The official art for 1987.

The year 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) is the fifth anniversary of the A Real American Hero brand.


While G.I. Joe's sales and innovation remained strong in 1987, many fans consider the year to mark the beginning of Joe's decline, due to the cancellation of the cartoon series. Some Joe and Cobra character concepts (e.g., Psyche-Out and Raptor) and vehicles (e.g., the Pogo) were too "out-there" for the more traditional fans. The Movie's introduction of Cobra-La met with considerable resistance, as did the unexplained return of Cobra Commander as a figure when the Movie ended with his transformation into a snake. Even the magnificent space shuttle Defiant was of questionable use, due to the lack of a Cobra space force. Perhaps most damaging was the fact that, without a daily cartoon series, most of the new characters were not developed as they had been over the past two years. Those who followed the comic suffered no such ill effects, but it still seemed to many that the creators were stretching for ideas. In addition, this would be the last year Cobra was given a significant number of new individuals.

Those who rejected the new releases could still continue their collections through the mail-in offers which continued to be advertised with store-bought products. There was also a second "Live the Adventure" game available in which one could receive an award certificate "signed" by General Hawk and Payload. Midway through the year, Hasbro introduced a new slogan, "Nobody beats G.I. Joe," with grittier, hard-rock-style music for the commercials. Some "Live the Adventure" commercials were adapted for the slogan and re-aired with the same lyrics set to the new music. In addition, "sketchpad" animation supplemented the more usual cartoon-style action in the commercials. Nevertheless, this was another "landmark" year for the line, as the number of G.I. Joe team members topped 100 (as did the number of vehicles) from 45 US states, giving over 150 figures total. The comics also hit a significant landmark this year, with the apparent death of Cobra Commander and his replacement by a rogue Crimson Guardsman.

Most carded figures came with Battle Ribbons to reflect experience in various missions and assignments. Toward the end of the year, Hasbro released a special team with its own vehicles, Battle Force 2000. A series of translucent figures was also planned but cancelled. The official art for 1987 featured the G.I. Joe Defiant against a U.S. flag background, with the heads of Gung-Ho, Falcon, and Fast Draw. Also in the drawing are the Conquest, Tomahawk, Mamba, Buzz Boar, and Pogo (driven by Cobra Commander), along with the new characters Croc Master, Psyche-Out, Crazylegs, Outback, and Law. A crescent moon in the upper right corner completes the picture.


Carded figures

G.I. Joe Team


Non-Carded figures

G.I. Joe Team




G.I. Joe Team




Mailaway offers

  • B.A.T.T.L.E.
Insert in 1987 vehicles. Sgt. Slaughter selects the reader for the BATTLE brigade to infiltrate Cobra headquarters. The shipping was $1.25, regardless of the size of the order.
Figures Available: 1984 Cobra Commander.
Equipment Available: MANTA, PAC/RATs, Polar Battle Bear, Wolverine, Parachute Pack, Sky Hawk, Slugger; FANG, HISS, ASP, Stinger, Water Moccasin.
  • We Need Your Help Now!
Mailed to households on Hasbro Direct's mailing list. Sgt. Slaughter recruits the reader for an arctic mission, Operation: Big Freeze. This offer included six vehicle drivers available only as a set and featured new art for those figures. (The H.I.S.S. and Stinger Drivers are labeled correctly in this brochure.) Also the first to offer Starduster, apart from the cereal offer.
Figures Available: 1984 Thunder, 1985 Crankcase, 1985 Frostbite, 1987 Starduster (with PPP), 1987 Steel Brigade; 1982 Cobra Officer, 1983 Major Bludd, 1983 H.I.S.S. Driver, 1984 Copperhead, 1984 Stinger Driver.
Equipment Available: Pocket Patrol Pack (with Starduster), Sky Hawk, Slugger, A.W.E. Striker, Snow Cat; F.A.N.G., H.I.S.S., Stinger, Water Moccasin.
  • A.C.T.I.O.N.
Insert in 1987 vehicles. Instead of the box art shown on previous brochures, this offer features photos of the toys (but without figures in the vehicles; Hawk in the Parachute Pack is an exception).
Figures Available: 1986/I Sgt. Slaughter; 1984 Cobra Commander.
Equipment Available: A.P.C., Parachute Pack, Sky Hawk, Slugger, A.W.E. Striker, Snow Cat; F.A.N.G., A.S.P., Stinger, Water Moccasin.
  • Maneuvers Manual
Included with figures in 1987. The reader is challenged to transport 28 of his best men and equipment over land and water, and to select three for a special mission.
Figures Available: 1987 Starduster (with PPP).
Equipment Available: APC, Pocket Patrol Pack (with Starduster).


Issues 55 - 66 of the Marvel Comics series came out this year, as did the third Yearbook, issues 3 - 8 of Special Missions, Order of Battle 1 - 4 and G.I. Joe and the Transformers.

See detailed information here.


Animated commercials for issues 59, 60, 65 and 68 of Marvel's G.I. Joe comic were produced, with much of the footage recycled for toy commercials.

G.I. Joe: The Movie was shown as a five-part miniseries in April.