Creating G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero is a book series published by Dan Klingensmith documenting the legacy of the G.I. Joe toy line produced by Hasbro.
Introduced in 1964, the G.I. Joe franchise has evolved from toys and playsets to include comics, television, and movies. Over the decades, G.I. Joe has entertained children and become popular with adult collectors.
Klingensmith began collecting in the mid-1990s. His interest in G.I. Joe evolved into documenting and preserving the history of the brand. His devotion caught the attention of Hasbro, who now officially licenses the book series. About that relationship, Klingensmith revealed to Toy Tales, “Hasbro has been great to work with and I appreciate the support they have given. It was awesome to see them use the book as reference in helping determine the different colour schemes from Ron Rudat’s original designs for their H.I.S.S. Tactician Figure from the recent Cobra H.I.S.S. HasLab!”
Volume 11 follows the format of preceding editions to include a gallery of toy designs, unproduced toys, and exclusive interviews with people involved in bringing the line to fruition. The 80-page, full-colour retrospective features elements from the complete toy production process, including concept drawings, sculptures, photography, internal memos, and more.
In a January 2023 interview with Toy Tales, Klingensmith disclosed a challenge from the early days of the book series: “Some people were reluctant to talk with me because a few other people have tried to go down the same road and nothing ever came to fruition. There was a little bit of hesitancy there but I pushed towards creating the book series.”
With 10 volumes now published, people are eager to talk with Klingensmith and share their experiences working on the line. He explains, “I am honoured to have gained the trust of those who worked on the G.I. Joe brand in the 80s and 90s and have been able to build long-lasting friendships along the way”.