4. Death and Rebirth
All good things come to an end, and the 12-inch Joes met their maker around 1976.
They were replaced with the likes of the Defenders and the Super Joe Adventure team, which ran from 1977 until 1978.
But in 1982, the Joes came back stronger than ever, even though they were now smaller.
For the relaunched figures, now called G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, 3 3/4-inch size figures were used, taking the basic template from the successful line of Star Wars figures.
And given their now more diminutive size, the refreshed range offered up a whole new world of possibilities for Hasbro, which could pump out many more vehicles and accessories for an eager public to purchase.
This new wave also saw an entire supporting army of merchandising and spin-off opportunities, with T-shirts, posters, video games, board games, and even kites available.
By 1985, G.I. Joe was ranked at the top-selling toy in America. The action figure had captured the flag.
Here in the UK, Palitoy responded to faltering sales of Action Man by launching Action Force based on the refreshed US characters.
The new line worked so well because it expanded the GI Joe universe, adding in characters and giving them a new, fictional enemy to fight: Cobra.
The ruthless terrorist organisation was willing to use any means to rule the world, and it was up to the Joes to stop them.
They'd fight them on the beaches. In the trenches. In comics. And on TV...
Next: A whole new battlefield