A Return to Greatness

Posted by Jeff Cope (May 19, 2007, 5:14PM)

This is a pretty good year toy-wise. There’s a lot of good stuff coming out that I’m really excited about and looking forward to. But, my single most anticipated toyline of the year has to be Hasbro’s GI JOE 25th Anniversary Collection.

I’m a huge GI JOE fan, and have been for as long as I can remember. Growing up I had the 12" Adventure Team-era Joes. Man, what great stuff. I had a bunch of ‘em, and what I didn’t have my buddies did. The Secret of the Mummies Tomb was probably my favorite set, along with the Headquarters playset. But in the late 1970’s the 12" Joes faded off into toy limbo.

Then one day around late ‘81 or early ‘82 I remember reading a column in a Marvel Comic (might have been Stan’s Soapbox) that announced the return of GI JOE and a new comic book series published by Marvel. This time around the figures would be 3-3/4" instead of 12". I was already hooked. I can still remember seeing them for the first time in Toys R Us (Almaden Expressway and Blossom Hill Road for any of you San Jose, CA residents reading this). Sure, it might have been my senior year of high school, but I didn’t care. Star Wars had already turned me into an action figure junkie and I was thrilled to see this new incarnation of GI JOE.

It’s hard to believe that was 25 years ago already. If I already didn’t feel old, I would now. So, here I am…getting ready to turn 42 this summer and I’m still excited about the latest incarnation of GI JOE, the 25th Anniversary Collection.

When Hasbro relaunched the 3-3/4" line in 2002 I was pretty stoked. All-new sculpts of classic characters and new characters, too. And, new vehicles. There were certainly some mis-steps along they way, but I thought that Hasbro did a nice job overall. Some truly great figures came out of the GI JOE vs Cobra, Spy Troops and Valor vs Venom lines. Then, sales grew sluggish and Hasbro sought to give the property a shot in the arm and brought us the 8" Sigma Six line. While my heart belonged to the 3-3/4" line, I found myself picking up the Sigma Six figures when I could. And while I thought Sigma Six was a really fun toyline (and, it is!) I missed the little guys.

Apparently, so did someone at Hasbro. So, beginning around June of 2007 we’ll be treated to all-new sculpts of Duke, Snake Eyes, Cobra Commander and the gang in their classic look from the ’80s. THESE are the Joe figures I’ve been waiting for. Thank you, Hasbro. You done good. Real good.