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1998

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The year 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was the seventeenth year of the A Real American Hero brand.

Overview

Probably to the astonishment of Joe's creators, fan reaction to 1997's revival of 3 3/4" figures -- The Real American Hero Collection -- was generally negative. While Hasbro-Kenner had brought back the beloved line, they did so poorly, according to most buyers and collectors. The mold problems, and especially the replacement molds chosen, spoiled the expectations of many. The new, complex paint schemes were interesting, but there were several questionable choices, such as the lime-green Duke and the purple-and-orange Scarlett. Some of the accessories included with the Stars and Stripes Forever set made little sense, and the helmets didn't fit. The set's US flag had 56 stars on it. The greatest criticism was the quality of the plastic. It was much softer and fit badly so that many figures could not stand properly. Fans of the comic were also disappointed that Larry Hama had not been asked to continue as filecard writer; the filecards were written by respected fan/collector Thomas Wheeler. (David Lane would assist him on 1998's cards.) Nevertheless, they bought the toys, so the revival was a success from a marketing standpoint.

Hasbro-Kenner heard the complaints and vowed to do better. Also, in response to countless requests, the next year's releases (still Toys "Я" Us exclusives) would include Oktober Guard figures. The quality of the 1998 figures was at least close to that of the original line, and the 1998 vehicles have been hailed as even better-looking than their originals. One other change was that, for the first time, most packages and filecards did not have character art for each figure, but rather a generic background: an orange flame explosion with a helicopter in the corner. A new difficulty surfaced this year and was, like the mold problem, the effect of time and neglect: copyrights were beginning to expire. Some products would have to be renamed, and Hasbro-Kenner's solution would be to use copyright-intact names from other Joe products. The only item affected this year was the Stinger, renamed the Rattler; but more would come in 2000. The toys appeared first in Canada in October, then in the states by mid-November.

Toys

Carded figures

G.I. Joe Team

Oktober Guard

Cobra

Non-carded figures

G.I. Joe Team

Cobra

Equipment

G.I. Joe Team

Cobra

Comicbooks

No comics were produced this year.

Animation

No animation was produced this year.

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