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It is with heavy heart that I confirm what I’m sure everyone has heard elsewhere already…  according to Brian, Lanny, Dave, and Pete of the G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club, by and large the o-ring is dead.
So why talk about this now?  The roundtable was two days ago, right?
As anyone knows, I’m a fan of the G.I. Joe brand.  I’m not married or tied to any particular style (or even size), if the toy has the spirit and energy that I think G.I. Joe should have, I enjoy it.  But without a shadow of a doubt, the G.I. Joe that sparked this interest and stoked the flame of my fandom for so many years was the vintage Real American Hero line.  Many fans have moved on…many folks that are current Joe fans have totally embraced the new modern era styling and articulation, and that’s fine.  I’m actually happy about that.  But for a select group, the o-ring being gone is a very sad day.  It marks the end of an era and the official demise of what was the most influential action figure line in the history of boys toys.
In my own experience, the o-ring was really the foundation of all great boys toys.  Nothing really compared.  Three of my favorite toylines from “back in the day” were G.I. Joe, Visionaries, and COPS, and obviously they all shared the same construction and same design.  Sure, I dipped into the Transformers world, I bought some He-Man stuff, and Secret Wars made an appearance here and there.  But none of them moved the right way.
Now, it’s a new generation, and the movement of the o-ring can be simulated without an o-ring.  For some that’s a great thing.  After all, less rubber rot, and less chance of picking up your favorite figure only to have it disintegrate in your hands.  In every way that matters, modern  construction and articulation is better than what we had.  But, there is a certain nostalgic joy to an o-ring figure, and the idea that we may never see another one again (or very rarely at any rate) does make me sad.
So now it’s time to look forward.  This is a good springboard into the next generation.  The sculpting, design, and articulation of the modern era figures is suddenly surging through the roof, and they are looking better and better every time Hasbro touches them.  For crying out loud, look at this:

The difference is astounding.
So, no, I’m not upset about the o-ring because I think o-ring toys are superior.  In many ways they are not.  But they do represent a major part of my childhood and part of me still longs for a day when they might make a return.  But every time I look at bad ass Pursuit of Cobra toys I’m a little less bothered.
But just a little.