Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Catching Up With The Real American Hero

The PopCult Bookshelf

Beyond ’94: The Story of the Real American Hero Action Figures after their Original Run
51aywtkq7zlby Thomas Wheeler
Independently published
ISBN-13: 978-1973454601
$9.99 ($8.99 Kindle)

Since we’re all about toys this week, I decided to plug a book by my friend, Thomas Wheeler.  Tom’s an expert on the Real American Hero incarnation of GI Joe, and was actually the first person besides the line’s creator, Larry Hama, to write the files cards included on the back of the packages.

From 1982-1994, the Real American Hero dominated the action figure world. And then, the line came to an abrupt and surprising end.  Hasbro switched to a slightly bigger figure with their Sgt. Savage line, but that was prematurely cancelled with Hasbro reorganized and shipped GI Joe off to their Kenner division, and Joe was reborn in an unfortunate “Extreme” phase.

After the whopping failure of GI Joe: Extreme, just three years after Hasbro pulled the plug on the Real American Hero line, they brought it back, and it’s been around in one form or another since.   This book takes a narrative and often personal look at the continuation of this amazing action figure line – Beyond ’94.

Thomas has a great writing style and shares his insights into how Hasbro’s moves affected the Real American Hero, and how the line proved so durable that it led to two major motion pictures, with a third on the way.

You can order Beyond ’94 directly from Amazon in print or as a Kindle book.

1 Comment

  1. Thomas Wheeler

    Thank you, Rudy! 🙂

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