G.I. Joe: A Real America Hero was Hasbro’s relaunched toy line that began in 1982 through 1994. This was 12 years of great action figures, vehicles, and many other collectibles ranging from posters, puzzlers, lunch boxes, and just about whatever else you can think of. Within that timeframe, over 500 figures and 250 vehicles and playsets were made, making it truly a one of a kind collection.
Since 1994, the brand has seen some new takes such as G.I. Joe: Sgt. Savage, G.I. Joe Extreme, Stars & Stripes Forever, A Real American Hero Collection (2000-2002), 25th Anniversary, 30th Anniversary, Pursuit of Cobra, several movie lines, Kre-O, Build-To-Rule, Sigma 6, and various other lines were offered since the end of the ARAH line. None of these lines had the same fan and Hasbro support, and only lasted a few years at a time at most. Since 1994, fans have seen various reissues from the ARAH line-up such as both figures and vehicles, but this has been a small offering as most of the original tooling was lost or destroyed since it had been originally used.
As of 2017, Hasbro announced back at G.I. Joe Con that there will not be any new product until the next film hits, which could be 2 years from now at minimum. Fans are looking at a long hiatus of the brand, at least in the toy aisles. Thankfully, all is not lost. as there some folks out there with enough possession and motivation to keep the brand alive, this includes Carson Maxaxis, owner of 3D Joes, and G.I. Joe enthusiast. Carson is best known in the community for owning the only G.I. Joe fansite to offer 3D spins of all ARAH action figures and vehicles that were offered by Hasbro from 1982-1994. His website is dedicated to reserving the artwork that was used for this line, which was used for the figures, vehicles, and other collectibles such as posters and puzzles. At G.I. JoeCon, we showed 3D Joes some love and purchased Volume 1-4 of Collecting the Art of G.I. Joe, which was sold at their yearly booth. These books keep a complete collection of all of the original artwork that was used for the packaging for the lines 12 year run. Right now, they are offering 1982 and 1983 in Volume 1, 1984 and 1985 in Volume 2, 1986 and 1987 in Volume 3, and 1988 and 1989 in Volume 4. These books are offered in several different ways, a hardcover for $198, Accufoil Softcover for $35 (which is reviewed here), iTunes/iBooks and Amazon/Kindle for $9.99.
Collecting The Art Of G.I. Joe is the definitive collection of original G.I. Joe artwork used for the packaging in Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: A Real America Hero line-up from 1982-1994. One of many great sets released back then was the Missile Command Headquarters, which will see a release once again at San Diego Comic-Con 2017 thanks to Hasbro’s Global Brand Manager Darryl Depriest for finding a vintage set of this that was undocumented at the Hasbro offices. The Missile Command Headquarters was originally a Sears Exclusive that was released back in 1982, and at the time it was hard to find it. In the book by 3D Joes, the image quality is to good that it looks like the set can be taken right out of the page and played with. This of course can be said about many other vintage figures, playsets, and vehicles shown in these pages, which are printed on thick paper. The cover quality is printed on a wrap-around card stock accufoil softcover.
Volumes 1-4 includes over 80 pages each showcasing the original artwork used for all G.I. Joe collectibles. Not just figures, playsets and vehicles, but also some collectibles such as shampoo bottles and puzzles. Each book collects two years of product, and the first four books collectibles the first eight years of G.I. Joe collectibles.
The Cobra BUGG, for example, has seen a rise in popularity in recent years at JoeCon, and has become a sought after vehicle since the release of the Toxo-Viper from the 2014 Zombie Initiative Box Set. The box art just pops up right out of the page, and looks amazing. Every page includes great content including a introduction at the beginning of the book, and great images of these retro toys.
With the first four Volumes now finished, there is still more work to do and we’re looking forward to the next Kickstarter campaign that 3D Joes offers to get it published. Volume 5 will hopefully be coming sooner, rather than later. 3D Joes have done an excellent job capturing this collection, so make sure to do your part and support them by visiting one of the links below and purchasing yourself a printed or digital copy.