It was always G.I. Joe for me

Of all the amazing toy lines that came from the 80’s there is really only one that I claim to be “mine” — G.I. Joe, a Real American Hero. The action figures and vehicles Hasbro produced from 1982-1985 were all that occupied my young brain at the time. Sure, I had Star Wars toys, and my friends had He-Man figures, but for me, it was always G.I. Joe.

Being part of a military family, there was a connection for me to this toy line more than any other. Everyday on base, I would see men and women walking around in fatigues, tanks and planes moved about, and I couldn’t help but imagine those real life human beings were taking on the evil forces of Cobra in their day to day life.


Now that I’m a grown adult (two words I use loosely), the memories of those childhood days are still strong and the nostalgia that sweeps over me whenever I see the amazing art that adorned the vintage packaging is palpable. “My” G.I. Joes have names like Zap, Flash, and Grunt. In later years, the G.I. Joe universe expanded to great lengths, even venturing into outer space, but for me, it will always be the likes of Stalker, Duke, and Scarlett. Characters such as Snake Eyes never seemed to lose any of his popularity, but there’s nothing like the original in my opinion.


The characters on this old collector case — yeah, that’s my crew. I spent many, many hours with those guys fighting for freedom wherever there was trouble, and now, as a collector, I have been trying to scoop up pieces from the original ’82-85 run whenever I come across them (which is not very often, unfortunately!).

What was “your” toy line as a kid?

This week, the League of Extraordinary Bloggers is talking about Joes (but not just the G.I.s!). Check out RetroMash, Erik Johnson, Goodwill Hunting, Space for Rent, and Branded in the 80’s for more Joe goodness!


    • Brian says

      I’m not sure about action figures, but I know my kids have been eyeing a Skylanders carrying case for a while.

  1. says

    I would have to agree that GI Joe is also “my” toy line as a kid, but I would have to go way back and count the original 12″ GI Joe as the main toy from my childhood. That fascination and enjoyment of GI Joe as a child easily transitioned into my 19 year old psyche in 1982 and GI Joe has become a permanent part of my life even as I move into my 50’s.

  2. Rich-NerdNook says

    Enjoyed this one, Brian! Regardless of how much I love Super Powers, MY toy line was Masters Of a The Universe. I had TONS of the them. Way more characters and etc than I ever had of Super Powers. 😉

  3. James Watson says

    My line will always be Star Wars first, but G I Joe came along at the right time in the 80″s to fill the void. I’ve spoken to one or two people who said GI Joe is the one of the reasons they joined the military. Best recruitment toy ever

  4. says

    Action Force/GI Joe was always my main line back in the days eventhough my parents had a toy store :) It was also the only thing I kept after cleaning out my parents attic (stupid-stupid me for throwing away all those other toys!!) and that is why I started collecting again in 2009 and made my website :)


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