After spending years as a dormant brand in the toy aisle, it looks like there’s finally life for Hasbro‘s G.I. Joe. As the iconic action figure celebrates its 55th birthday this year, the Rhode Island-based toy company has sent up the flares from the U.S.S. FLAGG in search of a new senior brand manager to lead product development and marketing, not just for ‘Joe, but also for Micronauts. In a job posting that surfaced on LinkedIn, Hasbro notes that the brand manager will “lead a cross-functional team of designers and engineers to ideate and manufacture the yearly toy line, and develop a global marketing plan that effectively drive sales.”
In recent years, G.I. Joe has been the basis for a number of best-selling comic books from IDW Publishing and has spawned a pair of feature films — G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) and G.I. Joe Retaliation (2013). A new spin-off based on Snake Eyes is dated March 27, 2020, with G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant said to still be in the pipeline. On the toy front, the brand, once Hasbro’s bread and butter, has been left to occasional collector-focused sets and specialty releases, in addition to being licensed to other companies, such as The Loyal Subjects for stylized collectibles.
Micronauts, originally marketed by Takara and Mego in the 1970s, has seen a few sputtered relaunches over the years as the rights changed hands. After landing with Hasbro, a collector’s set was issued as a San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) exclusive in 2016. Like G.I. Joe, Micronauts have been featured in stories published by IDW, and film plans have been mentioned over the past few years. One idea touted was that of a “shared universe” that would’ve included G.I. Joe and Micronauts coming together with Transformers, M.A.S.K., Visionaries, Action Man, and ROM the Space Knight. Beyond a comic and an SDCC-exclusive toy set in 2017, talk of said universe died down.
With Toy Fair New York approaching, it will be interesting to see what news, if any, may surface. The thought of G.I. Joe and Micronauts lines to support feature film releases is enticing, but the prospect of a long-term relaunch is something that’s long overdue.