Friday, April 1, 2016


Hey there, brothers and sisters!

    There is something that I want you to know...And knowing is half the battle!! G.I. Joe!!

    LOL!! Oh, me.

    Check this out, here's what I want you to know:

I've got G.I. Joe #10, published by Ziff-Davis in 1950 which features the first appearance of G.I. Joe...Well, kinda. It is his first appearance in comic book format.

 You see, Dave Breger, the creator of G.I. Joe was a successful magazine cartoon artist in the early 1940s, before America joined WWII. Around the same time, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and created a strip called Private Breger for The Saturday Evening Post. When the Army got wind of his talent, he was pulled from his job as a mechanic in Camp Livingston, LA, and transferred to the Special Services Division in NY. There he was assigned to the staff of Yank the Army Weekly, a weekly magazine published by the U.S. military during WWII. Yank wanted Breger to do a strip similar to his own successful one. Knowing that "government issued" was stamped on nearly everything the Army used, and being fully aware that soldiers themselves had taken to calling themselves, G.I.s since WWI, Breger created G.I. Joe, full name Joe Trooper, whose adventures began being published in June of 1942 in the very first issue of Yank. G.I. Joe ran in Yank until its final issue in 1945.

In 1950, G.I. Joe was revived by Ziff-Davis. WWII was over, but the Korean War was in high gear. G.I. Joe was brought back as Private Joe Burch, a dim (for comedic relief), but heroic soldier. The comic lasted for 2 volumes and and a total of 51 issues. 

In the mid 1960s, G.I. Joe reappeared in DC Comics' Showcase series (#53 and #54), and quickly faded again. But it wasn't long until G.I. Joe was back in comics. This time it was Hasbro, a toy company, that was leading the charge for a toyline based on American fighting men, and G.I. Joe. Hasbro published a comic named G.I. Joe: America's Movable Fighting Man in 1967 which was followed by others, including the G.I. Joe Adventure Team printed in 1969 to coincide with toy releases which birthed the concept of G.I. Joe as a team and not a single fighting man. 

Then came the goldmine:

It's my copy of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #1, published in 1982, which gave us our modern concept of our beloved G.I. Joe team. This comic series coincided with the launch of new, smaller action figures (3.75 inch), and a hit animated TV show. This comic features too many 1st appearances  to list, but here are some highlights: Gen. Flagg, Hawk, Scarlett, Cobra Commander, the Baroness and, last but not least, Snake Eyes!!

FUN FACT #1: Ziff-Davis had a habit of starting their first issues off as #10. So my copy of G.I. Joe #10 is actually #1.

FUN FACT #2: The Adventure Team line is remembered for several fun changes to action figures, like "Life-Like Hair," "Eagle-Eyes," and the famous "Kung-Fu Grip."

FUN FACT #3: G.I. Joe action figures were marketed as Action Man and Action Force in the UK; however, the soldiers were international - meaning members of militaries of varying nationalities.

FUN FACT #4: The G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic was published in the UK under Marvel UK as Action Force in 1987. It included reprints of the American comic, and new, short strips that were only published in the UK.

Oh, you knew that I had a copy didn't ya? TEX loves Marvel UK. 

I hope you enjoy the reading as much as I enjoyed the telling!

YO, JOE!!!!


  1. Dave Breger, another artist that served in WWII. That list includes a lot of important names.

    Thanks for the article Tex. Pretty nice.
    The Hasbro line actually started in 1964. Showcase #53 was Dec '64, so the 12" Joes were already in stores. In '68 toys sales slumped for Joe, probably because of 'Nam. Adventure Team included many sets that weren't war related. In '76 they had an Atomic Man and a caveman from another planet. The toy line had run it's course. The oil shortage was making plastic toys expensive.

    The action figure void would be filled in early '78 with a line of 12 smaller figures for Star Wars. (Not '77 because an empty box is not an action figure.)

    The 1982 Joes were out to get some of that SW action fig money. It worked.

    1. Thank you, Robbie!!

      As usual, you are full of amazing info - and you probably have some sweet G.I. Joe collectibles, right? If I am not mistaken, you also have a copy or two G.I. Joe #10.

      I heard that Hasbro was hoping to get in on that Star Wars money with the smaller figures. How big were the Micronauts back then? Were those action figures pulling serious cash?

    2. Micronauts, 1976 until Mego went bankrupt in 1980, were a US version of Microman. Takara made microman in '74, a 3.75" version of 8 & 12" Hensin Cyborg who was based on 8 & 12" Combat Joe who based on GI Joe. Full circle :)
      Design wise, 3.75" Joes are more like Micronauts.

      I have Ziff-Davis #10. Don't really have any Joe toys.

    3. Cool.

      I have Micronuats comics, but have never seen any of the toys firsthand.mI read that Atomic Man was a rip off of The Six-Million Dollar Man because Hasbro couldn't get the rights to it. 2000 AD had a Six Million Dollar Man rip-off character called M.A.C.H. One that saw the light in issue #1 in 1977. Later in the 90's there was a rip-off of the rip-off, a spoof called B.L.A.I.R. 1, funning with then Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

    4. I dig those Micronaut comics. Solid Star Wars era sci-fi.
      I have a bunch of Micronaut toys, but no 3.75 figures. I have Baron, Force Commander and thier steads (all MIB). Those are super fun. Interchangable pieces, magnets, and firing missles.

      Atomic Man was a rip-off. But he was pretty cool.

  2. Cool facts Tex, I'm not for GI Joe (although i love the robot chicken take on them Lol).
    You a Comic book from 1950, Sweet!!
    That action force has one awesome cover.

    1. Thanks, Gil!

      Those Marvel UK titles were pretty sweet. Some had reprints, but many of them had great stories never seen in the USA. Captain Britain is probably the most sought after MUK title right now, with #1 (1st app of Captain Britain) and #8 (1st app of Betsy Braddock AKA Psylocke) being the grails for fans of Captain Britain.

  3. My older brother had pretty cool G.I. stuff because we had aunts who worked in a Hasbro factory and knew when the new stuff was coming out. This was in the mid-1960's when the 12" figures had removable cloth uniforms. He had U.S., German and either Japanese or Russian. There was all kinds of working accessories (canvas tent, working signal lamp, tiny mess kit with utensils, etc.). The Hasbro comics were small, 'letterbox' (or 'landscape') format promotional comics included with accessory kits, usually with short stories showing Joe using the equipment. There were also mini manuals that showed the proper way to pack the canvas backpack, fold or display a U.S. flag, assemble the tent and how to go through the manual of arms. Compared to the 80's version, playing with the 60's G.I.Joe was a lot of work. My older brother moved on to middle school and grew out of G.I. Joe just about the time I grew out of stuffed animals and started playing with his hand-me-downs (plus my own Captain Action). As you mentioned, that was when the emphasis came off of war and became more general "adventure", including rescue and exploration. Ironically, by demonstrating that boys' action figures weren't synonymous with war they engendered a lot of 10"-12" competition in the U.S.: Big Jim, Lone Ranger, Steve Scout and others, in addition to the 8" Mego figures. Hasbro tried to diversify with Mike Power (their Six Million Dollar Man rip-off) and Bullet Man (identical to the Fawcett character). And all of these figures were advertised in comic books, often in the form of comic strips!

  4. pblfsda!!

    WOW!! Thank you so much for that AMAZING insight! Unfortunately, I never had any of those 12" figures - until I started seriously collecting comics, I didn't have much idea about the G.I. Joe that came before the Hasbro versions. When I was a kid, my mom (born in the mid 1940s) used to tell me how G.I. Joe used to be one guy, but in my mind, that just made NO sense. To me, G.I. Joe was a team, G.I. Joe was THE TEAM. I mean, how could one guy have so many specialties, and defeat all of Cobra alone? She used to laugh at me. By becoming a comics collector, it's amazing the things that you learn about action figures, animation, and most interestingly, history. It's guys like you, Robbie and so many other people that I have had the pleasure of meeting online, that really make comic collecting SUPER fun and interesting. Thank you for sharing!