Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) today unveiled initiatives planned for the 50th anniversary celebration of its iconic G.I. JOE brand at the American International Toy Fair in New York City. The storied property, which invented the “action figure” toy category, celebrates its incredible five-decade history by partnering with Toys“R”Us as the official toy headquarters for the G.I. JOE brand in 2014. Kids and fans can look forward to a special edition 50th anniversary-branded action figure line available only at Toys“R”Us stores nationwide and online at Toysrus.com, along with new items in the popular KRE-O G.I. JOE line of building sets from Hasbro, beginning this March through the fall 2014.
Launched at the American International Toy Fair in 1964, the “original action figure” debuted as a 12-inch pose-able soldier toy, G.I. JOE has been a pop-culture phenomenon ever since. The property evolved over the years, from the original 12-inch action figure in the 1960s, the ADVENTURE TEAM in the 1970s and the G.I. JOE vs. COBRA saga which was introduced in the 1980s with a 3.75-inch action figure line, comic book series and legendary animated series G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO. Recently the brand has introduced two blockbuster movies based on the saga including G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA and G.I. JOE RETALIATION from Paramount Pictures.
“The G.I. JOE brand is a pop culture and childhood icon whose cultural relevance, based on its core essence of action, bravery and the compelling characters from G.I. JOE vs. COBRA saga, continues to inspire the imaginations of kids and fans around the world,” said John Frascotti, Chief Marketing Officer, Hasbro, Inc. “From action figures and publishing, to animated series and global blockbuster movies, few properties have the cultural resonance and enduring appeal. In the 50th anniversary year of the G.I. JOE brand Hasbro looks forward to delivering fan-favorite action figures, exciting new publishing ventures and innovative but nostalgic KRE-O building sets to the brands most ardent fans and newest recruits.”
“For generations, Toys“R”Us kids big and small have cherished the G.I. JOE brand and brought its legendary characters to life through play,” said Lisa Harnisch, Senior Vice President and General Merchandising Manager, Toys“R”Us, U.S. “We are proud to partner with Hasbro to help commemorate this golden anniversary, and are eager to bring an exciting assortment of G.I. JOE figures, including classics and new items from the hit KRE-O line, exclusively to Toys“R”Us customers this year.”
Beginning in March, exciting new KRE-O building sets will let kids and collectors alike build vehicles and environments to play out the G.I. JOE vs. COBRA fantasy. Collectible blind-bagged KREONS of popular G.I. JOE characters will also hit shelves, including characters from both the heroic G.I. JOE team like LADY JAYE and FOOTLOOSE, as well as the villainous COBRA organization like TOMAX and SCRAP IRON. As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, Hasbro and Toys“R”Us are bringing one of the most popular G.I. JOE vs. COBRA playsets from the 1980s back in KRE-O form with the KRE-O G.I. JOE TERROR DROME Building Set. This iconic set features over 850 pieces and will be available in the fall.
Additionally, a collectible 50th anniversary-branded, 3.75-inch scale action figure and vehicle line will debut at Toys“R”Us this fall. The special edition line will be offered in unique 50th anniversary branded packaging and reintroduce classic G.I. JOE vs. COBRA characters and iconic vehicles, including some that have not been available since the 1980s. Fans will be able to purchase classic characters like DESTRO, SNAKE EYES and HAWK, as well as vehicles like the G.I. JOE VAMP MKII and COBRA WOLF VEHICLE with an updated sculpting style and unique deco.
The 50th anniversary year will also continue the G.I. JOE brand’s long tradition of publishing and rich storytelling with exciting new programs from Hasbro’s partners. IDW Publishing’s G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO will release its landmark 200th issue in March 2014, continuing the story of the original 1980s G.I. JOE comic by original writer Larry Hama. IDW will also launch TRANSFORMERS/G.I. JOE, a series uniting Hasbro’s iconic brands, by acclaimed creators Tom Scioli and John Barber this summer. Additionally, as part of its publishing program, Hasbro is opening the fantasy to fan participation. Amazon Publishing recently announced that Kindle Worlds has reached a licensing agreement with Hasbro to open up a new Kindle World based on the G.I. JOE brand. With the launch of the G.I. JOE Kindle World, writers will be able to publish their own original fiction starring iconic G.I. JOE characters like DUKE, SNAKE EYES, and COBRA COMMANDER and sell their work on Amazon.com. The G.I. JOE Kindle World will open for writers to start publishing stories in the next few months.
This spring, the official G.I. JOE Collector’s Club will host the 21st annual G.I. JOE fan convention, known as “GIJoeCon,” in Dallas from Thursday, April 10 to Sunday, April 13. Convention organizers plan on celebrating the 50th anniversary with exclusive action figure sets, special G.I. JOE guests from throughout the brand’s history and the opportunity to meet and interact with other fans of the brand. Fans can learn more about the Hasbro-sponsored convention by visiting www.GIJoeCon.com.