A History of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero

G.I. Joe was the codename for America’s daring, highly trained special missions force. Its purpose was to defend human freedom against Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world. From 1982 until 1994, Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero was one of the driving forces in kid’s entertainment, conquering the worlds of comic books, animated television, and tiny toy action figures. With so many facets to the fandom, we thought it was time to fill you in on the history of this influential media monster.

THE ORIGINS OF A HERO

G.I. Joe began life as a nearly 12-inch military toy in 1964, creating a whole new category of “action figures” for boys that rivaled Mattel’s Barbie doll in popularity. Sales began to slip over time, so, in 1970, Hasbro changed Joe from a soldier to an “action hero,” trading his tanks and jeeps for inflatable rafts and a patented “kung fu grip.” By the time the line was cancelled in 1976, Joe had become something of a superhero, incorporating fantastic elements like the chrome-plated Bulletman and the bionic limbs of Atomic Man, who battled The Intruders, a group of cavemen from outer space.

An Uphill Battle

By 1979, Hasbro’s Head of Boy’s Toys, Bob Prupis, was ready to bring Joe back. Prupis’ secret plan for the G.I. Joe reboot, code named “Operation: Blast Off” on internal memos, was a Mission: Impossible-style toy line that had one foot in the future, with the other grounded in contemporary military technology. It would feature science fiction-inspired weapons like laser artillery and jet packs, next to realistic depictions of tanks, rocket launchers, and submachine guns. However, his idea was met with resistance from Hasbro executives.

One of the first hurdles Prupis had to clear was the price of petroleum. Middle East oil suppliers had cut production, causing the cost of petroleum to jump from $15 to nearly $40 per barrel. The increased expense of this raw material for plastic would have to be passed on to the consumer, meaning the retail price of new 12-inch G.I. Joe figures and vehicles would be too high for the average household.

So Prupis took inspiration from the “little green army men” he used to play with as a child, as well as from the popular Star Wars line of action figures produced by rival toy company, Kenner, and sized Joe down to 3 3/4-inches high to save on plastic. But even the smaller Joe concept was turned down by management, simply because it “wasn’t exciting enough.” For the next two years, Prupis kept going back to the drawing board to try to find some new hook that would make Hasbro bite, but he was rebuffed every time.

Two-Week Notice

Then, in 1981, after yet another failed attempt to get Blast Off off the ground, Prupis was told that he had one more shot with Joe, or else he needed to move on to other ideas. Prupis would be given two weeks with Griffin-Bacal, the marketing firm that managed Hasbro’s advertising, to see if he could come up with something to get kids excited about G.I. Joe again. Prupis pulled together a team, including Kirk Bozigian from marketing and toy designers Ron Rudat and Greg Bernstein, to brainstorm product and promotional ideas.

Although they came up with a lot of fun concepts, they faced a big marketing stumbling block—there was no G.I. Joe movie to tie into like Kenner had with Star Wars. Instead, it was suggested that a comic book might work just as well.

Marvel-ous Assist

Just how Marvel Comics and Hasbro came together is a mix of legend, reality, and fuzzy memories from nearly 40 years ago. One version of the story states that the CEO of Hasbro and the president of Marvel met in the men’s room at a charity function, where the two got to talking shop. However, Hasbro’s Bozigian says that it was Griffin-Bacal that contacted Marvel to discuss working on G.I. Joe. Whatever the case, Marvel was willing to help, and the relationship between the two companies was born.

Marvel took a special interest in G.I. Joe, because Griffin-Bacal wanted to try something new for the comic book—television advertising. There were government regulations required for toy commercials, including: restrictions on runtime; the ad had to show kids playing with the actual toys; and animation was limited to only a few seconds. However, there were no such rules regarding advertising for comic books, because it had simply never been done before. Griffin-Bacal took the risky move of dedicating $3 million to create a series of 30-second animated commercials for the Marvel G.I. Joe comic book. Naturally, the comic featured all the action figures and vehicles from the toyline.

Fury Force

After seeing the G.I. Joe concept, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter realized it was similar to something that writer/artist Larry Hama had been developing, called Fury Force. Fury Force was a series starring the son of Marvel’s spy extraordinaire Nick Fury as the leader of a seven-member paramilitary strike team. Hama had drawn character designs and basic biographies, but the series hadn’t been picked up by Marvel, so he set it aside. But instead of letting Hama’s hard work collect dust, Shooter suggested adapting his ideas to fit G.I. Joe instead. And just like that, Hama was in charge of the comic book series that would one day define his career.

Enter Cobra

Because enemy toys had never sold well in the past, Hasbro hadn’t even considered a foil for G.I. Joe. But Hama insisted that “these guys can’t just march around and go on maneuvers or whatnot, they have to be battling some things, some threat...” It was Marvel writer Archie Goodwin that suggested a terrorist organization named Cobra. Inspired by the name, Ron Rudat developed the design for the enemy’s now-iconic logo.

Birth of the File Cards

Hama kept a series of handwritten index cards to keep all of the characters and vehicles for the comic book straight. On each card he would write a few details, including biographical notes and military specialties. Hasbro had already considered including trading cards with the toys, but they liked Hama’s index cards so much they asked him to write more so they could be included on the back of the figure packaging for kids to cut out and collect. These “file cards” became a key aspect of the Joe toyline and nearly all of them were written by Hama.

Blast Off Blasts Off

With exciting new figure and vehicles designs, interesting characters, and innovative advertising ideas, Bob Prupis approached Hasbro executives once again to reboot G.I. Joe. It’s been said that CEO Stephen Hassenfeld was so excited by the presentation, that when it was over he had tears in his eyes.

The initial line of 3 3/4-inch G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero action figures debuted in the summer of 1982. Nine Joes—Breaker, Flash, Grunt, Rock ‘n Roll, Scarlett, Short-Fuze, Snake Eyes, Stalker, and Zap—were released on carded packaging similar to those used by Kenner for Star Wars figures. An additional four Joes—Clutch, Grand Slam, Hawk, and Steeler—were included with some of the seven vehicles that made up the original toy line. Two Cobra figures—a Cobra soldier and a Cobra officer—were also released on carded packages.

The first year sales projections for the new line of G.I. Joe toys was $12 to $15 million. The line wound up selling over $50 million worth of product, and was the hot new toy to have that Christmas.

Evolution of the Toys

After its phenomenal first year, Bozigian says the G.I. Joe line was given carte blanche to do whatever they wanted with the second series of toys. Vehicle designer Greg Bernstein ramped up the detail and the ambition on the second line of vehicles. Similarly, Ron Rudat, who designed every action figure from 1982 to 1985—somewhere in the neighborhood of 125 figures—added more detail and color to the handful of character sketches he turned in every day. But the biggest change for the line was in poseability.

From the beginning, G.I. Joe figures featured more articulation than the competing Star Wars figures. Whereas Star Wars figures had five points of movement (arms, legs, and head), G.I. Joes had 10 points: arms, legs, elbows, knees, torso, and head. However, in order to make the second wave of Joes even better, two swivel joints were added at the character’s bicep, allowing the arms to turn in towards the body to let the figures hold their rifles more realistically. This “Swivel-Arm Battle Grip” was clearly the future of the franchise, so the original figures were re-released, creating a definitive line between the original figures—now known as “straight-arm figures”—and the rest of the toys going forward.

Flag Points

Because Cobra was more of an afterthought for Hasbro, they didn’t have the design for the Cobra Leader, better known as Cobra Commander, done in time for the line’s launch. So instead, they implemented another idea from that early brainstorming meeting: mail-away exclusives. Kids needed to collect proofs of purchase, known as “Flag Points,” found on every package, and send them, along with a check for 50 cents to cover shipping, to get their free Cobra Commander figure. On the What’s On Joe Mind podcast, Bozigian said that Hasbro expected about 5000 orders for the new figure, but between January 2 and March 31, 1982, they received over 125,000 order forms. The popularity of the mail-in offer spawned a new program for the company called Hasbro Direct, which gave kids the opportunity to buy overstocked, hard-to-find, and exclusive figures and vehicles.

Foreign Duty

G.I. Joe might have been a real American hero, but he was popular all over the world, with figures and vehicles available in countries as diverse as Japan, India, Brazil, Canada, Italy, China, and many more.

There wasn't a lot of continuity between the American and foreign lines, as many toys had different codenames, file cards, paint schemes, and could even be on a different side in the battle between G.I. Joe and Cobra. For example, in Britain, where the figures were called Action Force: International Heroes, Cobra’s black H.I.S.S. Tank, was the crimson red “Hyena,” and was driven by a repainted Destro known as “Red Jackal.” In Spain, the laser infantryman, Sci-Fi, was known as “Sargento Láser,” and Quick Kick was called “Kung-Fu.” Spain also had the most unique file cards, with translation errors that left the cards riddled with nonsensical phrases. It’s an inside joke with the Joe collector community that the file cards were written correctly, but then a mischievous cleaning lady at the Hasbro Iberia office would edit them overnight, so they would be a mess before they were sent to the printer the next morning.

Some of the most sought-after foreign Joes were those manufactured in Argentina by toy company Plastirama. The figures were made from inexpensive plastic, with even flimsier cardboard packaging, to the point that very few examples still exist today. The initial seven figures, now known as the “Argen 7,” are virtually impossible to come by. Needless to say, they fetch a high price on the collector's market. This Cobra Mortal figure, a heavily repainted Snake Eyes, recently sold on eBay for $599. The packaging is even more rare, with a recent auction on eBay asking $5200 for the complete set of Argen 7 file cards.

A Slow Defeat

The G.I. Joe toyline's popularity peaked in 1986, before sales started to slide a year later. But it wasn't all the Joes' fault. There were new heroes in a half-shell in town that were radically changing the landscape of action figures.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys from Playmates were brightly colored and featured off-the-wall designs that kids loved. In an effort to keep up with the trends, Hasbro made the Joes more colorful, added more outlandish details, and included large, spring-loaded weapons.

Much like the 12-inch Joes of the 1970s, by the end of the Real American Hero line in 1994, G.I. Joe had moved away from its military roots. Now, the Joes and Cobra were broken into sub-groups like Star Brigade, who battled alien creatures called The Lunartix Empire; the neon costumed Ninja Force; a drug enforcement team; a group that fought against eco-terrorism; and some dinosaur hunters. Hasbro also tried tying the Joes in with the popular video game Street Fighter 2 by integrating characters like Chun Li, Blanka, and E. Honda into the mix. It felt like Hasbro was grasping at straws, so when they announced the cancellation of the toyline in 1994, fans were disappointed, but not necessarily surprised.

Collector's Holy Grails

The G.I. Joe collector's market is easily one of the most active communities for 1980s toys, with fans combing through eBay and online forums looking for those last few Holy Grails to complete their collection. Of course, professionally graded, popular figures that are still in their original packaging demand top dollar. For example, a Snake Eyes figure that met these requirements recently appeared on eBay for $1350, and a Storm Shadow appeared for $1200. But there are a few underrated figures that only a serious collector would know to look for.

One example is Heavy Metal, released with the Mauler tank in 1985. Oddly enough, it's not the tank that's unusual, but Heavy Metal's microphone headset. The headset was a small, light brown piece of flexible plastic that attached to the side of his helmet, and was easily lost by kids. A Heavy Metal figure on its own, usually with a reproduction dark brown or black microphone, will sell for about $40. With the original microphone, a collector should expect to pay over $150.

In 1988, Target featured an exclusive version of the Joe character Hit & Run that came with a parachute pack. The parachute had been sold by Hasbro Direct before, but the instructions for using the parachute that were packaged with the Target figure were much smaller, and therefore easier for a kid to lose. About the only way to get a complete Hit & Run Airborne Assault Parachute Pack is to buy one in the original packaging, which will set you back around $500.

Starduster was a mail-away figure that was initially only available by sending in a coupon from a box of G.I. Joe Action Stars cereal. The figure was cobbled together from different parts of different Joes over his lifespan, but an original “Version A” Starduster, using Flash’s head, Flint’s arms, Roadblock’s legs, and Recondo’s torso and hips, is a rarity, recently selling on eBay for $245. Another auction with this Version A Starduster still in the bag he was shipped in, sold for $560.

Starting in 1987, Hasbro offered kids the chance to get their own customized Joe figure, called Steel Brigade, from Hasbro Direct. Kids would fill out a form with check boxes, noting what kinds of special skills and weapons proficiencies they wanted the figure to have, as well as a codename and place of birth, and send it in with a few Flag Points. The helmeted figure would arrive in the mail a few weeks later, along with a printed file card with the stats chosen by the recipient. There were a few different versions of the Steel Brigade figure available, but the one with a shiny, gold helmet was the rarest of the bunch. A “Gold-Headed Steel Brigade” still in the original sealed plastic bag, recently sold on eBay for $666. An unbagged Gold Head will sell for $320 or more. Even a non-Gold Head with all of his accessories can fetch $100 if it's in good condition.

There are, of course, vehicle and playset Holy Grails, too, including the Cobra Terror Drome, a circular command post for Cobra that included a small Firebat jet that docked in the center. This fairly large playset contained many pieces that could be lost or broken, so to find one today, complete with the box, expect to pay a little over $550.

The earliest Grail is the Cobra Missile Command Headquarters, an inexpensive playset released in 1982 exclusively at Sears. The set includes pieces of printed, perforated cardboard that could be punched out, folded, and put together to form a missile base for the included Cobra Infantry, Cobra Officer, and Cobra Commander figures. Because the set was only sold at Sears, and was made of cardboard, it's a rare find on the collector's market today, fetching $200 to $300 for one in good condition, and $1000 or more with the box. A recent eBay auction saw a brand new, never assembled playset, go for $2000.

In 1987, Hasbro released the Defiant, featuring a rolling launch platform for a Space Shuttle inspired orbital space station with a separate vehicle attached to the back. The playset was massive, including dozens of easily lost or broken parts, which makes it hard to find in good condition. So a collector paying nearly $1000 for a complete set is not unusual. If they demand the box be included, they can look to spend around $2200. Even the two figures that came with the set—Payload and Hard Top—regularly sell for over $100 each.

Finally, we have the USS Flagg aircraft carrier. Based on research gathered by Hasbro designers during a special visit to the Quonset Naval Base in Rhode Island, the Flagg is over 7.5 feet long, outfitted with a microphone for calling out orders, lifts to bring aircraft up to the flight deck, and more parts than any 8-year old could ever keep track of, it is often found on lists of the greatest toys ever made. Originally retailing for $109, a complete Flagg without the box sells for about $1300; with the box, expect to pay upwards of $2200.

The Comic Book

The Marvel comic book debuted in June 1982, accompanied by the animated television advertising campaign, the book was a smashing success at launch. Kids who didn’t usually buy comics swarmed to the title, selling out the first few issues, and requiring additional print runs to meet demand. After this initial burst of activity, the comic settled into fairly low sales, averaging just under 160,000 issues per month by 1983.

But thanks to Hama—who had had served in the military during Vietnam, and so was able to provide a realistic foundation for the comic book storyline—the book continued to build an audience. According to Jim Shooter, by 1985, the comic was leading Marvel’s subscriptions, beating out familiar titles like The Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men. Then, with an additional boost from the cartoon series debut, Comichron.com shows that in 1986, the comic fared much better, averaging nearly 331,500 issues sold every month.

The Marvel G.I. Joe comic book lasted for 155 regular issues, as well as four yearbooks that recapped the year’s events in the regular series. The comic was also spun-off into G.I. Joe: Special Missions, a 28-issue series that featured stand-alone stories told outside the regular series’ canon, as well as 18 issues of G.I. Joe: European Missions, which were reprints of the British Action Force comics. There were a few limited series as well, including the four-issue Order of Battle, a comic book version of the file cards found on the back of the action figure packaging, as well as a crossover with Hasbro’s other big property in G.I. Joe and the Transformers. To help new readers catch up, many of the early issues were republished as Tales of G.I. Joe and in G.I. Joe Comics Magazine. Finally, in 1995, G.I. Joe Special was a one-shot reprint of issue #61, featuring the original artwork by Todd McFarlane. The art had been deemed unacceptable when he first drew it, but after McFarlane helped to revitalize Spider-Man and founded Image Comics, it was suddenly deemed acceptable for publication.

Elevating the Art Form

Fans would fondly remember the G.I. Joe comic, but one particular issue—G.I. Joe #21, published in March 1984—has become something of a legend in the modern era of comic books.

The story, titled “Silent Interlude,” featured the G.I. Joe commando, Snake Eyes, infiltrating a mountaintop castle to rescue fellow Joe, Scarlett. The mysterious, masked Snake Eyes was wounded in Vietnam, leaving him mute, so Hama thought it would be interesting to have a story where the silent character could have a silent adventure. The entire story was told purely through visuals with no dialog or even sound effects, yet it was a perfectly encapsulated tale with action, intrigue, emotion, and an amazing stinger at the end that hinted at a connection between Snake Eyes and a new foe, the Cobra ninja, Storm Shadow.

Hama had always wanted to do a completely silent story, and his chance came when the book’s production was running behind schedule. By writing a silent story, and handling the cover and interior artwork himself (with inks by Steve Leialoha), Hama cut at least a week off production and was able to get the book out on time.

The issue wound up becoming what Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics, called “a kind of watershed moment for cartoonists of [our] generation. Everyone remembers it.” The comic was recently reprinted in a new hardcover edition, featuring an interview with Hama, as well as his original pencil breakdowns, and more information about the creation of this iconic issue.

The Final Mission

Larry Hama wrote the entire comic book series without a net—there were no outlines, and no master plan. He scripted nearly every issue on the fly, saying that if he didn’t know what was going to happen next, then neither would the reader. But it was this off-the-cuff style that helped keep the book’s vitality through an unusually long run for a toy tie-in comic. The final issue of the comic, #155, featured the deactivation of G.I. Joe and the shuttering of their headquarters.

The Cartoon

When Hasbro relaunched the G.I. Joe franchise in 1982, cartoons were heavily regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure that companies were not marketing products to kids. It was fine for cartoons to be based on comic book and comic strip characters, like Smurfs and Superfriends, whose likenesses were plastered all over merchandise from different companies. But if a single company tried to make a cartoon that was based on a toyline they alone produced, it was seen as little more than a half-hour commercial for their products, which was not allowed by the FCC.

However, one of the major goals of President Ronald Reagan’s administration was to deregulate American industries. So under pressure from toy companies as well as TV networks, who wanted the extra money half hour ads would bring in, the FCC decided in 1984 that program-length commercials were an innovative means of financing shows and, therefore, acceptable. This opened the floodgates for toy companies to produce their own half-hour cartoons based on toylines, and within a year, the 10 best-selling toys in America all had accompanying kid’s television shows. And one of the leaders in this brand new industry was Hasbro with G.I. Joe.

The G.I. Joe cartoon was co-produced by Sunbow Productions, a subsidiary of Griffin-Bacal advertising, and Marvel Productions, of Marvel Comics. The show was syndicated, so it could run at any time of day; however, most channels ran it during an after-school block that typically spanned from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

To kick off the series, Sunbow/Marvel produced the first ever animated miniseries for kids, titled simply G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, though most fans know it as G.I. Joe: The M.A.S.S. Device. Airing from September 12 to 16, 1983, on 122 stations across the country, the five-part series proved to be a winner, beating out the Saturday morning cartoon ratings of all three major networks. This was followed by another five-part miniseries, G.I. Joe: The Revenge of Cobra, airing September 10 to 14, 1984, leading into the regular series, which began on September 16, 1985.

The show ran for two seasons, ending in 1986, with a total of 95 episodes, and is considered by many kids of the '80s to be their definitive G.I. Joe experience.

Ho, Joe!?

According to Wally Burr, the voice director for the show, the Joes’ famous battle cry, “Yo, Joe!” was originally written as “Ho, Joe!” by Ron Friedman, screenwriter for the two miniseries and the first story arc of the regular series. But when the actors said it, it just didn’t have the weight that Burr was looking for, so he asked that they add a “y” sound in the middle to make it “Hyo, Joe!” instead. Once the writers caught on, they changed it to simply “Yo, Joe” in future scripts. Though the battle cry was never used in the Marvel comic book, as the catch phrase permeated the fandom, Hama did give a nod to it by naming the Joe’s favorite soft drink, YoJoe Cola.

Knowing is Half the Pork Chop Sandwiches

In order to show that the cartoon was not just a half-hour commercial for the toys, but was actually educational, Sunbow added a small public service announcement at the end of every episode to teach kids some sort of lesson. Overseen by Dr. Robert Selman, a professor at Harvard’s School of Education and Human Development, each PSA typically featured a member of the Joe team meeting a couple of kids and lending a helping hand or words of encouragement. Once the kids saw the light of day, they would always finish by saying, “Now I know!” and the Joe would reply with the now-infamous phrase, “And knowing is half the battle...”

As if that famous phrase didn’t have enough of a cultural impact on an entire generation, the G.I. Joe PSAs also have the distinction of becoming the subject of some early viral videos. In 2003, Eric Fensler used the video from the Joe PSAs, but replaced the audio with bizarre, sometimes offensive phrases that were at times disturbing and nonsensical, but always oddly hilarious. They were soon being passed around via email and are now scattered all over YouTube.

G.I. Joe: The Movie

The cartoon series culminated with 1987’s G.I. Joe: The Movie. Originally meant to be a theatrical film, Hasbro’s 1986 theatrical releases My Little Pony: The Movie and Transformers: The Movie, both performed poorly at the box office, so the company decided to just release the movie direct-to-video, and then later as a five-part miniseries in syndication. The film introduced a new Joe—Falcon, voiced by Don Johnson at the height of his Miami Vice fame—as well as Golobulus, a new villain who was voiced by Burgess Meredith, perhaps best remembered as the Batman TV series’ Penguin.

Duke's Dead, Baby; Duke's Dead.

After five years—much longer than the toyline was expected to survive—Hasbro was looking to replace some of the main characters to keep the line fresh. Duke was on the chopping block, so the cartoon's story editor, Buzz Dixon, suggested they send him out with a hero's death. In the film, Duke gets hit by a snake spear thrown by Serpentor, and purely going by the visuals in the scene, he clearly dies. But a dubbed-in line reports that he has only fallen into a coma. Finally, just moments before the film ends, we hear that Duke is miraculously going to make a full recovery.

When the decision was made to kill off Duke, Hasbro suggested that the people writing the Transformers movie also have a dramatic death to up the ante from the afternoon cartoon. However, when the Transformers movie was released and thousands of little kids saw Autobot leader Optimus Prime die at the hands of the Decepticons' Megatron, Hasbro received a lot of angry letters from parents saying their children had been traumatized by the death of their hero. To spare themselves more backlash, Duke was granted a stay of execution.

Cobra-Lame

For many fans, the film marks the point where G.I. Joe “jumped the shark,” moving from a fairly realistic military toyline to a more science-fiction/fantasy aesthetic with the introduction of the Cobra-la storyline.

According to Product Manager Kirk Bozigian, as Hasbro was gearing up to produce the G.I. Joe movie, Joe Bacall, of Griffin-Bacall and Sunbow, expressed concerns about producing a 90-minute war movie aimed at kids. Bacall, a big science-fiction fan, suggested using a more fantastic enemy than Cobra in an effort to soften the Joe's edge. Hasbro was growing tired of Cobra Commander anyway and wanted to replace him with a new, more dynamic leader, the Cobra Emperor, Serpentor.

Coincidentally, Buzz Dixon, had told Hasbro that he wanted to work up a miniseries that would tell the origin of Cobra and the rise of Cobra Commander. So Hasbro told him to go for it and to work in the new Cobra Emperor while he was at it.

One of the ideas Dixon developed was that Serpentor would be the Frankenstein-ian creation of Dr. Mindbender and Destro, using the combined DNA from some of the greatest military leaders in history. His other story idea would take the origin of Cobra back to an ancient race that lived in a land called Cobra-la, a play on the fabled city of Shangri-la. However, Cobra-la was always meant to be a placeholder name until they could come up with something better. When he pitched his ideas to Hasbro, instead of choosing one, they chose both and insisted he keep the name Cobra-la. Dixon wasn’t thrilled with the idea of combining the two concepts, but he had to make it work. Bozigian has also made no bones about the fact that the Joe team at Hasbro was not a fan of the Cobra-la angle, but they also had to make it work.

Larry Hama, on the other hand, stood his ground. In issue #100 of the comic, Hama responded to a fan letter by saying he had already been stuck with “a host of silly characters,” like Serpentor, and the twins, Tomax and Xamot, so he “drew the line at Cobra-la.” The closest Hama ever came to Cobra-la was writing a one-shot comic released with a twin-pack of figures featuring a battle between Nemesis Immortal, Cobra-la's heavy, and the Joes' Lt. Falcon. If there was any doubt as to how Hama felt about Cobra-la, Falcon beats up on Nemesis, who barely lays a finger on the hero, before the rest of the Joes take out the enemy with couple of missiles.

Series 2 Cartoon

Hasbro had been funding the G.I. Joe cartoon out of their own pockets since the beginning. So when production company DIC offered to shoulder most of the expense of a new cartoon series, Hasbro jumped at the chance. The show’s production values were much lower than the Sunbow cartoon, with less-detailed animation, a smaller cast, and even goofier storylines that were clearly aimed at a younger audience. The show ran from 1989 to 1992 for a total of 44 episodes and is generally not popular with Joe fans.

Still Fighting Strong

A toyline is considered a success if it stays on the market for two or three years. The Real American Hero toyline ended in 1994, after 12 years on the market. Other Joe-related toylines, like Sgt. Savage and the Screaming Eagles (1995), G.I. Joe Extreme (1995), Sigma 6 (2005-2007), and tie-in toys for the two live action films, 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation, have been released, but none have found the measure of success that was seen in the 1980s. There are still new 3.75-inch G.I. Joe figures released nearly every year, but they're exclusively available at G.I. Joe conventions or through the G.I. Joe Collector's Club.

Although Marvel stopped publishing the G.I. Joe comic when the toyline was canceled in 1994, other companies, like Dark Horse, Fun Publications, Dreamwave, Image/Devil’s Due, and most recently, IDW, stepped in to present their own version of the Joes. While most follow-up series have used many of the same characters, they have not been in the same continuity as the original run at Marvel—until IDW brought Larry Hama on board in 2010 to pick up where he left off with a special Free Comic Book Day issue, #155 1/2. The ongoing IDW series is still being printed today with Hama at the wheel, and shows no signs of stopping.

So now you know the history of G.I Joe: A Real American Hero. And knowing is half the battle...

Additional Sources: The Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe 1982 - 1994: Identification and Price Guide; Tim Finn's website.

17 Funny Facts About Schitt's Creek

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Schitt’s Creek is a classic fish-out-of-water story: After they lose their entire video store fortune to the government because their business manager hasn't been paying their taxes, the Rose family—parents Johnny (Eugene Levy) and Moira (Catherine O'Hara) and their adult children David (Daniel Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy)—head to the only asset the government has allowed them to keep: the town of Schitt’s Creek. The cosmopolitan Roses, who had purchased the town as a joke, move in to the local motel, where they share two adjoining rooms; they stick out like sore thumbs in their new home.

But at its heart, Schitt’s Creek is a show about family. “We’ve used a fish out of water scenario to help dramatize that story,” co-creator and star Daniel Levy told Assignment X, “forcing them into a motel room and ... examining what it means to be a family and what relationships are and having the time to concentrate and focus on who they are to each other and what they mean to each other.” Here are a few things you might not have known about the series.

1. Reality TV inspired some elements of Schitt's Creek.

Annie Murphy as Alexis Rose and Jennifer Robertson as Jocelyn Schitt in Schitt's Creek.
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Daniel told Out in 2015 that “It really just started with me being in Los Angeles, knowing that I wanted to write. I had been watching some reality TV at the time and was concentrating on what would happen if one of these wealthy families would lose everything. Would the Kardashians still be the Kardashians without their money?”

Annie Murphy recounted at 92Y Talks in 2018 that she looked to the Kardashians for inspiration for her character. “I watched a bunch of clips—YouTube clips, because I couldn’t bring myself to watch entire shows—of, you know, Kardashians and that kind of thing” for some of Alexis’s tone and mannerisms, including the particular way she holds her hands, she explained. “When they hold their handbags, they hold their purses [on their arms] with their broken wrist this way,” Murphy said, pantomiming someone holding a bag with their hand hanging limply, palm up. For Alexis, she flipped her wrist so that her hand was hanging palm down (you can see it in action here).

2. Schitt's Creek is a family affair.

To flesh out his idea, Levy turned to his dad, frequent Christopher Guest collaborator (and American Pie star) Eugene. The two had never worked together before; in fact, pre-Schitt’s, Daniel had been adamant about doing his own thing. “People are so quick to judge children of people in entertainment,” he told Assignment X. “I just thought, if nobody knows the association and I’m able to build something for myself, then I can introduce my dad—when people actually respect me for what I’ve done, as opposed to snap-judge why I got the job or what I was doing.”

Why go to him for Schitt’s? As Daniel explained to NPR, he had seen the family-loses-it-all idea “played out on mainstream television and sitcoms, but I'd never really seen it explored through the lens of a certain style of realist comedy that my dad does so well. So I came to him and pitched the idea and asked him if he would be interested at all in just fleshing it out and seeing if there was anything there. And fortunately, there was some interest and we started talking.”

Eugene told The New York Times that he was thrilled to have the chance to collaborate with his son: “My heart was actually palpitating. You could see it over my shirt.”

(Eugene and Daniel aren't the only Levys on the show, either: Sarah Levy, daughter of Eugene and sister of Daniel, also appears on Schitt’s Creek as Twyla Sands, the lone waitress at the town’s most happening diner, Cafe Tropical.)

3. Eugene Levy came up with the title Schitt's Creek.

“It was actually just out of coincidence really," Daniel told Out. "He was having a dinner conversation a few weeks prior, about this theoretical town of Schitt's Creek: You would have Schitt Hardware and Schitt Grocers." When they were researching ways that people had lost their fortunes, they came across stories of people who had bought towns for various reasons and later ended up bankrupt. “We thought, well, what if this family, as a joke for the son's 16th birthday, found this town called Schitt's Creek, bought it as a joke because of the name and then ended up having to live there?” Daniel said.

The show’s name can make promotional tours interesting: Not all TV or radio outlets can say it, for fear of being fined for using profanity. On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, for example, the name of the show has to appear on screen every time it’s spoken aloud.

4. Annie Murphy also auditioned for the role of Stevie Budd.

At a 92Y Talks discussion in 2016, Murphy revealed that she auditioned for both Stevie Budd—the deadpan concierge at the Schitt’s Creek motel where the Roses make their home—and Alexis, the self-centered socialite character she would eventually play. “I’ve never worked so hard at an audition in my life,” she said. “I made my husband rehearse it with me just into the ground.”

In the presentation pilot—which is meant to secure a season order and not destined to air on TV—Alexis had been played by Abby Elliott, who couldn’t continue on the show because of another project. So auditions were held in Los Angeles, where Daniel said they saw “hundreds” of people for the role.

“There had to be some kind of intrinsic likeability to this family, otherwise there’s really no reason to watch—because on paper they’re not very likeable,” he said. “I had been sitting through two days of auditions, and you see these girls come in and they’re dressed like Paris Hilton and they’re playing that part, which was essentially the part that was written on paper. But what I was looking for was what Annie brought in, which was this wonderfully natural likeability to this girl who is so unlikeable, who is so, like, horrifyingly self-involved … It all kind of fell into place, and I called my dad and said ‘I found Alexis, thank god.’”

But Eugene’s immediate response, according to Daniel, was that Murphy had brown hair, unlike the blonde vision of Alexis he had in his head from the pilot. So they had Murphy read for Stevie, because, Daniel said, “I’m not not having her on the show.” When Murphy landed the role of Alexis, she dyed her hair blonde, and Emily Hampshire was cast as Stevie (who had been played by Lindsay Sloane in the pilot).

5. Emily Hampshire doesn't remember anything about her audition.

Emily Hampshire as Stevie Budd in Schitt's Creek.
Pop TV

When she got the audition for Schitt's Creek, Hampshire was living in L.A. and going through a rough time. "I literally had $800 in my bank account, hadn't worked in a year, was getting a divorce," she tells Mental Floss.

To make matters worse, she was also breaking out into hives when she went out on auditions. So when her agent called about Schitt's, Hampshire said she absolutely couldn't go read in person; what she could do instead was put herself on tape. But at her agent’s insistence, Hampshire went in to audition in front of Daniel and a casting director—and it was a memorable experience for everyone involved but her: Hampshire says she doesn't remember any of it.

Thankfully, Levy does. “Emily came in and immediately said, ‘I’m sorry, this is going to be terrible,’” he recalled at 92Y Talks in 2018. “She did it, and it was great, and I remember saying … ‘Why don’t we just try it where she gets a little more kick out of these people. She’s not just judging them, she’s like, enjoying them, too.’ So she did it again, and you can tell when it clicks … and I remember saying, ‘Great, we’re good,’ and she was like, ‘no, it was—oh god, it was terrible, it was so bad.’” Then, she covered her head with her shirt to hide. Hampshire doesn’t remember that part, either, but, said Levy, “I remember it fondly.”

6. Stevie is the audience's stand-in.

“The character of Stevie has always acted as the eyes of the audience," Daniel said during a 92Y Talks in 2018. "She is the person who is going to say the things that the audience is probably saying to each other while watching it. And I think it’s always important to have that one character on the show that you can trust.”

That was something that resonated with Hampshire. "I think what I connected to in Stevie is that she really stands in for the audience in a way," Hampshire says, "and I felt like I just had to watch these people around me and take them in in an honest way and it would be funny."

In the character breakdown she received when she auditioned, Hampshire says that Stevie was described as "being from a small town, and she's very deadpan." But over the course of four seasons, Stevie has evolved. In season one, Hampshire says, "I don’t think she had any attachment to the motel or to anyone—on purpose. To not be attached or kind of be emotionally invested in anything is a much safer place to be. Over four seasons, she has opened up. I think Stevie grows up a lot this season and really learns to take responsibility for things that I don't think she ever wanted to take responsibility for."

In the fourth season, viewers will see how deep Stevie and David's friendship is, and her partnership with Johnny in running the motel gives her "a new support system that allows her to bloom into whatever kind of special thing she's going to become," Hampshire says.

7. Catherine O'Hara brought something special to the character of Moira Rose.

It was Eugene who suggested O’Hara—his frequent collaborator in Guest’s mockumentaries—for the part of Moira Rose. “I was not going to say, ‘No, that’s not a good idea,’” Daniel told The New York Times. “When he offers up Catherine O’Hara, you take it and run with it.”

And Moira’s eccentricities are all O’Hara’s doing. “We always knew Moira was an actress, an ex-soap star, who became a socialite, chairing major charity events around the world,” Eugene told The Hollywood Reporter. “But Catherine, who always brings something so creative to the table, added a very extreme affectation to her actress character that made Moira so much funnier than we had imagined her.”

O’Hara told Awards Daily that her character’s voice is “kind of a mix of people I’ve met. There’s one woman who’s very feminine and lovely. She just has a unique way of putting sentences together.” Inspiration can come from other sources, too: In the Season 3 episode “New Car,” O’Hara at one point had to use a British accent. “There’s a woman on Sirius radio who claims to be a dog whisperer or pet psychic. Have you heard this woman?” she asked Awards Daily. “That’s basically the accent I’m doing.”

8. Moira's aesthetic is based on Daphne Guinness.

Eugene Levy as Johnny Rose and Catherine O'Hara as Moira Rose in Schitt's Creek.
Pop TV

“Catherine came in with a reference, when we first started exploring what the aesthetic of this strange woman would be, and she brought in a picture of Daphne Guinness, who is the heir to the Guinness fortune,” Daniel said at 92Y Talks in 2018. “And she was a McQueen muse, and I looked at it, and I said ‘How do we translate this to television?’ And we thought if we kept it in black and whites and went just far enough, I think we can sort of rein it in.”

Moira’s over-the-top looks (which include a number of wigs that, according to Hampshire, have names) are created by Dan and Debra Hanson. “They shop all year because these characters have to have extremely high-end, designer wardrobes, but [the Roses] don’t have that money anymore,” O’Hara told Awards Daily. “I’ve never enjoyed wardrobe fittings in my life until now!”

9. The wardrobe on Schitt's Creek tells a story.

“Dan plays a big hand in the costuming, along with the costume designer Debra Hanson, who is amazing,” Murphy told Build. “Catherine and I do hours and hours of fittings before we start shooting. And I’ll come out of the room and Dan will be like, ‘Mm mm,’ and send me back in.”

After joking that that “makes me sound crazy,” Daniel said that “the mandate, from a creative standpoint … was that the wardrobe on this show is able to tell a story that we don’t have to write … we’re constantly reminded of who these people are and where they came from.”

Because the show is on a tight budget, lots of the wardrobe, he said, comes from eBay and thrift stores. Levy told Vulture in 2019 that all the clothes have to come from around the time when the Roses lost their money—and that the most he'll pay for any item is $200.

10. The location of Schitt's Creek is purposefully ambiguous.

Schitt’s Creek is a Canadian production, and the Rose family had a place in New York, but when people ask him where the town of Schitt’s Creek is located, Eugene says that he tells them it’s wherever they think it should be. “We didn’t set Schitt’s Creek in any location or any country, it’s just Schitt’s Creek,” he said at 92Y Talks in 2016. “We honestly wanted the focus of the show to be on this town, and if you put it in a country with real states or put it in a country with real provinces, then things become tangible … it kind of diffuses the focus to me.”

11. There's not a lot of improv on the Schitt's Creek set.

That fact might surprise fans of Eugene and O'Hara’s work on Guest films like Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show, where the cast works from an outline of the action with no dialogue rather than a traditional script. “[Schitt’s] is completely a scripted show, but we do an awful lot of playing around with the lines when we get to the set,” Eugene told The Hollywood Reporter. “What looked good on paper doesn’t always play when you hear the words out loud. So, we do change things until they end up sounding right.”

“When we get the script, I kind of work on it on my own and play with it then,” O’Hara told Awards Daily. “The Levy gentlemen give me respect, and I respect them and email them with possibilities. I don’t feel the need to improvise because our scripts are great.”

Which is not to say that everything is shot as written: Levy said at 92Y Talks in 2018 that Murphy’s “you get murdered first!” from the pilot episode was improvised.

12. The baseball team in the town where Schitt's Creek films changed its name to honor the show.

Schitt’s Creek films in Canada, in Goodwood, Ontario. “We did dingy up the town tremendously,” Daniel told NPR. “It is a lovely town that we had turned into the town of ‘Schitt's Creek.’”

All of the show's interiors are shot at a studio, but the buildings are actual structures in Goodwood, dressed to look like Schitt's Creek. According to Hampshire, many of the buildings are on a single intersection. "There’s Bob’s Garage, which is a garage, but we put a sign up, and then the café and the apothecary are stores," Hampshire says. "When we shoot there, we make them into our stores." The motel was, at one point, actually a motel. "It’s been since turned into this basketball boys club sleeping quarters camp thing," she says. "When we go in, it really smells like a locker room."

In the first season, locals set up lawn chairs to watch filming and wandered through shots; by the second season, Eugene told 92Y Talks in 2016, they were “proud citizens of Schitt’s Creek.” The town seems to have embraced its alter ego, as evidenced by the actions of its minor league baseball team. “They had a minor league kind of baseball team there that actually changed their name from the Goodwood Bears to the Schitt's Creek Bears for an entire month,” Eugene told NPR.

13. When it comes to Schitt's Creek, Daniel Levy leaves no detail unconsidered.

And that includes the wear and tear on the carpets in the mote. “In my head it’s like, ‘We should all know that they don’t vacuum their carpets all the time,’” Levy told GQ in 2019. "These are lived-in carpets. We’re in a motel. If we’re going to vacuum the carpets, which I know has to be done, we also need to scuff them up a bit after." He does all the scuffing himself: "It’s in the details for me, and when the details aren’t executed perfectly, I get a bit … ornery," he said. (But Daniel doesn't bring that energy to set: "It’s crazy how comfortable he is doing this, how calm and confident he is running the show," O'Hara told GQ.)

14. Chris Elliot makes Eugene break constantly.

Eugene Levy as Johnny Rose and Chris Elliott as Roland Schitt in Schitt's Creek.
Pop TV

According to Murphy, Eugene “giggles like a schoolboy” in scenes with Chris Elliot, who plays Schitt’s Creek Mayor Roland Schitt. “He’s got my number,” Levy said in an interview with Build. “He’s constantly making me laugh on set … He does it intentionally, of course, and he actually succeeds.”

One scene in the show’s third season was particularly tough to get through and resulted in hours of outtakes: “[Chris] gets in kind of behind me, trying to show me how to hold a [golf] club properly,” Levy recalled. “That’s one of the times I think I laughed the hardest in the three seasons, was trying to get through that scene.” He couldn’t stop laughing and was eventually admonished by the director. (They did eventually get the shot.)

15. Cafe Tropical's menu is Murphy's favorite prop.

Jennifer Robinson as Jocelyn Schitt and Catherine O'Hara as Moira Rose in Schitt's Creek.
Pop TV

Cafe Tropical’s huge menu is often played for laughs on Schitt’s Creek, and it’s Murphy’s favorite prop on the show. “I wish everyone could see the inside of the menu because it’s very detailed and there’s literally every dish you could possibly imagine,” Murphy said at 92Y Talks in 2018. “There are literally 150 things you could order on this menu, and they’re all described.” The props department couldn’t find a big enough real-life menu, so they ended up creating massive ones in a custom size.

16. Hampshire regularly borrows Stevie's clothes.

With her Chucks, flannels, and overalls, Stevie easily has the most comfortable wardrobe on Schitt's Creek. It's so comfortable, in fact, that Hampshire often borrows items to wear on her time off. "I always take this one pair of Stevie’s jeans that I love—they’re like the perfect baggy boyfriend roll-up jeans," Hampshire says. "I take hoodies. I actually take Stevie’s Converse because they’re better than my exact Converse for some reason. I always take her stuff, which Dan doesn't understand at all. He’s like, 'What is there to take? Like, why would you ever borrow this stuff?' But for some reason, the wardrobe women, they just find the perfect hoodie or the perfect jean—so I take those."

17. Season 6 of Schitt's Creek will be its last.

Daniel announced the news on Twitter in a letter written by himself and Eugene. "We are so grateful to have been given the time and creative freedom to tell this story in its totality, concluding with a final chapter that we had envisioned from the very beginning," they wrote. "It’s not lost on us what a rare privilege it is in this industry to get to decide when your show should take its final bow. We could never have dreamed that our fans would grow to love and care about these characters in the ways that you have.” The final season, which will consist of 14 episodes, will air on the CBC and Pop in 2020.

This piece was updated in 2019.

Batmania: When Batman Ruled the Summer of 1989

JD Hancock, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
JD Hancock, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

“Flop” is how marketing research group Marketing Evaluation Inc. assessed the box office potential of the 1989 Warner Bros. film Batman. The big-budget production, directed by Tim Burton and co-starring Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as the Joker, was expected to be one of the rare times a major Hollywood studio took a comic book adaptation seriously. But according to the marketing data, the character of Batman was not as popular as the Incredible Hulk, who was then appearing in a slate of made-for-television movies. And he was only a quarter as appealing as the California Raisins, the claymation stars of advertising.

That prediction was made in 1988. The film was released on June 23, 1989, and went on to gross $253.4 million, making it the fifth most successful motion picture up to that point.

While Marketing Evaluation may have miscalculated the movie’s potential, they did hedge their bet. By the time profits from the movie’s merchandising—hats, shirts, posters, toys, bed sheets, etc.—were tallied, the company said, Warner Bros. could be looking at a sizable haul.

When the cash registers stopped ringing, the studio had sold $500 million in tie-in products, which was double the gross of the film itself.

In 1989, people didn’t merely want to see Batman—they wanted to wear the shirts, eat the cereal, and contemplate, if only for a moment, putting down $499.95 for a black denim jacket studded with rhinestones.

Batmania was in full swing. Which made it even more unusual when the studio later claimed the film had failed to turn a profit.

 

The merchandising blitz of Star Wars in 1977 gave studios hope that ambitious science-fiction and adventure movies would forever be intertwined with elaborate licensing strategies. George Lucas's space opera had driven audiences into a frenzy, leading retailers to stock up on everything from R2-D2 coffee mugs to plastic lightsabers. It was expected that other “toyetic” properties would follow suit.

They didn’t. Aside from 1982’s E.T., there was no direct correlation between a film’s success and demand for ancillary product. In 1984 alone, Gremlins, Ghostbusters, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom were smash hits. None of them motivated people to flock to stores and buy Gizmo plush animals or toy proton packs. (Ghostbusters toys eventually caught on, but only after an animated series helped nudge kids in their direction.)

Warner Bros. saw Batman differently. When the script was being developed, producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber were urging writers to make sure scenes were aligned with planned merchandising. They scribbled notes insisting that no onscreen harm come to the Batmobile: It should remain pristine so that kids would want to grab the toy version. As Batman, millionaire Bruce Wayne had a collection of vehicles and gadgets at his disposal—all props that could be replicated in plastic. Batman's comic book origins gave him a unique iconography that lent itself to flashy graphic apparel.

In March 1989, just three months before the film's release, Warner Bros. announced that it was merging with Time Inc. to create the mega-conglomerate Time-Warner, which would allow the film studio to capitalize on a deep bench of talent to help drive the “event” feel of the film.

Prince was signed to Warner's record label and agreed to compose an album of concept music that was tied to the characters; “Batdance" was among the songs and became a #1 hit. Their licensing arm, Licensing Corporation of America, contracted with 300 licensees to create more than 100 products, some of which were featured in an expansive brochure that resembled a bat-eared Neiman Marcus catalog. The sheer glut of product became a story, as evidenced by this Entertainment Tonight segment on the film's licensing push:

In addition to the rhinestone jacket, fans could opt for the Batman watch ($34.95), a baseball cap ($7.95), bicycle shorts ($26.95), a matching top ($24.95), a model Batwing ($29.95), action figures ($5.95), and a satin jacket modeled by Batman co-creator Bob Kane ($49.95).

The Batman logo became a way of communicating anticipation for the film. The virtually textless teaser poster, which had only the June 23 opening date printed on it, was snapped up and taped to walls. (Roughly 1200 of the posters sized for bus stops and subways were stolen, a crude but effective form of market research.) In barber shops, people began asking to have the logo sheared into the sides of their heads. The Batman symbol was omnipresent. If you had forgotten about the movie for even five minutes, someone would eventually walk by sporting a pair of Batman earrings to remind you.

At Golden Apple Comics in Los Angeles, 7000 packs of Batman trading cards flew out the door. Management hired additional staff and a security guard to handle the crowds. The store carried 36 different kinds of Batman T-shirts. Observers compared the hysteria to the hula hoop craze of the 1950s.

One retailer made a more contemporary comparison. “There’s no question Batman is the hottest thing this year,” Marie Strong, manager of It’s a Small World at a mall in La Crosse, Wisconsin, told the La Crosse Tribune. “[It’s] the hottest [thing] since Spuds McKenzie toward the end of last year.”

 

By the time Batman was in theaters and breaking records—it became the first film to make $100 million in just 10 days, alerting studios to the idea of short-term profits—the merchandising had become an avalanche. Stores that didn’t normally carry licensed goods, like Macy’s, set up displays.

Not everyone opted for officially-licensed apparel: U.S. marshals conducted raids across the country, seizing more than 40,000 counterfeit Batman shirts and other bogus items.

Collectively, Warner raked in $500 million from legitimate products. In 1991, the Los Angeles Times reported that the studio claimed only $2.9 million in profit had been realized from merchandising and that the movie itself was in a $35.8 million financial hole owing to excessive promotional and production costs. It was a tale typical of creative studio accounting, long a method for avoiding payouts to net profit participants. (Nicholson, whose contract stipulated a cut of all profits, earned $50 million.)

Whatever financial sleight-of-hand was implemented, Warner clearly counted on Batman to be a money-printing operation. Merchandising plans for the sequel, 1992’s Batman Returns, were even more strategic, including a tie-in agreement with McDonald’s for Happy Meals. In a meta moment, one deleted script passage even had Batman’s enemies attacking a toy store in Gotham full of Batman merchandise. The set was built but the scene never made it onscreen.

The studio was willing to give Burton more control over the film, which was decidedly darker and more sexualized than the original. Batman Returns was hardly a failure, but merchandising was no longer as hot as it was in the summer of 1989. Instead of selling out of shirts, stores ended up marking down excess inventory. McDonald’s, unhappy with the content of the film, enacted a policy of screening movies they planned to partner with before making any agreements. By the time Warner released 1995’s Batman Forever, the franchise was essentially a feature-length toy commercial.

It paid off. Licensing for the film topped $1 billion. Today, given the choice between a film with Oscar-level prestige or one with the potential to have its logo emblazoned on a rhinestone jacket that people would actually want to buy, studios would probably choose the latter. In that sense, the Batmania of 1989 endures.

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