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The Top 10 Reasons The GI Joe Movie Will Suck


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Yeah. Joe deserves some props for being able to survive and maintain some kind of presence in the toy aisles for as long as it has without a successful major media tie-in, but I have a strong feeling that's been more due to Hasbro's determination to keep the line alive than because it's terribly successful. Remember, aside from Transformers, G.I. Joe is the only major "boys toy" brand that Hasbro owns themselves, so it's in Hasbro's interest to keep the line alive in some form.

 

But the problem is that the Joe line hasn't really been growing. It hasn't roped in a ton of new fans despite several attempts. Now with the movie, they're trying something new. Maybe (hopefully) it'll work, maybe it won't, but just trying to let the line cruise without any attempt to "grow" it would rather quickly lead to it disappearing from toy aisles completely. Shelf space is a viciously competitive thing in the toy aisles, and if Wal-Mart thinks they'll pull in more profit by dumping the G.I. Joe line and filling that space with more Star Wars or Marvel or Power Rangers or whatever, they'll do it in a heartbeat.

I think the line has had plenty of opportunity for growth if they'd been willing and bold enough to try something along the direction of Resolute, starting from.. a long while back when the main Joe demographic was aging into their college years. Hasbro seems to have consistently gone with the "tobacco company approach" of trying to hook replacement markets while letting their older fans lapse (probably because that's what got them to prominence in the first place in the early '80s), but I think this strategy could have worked well too with younger kids who would like to see what "older kids" are into.

 

That statement ignores what the situation really was in the toy market at that time. Most Joe fans were "aging into their college years" just a couple or three years after RAH Joe had left the shelves, and around the time the relaunch of the Star Wars line started to usher in the "Nostalgia Phenomenon" (as well as revealing the adult collector as a valid source of income). Doing "Resolute" in say, 1995 would have been seen as an idiotic gamble, because adult collectors as a group were barely even considered to exist around that timeframe. A smart company doesn't cater to a market that by most evidence (at the time) doesn't exist. Indeed, I'd say the full-fledged "adult collector" group didn't really start to make themselves fully heard until the rise of Ebay.

 

The fact of the matter is that Hasbro is a kids toy company. That's how they view themselves first and foremost. The adult collecting phenomenon is just a nice side bonus, but it's not, and never will be their main market. They're not NECA or Sideshow or any other "collector oriented" company, and they never will be. A true mass-retail line cannot survive without some degree of casual buyer/kid purchases, at least not at the level that Hasbro expects of its' lines.

 

Launching "Resolute" in say, 1995 wouldn't likely have roped in any more fans than it is now...Many of the "adult collectors" that exist now were in their period of "not caring about Joe anyway" and without the internet being nearly as prominent (much less the capability for streaming video being nearly so advanced in the age of dial-up access) and without the existence of an outlet like Cartoon Network's "adult swim" there wouldn't really have been any place for "Resolute" to air anyhow.

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Yeah. Joe deserves some props for being able to survive and maintain some kind of presence in the toy aisles for as long as it has without a successful major media tie-in, but I have a strong feeling that's been more due to Hasbro's determination to keep the line alive than because it's terribly successful. Remember, aside from Transformers, G.I. Joe is the only major "boys toy" brand that Hasbro owns themselves, so it's in Hasbro's interest to keep the line alive in some form.

 

But the problem is that the Joe line hasn't really been growing. It hasn't roped in a ton of new fans despite several attempts. Now with the movie, they're trying something new. Maybe (hopefully) it'll work, maybe it won't, but just trying to let the line cruise without any attempt to "grow" it would rather quickly lead to it disappearing from toy aisles completely. Shelf space is a viciously competitive thing in the toy aisles, and if Wal-Mart thinks they'll pull in more profit by dumping the G.I. Joe line and filling that space with more Star Wars or Marvel or Power Rangers or whatever, they'll do it in a heartbeat.

I think the line has had plenty of opportunity for growth if they'd been willing and bold enough to try something along the direction of Resolute, starting from.. a long while back when the main Joe demographic was aging into their college years. Hasbro seems to have consistently gone with the "tobacco company approach" of trying to hook replacement markets while letting their older fans lapse (probably because that's what got them to prominence in the first place in the early '80s), but I think this strategy could have worked well too with younger kids who would like to see what "older kids" are into.

 

That statement ignores what the situation really was in the toy market at that time. Most Joe fans were "aging into their college years" just a couple or three years after RAH Joe had left the shelves, and around the time the relaunch of the Star Wars line started to usher in the "Nostalgia Phenomenon" (as well as revealing the adult collector as a valid source of income). Doing "Resolute" in say, 1995 would have been seen as an idiotic gamble, because adult collectors as a group were barely even considered to exist around that timeframe. A smart company doesn't cater to a market that by most evidence (at the time) doesn't exist. Indeed, I'd say the full-fledged "adult collector" group didn't really start to make themselves fully heard until the rise of Ebay.

 

The fact of the matter is that Hasbro is a kids toy company. That's how they view themselves first and foremost. The adult collecting phenomenon is just a nice side bonus, but it's not, and never will be their main market. They're not NECA or Sideshow or any other "collector oriented" company, and they never will be. A true mass-retail line cannot survive without some degree of casual buyer/kid purchases, at least not at the level that Hasbro expects of its' lines.

 

Launching "Resolute" in say, 1995 wouldn't likely have roped in any more fans than it is now...Many of the "adult collectors" that exist now were in their period of "not caring about Joe anyway" and without the internet being nearly as prominent (much less the capability for streaming video being nearly so advanced in the age of dial-up access) and without the existence of an outlet like Cartoon Network's "adult swim" there wouldn't really have been any place for "Resolute" to air anyhow.

My view and own feelings during those years were that Hasbro had abandoned their fans more than the fans had "outgrown" the properties. Both TFs and Joe were just rather turning their demographics off with the endless fad gimmicks. I don't see it as a case of the demographic feeling like they were just growing older and not as into the stuff anymore. Of course, as you said, Hasbro's a kid's toy company so they don't really care about chasing us as we grow older, and as everyone's so fond of pointing out, they don't really care about us even now since we're limited sales.

 

I do agree about the perception of unnecessary risks for a company. However, I think that's a common fallacy with most companies as they mature. They become more conservative and begin to follow safe but similar patterns as to what they did before, rather than realize that it was some fundamental innovation and boldness that got them to their position in the first place. Pursuing an adult collectors market before the established existence of one is a gamble, but I don't see it as being that far away a gamble from pursuing the kids toy market when it pretty much barely existed until Hasbro came along in the early '80s. I think we take the plastic merchandising era of that decade a bit for granted -- it boomed by orders of magnitude compared to what it had been before, enough that Hasbro's strategy of having kids everywhere demand their parents buy them every toy would have been a pretty strong gamble.

 

Even now, it's not that older Nostalgia fans are resisting the reinventions of properties like Joe and TFs because they dislike reboots. What they dislike is the way they're being done.

 

As for lines not surviving without casual buyers/kid purchases, I don't really see that with GI Joe at the moment. Kids and casual buyers are not the ones buying 25ths (albeit, 25ths might have very low volume overall). Sigma 6 doesn't seem to even be on the shelves anymore and there's no counterpart to TFs Animated (though perhaps after the movie, since they seem to wanna shoehorn Joe into the same path).

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My view and own feelings during those years were that Hasbro had abandoned their fans more than the fans had "outgrown" the properties. Both TFs and Joe were just rather turning their demographics off with the endless fad gimmicks. I don't see it as a case of the demographic feeling like they were just growing older and not as into the stuff anymore.

 

I can only speak from my experience, but I still bought RAH Joe figures (albeit a select few that appealed to me) up until the bitter end. But I clearly recall for the next few years not giving two hoots about Joe. Joe failed because people lost interest, and the increasing "fads and gimmicks" were attempts to stave off that waning of interest, not engendering the lack of interest. From my understanding, Joe started slowly bleeding off sales starting around 1989 (maybe even a bit sooner) and it just went downhill from there. Kids grew up. Even now, Joe's "adult collector" community is small compared to several of the other marquee toy lines of the 80's.

 

I do agree about the perception of unnecessary risks for a company. However, I think that's a common fallacy with most companies as they mature. They become more conservative and begin to follow safe but similar patterns as to what they did before, rather than realize that it was some fundamental innovation and boldness that got them to their position in the first place.

 

Innovation and Boldness? Like retooling the Joe line to be a World-War II themed series with slightly larger figures? That seems pretty bold to me. Hasbro didn't lose its' "innovation or boldness", it just didn't manage to get its attempts to reconfigure the line to stick. But further, the "conservative" aspects of the companies are in many cases what allows them to continue being profitable companies year after year. If they gambled on everything, they'd likely rapidly end up out of business entirely.

 

Even now, it's not that older Nostalgia fans are resisting the reinventions of properties like Joe and TFs because they dislike reboots. What they dislike is the way they're being done.

 

Thus the problem with devoted fanbases of any nostalgia-driven property. Every individual fan has "their" way that they see the property (their "Joe-Verse" as it were). When the "reboots" don't match it (and they almost never will) it's declared crap sight-unseen. Particularly if it still tries in any way to cater to the kids' market.

 

As for lines not surviving without casual buyers/kid purchases, I don't really see that with GI Joe at the moment. Kids and casual buyers are not the ones buying 25ths (albeit, 25ths might have very low volume overall). Sigma 6 doesn't seem to even be on the shelves anymore and there's no counterpart to TFs Animated (though perhaps after the movie, since they seem to wanna shoehorn Joe into the same path).

 

25th Joes do indeed have a low volume compared to other lines. You can see that in the rather miniscule shelf space it occupies compared to the big-name brands. 25th Anniversary Joes have been a bigger success than expected, but I suspect that's based more on a combination of roping in collectors that had abandoned the brand in the late JvC/Spy Troops/VvV era, leveraging the brand against the future "success" of the movie toys to retailers, and the retailers themselves recognizing classic incarnations of Duke, Cobra Commander, Snake-Eyes, Destro, etc.... Once again, Joe is a rarity and a "success" in the fact that its' managed to stick around this long without a big tie-in, but thus far, no attempts to "reboot" have worked to drive up the sales significantly, and "Resolute" is as unproven as the film. Indeed many adult collectors are already saying they won't pick up the "Resolute" figures because they're not "classic" versions. Either way, I suspect Hasbro's "targets" for the 25A line were pretty low to begin with, and they were mostly seen as a "placeholder" until the movie line hits.

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Thus the problem with devoted fanbases of any nostalgia-driven property. Every individual fan has "their" way that they see the property (their "Joe-Verse" as it were). When the "reboots" don't match it (and they almost never will) it's declared crap sight-unseen. Particularly if it still tries in any way to cater to the kids' market.

This man speaks the truth.

 

There's nothing wrong with having and wanting your own view/interpretation of the property, but I feel that too often adult collectors try to criminalize anything that might appeal to children, or proclaim pretty much anything they personally don't like to be a stain on the brand that nobody likes. This often leads to or partners with complaining that things aren't the way they were when the collector was a child, fully ignoring that the passage of time pretty much necessitates that, and that if they want the things they had as a child so badly, then anything that is new is practically guaranteed to disappoint.

 

There's a severe sense of entitlement running through adult fandoms of children's properties (not just Joe, but many others as well). It's as though being there when you were a kid means the brand should continue to indulge you for your entire life, completely ignoring any sense of a larger market, demographics, or rational business.

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Thus the problem with devoted fanbases of any nostalgia-driven property. Every individual fan has "their" way that they see the property (their "Joe-Verse" as it were). When the "reboots" don't match it (and they almost never will) it's declared crap sight-unseen. Particularly if it still tries in any way to cater to the kids' market.

 

The part about fans that i still wrestle with is this whole bizarre conceit that if "they don't like it, it must be crap" kind of thinking. That or the further conceit of "if they don't like it, its crap, and it was done deliberately as crap".

 

There's a severe sense of entitlement running through adult fandoms of children's properties (not just Joe, but many others as well). It's as though being there when you were a kid means the brand should continue to indulge you for your entire life, completely ignoring any sense of a larger market, demographics, or rational business.

 

Yep, and that is a symptom of easy communication and consumption leading to sloppy thinking.

 

We now all have access to so much materialism that we are......in effect...........spoiled. Anyone ever see how a horribly spoiled child behaves??

 

Maybe there really was a "me" generation....

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Maybe there really was a "me" generation....

 

We have met the enemy, and they are us?

 

An addendum to the fan mentality that continues to mystify me is the "It worked before, it should work now!" argument (which I believe has been invoked in this very thread, if I recall correctly). Also known as the "It was good enough for me when I was a kid, so clearly it's perfect for kids now!" syndrome.

 

Here's a counterpoint I find amusing: I have non toy-collecting friends that occasionally meander through the aisles with me when I'm on the hunt. You know what they say 99 percent of the time? "Man, if we had these kinds of toys when we were kids, I'd have never left the house." (or something to that effect). Admittedly, that's speaking more to the technical side of toys, which I think most are in agreement has only gotten better regardless of whether it's a nostalgia-based property we're talking about or not, but I find it interesting that those with a more "unbiased" viewpoint seem to think the newer stuff is "cooler."

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Here's a counterpoint I find amusing: I have non toy-collecting friends that occasionally meander through the aisles with me when I'm on the hunt. You know what they say 99 percent of the time? "Man, if we had these kinds of toys when we were kids, I'd have never left the house." (or something to that effect). Admittedly, that's speaking more to the technical side of toys, which I think most are in agreement has only gotten better regardless of whether it's a nostalgia-based property we're talking about or not, but I find it interesting that those with a more "unbiased" viewpoint seem to think the newer stuff is "cooler."

 

That's me TODAY, and I was around to collect a lot of the "older" stuff too.

 

Today's toys have it in spades over the stuff from the past........by huge margins. The newer stuff is, by far, "cooler" in my eyes.

 

Sure there's a few older toys I still have a deep affection for, and some that remain unsurpassed......but 9 time out of 10, the " newer version" ends up better than the past one.

 

What remains perplexing is when someone says what I just said, that some diehard thinks its a personal affront to their sensibilities and cherished memories.

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Here's a counterpoint I find amusing: I have non toy-collecting friends that occasionally meander through the aisles with me when I'm on the hunt. You know what they say 99 percent of the time? "Man, if we had these kinds of toys when we were kids, I'd have never left the house." (or something to that effect). Admittedly, that's speaking more to the technical side of toys, which I think most are in agreement has only gotten better regardless of whether it's a nostalgia-based property we're talking about or not, but I find it interesting that those with a more "unbiased" viewpoint seem to think the newer stuff is "cooler."

 

That's me TODAY, and I was around to collect a lot of the "older" stuff too.

 

Today's toys have it in spades over the stuff from the past........by huge margins. The newer stuff is, by far, "cooler" in my eyes.

 

Sure there's a few older toys I still have a deep affection for, and some that remain unsurpassed......but 9 time out of 10, the " newer version" ends up better than the past one.

I hear ya. It's not that I don't love the classic stuff to death, but there's a lot of new Joes and Transformers out there that have me going "Pfft, eighties. The new stuff is where it's at!" I understand fully that we wouldn't have the things we do today if we hadn't gotten the originals, and I admit most of the new stuff is even the same characters, but... I just feel that most of them are done so much better.

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My view and own feelings during those years were that Hasbro had abandoned their fans more than the fans had "outgrown" the properties. Both TFs and Joe were just rather turning their demographics off with the endless fad gimmicks. I don't see it as a case of the demographic feeling like they were just growing older and not as into the stuff anymore.
I can only speak from my experience, but I still bought RAH Joe figures (albeit a select few that appealed to me) up until the bitter end. But I clearly recall for the next few years not giving two hoots about Joe. Joe failed because people lost interest, and the increasing "fads and gimmicks" were attempts to stave off that waning of interest, not engendering the lack of interest. From my understanding, Joe started slowly bleeding off sales starting around 1989 (maybe even a bit sooner) and it just went downhill from there. Kids grew up. Even now, Joe's "adult collector" community is small compared to several of the other marquee toy lines of the 80's.
Hmm.. I disagree. My perception (and certainly with myself) was fans getting turned off precisely because of what became increasingly obvious attempts at selling new rounds of products with fads/gimmicks like repaints, neon colors, themes that only existed because they were occurring somewhere else in the market (dinosaurs? mutants? environmentalism?) and Hasbro figured "Well putting them together should be that much better than either by itself".

 

I've always taken it for granted (because I assumed that it was just pretty obvious) that the reasons the major toy properties took off the way they first did -- and we are talking about creating a toy merchandizing craze and market where pretty much none had existed before -- were the creation of stories, in the shows and comics, that made kids care about the characters and world in the first place. And this is talked about as being the fundamental strategy in interviews with the Sunbow guys in The Real Toy Story.

 

With GI Joe, ARAH had its own standard of "what was militarily real", which was, obviously, silly in lots of ways but had been established and accepted in kids' minds as what they would suspend disbelief over. But it started to noticeably reach new levels of absurdity with stuff like Cobra-La in the movie. Then there was the lull for about a season or two after the movie to when the DiC years hit. And then we got.. Dragonfire.. "pythonizing" rays. This is about the point where I stopped, but I'd occasionally peek back in and see things like Joe and Cobra teaming up to fight a druglord. A sales falloff in 1989 is also consistent with when these effects are starting to be felt, though I'd say just being off the air was a bigger factor than the surreal gimmicks. I don't recall when the first falloff in product output for the line occurred but I thought it was around this time -- even when the cartoon was off the air, there were still toys being produced to about the same number of products.

 

I do agree about the perception of unnecessary risks for a company. However, I think that's a common fallacy with most companies as they mature. They become more conservative and begin to follow safe but similar patterns as to what they did before, rather than realize that it was some fundamental innovation and boldness that got them to their position in the first place.
Innovation and Boldness? Like retooling the Joe line to be a World-War II themed series with slightly larger figures? That seems pretty bold to me. Hasbro didn't lose its' "innovation or boldness", it just didn't manage to get its attempts to reconfigure the line to stick. But further, the "conservative" aspects of the companies are in many cases what allows them to continue being profitable companies year after year. If they gambled on everything, they'd likely rapidly end up out of business entirely.
Yes, innovation and boldness like using cartoon/comic stories to psychologically get kids to make their parents buy them every possible toy in the line when such a thing had never even been shown to be possible before. Clearly gambling on everything is far from a wise strategy. The risk taken has to be meaningful like with Pixar's hiring of Brad Bird when they were already successful, not like copying an existing theme in the market of "fight pollution".

 

Even now, it's not that older Nostalgia fans are resisting the reinventions of properties like Joe and TFs because they dislike reboots. What they dislike is the way they're being done.
Thus the problem with devoted fanbases of any nostalgia-driven property. Every individual fan has "their" way that they see the property (their "Joe-Verse" as it were). When the "reboots" don't match it (and they almost never will) it's declared crap sight-unseen. Particularly if it still tries in any way to cater to the kids' market.
I think that's rather pigeonholing fan reaction into only 2 extremes which is clearly not the case. Star Trek is being reinvented, and, while there are indeed very vocal fans, it's not as if all of that fandom is recoiling in horror. As Nimoy said, the reason he thought it was Trek was because he felt the script captured the essence of what the story and those characters were about. And they're still making it much more accessible to general audiences. Raving fans may be wrong and they're frustrating to deal with, but that doesn't imply they're either entirely wrong or that the most prudent course of action is to blow them off completely, do the opposite, or totally ignore them.

 

25th Joes do indeed have a low volume compared to other lines. You can see that in the rather miniscule shelf space it occupies compared to the big-name brands. 25th Anniversary Joes have been a bigger success than expected, but I suspect that's based more on a combination of roping in collectors that had abandoned the brand in the late JvC/Spy Troops/VvV era, leveraging the brand against the future "success" of the movie toys to retailers, and the retailers themselves recognizing classic incarnations of Duke, Cobra Commander, Snake-Eyes, Destro, etc.... Once again, Joe is a rarity and a "success" in the fact that its' managed to stick around this long without a big tie-in, but thus far, no attempts to "reboot" have worked to drive up the sales significantly, and "Resolute" is as unproven as the film. Indeed many adult collectors are already saying they won't pick up the "Resolute" figures because they're not "classic" versions. Either way, I suspect Hasbro's "targets" for the 25A line were pretty low to begin with, and they were mostly seen as a "placeholder" until the movie line hits.
I'd actually go further and say the 25ths line, while benefiting from all the factors you mentioned, really got pushed into the realm of possibility from the commercial success of the toylines Hasbro produced for their licensed properties (triggered by the SW prequels, and Spider-Man and X-Men movies), which was mentioned in their financial reports around '04 and '05 as the impetus and opportunity to do a major re-investment into their own licensed properties starting with Transformers and then, depending on the commercial success of the TFs line, GI Joe.

 

I think the JvC/SpyTroops/VvV era didn't have that much impact on the release of 25ths. Sigma 6 received some attention at the start of the "re-invest in our own brands" period, but seems to be in the "yes, we still provide support for that product" stage of the lifecycle. What's closer, marketingwise, to 25ths are the 12" '60s releases again and another attempt at 12" vers of ARAH chars.

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My view and own feelings during those years were that Hasbro had abandoned their fans more than the fans had "outgrown" the properties. Both TFs and Joe were just rather turning their demographics off with the endless fad gimmicks. I don't see it as a case of the demographic feeling like they were just growing older and not as into the stuff anymore.
I can only speak from my experience, but I still bought RAH Joe figures (albeit a select few that appealed to me) up until the bitter end. But I clearly recall for the next few years not giving two hoots about Joe. Joe failed because people lost interest, and the increasing "fads and gimmicks" were attempts to stave off that waning of interest, not engendering the lack of interest. From my understanding, Joe started slowly bleeding off sales starting around 1989 (maybe even a bit sooner) and it just went downhill from there. Kids grew up. Even now, Joe's "adult collector" community is small compared to several of the other marquee toy lines of the 80's.
Hmm.. I disagree. My perception (and certainly with myself) was fans getting turned off precisely because of what became increasingly obvious attempts at selling new rounds of products with fads/gimmicks like repaints, neon colors, themes that only existed because they were occurring somewhere else in the market (dinosaurs? mutants? environmentalism?) and Hasbro figured "Well putting them together should be that much better than either by itself".

 

I've always taken it for granted (because I assumed that it was just pretty obvious) that the reasons the major toy properties took off the way they first did -- and we are talking about creating a toy merchandizing craze and market where pretty much none had existed before -- were the creation of stories, in the shows and comics, that made kids care about the characters and world in the first place. And this is talked about as being the fundamental strategy in interviews with the Sunbow guys in The Real Toy Story.

 

With GI Joe, ARAH had its own standard of "what was militarily real", which was, obviously, silly in lots of ways but had been established and accepted in kids' minds as what they would suspend disbelief over. But it started to noticeably reach new levels of absurdity with stuff like Cobra-La in the movie. Then there was the lull for about a season or two after the movie to when the DiC years hit. And then we got.. Dragonfire.. "pythonizing" rays. This is about the point where I stopped, but I'd occasionally peek back in and see things like Joe and Cobra teaming up to fight a druglord. A sales falloff in 1989 is also consistent with when these effects are starting to be felt, though I'd say just being off the air was a bigger factor than the surreal gimmicks. I don't recall when the first falloff in product output for the line occurred but I thought it was around this time -- even when the cartoon was off the air, there were still toys being produced to about the same number of products.

 

I don't know how old you are, but it sounds to me like you're retroactively applying the mentality of an adult collector to childhood collecting habits. I recall quite clearly that I wasn't particularly "turned off" by the gimmicks. But then again I was never a "completist" and only got the figures that I thought were cool. Eco-Warriors? Cesspool, Toxo-Viper, and Clean Sweep were A-OK in my book. Ninja Force? Storm Shadow, Nunchuk, Slice and Dice. But the point is that the G.I. Joe audience was drying up. Those of us whose toy collecting habits carried over into adulthood, or even into the high school years are the exception, not the rule, and really it's our generation that's the first to experience that phenomenon in significant numbers at all. I got plenty of good-natured ribbing from my friends when I'd still be perusing the toy aisles as a sophomore and junior in high school looking for Joes, X-Men, and McFarlane figures. The fact of the matter is that Joe as a line was 10+ years old, which means that most of its' original audience had grown out of the "toy buying" phase. It was in Hasbro's interest to "gimmick up" the line, because they were trying to capture younger markets to replace the older markets that were giving up toy buying. Markets that weren't going to, and never have returned to the brand, because the vast majority of adults/teens don't collect toys. Something that holds true even to this day.

 

Once again, remember that it was a different time. The "adult collector" demographic hadn't fully materialized at all (and indeed I would wager most of us here were in our teen years at the time), much less the "adult collector community" and toy lines were expected to perform on a level considerably higher than they are today in the age when video games have taken over as the dominant form of entertainment for kids. A line producing only the volume that the 25A Joe line produces today would have been laughed at by retailers in 1995. Indeed, the concept of lines aimed at adult/teen collectors as much as kids was only barely beginning to take root (pioneered by McFarlane Toys, and fully ushered in by the Star Wars relaunch).

 

I think the JvC/SpyTroops/VvV era didn't have that much impact on the release of 25ths. Sigma 6 received some attention at the start of the "re-invest in our own brands" period, but seems to be in the "yes, we still provide support for that product" stage of the lifecycle. What's closer, marketingwise, to 25ths are the 12" '60s releases again and another attempt at 12" vers of ARAH chars.

 

I know the JvC/SpyTroops/VvV era is rapidly becoming the "red headed stepchild" era of Joe (Well, maybe that's actually Sigma 6, but I digress), but it was more significant than people are giving it credit for. It kept the line on shelves for several years (with more shelf-space than the 25A line gets now, to boot), continued the RAH mythos, and despite seemingly being forgotten overnight it played a large role in creating the adult Joe collecting community we have now. Or at least in pulling them together. A community that lacks "new" product to collect tends to dwindle down to a precious few "vintage" collectors rather quickly.

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Hmm.. I disagree. My perception (and certainly with myself) was fans getting turned off precisely because of what became increasingly obvious attempts at selling new rounds of products with fads/gimmicks like repaints, neon colors, themes that only existed because they were occurring somewhere else in the market (dinosaurs? mutants? environmentalism?) and Hasbro figured "Well putting them together should be that much better than either by itself".

Speaking from my own experience as a kid when this all was happening, I loved Ninja Force. I thought DEF was neat, although it didn't really get me going. The villains of Eco-Warriors were awesome, although I thought the actual Joes looked kinda wimpy. I about FLIPPED when I first saw Mega-Marines! Some of the sublines interested me less than others, but none of them made me scoff and go "that's just stupid". As an adult looking back, some of it is very silly (the neon and Play-Doh on the Mega-Marines, for example), but not when I was a kid... and like it or not, kids were the fans Hasbro was selling to. Adult fans can claim that bright colors, lights and sounds, and missile launchers killed the line and drove kids away all they want... but I for one thought most of it was pretty cool.

 

And I'm not sure how you equate repaints into the 'fads/gimmicks', given that the bulk of 1982 has parts being liberally reused throughout the figures (in much the same colors!). While yes, it did see increased application in the 90s, the idea of repaints and mold reuse wasn't new to the line.

 

I've always taken it for granted (because I assumed that it was just pretty obvious) that the reasons the major toy properties took off the way they first did -- and we are talking about creating a toy merchandizing craze and market where pretty much none had existed before -- were the creation of stories, in the shows and comics, that made kids care about the characters and world in the first place. And this is talked about as being the fundamental strategy in interviews with the Sunbow guys in The Real Toy Story.

While I don't necessarily disagree with your sentiments, I do question the reliability of the book in question. Eric Clark has a very negative few of many of the staple toylines that were established in the 80s and the multimedia approach to selling them. Additionally, he gets quite a few facts wrong, claiming things like Tom Griffin and Joe Bacal named the Transformers (166-167), when it's well-established that most of the '84 names and much of the backstory came directly from Marvel (Denny O'Neill and Bob Budiansky, specifically).

 

With GI Joe, ARAH had its own standard of "what was militarily real", which was, obviously, silly in lots of ways but had been established and accepted in kids' minds as what they would suspend disbelief over. But it started to noticeably reach new levels of absurdity with stuff like Cobra-La in the movie. Then there was the lull for about a season or two after the movie to when the DiC years hit. And then we got.. Dragonfire.. "pythonizing" rays. This is about the point where I stopped, but I'd occasionally peek back in and see things like Joe and Cobra teaming up to fight a druglord. A sales falloff in 1989 is also consistent with when these effects are starting to be felt, though I'd say just being off the air was a bigger factor than the surreal gimmicks. I don't recall when the first falloff in product output for the line occurred but I thought it was around this time -- even when the cartoon was off the air, there were still toys being produced to about the same number of products.

Once again, none of this was an issue when I was a kid. As an adult, the movie is absurd and Operation Dragonfire is more like Operation Drag-this-out-for five-episodes, but as a kid, I ate it all up and couldn't get enough. The local station put the Sunbow and DiC episodes on interchangeably, and I was well into my teens before I even realized that those had been two different series by two different companies.

 

As for sales... a lot of fans who don't like the '90s stuff like to point to this gimmick or that trend as the thing that 'killed' ARAH, but the fact of the matter is that there are conflicting accounts and it's very hard to say how much sales and things realting to them contributed, how much was internal politics, and so on.

 

Yes, innovation and boldness like using cartoon/comic stories to psychologically get kids to make their parents buy them every possible toy in the line when such a thing had never even been shown to be possible before. Clearly gambling on everything is far from a wise strategy. The risk taken has to be meaningful like with Pixar's hiring of Brad Bird when they were already successful, not like copying an existing theme in the market of "fight pollution".

But once the line is established, then you have to keep selling to the things kids want. After GI Joe became a hit, they couldn't just rest on their laurels and rely on "kids like army toys" forever. Hasbro tried to expand the concepts of GI Joe to fit all kinds of tastes so that it had the broadest appeal possible. Kids love dinosaurs. Kids love ninjas. Kids love monsters. And so on. None of them are new concepts, but all of them were untested in a military-themed line, so I'd argue there was in fact some risk involved, however small.

 

Most of these concepts were actually explored in various episodes of the Sunbow series that made the more military-themed Joes so popular in the first place, years before the concepts actually made it into the toyline. Yet many adult fans point to the 'Sunbow years' as the pinnacle of their 'realistic' Joe, and decry the figures that capitalized on no-brainer concepts which were, because of that cartoon, already inherent in the property. No, there was no great, fantastic innovation in using them, but the idea was to keep the line fresh and new and exploring things outside the 'normal' military to keep as many kids interested as possible.

 

Even now, it's not that older Nostalgia fans are resisting the reinventions of properties like Joe and TFs because they dislike reboots. What they dislike is the way they're being done.
Thus the problem with devoted fanbases of any nostalgia-driven property. Every individual fan has "their" way that they see the property (their "Joe-Verse" as it were). When the "reboots" don't match it (and they almost never will) it's declared crap sight-unseen. Particularly if it still tries in any way to cater to the kids' market.
I think that's rather pigeonholing fan reaction into only 2 extremes which is clearly not the case. Star Trek is being reinvented, and, while there are indeed very vocal fans, it's not as if all of that fandom is recoiling in horror. As Nimoy said, the reason he thought it was Trek was because he felt the script captured the essence of what the story and those characters were about. And they're still making it much more accessible to general audiences. Raving fans may be wrong and they're frustrating to deal with, but that doesn't imply they're either entirely wrong or that the most prudent course of action is to blow them off completely, do the opposite, or totally ignore them.

I don't think anyone's trying to pigeonhole all fans, but rather to point out that the most vocal fans are often the ones who fall into an extreme, using knee-jerk reactions and specious reasoning to justify complaining that they don't get what they want, ignoring any logical response that could explain that, and buying the product anyway. What any of us see on the internet, no matter how much we think it's representative of the fandom-at-large, is only a small portion. What we personally feel, and what we feel the tone is of the board/site/etc is not necessarily the majority view.

 

Yes, there are many differing viewpoints out there. What is being said is in fact that the variety of views on the brand makes the negative reactions seem much greater in number than they are... particularly when there are a good number of extremists who assume they speak for the entire fandom--and speak VERY loudly.

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Speaking from my own experience as a kid when this all was happening, I loved Ninja Force. I thought DEF was neat, although it didn't really get me going. The villains of Eco-Warriors were awesome, although I thought the actual Joes looked kinda wimpy. I about FLIPPED when I first saw Mega-Marines! Some of the sublines interested me less than others, but none of them made me scoff and go "that's just stupid". As an adult looking back, some of it is very silly (the neon and Play-Doh on the Mega-Marines, for example), but not when I was a kid... and like it or not, kids were the fans Hasbro was selling to. Adult fans can claim that bright colors, lights and sounds, and missile launchers killed the line and drove kids away all they want... but I for one thought most of it was pretty cool.

 

When I was a little kid, playing with the original 12" GIJOES and 9" Big Jims, one of the things i always wanted were shooting weapons.

Spring-loaded stuff was what I sought, and I knew even then that it bring a level of cool to a toy to have that feature. ( I even had some 2" scale "army men" figures that had shooting weapons--recoilless rifles and such on jeeps.)

They just did not make much of that stuff back then.

My own step-sons when handed RAH Joe stuff gravitate towards toys that function--namely those that shoot.

In fact, every kid ( of dozens) who I've ever handed GIJOE toys to, the FIRST thing they do it use the spring loaded weapons.

( then they start undressing figures......but that is something else....)

Such weapons are tactile, they provide a simple action with immediate results--which is why they appeal.

They are not intellectual in nature, like static weapons tend to be--you do not have to imagine the weapon fires.......toy can push the switch, see the missile fly and see the result ( hopefully knocking the target down).

There's an undeniable fascination with that.

 

Now, my experience with the kids I have known is extremely limited, BUT.......conversations with other collectors over the years have shown me the pattern repeats all over the place.

Kids like ...love the shooting weapons........but adult collectors tend to frown on them.

 

GIJOE fizzled as a line, not so much due to the product, but because of other factors in consumer culture that were ongoing at the time--mostly due to the rise of video games. Hasbro tried brighter and bolder things to recapture that draining market.......but it obviously did not work.

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I don't know how old you are, but it sounds to me like you're retroactively applying the mentality of an adult collector to childhood collecting habits. I recall quite clearly that I wasn't particularly "turned off" by the gimmicks. But then again I was never a "completist" and only got the figures that I thought were cool. Eco-Warriors? Cesspool, Toxo-Viper, and Clean Sweep were A-OK in my book. Ninja Force? Storm Shadow, Nunchuk, Slice and Dice. But the point is that the G.I. Joe audience was drying up. Those of us whose toy collecting habits carried over into adulthood, or even into the high school years are the exception, not the rule, and really it's our generation that's the first to experience that phenomenon in significant numbers at all. I got plenty of good-natured ribbing from my friends when I'd still be perusing the toy aisles as a sophomore and junior in high school looking for Joes, X-Men, and McFarlane figures. The fact of the matter is that Joe as a line was 10+ years old, which means that most of its' original audience had grown out of the "toy buying" phase. It was in Hasbro's interest to "gimmick up" the line, because they were trying to capture younger markets to replace the older markets that were giving up toy buying. Markets that weren't going to, and never have returned to the brand, because the vast majority of adults/teens don't collect toys. Something that holds true even to this day.

 

Once again, remember that it was a different time. The "adult collector" demographic hadn't fully materialized at all (and indeed I would wager most of us here were in our teen years at the time), much less the "adult collector community" and toy lines were expected to perform on a level considerably higher than they are today in the age when video games have taken over as the dominant form of entertainment for kids. A line producing only the volume that the 25A Joe line produces today would have been laughed at by retailers in 1995. Indeed, the concept of lines aimed at adult/teen collectors as much as kids was only barely beginning to take root (pioneered by McFarlane Toys, and fully ushered in by the Star Wars relaunch).

 

I was in college at the time Battle Corps, Ninja Force, and Eco-Warriors came out, and that was the nail in the coffin so to speak for me. I could not stand the day-glow weapons and accessories the majority of them came with. I'm assuming Hasbro was losing ground to TMNT at the time and felt like they needed to compete, but I hated that stuff. All they had to do was use more subdued colors and accessories and I would have been with them all the way. I would have been one of those adult collectors. And I don't recall G.I. Joe seeing a huge resurge in popularity then because of Hasbro's efforts to pull in a new generation of kids with new colors and gimmicks. So not only did they lose their long-time collector base (yes, I was a collector since I was nine), they seemed to have been unsuccessful in garnering interest from the then younger crowd. If the colors and gimmicks were such a great idea, it would have lasted as long as Power Rangers have. Right? Now don't get me wrong, I loathe Power Rangers, but the line has lasted almost twenty years; hasn't it? I mean, did it go on "hiatus" ever? They didn't drastically change their successful formula. They've just tweaked it every now and then while remaining true to the core idea, and we're still seeing Power Rangers toys on store shelves. I understand comparing Power Rangers to G.I. Joe, complete with it's political and real-world implications, is like comparing apples and oranges, but at the end of the day both are toy lines, and one has ended and restarted several times since the original line ended, and the other seems to have been an evergreen, non-stop, best selling toy line. DTC was in the right direction, by far, but the 25th line goes back to the roots of G.I. Joe, and look how successful it's been. But I do wonder now, and I wish I had real data, but...it does make me wonder if it's just us, the niche collector crowd that keeps this line going, or has it appealed to kids as well? I have seen kids come into TRU looking for Snake-Eyes, and I've seen others come in digging around looking for specific characters with their kids. But overall I just wonder how much kids have warmed up to the line.

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I can only speak from personal experience, but I've seen very little interest from kids in the current Joe line. I still see plenty of kids raiding the Star Wars and even the superhero toy racks, but most that I've seen barely give the G.I. Joe racks/shelves a second glance. Doesn't mean there aren't kids wanting it, I just haven't seen much of it myself. I would also suggest that its' status as a "collector driven line" is in large part what limits it to a relatively small amount of shelf/peg space at most retailers. It strikes me as a line that's just about on that border between supply and demand: What they put out sells pretty good, but if they produced much more, we'd be seeing pegwarmers galore.

 

The other problem with comparing Power Rangers and G.I. Joe is that Power Rangers was another line that G.I. Joe was competing with in its' latter days. The huge fad of these brightly colored characters almost certainly had some degree of influence on things like Ninja Force, Star Brigade, et al.... (And of course "Street Fighter.")

 

And again, applying our perspective as adult collectors is kind of a moot point...once again the percentage of kids that bought RAH Joe then that buy 25A Joe now is tiny compared to what used to buy it. Even if G.I. Joe had stayed "realistic" it's unlikely that percentage would change much because most adults don't buy toys for themselves. If they did, Joe would be dominating the shelves just as much as it did in the 80's.

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They've just tweaked it every now and then while remaining true to the core idea, and we're still seeing Power Rangers toys on store shelves. I understand comparing Power Rangers to G.I. Joe, complete with it's political and real-world implications, is like comparing apples and oranges, but at the end of the day both are toy lines, and one has ended and restarted several times since the original line ended, and the other seems to have been an evergreen, non-stop, best selling toy line. DTC was in the right direction, by far, but the 25th line goes back to the roots of G.I. Joe, and look how successful it's been. But I do wonder now, and I wish I had real data, but...it does make me wonder if it's just us, the niche collector crowd that keeps this line going, or has it appealed to kids as well?

Something else to keep in mind with Power Rangers is that as a concept, it is FAR more fantasy based than GI Joe. GI Joe is very "grounded" compared to many toylines, and as such is subject to political cultural concerns Power Rangers (or Transformers, or STar Wars) doesn't face. That is a BIG reason I see the more scifi bent in new GI Joe concepts from VvV to the movie, as a way to insulate the brand from some of the political issues the brand has dealt with for years.

 

Another thing I think many collectors don't realize is the "casual collector". There are THOUSANDS of new people buying GI Joe who didn't during VvV or Sigma Six. And not one are on the message boards.

I saw it with Transformers Classics in 2007, older guys who haven't touched a toy in 20 years were out buying Transformers classics because

'they were like the ones I had as a kid". Nostalgia is a powerful tool, and I wonder how much of the early sales can be attributed to the guy walking buy and seeing "those Joes like I had as a kid" and buying one or two.

Problem is, the casual collector isn't a longterm solution, and like Star Wars (which had a similar situation in 1997), many of these casual buyers will get board or decide "enough is enough" and those inflated numbers will carry through, causing overfull shelves.

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They've just tweaked it every now and then while remaining true to the core idea, and we're still seeing Power Rangers toys on store shelves. I understand comparing Power Rangers to G.I. Joe, complete with it's political and real-world implications, is like comparing apples and oranges, but at the end of the day both are toy lines, and one has ended and restarted several times since the original line ended, and the other seems to have been an evergreen, non-stop, best selling toy line. DTC was in the right direction, by far, but the 25th line goes back to the roots of G.I. Joe, and look how successful it's been. But I do wonder now, and I wish I had real data, but...it does make me wonder if it's just us, the niche collector crowd that keeps this line going, or has it appealed to kids as well?

Something else to keep in mind with Power Rangers is that as a concept, it is FAR more fantasy based than GI Joe. GI Joe is very "grounded" compared to many toylines, and as such is subject to political cultural concerns Power Rangers (or Transformers, or STar Wars) doesn't face. That is a BIG reason I see the more scifi bent in new GI Joe concepts from VvV to the movie, as a way to insulate the brand from some of the political issues the brand has dealt with for years.

Not to mention that Power Rangers is 'evergreen' precisely because it reinvents (to a limited degree) itself every few years. This keeps everything 'new' to the kids.

 

Also, the show has never been off the air for any real length of time, which keeps it in the foreground of the kid's attention span. This makes it very difficult (if not impossible) to compare PR to any other 'multimedia' toyline, especially GI Joe, which hasn't had any series at all in over a decade. If Joe had a 20-year cartoon, then we could compare.

 

Of course, PR also changes characters, costumes, vehicles, villains, etc constantly in order to maintain all this... can you even imagine if Joe tried to do that? Just look at how Extreme, Sigma 6, and Spy Troops/Valor vs. Venom turned out. Most of the time those properties even used the same characters (even in the case of Extreme, it was 'new' characters that were thinly-veiled classic ones), and they did horribly, both in terms of sales and reaction from the fandom.

 

Finally, one of the things to be recognized is that PR is roughly on a cyclical trend of 'growing up' with the audience for a few years, then backing down to a younger age group when they risk becoming teenage/adult entertainment. The adult PR fans generally recognize this as a necessity to ensure the longevity of the line. However, any time Joe 'backslides' to try and attract children, adult fans riot about how Joe is becoming 'kiddie stuff' that 'not even the kids like'.

 

Again, this is one of the major flaws I see in the adult fandom, not just of GI Joe, but many properties: the adult fans refuse to recognize that it's a children's property and cut a little slack, or even *gasp* show some support for marketing the brand to children. The failure of many adult fans to rationalize that not everything is meant for them, and that there's nothing wrong with that, is probably one of the biggest hurdles that companies trying to market their properties to both markets, and why they often end up ignoring one at the cost (literally) of the other.

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Again, this is one of the major flaws I see in the adult fandom, not just of GI Joe, but many properties: the adult fans refuse to recognize that it's a children's property and cut a little slack, or even *gasp* show some support for marketing the brand to children. The failure of many adult fans to rationalize that not everything is meant for them, and that there's nothing wrong with that, is probably one of the biggest hurdles that companies trying to market their properties to both markets, and why they often end up ignoring one at the cost (literally) of the other.

 

I'll admit to being one of those adult fans that, for example totally supported Sigma 6; kids loved it, and the show seemed to be a success. I even owned a few of them at one time. Alot of the adult collectors derided it, claiming it was an abomination and just would not accept it at all. To me it was fresh, original, innovative, kid-friendly without being silly or dumbed-down, and it seemed to do really well for awhile. So I can say without a doubt that I for one do not resist those lines that are targeted towards the kids. But they don't have to be stupid to be so. RAH wasn't, and look how well it did. And if anyone want's pull the old "It's not 1985 anymore!" card, I know that. What I'm saying is you can develop a really cool line that's sophisticated enough to be realistic yet accessible and fun to play with. Kids don't need toys to be "dumbed-down" for them. Alot of the original stuff was very detailed and realistic, and it was based on some real military vehicles and gear, but it was still clearly a toy; you could immediately pick it up and play with it.

 

I'm just saying a happy medium would please everyone.

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I'm just saying a happy medium would please everyone.

Ah... but there's the rub. Who defines this 'happy medium'? How does it please 'everyone'?

 

I totally agree that if we could find some middle ground between the interests of the adult collector and the marketing to kids, we'd see an incredible toyline. But it's easy to say it's possible; making it a reality is much more difficult.

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I can only speak from personal experience, but I've seen very little interest from kids in the current Joe line. I still see plenty of kids raiding the Star Wars and even the superhero toy racks, but most that I've seen barely give the G.I. Joe racks/shelves a second glance. Doesn't mean there aren't kids wanting it, I just haven't seen much of it myself.

 

I don't spend that much time in the toy isles to tell ya one way or the other. When I go Joe huntin' I'm in and I'm OUT, and the duration in between is either spent sorting thru the Joe stuff for what I want and then heading for the check out lane, or seeing that the pegs are void of anything I need and my exit is double fast.

 

Haven't really taken the time to stand and observe the buying habits of the kids. @smilepunch@

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I'm just saying a happy medium would please everyone.

Ah... but there's the rub. Who defines this 'happy medium'? How does it please 'everyone'?

 

I totally agree that if we could find some middle ground between the interests of the adult collector and the marketing to kids, we'd see an incredible toyline. But it's easy to say it's possible; making it a reality is much more difficult.

 

 

I don't think its as difficult as everyone wants to make it out to be.

 

Collectors: Collectors want articulation, detail, and quality in paint (for lack of a better way to phrase it).

 

Kids: Kids want lights, sounds and spring loaded weapons.

 

 

Is that an incorrect view of "who wants what"?

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I don't know how old you are, but it sounds to me like you're retroactively applying the mentality of an adult collector to childhood collecting habits. I recall quite clearly that I wasn't particularly "turned off" by the gimmicks. But then again I was never a "completist" and only got the figures that I thought were cool. Eco-Warriors? Cesspool, Toxo-Viper, and Clean Sweep were A-OK in my book. Ninja Force? Storm Shadow, Nunchuk, Slice and Dice. But the point is that the G.I. Joe audience was drying up. Those of us whose toy collecting habits carried over into adulthood, or even into the high school years are the exception, not the rule, and really it's our generation that's the first to experience that phenomenon in significant numbers at all. I got plenty of good-natured ribbing from my friends when I'd still be perusing the toy aisles as a sophomore and junior in high school looking for Joes, X-Men, and McFarlane figures. The fact of the matter is that Joe as a line was 10+ years old, which means that most of its' original audience had grown out of the "toy buying" phase. It was in Hasbro's interest to "gimmick up" the line, because they were trying to capture younger markets to replace the older markets that were giving up toy buying. Markets that weren't going to, and never have returned to the brand, because the vast majority of adults/teens don't collect toys. Something that holds true even to this day.
Heh. Well I'd like to hope I'm not looking back through adult-colored glasses. I was going by my thoughts at the time (in order of acceptance were: laser beam guns, nobody dying, everyone parachuting out in time, the supernatural in the Sunbow seasons, the supernatural in the DiC seasons, Cobra-La -- with the last two being about where it starts to impact my willingness to buy).

 

I'm 33, but I've a fairly clear memory of why I bought toys and why I didn't (and yes, some were quite silly). I wasn't turned off by the first few theme gimmicks much (Python Patrol and Tiger Force). It was more that Hasbro kept trying more and more of them. Python Patrol was corny, even as a kid, but it was backed up by the cartoon continuity and I look back with nostalgic fondness at the corniness. However, they had little educational stuff on some of the basic physics principles of how stuff like the stealth fighter and bomber worked in school. You didn't have to be an aeronautics engineer to think that making planes radar-invisible by zapping snakes onto them is just slightly demeaning to even a kid's intelligence. =)

 

I only ever bought a single Cobra EEL figure (and I think a pogo pod thing). I WANTED various characters and vehicles up through to some of the movie ones + a Python Conquest, but with most of the DiC stuff, I just stopped even wanting anything from the entire line. As an adult, I want a bit more but still from the same timeframes. If anything, I'd say I'm more projecting the desires I had as a kid onto myself now, and onto my disposable income, than the other way around.

 

My toy collecting didn't survive past '88, but it stopped because the toys were no longer backed by shows. I would have liked to have continued buying toys but not when they were just inexplicably repainting/retooling them or making characters that weren't part of any continuity I knew or had seen on shows.

 

Once again, remember that it was a different time. The "adult collector" demographic hadn't fully materialized at all (and indeed I would wager most of us here were in our teen years at the time), much less the "adult collector community" and toy lines were expected to perform on a level considerably higher than they are today in the age when video games have taken over as the dominant form of entertainment for kids. A line producing only the volume that the 25A Joe line produces today would have been laughed at by retailers in 1995. Indeed, the concept of lines aimed at adult/teen collectors as much as kids was only barely beginning to take root (pioneered by McFarlane Toys, and fully ushered in by the Star Wars relaunch).
Hmm.. that's a different take on an argument I've heard before (that Joe and TFs got outcompeted in the '80s by console games). I'm not sure if I correctly understand which time you're referring to. The mid-90s? I agree that it probably would have been laughed at. I don't necessarily think that it would've been a bad idea though. I'd just started college in '93 and noticed G2 TFs coming out. I remember getting quite excited 'cause I was SO ready to scoop those up until I found out they were more or less arbitrary color molds that didn't even match the G2 "show". Would such lines not have flown commercially? Well any adult market is, to this day, really unestablished. The issue is that in the early '80s, Hasbro and friends were willing to be the pioneers in creating a new unproven market whereas ever since they wait and copy someone else because "adults don't buy toys".

 

I know the JvC/SpyTroops/VvV era is rapidly becoming the "red headed stepchild" era of Joe (Well, maybe that's actually Sigma 6, but I digress), but it was more significant than people are giving it credit for. It kept the line on shelves for several years (with more shelf-space than the 25A line gets now, to boot), continued the RAH mythos, and despite seemingly being forgotten overnight it played a large role in creating the adult Joe collecting community we have now. Or at least in pulling them together. A community that lacks "new" product to collect tends to dwindle down to a precious few "vintage" collectors rather quickly.
Well I was speaking about the supply-side based on what I gleaned about Hasbro management's views from their annual financial reports. In terms of the demand side and the impact on maintaining continuity in the adult fanbase, I'll have to defer to your info since I saw the SpyTroops/VvV phase from afar but didn't look at all closely at it. I'm not about to discount the value of that fanbase continuity as 25ths likely wouldn't have happened without fan demand.
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I don't see kids buying anything but Bakugan and Ben 10 on the action figure aisle. I mean, there must be kids buying the rest of it, but whenever I see kids on the aisle that's all they're looking for.
I've NEVER seen any kid buy 25ths. I've seen adults buy a few, usually several, or entire shopping carts full (the times I've caught them at it, anyway). I see kids buy Ben10, TF:A, and lots of Wrestling figures.. o_O

 

I don't think its as difficult as everyone wants to make it out to be.

 

Collectors: Collectors want articulation, detail, and quality in paint (for lack of a better way to phrase it).

 

Kids: Kids want lights, sounds and spring loaded weapons.

 

 

Is that an incorrect view of "who wants what"?

I'd like lights and sounds on 25ths and G1. =D

I really think it's story (or some anchoring source material) that carries the toys though. The kids seem to buy toys of characters of shows they watch and care about. We buy toys of shows (and comics) that we care about.. they were just long ago. Although to be fair, a lotta you guys bought stuff like JvC/SpyTroops/VvV/S6 toys and probably didn't love the shows that much which is a fairly alien mindset to me. (Okay, I'll confess I bought some S6 with some high hopes before I abruptly stopped after seeing the show.)

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