The Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe 1982-1994: 2nd Edition by Mark Bellomo (a J!-ENT Book Review)
June 13, 2012 by Dennis Amith
For collectors of “G.I. Joe”action figures, vehicles and playsets from 1982-1994, this is a must-own book! Highly recommended!
TITLE: The Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe 1982-1994: 2nd Edition
BY: Mark Bellomo
PUBLISHER: Krause Publications
PAGE COUNT: 304 Pages
RELEASED: June 30, 2009
This guide to the guts-and-glory of G.I. Joe identifies every figure with all its weapons and gear, every vehicle with all the easy-to-lose pieces and every accessory related to Hasbros stellar team of soldiers. Use The Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe to expand your knowledge about Joe and the team, or Cobra and his cronies, and to identify and assess the value of any of the series 350 action figures and 240 vehicles and accessories..
When I was a child, I grew up with “Star Wars”, “Transformers” and “Master of the Universe” toys and action figures. But there was one toy line from the 1980′s that was a huge part of my life and that was “G.I. Joe”.
I can remember as a child, going into a mom & pop pharmacy and they would have G.I. Joe’s sold at the store and my mom would purchase these action figures once in awhile in order to keep me and my brother entertained. While my brother wasn’t as big as a fan, for me and my childhood friends, “G.I. Joe” was a chance for us to use our playful minds and create awesome adventures for these 3 3/4 action figures.
I can also remember Christmas Day when my grandmother would have us look at the old bulky catalogs and have us select what toys we wanted. And for me, it was always “G.I. Joe”. From the V.A.M.P. jeep to my mom buying me Airborne, Doc and getting enough purchase points, so I can order the M.A.N.T.R.A and see if my figures can really float in the bathtub.
Granted, the toys weren’t perfect then. Often, the thumbs would break off and earlier on, they were not even poseable. But over the years, these toys, along with the animated cartoon and Marvel comic books, kept my childhood alive and just full of fun.
Until I entered high school and my parents had me get rid of all toys and comic books as I was to transition from child to teenager.
It was one of the most devastating experiences a child can go through. Your childhood possessions all gone and suffice to say, while I never forgot those moments, I felt I could never look at “G.I. Joe” ever again (this also goes for “Transformers”, “Star Wars” toys, etc.), because it would be too painful. Even knowing that I had really cool toys, playsets and vehicles that are probably worth something but I just didn’t want to think about it.
That was until the early 2000′s. I was at a local Target and Kay-Bee Toy Store and saw figures and vehicles on clearance while looking for baby toys for my son. I’ve never looked at a “G.I. Joe” toy probably for over 15-years until that day. And I came home with a Jungle Assault Humvee and a few action figures for the “G.I. Joe versus Cobra” and “G.I. Joe Valor vs. Venom” line.
And then, that experienced made me think… Hmm.. What if I tried to re-purchase some of the G.I. Joes that I owned back in the ’80s? And lo and behold, through online auctions, I was purchasing mega lots from parents or grandparents who just wanted to get rid of the “G.I. Joe” toys that kept in their homes. Next thing you know, I was eventually collecting nearly complete lineups from the 1982 to the early 1990′s. But bare in mind, these auctions that you win…they were not complete or the rubber band that kept the body and torso together were snapped.
Fortunately, I found a way to repair those but I was out of the blue of what was missing and with no cards, while there were online resources, it was becoming difficult to know what I have and didn’t have, because I needed a checklist that I can easily mark off or write notes on.
In 2004, a collector named Mark Bellomo created “The Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe 1982-1994″. In the first edition of the book, he was able to take photos of each action figure, vehicle and playsets from 1982-1994 with information on the toys but also how much they are worth mint in sealed box, mint or loose.
I heavily used the book to keep in track of what I have, what accessories I’m missing or what figures I did or didn’t own of a certain year. A book used so much to the point that the pages started to come out.
But it was a book that I loved and was proud of Mark Bellomo from creating it. But then I heard from various fans on YoeJoe.com and hisstank.com (two incredible G.I. Joe online sources) that Bellomo was creating a second edition.
In this second edition, he would have a photographer (supplied by the publisher) to take better pictures with a DSLR versus the photos via point-and-shoot camera that he used in the first edition. Also, to fix errors or additions of accessories that were not in the first book. And you have to admire what Bellomo had done because not only did he have to purchase ALL of these toys in order to take pictures of them, even he knew that the chances of buying something, you never know if they were 100% complete (until someone wrote to him and saying it was missing from the book).
In fact, the creation of this book was documented in “Collectable Spectacle” and showing how much work and how challenging it was for him this time around. Because he had to obtain some hard-to-find toys that didn’t make it into the first edition.
But having enjoyed the first book so much, this second edition features so much information (also including comments and notes to Bellomo courtesy of from Larry Hama, the writer of the Combat Command File Cards and the original Marvel Comics “G.I. Joe” run.), better pictures and is bigger better (the first edition had 258 pages, the second edition has 306 pages). Everything has been updated from the original 2004 book to this 2009 edition from copy, pricing but most importantly, bigger pictures.
In the previous book, Bellomo would utilize four figures per page. This time around, its’ 2-3 figures and thus, bigger photos and more detail can be seen.
There is no doubt that a lot of work was put into this second edition and with so many variations released of the ’80s figures, vehicles. playsets and accessories, not only in America but in other countries, there is so much more that can be featured in a future 3rd edition (if Bellomo intends to purchase these expensive, hard-to-find figures).
So, right now…for anyone collecting G.I. Joe and are planning to collect the original ’80s and early ’90s toys, this is a must-buy book.
While I do hope that there would be another book that would feature the “G.I. Joe” toylines from the late ’90s, the 2000′s and present (which may be even more difficult because a price of an action figure today in retail has nearly doubled), no matter how great the sculpts are of today’s figures, for me, just to be able to find the old figures that I enjoyed as a child and many that I didn’t own, has been a wonderful feeling as a collector and “G.I. Joe” fan.
And I don’t know how I could have done without Mark Bellomo’s “The Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe 1982-1994″.
If you are looking for the definitive “G.I. Joe Book” for the action figures, vehicles. playsets and accessories covering 1982-1994, this second edition of “The Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe 1982-1994″ is highly recommended!
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