G.I.JOE - A REAL AMERICAN F.A.Q.
v 2.4 - dated 5/17/02
Please note - that when the term "G.I.Joe" is used in this FAQ, it will usually refer to the 3 3/4" sized action figures. If dealing with a differently sized version of G.I.Joe, it will be duly noted.
For information about the 12" G.I.Joes, check out The Big Red Toybox.
2. Why is it a big deal? What'll be G.I.Joe's place in history?
3. Other than toys, what else had G.I.Joe on it?
4. Why was G.I.Joe cancelled?
2. Are my G.I.Joe toys worth anything?
2a. Are there any G.I.Joe Price Guides?
3. Can you I.D. this figure?
4. I've got some G.I.Joe guns. Who do they go with?
5. I just saw these toys - they look like Joes. Are they?
6. My figs are pretty messed up. Can I do anything to fix them up?
7. Why don't the battle stands always fit right into the foot peg holes?
8. My figure is a different color than what he's supposed to. Is this a variation or is it rare?
9. What is the difference between the Defiant and Crusader space shuttles?
10. Why were the 1997 G.I.Joe figures so awful?
11. Why did they change the names of some of the G.I.Joe figures and vehicles?
12. What's the deal with the new figures?
12a. Are they Toys R Us Exclusives?
12b. Will they be sold outside of the United States?
12c. Will there be more?
2. Who's Larry Hama?
3. Where can I buy the G.I.Joe comic books?
4. What's the deal with the Transformers?
5. So was G.I.Joe part of the Marvel Universe?
6. If the comic book hadn't been cancelled in 1994, how would have all the unresolved loose ends been resolved?
7. What was the Phantom X-19 Stealth Fighter pilot's name?
8. What happened to the Bench Press G.I.Joe comic?
9. Is the Image G.I.Joe comic book going to keep coming out?
2. Why did the USA Network mess up the theme music?
3. Where can I see the cartoon?
4. Is there a list of the cartoons?
5. Did Cobra Commander appear on a Transformers cartoon?
6. Who is Sparks?
2. Who is Big Lob?
3. Was Duke supposed to die in the G.I.Joe Movie?
4. What happened to Cobra Commander after G.I.Joe the Movie?
5. Where can I get the G.I.Joe Movie on video?
6. Is there an uncut uncensored version of the G.I.Joe Movie?
7. Why didn't Hasbro make a Pythona action figure?
8. Is there going to be a live-action G.I.Joe Movie?
2. What's the G.I.Joe Chain of Command?
3. In the cartoons, Scarlett was in love with Duke - but in the comic books, it's with Snake Eyes. What's the deal?
1a. G.I.Joe newsgroups?
1b. G.I.Joe mailing lists?
1c. G.I.Joe websites?
1d. G.I.Joe message boards/chats?
2. How can I contact Hasbro?
3. Where can I learn more about G.I.Joe in books and magazines?
The 12" G.I.Joe was released by Hasbro Toys in 1964 as the first ever "action figure" - and it thrived for 12 years, changing from one soldier, to several members of every different service, to adventure teams. But by 1978, for various reasons, the line was cancelled.
In 1982, G.I.Joe was resurrected as a 3 3/4" line of action figures. Given the name: G.I.Joe - A Real American Hero, the term G.I.Joe was no longer a single man but a code name for America's elite anti-terrorist fighting team. By 1991, the 3 3/4" action figures had helped launch the return of the 12" action figures.
Oh - and don't call those 12" Joes dress-up dolls. 12" collectors hate that. :)
While Hasbro was considering a return of G.I.Joe in the early 1980s, the two main forces at Hasbro behind creating the 3 3/4" line were Bob Prupis and Kirk Bozigian. The figures themselves were designed by Hasbro's artists and creators. Lastly, Larry Hama was the writer of the Marvel Comics G.I.Joe comic book for its entire 12 year run, wrote many of the filecards that accompanied the figures, and had a huge influence on the success of G.I.Joe.
-a 12 year consecutive run, a feat only matched by the original G.I.Joe (1964-1976) -the sheer number of action figures (over 500) and playsets (over 250) that is unparalleled by *any* action figure line
-along with Micronauts and Star Wars, the predecessors for all of the action figure toy lines on the market today
-the first ever television commercial for a comic book (Marvel Comics' G.I.Joe #1)
-and an entire generation that knows the battle cry, "Yo Joe!"
A better question might be, what *didn't* have G.I.Joe on it! At its peak, the G.I.Joe logo could be found on everything - school supplies, several video games, an electric train set, a card game, many lunch boxes, board games, puzzles, several sets of trading cards, several lines of comic books by two different companies, posters, party supplies, two separate cartoons done by two different companies, and a motion picture.
When the 3 3/4" G.I.Joe toy line was cancelled in 1994, it was generally assumed that it was due to waning interest and poor sales. The official reason given by Hasbro was due to loss of market share to other "tougher" toys like X-Men and Power Rangers.
However, in recent years, more stories have come out that the decision to cancel the 3 3/4" G.I.Joe line was a direct result of the 1994 merger between longtime rivals, Hasbro and Kenner. While the exact story is unclear, it is speculated that the merger resulted in a power struggle within the company between former Hasbro execs and former Kenner execs. The end result was the cancellation of the 3 3/4" line - which had been a thorn in Kenner's side for over a decade.
Online, check out the newsgroups rec.toys.action-figures.marketplace and alt.toys.gi-joe.1980s. Also, try the YOJOE.COM Classified Ads - https://www.yojoe.com/cs/classifieds/, Ebay Auctions - http://www.ebay.com, and Yahoo! Auctions - http://auctions.yahoo.com.
Not online, check your local comic book store, antique store, swap meet, flea market, and garage sale. At your local newsstand or book store, look for toy magazines like Toy Shop.
Like any old toys, yes, the G.I.Joe toys have a level of monetary value.
Remind yourself that Price Guides should be used as a GENERAL guide to relative value and to become a more knowledgeable collector or dealer. It's foolish and/or stupid to enter G.I.Joe collecting thinking that a Price Guide is the easy route to easy money.
Online, Dave Kudirka maintains a good price guide at http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Cavern/8201/. In addition, Toyfare and Wizard magazine has begun publishing their price guide online at http://www.wizardworld.com/pg_srch_menu.cfm?pgtype=af&comm=action.
Otherwise, two magazines publish monthly toy price guides - Toyfare magazine and Lee's Action Figure News. Both magazines can be found at any newsstand or book store.
The BEST way to gauge how much your toys are worth is to get informed. Check out online toy dealers, pick up toy magazines, check out online auctions - find out how much the toys are selling the toys for.
Lastly, before you decide to figure out how much your figures are worth, keep this in mind. Worth is only measured in what someone is willing to pay. For example, while a loose complete Grunt action figure may be "worth" $20, it might not be easy finding someone willing to pay you $20 for it.
Try https://www.yojoe.com/action/. Go to "I.D. Your Figures". From here, you can identify your unknown figures by the date stamped on the legs or pants of the figure. Otherwise, try asking in the USENET group alt.toys.gi-joe.1980s. Someone should be able to help you out. Make sure you describe the colors and the date stamp.
Online, try the WHOBIT (Whose Helmet Or Backpack Is This?) at YOJOE.COM - https://www.yojoe.com/action/whobit/.
Otherwise, the only complete source for this information is James DeSimone's "Offical Collector's Guides to Collecting and Completing Your G.I.Joe Figures and Accessories". Book 1 covers figures from 1982 to 1992, and Book 2 covers figures from 1992 to 1994. These books picture every G.I.Joe figure released in the United States, along with their corresponding accessories.
Not necessarily. Hasbro has opted to re-use the G.I.Joe molds for other toy lines. For example, many G.I.Joe molds were used for the 1994 Street Fighter: The Movie figures and the Mortal Kombat figures. In the case of the second series Bronze Bombers figures, Hasbro allowed the toy company OImec to use the G.I.Joe molds. In the case of Lanard's Corps! figures, while not using the actual G.I.Joe molds, they use the same scale and similar construction. And, there's always the possibility that you've seen one of the many international versions of G.I.Joe figures - many of which were never released in the United States.
There is a document called the "Doc and Lifeline's F.R.I.D.G.E. Guide", which details information about restoring the 3 3/4" G.I.Joe Action Figures. This document can be found at https://www.yojoe.com/faq/fridge.txt.
The peg-holes on the feet of the G.I.Joe figures got larger as the series went on. By 1994, the pegs on the battle stands were much larger than the battle stands released early on in the series.
A good rule of thumb is to not force the peg into the foot hole. If the peg doesn't slide into the foot hole rather easily, then don't risk breaking the peg into the hole or breaking the foot off of the figure.
Keep in mind that Hasbro created dozens of figures simply by re-using parts and re-coloring them. Chances are that there is a logical explanation as to why the figure is a different color - check out a guidebook, website, or ask for help in alt.toys.gi-joe.1980s.
The Defiant space shuttle playset was released in 1987, and retailed for around $100. It consisted of a space shuttle, a large booster, and an even larger moving gantry. It came with two figures - Hardtop and Payload.
In 1989, the space shuttle was re-colored and released as the Crusader. It retailed for $30, and did not come with the booster or gantry. A yellow, gray, and white version of Payload was included with the Crusader.
The easiest way to differentiate between the two is to examine the cargo bay doors. The Defiant shuttle's doors were white, with the number "1010X" on them. The Crusader's doors were black, with the number "0107W". The Crusader also came with a tiny drone shuttle that fit inside its cargo bay - the Defiant came with no such shuttle.
The problems were numerous - poor flimsy plastic, bad paint jobs, switched figures, non-existent quality control, U.S. flags with 56 stars on them, and mistakes mistakes mistakes. There were several reasons (excuses?) for the disappointing result of the 1997 G.I.Joe figures.
The official reasons: a new production plant was used to create the figures that had never done toys before, there was miscommunication in terms of what quality plastic was to be used for the figures, and molds that Hasbro planned on using for figures such as Breaker, Rock n Roll, and Snake Eyes turned up missing.
The unofficial reasons: Hasbro was trying to cut corners in terms of financial risk in re-releasing G.I.Joe figures. Sgt Savage (1995) and G.I.Joe Extreme (1996) were huge financial failures. They weren't about to break the bank for a third year in a row. Hasbro received many complaints about the poor quality - hopefully it won't happen again.
Expired trademarks. The 1998 repaint of the classic Cobra "Stinger" jeep, has been renamed the "Rattler 4WD" because the trademark for the name "Stinger" was not renewed by Hasbro. In 2000, General Hawk was renamed "General Tomahawk" and the Baroness was renamed "Chameleon". It's uncertain which trademarks were renewed by Hasbro and which ones weren't.
Hasbro released new 3 3/4" G.I.Joe figures in the Fall of 2000.
No - Hasbro has said from day one that the 2000 Joes will be available in toy stores everywhere. The causes of the confusion - the 1997 and 1998 Joes were Toys R Us exclusives, a toy magazine accidentally published that they were Toy R Us exclusives, some Toys R Us stores are telling customers that they are Toys R Us exclusives, and the early shipments of the 2000 Joes showed up at Toys R Us stores first.
But Hasbro has repeated that they will be available in toy stores everywhere.
It's uncertain at this time.
If they sell well, yes, Hasbro will continue to produce more.
D. COMIC BOOKS
There were several comic book lines released between 1982 and 1994 - the majority of which were released by Marvel Comics. G.I.Joe the comic book was launched in 1982 to the first television commercial ever to advertise a comic book. G.I.Joe had a successful twelve year run, covering 155 issues, and spending many months as one of the highest selling and hottest comic books in the nation.
It spawned several Marvel spin-offs, including twenty-eight issues of G.I.Joe Special Missions and a four issue G.I.Joe vs the Transformers mini-series. Later, Blackthorne Publishing published a series of "How to Draw G.I.Joe" and 3-D comic books.Marvel
G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero #1-#155
G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero Yearbook #1-4
G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero Treasury Edition #1
G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero Special #1
G.I.Joe: Special Missions #1-28
G.I.Joe: European Missions #1-15
G.I.Joe: Order of Battle #1-4
Tales of G.I.Joe #1-15
G.I.Joe Digest #1-13
G.I.Joe vs the Transformers #1-4
The Official How to Draw G.I.Joe #1-3 (?)
G.I.Joe in 3-D #1-6
G.I.Joe in 3-D Annual #1
Larry Hama played a North Korean soldier in an episode of M.A.S.H. He and another Korean stole a jeep that Major Burns was riding in.
Oh yeah. And he was the writer who wrote almost the entire 155 issue, twelve-year run of G.I.Joe. His superb sense of action and humor, along with his incredible military expertise gave the comic book - and the entire G.I.Joe line itself - an essential sense of reality. When Larry wrote battle scenes, we believed it. And when it came down to mixing in Japanese mysticism and ninjas into the storylines without being corny, he was second to none.
Much of the credit for G.I.Joe's success has to go to Larry Hama.
Check your yellow pages and try your local comic book store. Online, a good list of various online comic book dealers who have G.I.Joe comic books is listed at http://qktheatre.com/misc/comics1.htm.
The Transformers and G.I.Joe were two of Hasbro's hottest selling toy lines in the mid 1980's, both were hit cartoons made by the same animation company (Sunbow), and both were hit Marvel comic books. So it became inevitable that Marvel and Hasbro put together G.I.Joe vs the Transformers mini-series, four issues of G.I.Joe and Cobra side by side with the Autobots and Decepticons.
Years after the Transformers comic book had been cancelled, the G.I.Joe comic book was used to help launch the release of Transformers: Generation 2. In a four issue span from #139-143, G.I.Joe once again sided with the heroic Autobots, while Cobra again sided with the Decepticons.
No. G.I.Joe was supposed to take place in the "real" world - no cross-overs with the X-Men or the Punisher.
When the comic book ended abruptly in 1994, loose plotlines were left unresolved. Most noteworthy was that Storm Shadow, Billy, and the Baroness had been brainwashed and were under the control of Cobra.
Larry Hama wrote recently: "I never meant for those characters to remain under Cobra's power. I never actually planned out plotlines in all of the fifteen years I worked on the project. Most of the time, I never knew how an individual issue was going to end until I got to the end myself."
The pilot's name was Ghostrider, but he was never referred to by his name in the comic book.
Larry Hama wrote recently: "As I remember it, there was a big brouhaha about the fact that Hasbro went and disregarded my recommendations for the name of the Stealth Pilot and came up with Ghost Rider on their own. Of course, the Hasbro guys had no idea that Marvel already had a well established character called Ghost Rider! I was trying to get around that mess by never mentioning his name and having all the other Joes not be able to remember it. Of course, all the visual reference that was sent to artists was labeled 'Ghost Rider'. Somewhere along the line, everybody got confused, and I was away on vacation. 'Nuff said."
In the spring of 1999, stories abounded online that a new G.I.Joe was going to be released from fledgling comic book company, Bench Press Studios. Between the Fall of 1998 and January of 2000, Bench Press Studios was furiously working on releasing two new G.I.Joe comic books - both scripted by Larry Hama - that would continue the original storylines started with the Marvel G.I.Joe comic books.
Sadly, the deal fell through for a variety of reasons, Hasbro decided not to let Bench Press do the comic book, and Bench Press Studios went out of business.
Yes, as long as they sell well, the comic book will continue to come out.
Until the early 1990s, the file cards were written by none other than Larry Hama - G.I.Joe comic book scribe.
The first version of Zartan's filecard had a psychological profile:
"Extreme paranoid schizophrenic. Grows into various personalities..."
This drew protests that it was a mistake to say that schizophrenia is the same as MPD (multiple personality disorder). Hasbro later released a second version of the filecard without the psychological profile.
Larry Hama - who wrote the filecard - explained that: "I never implied that they were one and the same. I simply said Zartan was both. The confusion is by inference. A friend of mine, who was the head of NYU outpatient psychiatrics at the time quipped to me, 'You should have known they were going to get upset, they are, after all, PARANOID!'"
In 1983, Sunbow produced the five-part G.I.Joe syndicated television mini-series, "The M.A.S.S. Device". In 1984, it was followed up by "The Revenge of Cobra" mini-series. In 1985, "The Pyramid of Darkness" launched a daily syndicated cartoon that ran for two seasons. Sunbow concluded their run of G.I.Joe animation with "G.I.Joe : The Movie" in 1987.
In 1989, another fledgling animation studio, DIC Animation, animated the further cartoon adventures of G.I.Joe with their mini-series "Operation: Dragonfire". DIC also animated two seasons of cartoons in 1990 and 1991. However, DIC operated on a much lower budget and the results were of a much lower standard of quality than the Sunbow cartoons.
The USA Network, as part of their "Cartoon Express" in the early 90s, showed the G.I.Joe opening animated by DIC Animation. DIC discarded the familiar G.I.Joe theme song and went with their own "Get Joe Tough" theme song.
The cartoons, both the Sunbow/Marvel and DIC cartoons, are no longer being shown on television in the United States.
However, both Sunbow/Marvel and DIC released episodes on video tape. The Sunbow/Marvel episodes were released through Family Home Entertainment (FHE) in the mid 1980s, while some DIC episodes were released through Buena Vista Home Video in the early 1990s. Even more recently, the Sunbow episodes have been re-released on video by Kid Rhino Video. A list of online dealers that sell the videos is at http://qktheatre.com/.
A list only of the Sunbow and DIC episodes is listed at https://www.yojoe.com/cartoons/.
In the Transformers cartoon "Only Human", a character named "Snake" appears, who looks like, talks like, and acts like Cobra Commander. He never is actually NAMED Cobra Commander, but the writers clearly intended this to be an older version of Cobra Commander.
The appearance is made more interesting by the fact that Cobra Commander's voice always had been done by Chris Latta, who was also the voice of Starscream from the Transformers.
This wasn't the only Transformers/G.I.Joe cross-over in the cartoon. One episode of the Transformers seems to depict an aged Flint speaking to his daughter.
Sparks is a character who was never made into a figure, but who appeared in at least three episodes of the G.I.Joe cartoon. At first, he's a member of G.I.Joe. In a later episode, "Gray Hairs and Time", Sparks is apparently retired from G.I.Joe.
Until we learn differently, he was probably created specifically for the cartoon and never intended as an action figure.
In the mid 1980s, Hasbro Toys decided to make theatrical motion pictures of three of their most popular toy lines - My Little Pony, the Transformers, and G.I.Joe. It was a very ambitious project with a large amount of money invested.
"My Little Pony : The Movie" and "Transformers : The Movie" were released first and both flopped at the box office. Instead of taking the risk of losing even more money by releasing "G.I.Joe : The Movie" in theaters, it was instead released straight-to-video in 1987.
The result was a strange mix of excellent animation, a breath-taking opening sequence, and a forgettable plot.
Until we learn differently, he was probably created specifically for the movie and never intended as an action figure.
Yes - the writers were given permission to kill off the Duke character in the G.I.Joe Movie. The movie was animated with Duke being killed by Serpentor. However, after the public backlash to Optimus Prime's death in the Transformers Movie, the dialogue from the G.I.Joe Movie was quickly changed so that Duke didn't die.
When we last saw Cobra Commander in the movie, he'd been turned into a snake (I told you the movie's plot was forgettable). In DIC's "Operation: Dragonfire" mini-series, the Baroness managed to turn Cobra Commander back into a human being again.
It was re-released in 1997 for its tenth anniversary. In 1999, it was re-released again by Kid Rhino Video (and in 2000 it was released on DVD). A list of online dealers that carry the movie is at http://qktheatre.com/.
No. This is a rumor that has found new life on the internet. When the G.I.Joe Movie was under development, a shot was proposed of Zarana's naked back while she changed her shirt. The shot was never in the movie.
You can sometimes see people trying to sell you a rare, special "uncut uncensored" version of the G.I.Joe Movie. There is no such thing.
Hasbro released a Cobra-La three-pack in 1987 and planned to release more Cobra-La toys if the G.I.Joe Movie was a hit. As it wasn't, Hasbro scrapped all future Cobra-La toys - including Pythona.
Back in the eighties and early nineties, there were plans to produce a G.I.Joe Movie and several scripts were commissioned. However, it never proceeded past script stage. In 1994, Lawrence Kasanoff's production company, Threshold Entertainment, held the rights to do a G.I.Joe Movie - but instead chose to concentrate their efforts on their Mortal Kombat films.
As recently as 1999, there have been rumors that a G.I.Joe Movie from Threshold Entertainment is still a possibility. However, odds are that nothing will happen until Hasbro wants it to happen.
In the early 1980s, the European toy company "Palitoy" released a line of military 3 3/4" toys called "Action Man : Action Force". The figures in this line were articulated like Kenner's Star Wars toys. By the mid 1980s, many early G.I.Joe figures and vehicles were re-colored, renamed, and incorporated into the Action Force line.
By 1985, Palitoy ceased making original Action Force figures and simply repackaged the American G.I.Joe toys as "Action Force". In 1990, the line became named "G.I.Joe - the Action Force". By 1991, the label "Action Force" was dropped altogether.
On the filecards, all the characters were given ranks from E-4 Corporals to Generals and Admirals. So perhaps you could rank them this way.
But in the cartoon, a clear cut chain of command was established in the episode, "The Most Dangerous Thing in the World". This chain of command went from General Hawk, to Duke, to Flint, then to Beachhead and Sgt. Slaughter.
But in the comic book, a then Colonel Hawk took his orders from General Austin and General Flagg. After he was promoted to acting commander of G.I.Joe, Duke was named field commander of G.I.Joe. When Hawk was promoted to General, he somehow returned to field duty again.
But in the toys, just to make it interesting, General Hawk wasn't the only general. General Flagg was released and an Admiral Keel-Haul was released.
Some have speculated (quite extensively, I might add) that the chain-of-command depended highly on the situation. Certain specialists might lead missions because of their expertise in that area - or certain men or women might be placed in charge due to seniority.
The truth is that there is no real clear-cut answer.
The cartoons had Scarlett and Duke together ever since the first animated mini-series. This was probably because Duke was "the" guy - the good-looking leader and main character of the series. And since there was only two women on the G.I.Joe team at the time - the minds behind the cartoon decided Duke preferred Scarlett.
As for the comic books, Larry Hama had more creative freedom to develop Scarlett and Snake Eyes as characters. Even as early as G.I.Joe #1, he hinted that there was some sort of special bond or relationship between the two. Hama ended up drawing out their relationship for 12 years, before finally letting the two find happiness together in the pages of Marvel Comics.
Another reason why Scarlett and Snake Eyes couldn't be a romantic item in the cartoon : how difficult was it going to be to effectively convey a romantic relationship between a woman and a guy who wears a mask and can't speak? :)
On the USENET, there is a newsgroup specifically for 3 3/4" Joe discussion and interaction - alt.toys.gi-joe.1980s.
There are several e-mail mailing lists for the discussion of G.I.Joe.
The 3 3/4" Pit G.I.Joe mailing list discusses all aspects of G.I.Joe. More information about joining the list is available at https://www.yojoe.com/list/.
The G.I.Joe Cartoon Mailing List specifically discusses the Sunbow cartoons. More information about joining the list can be found at http://www.joeheadquarters.com.
There is also private email lists, such as the Covert Missions list Covert Missions.
There're lots. For lists of different G.I.Joe websites, start from:http://www.joeworld-online.com/rahgijoe.htm
Pawtucket, RI 02862
They can be reached by phone at 1-800-327-8264. They can be reached by email at [email protected]. Don't expect a response from their email address, but at least expect a form-letter response to snail mail sent to the Pawtucket address.
Firstly, there's James DeSimone's "Official Collector's Guide to Collecting & Completing Your G.I.Joe Figures and Accessories". Volume 1 and 2 of these color books display every G.I.Joe action figure, including difficult to find convention exclusives, with all their accessories.
The companion to DeSimone's guides is the unofficial "Compendium of Corrections to 'The Official Guide to Collecting and Completing your GI Joe Figures and Accessories'". It has more information about G.I.Joe figures and corrects the mistakes in the otherwise excellent DeSimone guides. For more information, contact Brian Mulholland (426 West 1st Street #15, Tustin, CA 92780).
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