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GI Joe: The Complete Story of America's Favorite Man of Action
     

GI Joe: The Complete Story of America's Favorite Man of Action

by John Michlig, Don Levine (Preface by)
 

From the creators of the GI Joe Masterpiece Edition comes this exclusive history of the world's greatest action figure. The only book to tell the whole story, from the initial concept born in the early '60s through the phenomenal GI Joe renaissance of the '90s, GI Joe takes us behind the scenes with the people who made it all happen. Featuring over 200 color

Overview

From the creators of the GI Joe Masterpiece Edition comes this exclusive history of the world's greatest action figure. The only book to tell the whole story, from the initial concept born in the early '60s through the phenomenal GI Joe renaissance of the '90s, GI Joe takes us behind the scenes with the people who made it all happen. Featuring over 200 color photographs showing early prototypes, sketches, rare items, and more, including many Hasbro archival shots never before published, this is the ultimate book for fans and collectors everywhere. Brought to life in the words of the inventors, artists, and executives who helped create the original hero, here are all the memories — from GI Joe's tough scar to his revolutionary kung-fu grip. A rare account of the making of an American icon embraced around the world, GI Joe proves that old soldiers never die, they just keep on selling.

1997 Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved. GI Joe, the logo, and all group, character, and vehicle names are trademarks of Hasbro, Inc. Used with permission.
Masterpiece Edition is a trademark of Chronicle Books. All Rights Reserved

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Collector's Showcase

For those of us who can still remember entire days lost to setting up, commentating on, and living out battles of such profound imagination and carnage that it didn't matter that the brave soldiers fighting weren't real, here's the ultimate guide to the history of the name given to the face of the U.S. military's everyman: GI Joe. This beautifully presented history tracks Joe's origins in the comics of Joe Yank, "Battle cry," and "Battle," through incarnations as individuals in varying battle gear, each with his (and eventually her) own history. The first pitch was made on April 11th, 1963, to creator Don Levine and was based on a concept for a (gasp!) "male Barbie-type doll" (quickly renamed "action figures"). The book details GI Joe maker Hasbro's debate over and inclusion of a black GI Joe in the mid-60s (15 years before there was a black Barbie), which was sold only in northern states for the first few years, and the adolescent fantasies of adult designers that sparked some of the most creative sets and characters. Lots of pictures, posters, and drawings.

Appearing in 1964 at the height of the Barbie era and routed, 13 years later, by platoons of Star Wars figurines, GI Joe was a toy both of and in spite of its times. Despite industrial wisdom that "a boy will never play with a doll," the "action figure" (as Hasbro insisted it be called) was a massive success right out of the gate. Later, when Vietnam soured combat-toys sales (and this reviewer and his little chums were putting Joe on trial for war crimes), the company cannily repositioned its plastic molded hero as an "adventurer." While Michlig's text divulges more about Hasbro inter-office politics than you really need to know, this beautifully designed coffee-table tome is as much a fetish object as the original 1965 Deep Sea Diver Joe.

This book contains more than 200 rare archival photographs and illustrations. It tells the inside story of GI Joe, from his tough scar to his revolutionary kung-fu grip. In addition to a preface by Don Levine, the maverick toyman who defied industry skeptics to create a popular doll for boys, there are interviews with the men and women who developed the original figure and guided him though four decades of service.

School Library Journal
YA-In the mid 1960s, Hasbro launched one of the most successful toys in the history of its company: G.I. Joe. Michlig chronicles it from its meteoric rise to its seemingly overnight fall because of the antiwar sentiment that swept the nation to its eventual evolution into the small action figures that are part of almost every boy's toy chest today. Much of the book is taken up with the initial concept and design and the quest for historical accuracy. The text also covers the marketing of the toy-how the product was initially pitched, how it was made more appealing with tie-ins to comic books and clubs, and how it was advertised and sold internationally. The numerous illustrations will attract casual readers. This book will be a great resource for students doing case studies in marketing or for those researching cultural icons from the 1960s.-Robert Burnham, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811818223
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
04/01/1998
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
1.00(w) x 1.00(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are Saying About This

Burr
While Michlig's text divulges more about Hasbro interoffice politics than you rally need to know, this beautifully designed coffee-table tome is as much a fetish object as the original 1965 Deep Sea Diver Joe. -- Entertainment Weekly

Meet the Author

John Michlig is a writer and graphic designer who collaborated with Don Levine on the GI Joe Masterpiece Edition book. As a product developer, he's created everything from consumer products to promotional premiums (the prizes in your box of cereal). He lives in Milwaukee.

Don Levine developed the original GI Joe figure while executive vice president of Hasbro. He lives in Rhode Island.

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