Sunday, April 14, 2019

How G.I. Joe Became A Toy Legend

Popular Mechanics: Yo, Joe: How a 12-Inch Soldier Doll Became a Toy Legend

Ronald Reagan and Marvel helped create the famous action figure, and Star Wars held it back.

If you’re under 30, your most prominent associations with G.I. Joe might be Channing Tatum or the Rock. Joe, though, has been around since 1964.

At the time of his debut, Joe mirrored the culture of the nation—just like Barbie did in 1959. Joe was a role model to generations of children and a boon to Hasbro, the toy company who produced him. But he was also in a constant struggle.

Here’s how G.I. Joe got started, and how the action figure (a term coined for Joe to avoid the word “doll”) maintained its relevance for half a century.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I wish I had one as a kid.


Anonymous said...

Youtube must be spying on us again, I just watched that video last week.

Chris said...

The 1980s G.I. Joe team (elite anti-terrorism/special ops) had a Warsaw Pact counterpart: the October Guard. The two teams encountered each other in Afghanistan where they fought, and then had to team up against Cobra. They made a few appearances in the comics, but not a lot. Although treated as enemies, the Ocotober Guard was treated rather respectfully and their portrayal lacked the obvious propaganda evil Commies typical of the era's media. So there is a Russian GI Joe! I don't think any members were released as a toy until way after their first appearance and long after I had grown up.

The comics, written by Larry Hama, were very good and actually outlasted the toy line. Marvel Comics in the mid-1980s really did a lot of the heavy lifting that made certain toy franchises popular (Transformers was another Hasbro toy where Marvel did most of the creative work) naming individual toys and coming up with the "story" behind them. Without that creative work, the toys would not have been anywhere near as popular.