The year 1997 (MCMXCVII) was the 15th anniversary of the A Real American Hero brand.
The year 1997 was the fifteenth anniversary of the 3 3/4" line, as well as the tenth anniversary of G.I. Joe: The Movie. The rise of the internet among college students and other young adults had ignited fan fervor for everything 1980s. Three of the largest G.I. Joe fan sites merged that year to form YoJoe.com, a massive site which today is considered the definitive online source for 3 3/4" G.I. Joe history. From the beginning, there was a mailing list, a page for each figure, and photos of most of the filecards were available as well. The Star Wars: Special Edition releases created an interest in toy collecting in general, so a number of G.I. Joe price guides were released this year.
Nostalgia turned to elation when Hasbro-Kenner announced plans to release 3 3/4" figures that summer in honor of the line's 15th anniversary. The series would be known as "The Real American Hero Collection." The original idea was to produce three boxed sets of four figures, repaints from the early days. The planned sets were repaints of 1) Roadblock, 1982 Scarlett, 1985 Snake-Eyes (with Timber) and Grunt; 2) 1983 Duke, 1983 Gung-Ho, 1984 Roadblock and Lady Jaye; and 3) 1982 Cobra Commander, 1984 Firefly, 1986 Viper and Alley Viper. Character art for Short-Fuze and Footloose would have been recycled and modified for Roadblock and Grunt.
Unfortunately, the release was delayed until fall, and the production ran into problems. Some fans began to wonder if the figures would be released at all. First, the boxed set idea was scrapped in favor of 3-packs and vehicles, plus a Stars and Stripes Forever eight-figure set of the surviving original team members. Because most collectors were interested in figures, no vehicle would be sold without one. Second, many of the older molds could not be located or else were unusable. Cards, boxes, filecards, and related art were all completed before the mold problem became evident. As a result of the mold problem, Flash had to be removed from the Stars and Striped Forever set and replaced with Breaker (who had died in the comic), and then Breaker and Rock 'n Roll had to be "Frankensteined" from other figures. Snake-Eyes, Cobra Commander, Destro and parts the of Alley Viper had to be made from other molds, and the new Blizzard would actually be a repaint of 1993's Frostbite. Fortunately, the vehicles could be released as planned, and the line was released in Toys "Я" Us stores in October. While the line was not perfect, it was a return to what many considered the "good ol' days" of G.I. Joe, without neon colors, spring-loaded weapons, monsters, or aliens.
G.I. Joe Team
G.I. Joe Team
- General Hawk
- Stars and Stripes Forever
G.I. Joe Team
No comics were produced this year.
No animation was produced this year.