G.I. Joeis an American media franchise and a line ofaction figuresowned and produced by thetoycompanyHasbro.The initial product offering represented four of the branches of theU.S. armed forceswith the Action Soldier (U.S. Army), Action Sailor (U.S. Navy), Action Pilot (U.S. Air Force), Action Marine (U.S. Marine Corps) and later on, the Action Nurse. The name is derived from the usage of "G.I. Joe" for the generic U.S. soldier, itself derived from the more general term "G.I.".The development of G.I. Joe led to the coining of the term "action figure". G.I. Joe's appeal to children has made it an American icon among toys.
The G.I. Joe trademark has been used by Hasbro for several different toy lines, although only two have been successful. The original 12-inch (30 cm) line introduced on February 2, 1964, centered on realistic action figures.In theUnited Kingdom, this line was licensed toPalitoyand known asAction Man. In 1982 the line was relaunched in a 3.75-inch (9.5 cm) scale complete with vehicles, playsets, and a complex background story involving an ongoing struggle between theG.I. Joe Teamand the evilCobraorganization which seeks to take over the Free World through terrorism. As the American line evolved into theReal American Heroseries, Action Man also changed, by using the same molds and being renamed asAction Force. Although the members of the G.I. Joe team are notsuperheroes, they all had expertise in areas such as martial arts, weapons, and explosives.