The vintage G.I. Joe franchise includes the original 1964 toyline created by Hasbro that invented the genre of "action figures", and the various spin offs that lasted until 1978.
- What were the boys to do?
In the early 1960s, boys had teensy weensy tin or plastic soldiers to play around with. Girls had Barbie, a series of poseable dolls that can also be dressed up. Then, in 1964, Hasbro came up with G.I. Joe, military style toys but they didn't call them dolls, they called them action figures. Even better, they were very poseable!!! And... each figure stands at 12" tall and they were well detailed. It was a big hit and a new toy legend is born.
They called him America's Movable Fighting Man and he didn't come alone. He came from all four branches of the military: the Army, the Navy, Air Force and the Marines. Hasbro even rolled out vehicles for them. And the line expanded greatly that it included soldiers from the rest of the world. But G.I. Joe wasn't going to be a military man forever.
|Hall of Fame|
|Hall of Fame|
|Valor vs. Venom|
Then came the Adventure Team. G.I. Joe wasn't a soldier any more. He was now an adventurer and he's got the team to back him up. Hasbro threw more innovations like the Kung Fu Grip and "life-like" hair. He battled environmental enemies and retrieved lost treasures. The Adventure Team sold much much better than military Joe and dominated the 1970s. Sadly, that reign was not to last forever and a book is closed 1976. A short lived follow up, Super Joe Adventure Team proved unpopular and was soon cancelled.
Years later, Hasbro reinvented G.I. Joe with the release of the A Real American Hero toyline in 1982.
Original scale revival
12" G.I. Joe languished for more than a decade. Out of the blue, Hasbro produced a 12" G.I. Joe exclusive only to Target Toys. That action figure was Duke of the G.I. Joe Team. The toy attracted both fans of 12" Joe and A Real American Hero that the toy was quickly sold out. And thus was born the Hall of Fame series. Hall of Fame was initially based on the A Real American Hero series but paved the way for the return of classic G.I. Joe and the Adventure Team and more.
Yes, 12" G.I. Joe comes and goes but he'll never be forgotten and he'll keep finding a way to come back.