in which he replies that he always falls off of his bicycle.
Zap would later be retired from activity duty along with the other original Joes. He would however, make a few scattered appearances in the field afterwards.
Major Story Arcs
Zap had minor roles in Sunbow's G.I. Joe animated series. He was voiced by Buster Jones.
Zap made his toy debut in 1982 as a part of Hasbro's G.I. Joe toy line. Like other original team members, he was re-released in 1983 with the new "swivel arm battle grip". Zap would not be released again until 1991 as a part of the Super Sonic Fighters series and then again in 2009 as a part of the Assault on Cobra Island box set.
Zap was a featured character in the 1985 G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero computer game.