Action Hero G.I. Joe is There: Yo! Joe

by Patrick Bain

GIJoeCATBlogCover-1024x536 Action Hero G.I. Joe is There: Yo! JoeA Real American Hero, and action figure, G.I. Joe is there!  Many sons idolize their fathers.  My dad is certainly a hero to me.  So, while my eighty-three, nearly 84-year-old dad, struggles with some health issues right before Christmas, I want to reflect on the nostalgia of G.I. Joe at Christmas time.  And if this article comes out after Christmas, that’s ok too.  After all, Dad liked to take us to the Tractor Supply store to buy half-off toys on the day after Christmas.  And I still remember bringing home Joe on one of those occasions.

G.I. Joe is There in Comics

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I have to admit, my first G.I. Joe was an 11 1/2-inch astronaut.  So, when a line of action figures came out that was less than 4 inches tall with barely any movable parts, I was annoyed!  But in retrospect, that change powered the animated series, and then the Marvel comic.  G.I. Joe was no longer just one action hero, he (and she) were many.

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The 1982 series G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero introduced characters like Cobra Commander, Snake-Eyes, and Scarlett into comics.  However, I wonder if G.I. Joe’s comic origin and first appearance should trace back to the 1967 comic giveaway called America’s Moveable Fighting Man.

That 36-page comic featured illustrations by famed Superman artist Kurt Schaffenberger.  I found a reproduction of America’s Moveable Fighting Man on eBay for ten bucks.  The Marvel series premiere is widely available with a CGC 9.8 FMV of $1,100.

Yo! Joe at the Arcade Video

Sealed-G.-I.-Joe-Nintendo-game-e1671512241703-221x300 Action Hero G.I. Joe is There: Yo! JoeAbout the time I stopped asking for action figures for Christmas, the Atari 2600 swept the nation.  We played Space Invaders and Asteroids.  A little later, 1983, Parker Brothers put out the first Joe game, Cobra Strike.  Sales in 2021 for WATA 9.8 A++ sealed games ran around $700.  Those modest auction prices may reflect the video game implosion that occurred around that time as mentioned in my article on collecting game art.

By contrast, the 1991 Nintendo game from Taxon rallied bidders.  A sealed 9.6 A+ copy of G.I. Joe sold for just under $20,000 last year.  I suppose the improved graphics of the Nintendo allowed gamers to distinguish Duke from Snake Eyes.  Come on, 8-bit sprites are good enough for REAL gamers!

By the way, the most recent Joe video game is Operation Blackout–obviously, the graphics blow away the 20th-century games.

Action Hero G.I. Joe Art

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When it comes to “Yo! Joe” collectibles, let’s make sure G. I. Joe art gets a little action, too.  Amanda Connor, also known for her Harley Quinn work, penciled the cover for G. I. Joe A Real American Hero 154.  That art will sell in the HA January Signature Auction.  It should be a little more affordable than a recent sale.

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Fans of Ed Hannigan and Klaus Janson’s Real American Hero #21 cover art must have been shocked.  The Snake Eyes cover sold for an unseemly $312,000 at the beginning of 2022.  Whooaaah!  I thought those types of prices were reserved for Ditko Spider-Man or Kirby Captain America.  Typical Hannigan covers fetch fifteen to twenty thousand.

First G.I. Joe Action Hero Figure

G-I-Joe-Prototype-e1671512420347-196x300 Action Hero G.I. Joe is There: Yo! JoeFor my personal nostalgia, I still prefer the big Joes with real clothes.  I read the Story Behind the Legend by creator Don Levine last year.  It told G.I. Joe’s real origin and showed the prototype figure.  The G I Joe Original Prototype (Hasbro 1964) from the personal collection of Don Levine–it sold in 2003 for $200,001.  That would be an awesome price today.  I wonder what it’s currently worth?

Mission Accomplished

Thanks for letting me reflect on past Christmases as I think about my dad recuperating in the hospital.  The holidays are a great time to remember our heroes, real and imaginary.  Check out my other Joe blog, speculating on Snake Eyes art.  I’ll leave you with some timeless song lyrics.

Yooo, Joe!
He’ll fight for freedom!
Wherever there’s trouble
G.I. Joe is there!
G.I. Joe (A Real American Hero)
G.I. Joe is there!
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*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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