All American Hero!

Category: Heroes
Last Updated: 19 Apr 2023
Pages: 3 Views: 57

Large wars were a normal occurrence in my home. Men would fight the forces of evil using their plastic weapons and toy tanks. My G.I. Joes and I would combat the evil C.O.B.R.A. for hours making me forget everyday hassles like my chores and homework. I never thought about why I played with my action figures, but I was hooked by G.I. Joe's concept of honor and pride. My obsessive play with these toys revealed much about myself as a child.

As a child G.I. Joe was my life. School provided me a chance to show off my G.I. Joe lunch box before I would run in my G.I. Joe sneakers at recess. After school my best grade for the day would be posted on the refrigerator with my special G.I. Joe magnet, which I sent away for in the mail. Weekends provided me with chores that, upon their completion, allowed me to finance a new G.I. Joe figure. There was no time when G.I. Joe was not in some way involved in my life.

I still remember seeing my first G.I Joe on the shelf in the store. These figurines were often sold in packaging that had comics on the back recounting heroic stories of G.I. Joe victory. The first time I saw a G.I Joe, I went over to the shelf and pulled it off the peg, flipped the package over and read the cartoon on the back. Everytime I read the comic for a different character, it made me want that toy more and more.

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However, I believe my fondest moment with G.I Joe was when I saw my first G.I. Joe cartoon on television. Every episode contained dozens of different characters and vehicles all of which could be bought in toy form. G.I. Joes lived up to their definition as the real American hero by fighting evil terrorists in defense of their country. Each episode even ended with a moral about duty or virtue. Eventually, my fantasy became a when the G.I. Joe cartoon television series was made into a movie. The movie introduced new characters, new vehicles, and new story lines for me to enjoy.

Unfortunately, as I got older, I began to realize that the whole G.I Joe scheme was just a way for the company producing them to make money. The marketing power of G.I Joe was further subsidized during the television series by advertisements that aired during the shows commercial breaks. Images of plastic figures fighting on elaborate battlefields were designed to grab children's imagination. I was often shown in the ads creating elaborate scenarios in which G.I. Joe would combat the evil C.O.B.R.A. This melding of the show and commercials bombarded me with the visuals of desired toys.

The toys were the basis for an exponential marketing strategy that forced me or my parents to buy more and more products for me. The thought behind this strategy was very simple in that if I bought one G.I. Joe that I would most likely buy another. Not only that, but if I already had a few G.I Joes then I would probably buy a vehicle for them. Eventually, it led to me buying other paraphernalia such as clothing and even lunch boxes.

Furthermore, I even remember going to different stores and seeing different marketing campaigns set up. For example, I remember Sears only selling the command center for the bad guys Toys "R" Us selling a special figurine that came with an audio cassette that is now a valuable collector's item. These special toy sets appealed to me who desired to have all of the rare G.I. Joe items.

What does this say about America? It reveals that capitalism was present in nearly everything made in America. No matter how much I loved my G.I. Joe, I was still the puppet of corporate executives who merely desired to make money. Though honor was emphasized on the show to sell toys, it only contrasted the dishonorable marketing scheme of the companies. Personally, my childhood love for G.I. Joe was therefore created by a company solely to profit from. And yet I don't care. After realizing that I was merely being used I still love my G.I. Joes because they were a part of me regardless of how much money I spent.

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All American Hero!. (2017, Dec 23). Retrieved from

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