The term “action figure” was coined by the collectors of G.I. Joe first released in February 2nd, 1964. Now what boy would want people to know he plays with dolls. This growing industry today is mostly fueled by those same boys who keep them still in the boxes under the same wrapped package in hopes of garnishing a greater value in the future. But we know that they will not sell them. I always found the early version rather funny, imagine lugging giant army dog tags like the one G.I. Joe had on. With the release of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, mostly based on the eighties G.I. Joe cartoon series, it’s funny to see how far collectors will go to collect G.I. Joe and some of the coolest dedicated collectors who have some out of this world collections. G.I. Joe Collections>>
* In 1965, a black G.I. Joe figure was introduced in select markets.
* In 1966, soldiers from other countries (France, Germany and the UK) joined the G.I. Joe line up. A Project Mercury-like space capsule and silver-suited astronaut figure was also added to the series.
* In 1967, Talking figures were introduced.
* The first female G.I. Joe, the Action Nurse, was produced in 1967. It was a commercial failure, and another 12″ female would not be released for 30 years.
* To coincide with the new direction, “Life-Like” flocked hair and beard, an innovation developed in England by Palitoy for their licensed version of Joe, Action Man, is introduced in 1970. A retooled African American Adventurer was also introduced, which came in two versions as the others in the series, bearded or shaven.
* In 1974, named after the increasingly popular martial art, Hasbro introduced “Kung-Fu Grip” to the G.I. Joe line. This was another innovation that had been developed in the UK for Action Man. The hands were sculpted in a softer plastic that allowed the fingers to grip objects in a more lifelike fashion.
* In 1976, G.I. Joe was given eagle eye vision; a movable eye mechanism to allow the toy to appear to be looking around when a lever in the back of the head was moved. This would be the last major innovation for the original line of 12-inch figures.