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Dan Klingensmith

Dan Klingensmith

A Bit of Background

As a child of the 1980s, toys, specifically G.I.Joe, always held a special place for me. Whether it was playing in the dirt, snow, and water or having my Joes rappel from trees, G.I.Joe allowed me to use my imagination and create different worlds and storylines while I played.  It was a world where good always triumphed over evil.  I know this holds true not only for me, but for many children from this period of time! 

Another important aspect of appeal to G.I.Joe as a child were the illustrations of the characters on the packaging.  With their vibrant colors and action poses, I was immediately drawn to a character and kept going back for more!  I recall tracing over the card art and using my father’s light table at work to either make modifications to the colors of a character or the design itself.  In a sense, I was unknowingly following a similar experience to what the actual designers were doing at Hasbro through their ideations and color studies when determining the appearance and colors of a character.  This interest drove me to appreciate what it took and those who did the work in making G.I.Joe a success during my childhood.  This book is my way of saying THANK YOU for all the passion and hard work you put into what some may call a “toy”, but carries a deeper meaning for myself and others.  I look forward to passing on this passion to not only my son, but to future generations! 

"As a child in the 1980s, action figures were a huge part of my childhood. One particular action figure series I spent countless hours playing with was G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.  As an adult, I have now taken on the role of historian and preservationist of the G.I. Joe brand. This book series is a way to not only recognize the men and women who worked on the brand, but give them an opportunity to share their inspiration and influences in creating one of the largest brands ever!"

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