The year 1991 (MCMXCI) is the tenth year of the A Real American Hero brand.
For Hasbro, the new decade introduced a new way of doing G.I. Joe. This is also the year Hasbro acquired Kenner, but the ramifications of that deal wouldn't become apparent for a few years. The efforts of the previous year began to bear fruit as the creators released a Target-exclusive 12" Duke figure in September, and made many changes to the general toyline. While toys could usually be found for many months after their debut year, most did not appear in the next year's catalog. New figures began shipping in waves throughout the year, instead of all at once. Most figures and vehicles had motorized or electronic effects or could actually fly or fire projectiles. Neon colors began to dominate, with the old olive-green rarely seen. Most of the new figures were members of one or another special mission team, and many were new versions of older figures. There were fewer vehicles released, only nine in 1991, and only the Battle Copters included figures. Finally, figures released late in 1991 included figure stands. These trends were to continue throughout the next several years.
The new releases were characterized by some subtle filecard changes: a thicker, usually larger sans-serif font for the code name, and re-releases carrying an explanatory note that serial numbers had been changed for security purposes. (SN's had been changing for two years already.) There were also additional information lines, such as vehicle assignments. The changes began appearing with the Sonic Fighters, actually released around November 1990. The carded assortment and new vehicles began appearing in January and February 1991. The Air Commandos, whose large gliders practically qualify as vehicles in their own right, appeared around this time, as well as the Battle Copters, the only 1991 boxed vehicles to come with figures. Around September, more new carded figures appeared on the shelves, together with the long-awaited Eco-Warriors. By November, the releases generally regarded as "1992" toys began, with the Super Sonic Fighters and the talking Battle Commanders (covered in the 1992 section).
The comics had perhaps their most eventful year ever, with a war that led to the deaths of 14 Joes and yet another alliance between G.I. Joe and Destro. The new cartoon series ran for its last season in fall 1991, introducing characters from both 1991 and 1992. Twenty episodes were produced, bringing the total number of half-hour segments to 144. Commercials scrapped animation in favor of brief live-action sequences. These aired as serials, with a plot centered around the "Plasma-Tox" device. The catalog cover for 1991 featured an advertisement for the cartoon, with pictures of most of the 1990 G.I. Joe vehicles. By the end of the year, the number of figures had topped 300, over 100 of which were for enemies of G.I. Joe.
G.I. Joe Team
G.I. Joe Team
- Free G.I. Joe Action Figure
- An offer on specially marked Rice Krispies cereal boxes for Lifeline. This mail-in version has different legs than the store-bought Lifeline (specifically, they're recolored Frostbite legs), and the figure came with only his backpack and medical kit. The changes were made to remove all weapons from the figure - even the sculpted ones.
- Attack of the Swamp Creature!
- Included with figures packaged in 1991. Zanzibar is investigating a mysterious slime that has destroyed Joe and Cobra vehicles, and G.I. Joe is following suit. The Triple "T" which arrived was a variant with the same orange cannons, missiles, and back that came with the Night Raider.
- Figures Available: Figures Available: 1987 Zanzibar (with Air Skiff).
- Equipment Available: Triple "T,"; Swampmasher; Air Skiff (with Zanzibar), AGP.
- Escape from Doom!
- Included with vehicles packaged in 1991. The Micro Figures are escaping Destro's lab in their Micro Vehicles. The Micro Vehicles were an 8-piece set available only by mail. They included the MOBAT, APC, VAMP Mark II, AWE Striker, Snow Cat, Persuader, Warthog, and HISS. The vehicle drivers were sold individually in this offer, rather than as a set.
- Figures Available: 1985 Quick Kick, 1985 Rampage, 1987 Jinx, 1987 Steel Brigade; 1986 Motor Viper, 1986 Strato-Viper.
- Equipment Available: SHARC; HISS, WOLF.
Issues 108 - 119 of the Marvel Comics series came out this year.
This year, toy commercials began using live-action scenes instead of animation.
18 half-hour episodes of the DIC series debuted this year, with the season's last two debuting in January 1992.