Wow, the original 1984 G.I. Joe
animated series has had a tough time on DVD, with original publisher Rhino losing their Sunbow license
before the final episodes could be released. That info became public back in May 2005, stating that the rights moved over to SonyWonder, a side division of the big Sony conglomerate (related to their music section, actually, rather than their normal home video section).
The following year, a SonyWonder release came along for the animated Transformers film
, possibly indicating that Sunbow titles like G.I. Joe
would finally ramp up at their new home! That concept was short-lived, though, as a March 2007 report
stated that Sony's music section had shut down the SonyWonder label. Months later Sony's home video section revived the label
, but since then there have been no signs from them of any Sunbow license titles! G.I. Joe
fans have wondered whether they will ever get any more DVDs, and those who missed out on the Rhino run find themselves completely shut out of the DVD game.
Now Hasbro is trying to get SOMEthing going again, it seems. We're not sure where all the rights are sitting right now, or how things worked out this way, but Hasbro has issued a press release
talking about their upcoming toy lines, and among the announcements are a lineup of 5 of "G.I. JOE vs. COBRA Battle Packs" coming in June 2008
, which will run $19.99 each and contain a few action figures along with a DVD containing the appropriate episodes from the original G.I. Joe
series! For example, the first mini-series "A Real American Hero" comes under the alternate name "The M.A.S.S. Device" with the related toys, while the second mini-series "The Revenge of Cobra" is in the second battle pack with figures from that installment. Here is an exact quote from the press release:
G.I. JOE vs. COBRA 3-3/4-inch Entertainment Battle Packs
(Approximate retail price $19.99; Ages 5 & up; Available: June 2008 with additional waves throughout the year)
Images from the classic 1980s G.I. JOE cartoon series are captured in the new battle packs, which include a 5-episode mini-series DVD and 3 to 4 highly articulated 3-3/4-inch figures pulled from these episodes. The five packs slated for June release are: The MASS Device, Weather Dominator, Arise Serpentor Arise, Pyramid of Darkness, and G.I. JOE Fan Favorites.
Our thanks to each reader who e-mailed us about this subject. Below is our very own custom- designed layout of some Hasbro-supplied images for the toys and DVDs from two of these releases.
No further info is available right now, but hopefully this sparks something, and we get some bona fide TV-DVD releases of the entire show's run...at last. As you probably know, there's a live-action Joe
movie in the works, and it would be nice to have the cartoons in hand starting around that time!