Of all the cartoons and toys of the 80s, the one that I was into the most was probably G.I. Joe. I started collecting the figures around the time that the 2nd wave was released in 1983, and pretty much stuck to them though 1989 or so when Hasbro started re-releasing old figures in vehicles, repainted to look like tigers or snakes, which was just weird. Aside from the toys I also had my fare share of stuff that was merchandised off of the property including, but not limited to, bed sheets, lunchboxes, erasers, coloring books, comic books, and yes, stickers.
I didn’t have all that many stickers, but I have a very vivid memory (that I think I’ve shared on the site before), which involved getting punished for going onto our sub-division’s golf course (which I was strictly forbidden to trespass on), having to sit alone in my parents room after said punishment (my first being spanked), and then my mother coming in half way though to sneak me a package of G.I. Joe puffy stickers to cheer me up. I remember opening the package and taking the stickers off the backing to play with them, getting a ton of cat fur, fuzz and dust on the back of the stickers, but also not carring.
So for this week’s Peel Here I’m going to share my meager collection of G.I. Joe branded stickers that I’ve managed to put together over the past year. This first sheet of stickers though, I received from a close friend around the time we graduated from high school. I didn’t ask, but I assume he’d had them since around the time they were sold in Hallmark stores in 1983.
I found these kind of interesting because the artwork on some of the characters here is very close to the original artwork on the toy packaging, though re-worked a little to remove any trace of weapons. I’m not sure if this change was on Hallmark’s part or what, but it’s sort of interesting to see the lengths that companies will go to, in order to appeal to a particular market. The art for Doc, Torpedo, Airborne (as you can see from the original artwork on the Lazer Blazers below), and the Polar Bear skimobile has been re-worked to remove the guns, while new pictures were drawn for characters like Steeler (who ironically has the MOBAT behind him), Snake Eyes and Gung Ho. I’m actually not sure whether the other ‘new’ pictures were done for these stickers or for another reason as some of the images are re-used later, and may have originated elsewhere. I also thought it was interesting that there were no members of Cobra included. Anyway, there was also a variation of this sticker sheet with a white backgorund instead of a blue one.
1984 saw the release of a series of puffy sticker sets. I believe there were 4 in all, but I could only get a hold of the two packages below…
As you can see, the Steeler image was re-used for these sets, and apparently the whole ‘no guns’ thing wasn’t an issue here as all the characters are armed to the teeth. The art on these stickers is a mixture of re-drawn images from the original packaging art as well as new (I say new, but I really have no idea if the art was previously used in other merchandising) drawings. Yo Joe has pictures of the other two sets available, one of which (the one on the top right) is the set that my mother gave to me to cheer me up back in the day. Though there aren’t many, at least Cobra was represented in one of the sets. Our Way Studios, a company that I’m not familiar with, manufactured these puffy stickers, which is actually the second time they released G.I. Joe puffy stickers (not to mention reusing a bunch of the original artwork from their first attempt.)
The last set of stickers that I have to share is this G.I. Joe holographic Colorforms Lazer Blazers set from 1983, which again is very heavy of the Joe team members, with only Major Bludd present to represent the opposition…
The packaging states that this is collection one, and even though Lazer Blazers were being produced up to 1985 (I believe) I don’t think there was ever a second collection released.
I know of at least a few other sets of stickers that existed. There was another set of Hallmark sticker sheets which re-used the original artwork from the packaging of later figures (like Quick Kick and the Crimson Guard), some Diamond brand Panini style storybook stickers, some rolls of stickers that you dispensed with a toy called the Sticker Machine, and smaller stickers that I believe came with a pack of collector cards (much like the Transformers ones that Estaban lent me scans of to share.) The Sticker Machine stickers and dispenser seem to be pretty rare. I’ve only seen them pop up on eBay once, and I don’t remember them at all from my own childhood. I’m sure there must be more out there, though, considering how widely merchandised the brand was (hint, hint Hoover, I’m sure you can fill me in on these if there are any.)
Anyway, next week more Ghostbusters, though this time in a real animated form…