In just a few hours I'll be heading over to the Cinerama dome for the midnight screening of G.I.JOE: The Rise of Cobra. This weekend I'll chime in with my review as a long time fan of the toys and Larry Hama's amazing comic book mythology. Lets get things started with a look at the history of G.I.JOE.
"Now you know..." - Great moments in G.I.JOE history:
1964: After the huge success of the Barbie doll for girls, toy creator Stan Weston comes up with an idea for a military-themed doll for boys and sells the idea to Hasbro. The toy company gives the 12-inch-tall figure in green army fatigues the generic name of G.I. Joe, inspired by the 1945 film "The Story of G.I. Joe." Later in the decade an African American G.I. Joe figure is introduced in some markets and soldiers from other countries join the toy lineup. The first female G.I. Joe doll, Action Nurse, is produced in 1967 but is a commercial flop. Amid anti-military sentiment created by the Vietnam War, Hasbro downplays the war theme that initially defined the doll, which becomes more of an adventurer.
1978: The oil crisis and falling sales prompt Hasbro to retire the 12-inch plastic dolls, which have become too costly to manufacture.
1982: Producing a line of smaller action figures at 3 3/4 inches, Hasbro ditches the idea of the single soldier and relaunches G.I. Joe as a coed team of elite international operatives who battle a nefarious underworld organization known as Cobra.
1982: G.I. Joe characters are featured in the now classic Marvel comic book series written by Larry Hama. The series would go on for an impressive 155 issues wrapping up in 1994. Also in 1982 the very first G.I.Joe animation debuts on television in a television commercial promoting the first issue of the comic book.
1983: Sunbow produces the five-part G.I.JOE miniseries The M.A.S.S. DEVICE. In 1984, it was followed up by The Revenge of Cobra mini-series.
1985: The syndicated after-school cartoon TV show begins with the multi part episode entitled The Pyramid of Darkness. The frenzy extends to a series of posters, video games, board games and other merchandise.
1991: 12-inch G.I. Joe figures are reintroduced to great sales.
2001: G.I.Joe returns in a big way with a new comic book series published by Image Comics and a new line of toys from Hasbro.
2006: Larry Hama reports for duty once again as writer of the Devil's Due miniseries: G.I.JOE: Declassified.
2007: Hasbro celebrates the 25th anniversary of G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero with an impressive new line of figures and vehicles based on the charaters from the 80's line of toys. Larry Hama returns as writer of a series of comic books exclusively available in action figures two packs.
2008: Paramount Pictures hires Stephen Sommers to direct an action movie based on G.I. Joe in what it hopes will be the first in a new franchise for the studio.
2009: The animated G.I.Joe Resolute written by Warren Ellis premieres on the Cartoon Natwork. With a cost of nearly $330 million to produce and market, G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra debuts worldwide.