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What was bigger GIJOE, He-Man, or Transformers


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Which brand of toys was the most popular? This is not a fair question, because each brand ruled certain years in the 80's. in 1980 Star Wars was on top. every store you went to had a lot of Star Wars stuff. I am not talking just a few figures like Wal-mart and Target carry today. I mean a lot of figures, vehicles and playsets. 1981 Star wars was still on top, but with the popularity of the action figure every toy company was producing their brand. Kenner was the main player in 81. In 1982 out of nowhere G.I. Joe became a main player. These little army guys got a foot hold on the toy aisle and did not let go and was kicking Luke Skywalkers ass. In 1983 Stars Wars came back to the big screen with Return of the Jedi once again Star Wars toys was on top. 1984 was a year of great movies and not so great toys, but unfortunately in the action figure realm there was some toy support for theses new movies, but no where what Star Wars figures were. This was the year of the super hero DC and Marvel. DC was clearly on top with the super Powers collection. 1985 became the year of the robot. Even though Transformers had been out for a few years they did not get popular until around early 1985. Transformers would hold the action figures spot clearly through 1986 with the launch of the Transformers animated movie . In 1886 without any movie support Star Wars was dead in the water. In late 1986 and during 1987 G.I. Joe was back on top with Sgt Slaughter and Serpentor. In 1988 became the year of the turtle. Every where you looked you saw Ninja Turtles. 1989 was an introduction of a new brand by Hasbro called C.O.P.S. I remember the kids screaming for them because of the actual cap gun. 1990 we all grew up and action figures starting losing their popularity in the toy aisle. Power Rangers dont count.

Chopz

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i dont remember He-man ever having near the shelf space of SW, Joe or TF. when i went to the toy sroes or toy depts. Joe and TF had their own aisles (i even remember Joes sometimes have TWO aisles!) and TF having most of an aisle, but never seeing He-Man having any more than a section in the stores. Im old enough to remember SW hitting the market and seeing that have a couple of aisles in stores, so i would say that He-Man would have to be last.

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The only time I remember seeing He-Man stuff back in the day was when KBs had them up front mixed in with the stuff they had on close out. Transformers had so many shelf warmers,it wasn't funny. The only thing I think sold were the mini cars. So I'll go with G.I. Joe.

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There is a book called MASTERING THE UNIVERSE by Roger Sweet and David Wecker that says that MOTU earned 1.2 Billion World Wide in its six year run in the 1980's. The Motu DVD Set likes to claim that MOTU was the return to Action Adventure Shows after strick regulation in the1970's, you know the decade of Scooby Doo and GOD AWFUL Superfrieds. I haven't researched GIJOE or Transformers but I've got to stick with MOTU as my first REAL toys.

 

 

now, now, now, thats a bold claim after all GIJOE in 1964 was the real action figure the first one. then came mego with theyre startrek, dc and marvel super heroes, planet of the apes, wizard of oz, buck rogers, super knights, american west heroes, mad monsters, super pirates, ect ect. now those were toys. and i'm only 24 years old, not even born in those times and yet i think they were awesome.

 

The "Claim" is that the show Masters of the Universe show was cartoons return to action adventure on TV because of the sensorship of violence in Cartoons in the 1970's. Then in the 1980's you have GI Joe, MOTU, Transformers, Thundercats and whole lot of others that were action adventure with "violence." These all led to people like Tipper Gore saying that childrens TV was too violent. The DVD claims that MOTU was the first of these.

 

But your right, every since GI Joe in the 1960's there were plenty of boys action figures.

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There is a book called MASTERING THE UNIVERSE by Roger Sweet and David Wecker that says that MOTU earned 1.2 Billion World Wide in its six year run in the 1980's. The Motu DVD Set likes to claim that MOTU was the return to Action Adventure Shows after strick regulation in the1970's, you know the decade of Scooby Doo and GOD AWFUL Superfrieds. I haven't researched GIJOE or Transformers but I've got to stick with MOTU as my first REAL toys.

 

 

now, now, now, thats a bold claim after all GIJOE in 1964 was the real action figure the first one. then came mego with theyre startrek, dc and marvel super heroes, planet of the apes, wizard of oz, buck rogers, super knights, american west heroes, mad monsters, super pirates, ect ect. now those were toys. and i'm only 24 years old, not even born in those times and yet i think they were awesome.

 

The "Claim" is that the show Masters of the Universe show was cartoons return to action adventure on TV because of the sensorship of violence in Cartoons in the 1970's. Then in the 1980's you have GI Joe, MOTU, Transformers, Thundercats and whole lot of others that were action adventure with "violence." These all led to people like Tipper Gore saying that childrens TV was too violent. The DVD claims that MOTU was the first of these.

 

But your right, every since GI Joe in the 1960's there were plenty of boys action figures.

 

I remember hearing somewhere that there was a law against cartoons being used as promotions to sell goods (ie toys), and that the law was removed in the early 80's. MOTU was just the first line to capitalize on it.

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There is a book called MASTERING THE UNIVERSE by Roger Sweet and David Wecker that says that MOTU earned 1.2 Billion World Wide in its six year run in the 1980's. The Motu DVD Set likes to claim that MOTU was the return to Action Adventure Shows after strick regulation in the1970's, you know the decade of Scooby Doo and GOD AWFUL Superfrieds. I haven't researched GIJOE or Transformers but I've got to stick with MOTU as my first REAL toys.

 

 

now, now, now, thats a bold claim after all GIJOE in 1964 was the real action figure the first one. then came mego with theyre startrek, dc and marvel super heroes, planet of the apes, wizard of oz, buck rogers, super knights, american west heroes, mad monsters, super pirates, ect ect. now those were toys. and i'm only 24 years old, not even born in those times and yet i think they were awesome.

 

The "Claim" is that the show Masters of the Universe show was cartoons return to action adventure on TV because of the sensorship of violence in Cartoons in the 1970's. Then in the 1980's you have GI Joe, MOTU, Transformers, Thundercats and whole lot of others that were action adventure with "violence." These all led to people like Tipper Gore saying that childrens TV was too violent. The DVD claims that MOTU was the first of these.

 

But your right, every since GI Joe in the 1960's there were plenty of boys action figures.

 

 

Yeah that's one of the main points I remember about MOTU is that it was the first cartoon where they got the rights to market products directly from the cartoon to kids. Something a long those lines anyway.

 

I still want to think for the 80's that Gi Joe had to do the best. They had tons of stuff for sale and I remember a lot of times it being hard to find figures because they would be selling out.

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It's all relative really. While particular toy lines seemed to rule in particular years throughout the decade, I think there were always those kids who loved one over another so our perception is skewed. For example, I was born in 79, which makes me too young for Empire toys but right around the correct age for Jedi. And even if you argue I was still too young in 1983-1984, Kenner and Lucas didn't exactly stop making SW toys immediately after Jedi. My point is, I never had a single Star Wars toy. No Vaders, or X-Wings or even an Ewok. But we know Star Wars is one of the most popular action figure lines EVER and certainly was a juggernaut in the 1980's. And because I never had any I didn't immediately even think of SW as a dominant toy line when I first started reading this thread. My thoughts immediately went to GI Joe for a few reasons. Number one, whenever my parents took me to the local Toys R Us, or Kiddie City, all I can remember was seeing an entire aisle, floor to ceiling of figures, vehicles and playsets. I'm sure my memory is skewed by time and perception is different when you're a kid but that image, real or not, has stayed with me. Number two, I had the Flagg. Yes, I had the USS Flagg with exclusive figure Admiral Keelhawl. It was as huge and cool and you dreamed. Finally my brother, who is 2 years my junior, had pretty much as many GI Joes as me. We would play in the toy room, with the Flagg up on a platform my dad made, which allowed you to stand up and have the Flagg at the proper height for playing, and we could play for hours with every plane and vehicle imagineable. Which brings me to the last, and most important point; price. Joes were not the most expensive toy in the 1980's. This allowed my parents to get us pretty much all the Joes we wanted. I think I remember hearing my mom tell me that when she would go to TRU on Black Friday, she'd buy Joes for around $3-4 each. Even with inflation, that's still very affordable (oil didn't mess with plastic prices back then as much as now) and it gave her latitude to buy us the vehicles, playsets and then on the most glorious Christmas of my childhood, the USS Flagg. So, in my opinion, GI Joe was THE toyline of the 1980's. Which is not to say TF and MOTU didn't fill the shelves of my toy room but Joes just seemed to fill more of them And before anyone thinks I led some privileged childhood because I had my own "toy room", let me say it was really just an extra room my parents used as storage before I was old enough to have toys.

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Number one, whenever my parents took me to the local Toys R Us, or Kiddie City, all I can remember was seeing an entire aisle, floor to ceiling of figures, vehicles and playsets. I'm sure my memory is skewed by time and perception is different when you're a kid but that image, real or not, has stayed with me.

 

From the looks of this picture, your memory served you correct. ;)

 

GIJoeToyRUs1980s.jpg

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Number one, whenever my parents took me to the local Toys R Us, or Kiddie City, all I can remember was seeing an entire aisle, floor to ceiling of figures, vehicles and playsets. I'm sure my memory is skewed by time and perception is different when you're a kid but that image, real or not, has stayed with me.

 

From the looks of this picture, your memory served you correct. ;)

 

GIJoeToyRUs1980s.jpg

 

 

If only toy stores looked like that today. I mean the inventory costs were probably astronomical but to a little kid that was heaven. Sigh.

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Transformers seems really popular now, but as many others have noted Transformers were pretty expensive, breakable and didn't have the play value that GI Joe did in the 1980's. The reason Transformers is more popular now than GI Joe is simply because of Japanese animation. Hasbro has been able to import Japanese Transformer cartoons for the last two decades, redubbing them and then selling new figures based off them. Whereas GI Joe had no cartoon for many, many years.

 

Transformers would likely be a pretty weak property right now had those Japanese cartoons not existed.

I don't agree that Transformers is more popular than Gi Joe because of the anime. It is debatable whether or not the original transformers is anime, however, it is known that they were original commissioned by Hasbro where Takara later edited and redubbed the series in japanese.

 

Up until 2000, Transformers existed through Beast Wars and Beast Machines, both are made by a canadian animation studio. After generation 2, Hasbro tried to revive both Gi joe and Transformers with Sgt Savage and Extreme (for Gi joe) and Beast Wars for (transformers)

 

Both Savage and Extreme did poorly whereas Beast Wars succeded in both the US and Japan, which resulted in the Japanese to make spinoffs of Beast Wars. Even though the japanese anime of the Beast wars sequels (both canon in the american TF mythos) were never shown in the US, it prompted Takara to bring back Transformers.

 

Because the new transformers series were popular in Japan, Hasbro scrapped their ver of a transformers series(which was basically a continuation of Beast Machines with the mech designs being like those in the Michael Bay film) brought it over to the west , which did very well. If not for Robots in Disguised/Car robots, the main Transformers series would be lookin like the Michael Bay movies.

 

I also disagree that Transformers died after 87. The series did well from 87 to 92 even without new cartoons. I think people that after the mini series, Hasbro were still shownin g1 but edited with a live action actor and narrated with prime. This was shown till 92 with gen 2. Even though Gen 2 show was basically the old cartoons but edited with cgi effects, the series still last to the 90s'. This series had an toyline as well.

 

Kepp in mind that the Transformers animated movie had a theatrical release whereas the joe film was straight to vid, so imo, the belief that joe is more popular because they had cheaper figz is moot w/o any numbers. Like Joe, Transformers has a lot of toys durin the first series;

 

I think the problem with this debate is that it can be very bias considerin that most of us are goin by what we have collected or knew who collected what. This doesn'tmean that because a lot of people you know collects Gi joe, it was more succesful than Transformers. That is like sayin gi joe is more popular than Barbie just because one collects a certain toyline over the other. I understand Barbie is a girls line but my point is because one doesn't buy a certain toyline for whatever purpose doesn't mean that that toyline is more popular. I am not sayin TF is more successful but the original TF toy series lasted as long as Gi joe even w/o new episodes A better way to end this debate is to do what the first comment mentioned and compare the toylines on how well the toyline sold durin the 80s.

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ers seems really popular now, but as many others have noted Transformers were pretty expensive, breakable and didn't have the play value that GI Joe did in the 1980's.
I disagree that TF are more breakable than Joe

 

Remember that the common issue with gi toys durin the 1980s is that the hands and the oring(which was repairable) broke often

 

Also,transformers had it's own play value which was transformin them. Comparin play value between transformers and gi joe is like apples and oranges. Transformers was fun because you can play with the toys as a vechicle and than turn them to a robot to slam them against the enemy whereas gi joe has articulation and like TF, you can slam them against the enemy Honestly, a person's imagination is more important than anythin when it come to enjoyin action figures.

 

Transformers might be more expensive, but gi joe toys also have vechiclez which were the same price, if not more than transfiormers; at the end, both toys are equal in price

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Number one, whenever my parents took me to the local Toys R Us, or Kiddie City, all I can remember was seeing an entire aisle, floor to ceiling of figures, vehicles and playsets. I'm sure my memory is skewed by time and perception is different when you're a kid but that image, real or not, has stayed with me.

 

From the looks of this picture, your memory served you correct. ;)

 

GIJoeToyRUs1980s.jpg

 

I'll admit it, I'm aroused :)

 

I remember the days going to Kiddie City and Children's Palace and seeing this above picture. And just think, this pic is from what 1983-84. Now imagine that same image every year until 1990 (Kiddie City went under in 1985, but Children's Palace made it until 1990 and TRU is still going). As for what was bigger? GI Joe easily. Everyone I knew had a cache of Joes and vehicles. Yeah, everyone had some He-Man and Transformers but GI Joe was boss. He-Man was pretty much done by the time Joe hit the big time. Transformers were cool in the beginning but around the time of the movie everything either became really cheap (simple and easy transformations, cheaper plastic) or went overboard with the Gestalts. At that same time Joe was just amazing, some of the coolest figures and vehicles. And let's face it, no one wanted Brawn, Bumblebee, or Cliffjumper. They wanted the bigger, better figures. Plus you have Gobots to consider as well. GI Joe had no major competition in the 3.75 realm once Star Wars died. Transformers had Gobots (a cheaper alternative, somce actually pretty cool). Gobots also had a cartoon for some exposure. In the end I think GI Joe easily ruled the 80's but once the 90's rolled around they were easily swept under rug by newer and nicer things. The 90's were rough for all but Transformers.

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My personnel opinion was that He-man was number one until G.I.Joe came along. , Then The transformers beet out G.I.Joe. I do remember going to the store and seeing wall-to-wall Transformers stuff. You could buy transforming watches for crying out load. I also remember Toys R Us having a section dedicated to G.I.Joe, “Man” Those where the days. Just wish my parents where not so cheap.

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Number one, whenever my parents took me to the local Toys R Us, or Kiddie City, all I can remember was seeing an entire aisle, floor to ceiling of figures, vehicles and playsets. I'm sure my memory is skewed by time and perception is different when you're a kid but that image, real or not, has stayed with me.

 

From the looks of this picture, your memory served you correct. ;)

 

GIJoeToyRUs1980s.jpg

 

I'll admit it, I'm aroused :)

 

I remember the days going to Kiddie City and Children's Palace and seeing this above picture. And just think, this pic is from what 1983-84. Now imagine that same image every year until 1990 (Kiddie City went under in 1985, but Children's Palace made it until 1990 and TRU is still going). As for what was bigger? GI Joe easily. Everyone I knew had a cache of Joes and vehicles. Yeah, everyone had some He-Man and Transformers but GI Joe was boss. He-Man was pretty much done by the time Joe hit the big time. Transformers were cool in the beginning but around the time of the movie everything either became really cheap (simple and easy transformations, cheaper plastic) or went overboard with the Gestalts. At that same time Joe was just amazing, some of the coolest figures and vehicles. And let's face it, no one wanted Brawn, Bumblebee, or Cliffjumper. They wanted the bigger, better figures. Plus you have Gobots to consider as well. GI Joe had no major competition in the 3.75 realm once Star Wars died. Transformers had Gobots (a cheaper alternative, somce actually pretty cool). Gobots also had a cartoon for some exposure. In the end I think GI Joe easily ruled the 80's but once the 90's rolled around they were easily swept under rug by newer and nicer things. The 90's were rough for all but Transformers.

 

Man that's a beautiful picture. I remember being a kid and just standing there looking at everything as extensivley as my mother would allow. Now there are three peg hooks and two feet of shelf space. In the 80s it was GI JOE hands down. The price point alone put it out front in sales. More people could afford GI JOE and frequently at that. I remember TF being pretty expensive and expensive enough that I collected very few. GIJOE racked it up "a buck at a time". Plus, there was just more to the joe line. Tons of characters, playsets and accessories. To this day there is just one other toy line that even competes on that level, Star Wars.

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