2014 marks a very special occasion for the ENTIRE G.I. Joe fandom. Next year will mark the 50th Anniversary of G.I. Joe – the ORIGINAL action figure! However, the question on many fans’ minds right now is how exactly will that milestone anniversary be acknowledged and which facets of G.I. Joe will it encompass? After all, the G.I. Joe brand has evolved quite a bit over the past 50 years.
A quick timeline of G.I. Joe through the years:
- America’s Movable Fighting Man: 1964 – 1969
- The Adventure Team: 1970 – 1976
- Super Joe: 1977 – 1978
- A Real American Hero: 1982 – 1994
- Sgt. Savage & His Screaming Eagles: 1994 – 1995
- G.I. Joe Extreme: 1995 – 1997
- G.I. Joe vs. Cobra: 2002 – 2005
- G.I. Joe – Sigma 6: 2005 – 2007
- G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary Collection: 2007 – 2009
- The Movie Era (Rise/Pursuit of Cobra & Retaliation): 2009 – 2013
Now clearly, the bulk of the G.I. Joe timeline was heavily influenced by the A Real American Hero cast of characters and yet the anniversary is technically that of the original “Movable Fighting Man”. Those initial five years were dominated by realistic representations of servicemen before Joe transitioned into the adventurer role that defined the Adventure Team years. However, it seems that the 12″ market has transitioned from mass market to high-end with companies like Sideshow and Hot Toys taking over the market that once belonged to G.I. Joe. Could Hasbro still celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Movable Fighting Man without the 1:6 scale?
The precedent is there– in 1994 Hasbro released a “30th Anniversary” line commemorating the original G.I. Joe offerings. However, these figures weren’t just released in a 12″ format but instead were rendered in the then-current 3.75″ o-ring construction used for the soon-to-be completed “A Real American Hero” line. (A 12″ anniversary line did also exist.) Available both in action sets and in a fantastic boxed set, this line-within-a-line paid proper tribute to the past while still embracing the current reality of the market and retailer expectations.
The 1994 30th Anniversary line included:
Could such a nod to the first action figure happen again only in 1:18 generation 3 construction? Will there be another limited release of 12″ figures as happened with the Adventure Team reissues from Walmart and Hot Topic of close to a decade ago? No one knows at this point. Right now, fans will just have to wait until February and the 2014 Toy Fair held in New York. However, thanks to Pixel-Dan and ToyNewsInternational, this interview with Derryl DePriest offers a few tidbits about what is to come.
UPDATE: As we get close to the 2014 International Toy Fair there might be some news on the horizon regarding the G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary!
UPDATE: Hasbro’s official efforts have been covered in the G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Review Index!