Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011

G.I. Joe

In 1964, during the Cold War, a new kind of "doll" emerged on the toy scene — and this one wasn't sitting still. Marketed to boys, Hasbro's G.I. Joe was a moving, talking "action figure" that came with a volume of war accoutrements that would make Barbie's shoe collection seem frugal in comparison. Hasbro established the character as a macho war hero and, more importantly, the anti-Ken. Though they were nearly the same size, Hasbro's marketing campaign couldn't have been clearer: This was a boy's toy. Depending on your household, G.I. Joe was either carrying out dangerous missions of war or driving Barbie around in her pink convertible, but he never suffered from an identity crisis. Along with the toy, Hasbro fostered a series of comics, a television series, video games and even a feature-length film.