G.I. Joe

by James Jou

178108_53c8fc774fd33226e97ebdb94435cda46f76a0e8-150x150 G.I. JoeIt would appear that Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow are on course for a collision again in 2020, and with that the original G.I. Joe merchandise will return to the spotlight. Although G.I. Joe toys can trace its roots back to early versions in the 60s, it wasn’t until 1982 that Hasbro sold the widely popular 3.75-inch G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline, which was released along with comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Here we will be examining the market for a few key G.I. Joe comic books. By coincidence, each of the three books exhibits textbook examples of typical market behaviors.


178075_e43dd8c6a57b6c9ccc46928da582e38a358dab96-195x300 G.I. JoeG.I. JOE, A REAL AMERICAN HERO #1 (1982)

The flagship issue of the first G.I. Joe comic series follows two different stories: The team rescues a nuclear physicist from the clutches of the Cobra, and the team also saves a critical package. Below are sales for G.I. Joe #1, graded CGC 9.8, which is the top 21.2% of the census.

gij_1a-300x181 G.I. Joe

Every time a book with slow and steady growth is identified, it makes the time spent data sleuthing worthwhile. G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero #1 is one of those books. No flash in the pan movie news and fear of missing out; this book goes up in value because people want it. G.I. Joe #1 has a very positive long-term outlook.



178108_53c8fc774fd33226e97ebdb94435cda46f76a0e8-195x300 G.I. JoeG.I. JOE, A REAL AMERICAN HERO #21 (1984)

In the current climate of comic book movies, it is necessary to look at the issue containing the first appearance of Storm Shadow, G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero #21. The story contained is a very interesting read due to its iconic silent lack of dialogue, as it follows Snake Eyes on a mission to rescue Scarlett. Sales for this book, graded CGC 9.6 (the top 10.9%) are shown below.

gij_2b-300x181 G.I. Joe

Overall, sales prices for G.I. Joe #21 were flat until mid-2018 when it started to move upwards. With this book, simply looking at year-end change in market values does not tell the whole story. The change in trend in 2018 is completely attributed to the announcement of the upcoming Snake Eyes movie. Unlike the book above, G.I. Joe #21 does not represent a good long-term hold but is rather more suited for a short-term play. It would be a good idea to keep a close (snake) eye on the market for this book surrounding the timeframe of the movie’s first trailer release and actual theatrical release when prices are likely to peak. Instead of trying to time the top and eek out a few extra dollars, keep in mind the prior not only flat but more so the flat lower price levels.



410050_2a6783bd2d89bb7e5dca39a303ca19865640426a-198x300 G.I. JoeG.I. JOE: SPECIAL #1 (1995)

The cover for G.I. Joe: Special #1 is a direct homage to Todd McFarlane’s own Spider-Man #1 (1990); this aspect has helped push the value of the book to a higher price level. Sales for G.I. Joe: Special #1 in the 9.8 and 9.6 grades are shown below.

gij_3c-300x181 G.I. Joe

Although there are indeed occasional higher-priced sales of G.I. Joe: Special #1, graded in CGC 9.8; the majority of sales between the two grades reveal a more liable outlook of only a very slight positive trend. Between this and the relatively lower volume of sales, this book is not the best place to have your money sit.




  • G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero #1 – BUY
  • G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero #21 – Short term play. Movie hype pricing behavior applies here.
  • G.I. Joe: Special #1 (1995) – REDUCE



“Our mission is to do the impossible, and make it look easy.” – Hawk


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