In spite of lack of product at 2013 JoeCon, bright future for G.I. Joe fans

Okay, hear me out on this one.

I know the rumbling through the online community has been somewhat negative in light of Hasbro’s lack of new product to be shown at the 2013 G.I. Joe Convention in Indianapolis this past weekend.  In fact, not only were people bothered by a lack of new product, when Hasbro showed some more concept items, some fans got visibly upset, thinking that this was just a “tease” for items that would likely not be offered.

Let me once again put on my “Hasbro Apologist” hat and tell everyone…  don’t be so quick to be discouraged.  I think there are some simple explanations for why Hasbro presence was down this year, and I think there are some reasons to be looking forward to the year ahead for G.I. Joe fans.  Click the Read the Rest of the Story link below for more.

First of all, some reasons why we didn’t see much Hasbro product this year.

1. Timing – Let’s face it…  this year timing was not in our favor, or in the G.I. Joe Collectors Club’s favor.  They wanted to launch JoeCon to coincide with the release of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, plus they had to schedule it with Botcon in mind as well.  But April is a really tough time to present potential new product.  Toy Fair only happened less than two months ago, and Hasbro waits to see the results from G.I. Joe: Retaliation, it’s easy to understand why they didn’t want to completely show their hand as of yet.  As fandom reaction to the concept case stuff shows, we’d almost rather not see anything at all then see items that might not end up being released.

2. Resources – I think we all know about the Hasbro lay offs that happened a fairly short while ago, and from all indications, those lay offs did impact folks in the design team.  Because of this, Hasbro design now has less people doing more work.  As a result of this, the company (understandably) cannot devote vast amounts of resources to the G.I. Joe convention at this time while they are still shaking out roles and responsibilities after this major shift in personnel.  Some would argue (and I would agree) that the lay offs are simply a sign of more trouble for the brand, and not necessarily a good rationalization for the small showing at JoeCon, but I do think it must be considered.

Along with this, I think there are a lot of reasons to look forward to what’s possibly to come.  There are some valid reasons on which I base my optimism:

1.  G.I. Joe: Retaliation – Whether or not you like the film, you cannot argue that it has not already been a financial success.  Already grossing nearly $240M worldwide, it has been labeled a great financial success and Paramount has already greenlit production on a third movie.  Maintream media outlets like Forbes.com are already praising Paramount and the G.I. Joe franchise for this financial performance, and when it all shakes out, it’s possible the movie sequel could be close to $350M – $400M worldwide.  That would be huge.  Simply making the G.I. Joe brand a worldwide property again could do huge things for Hasbro and for the G.I. Joe concept itself, and the future looks exceedingly bright going forward.

2. Concept Case items – I must admit I was a bit surprised at some reactions to the concept case items.  There seems to be widespread assumptions already that these are figures that are destined never to be released.  That’s certainly not the impression I got from feedback heard on the sales floor in Indianapolis.  Impressions I got were that Hasbro was showing this to get a measuring stick for whether or not fans wanted these figures released, and they are fully prepared to put these figures in place based on fan reaction.  Considering how much the fans seem to love what they are seeing with these figures, I think that bodes well for their place in a future G.I. Joe assortment.  As Gary Godsoe said during our What’s on Joe Mind panel at JoeCon “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” so I think it would serve the fandom well to reinforce these figures with positive vibes if you like what you see.  Instead of decrying Hasbro for showing them, talk about how much you like the figures themselves and offer encouragement to see these fantastic look items released.  Don’t forget, there were people at Hasbro who thought enough of these figures to get them to the sculpting phase, so a lot of work has already been done.  Let’s push it over the edge!

3. Increased demand – I was lucky enough to be seated with Derryl DePriest at the Golden Ticket dinner on Friday night at JoeCon, and he provided some very candid and great comments in regards to G.I. Joe’s retail presence now and going forward.  Because of the immediate response to the G.I. Joe: Retaliation film, retailers are greatly increasing their demand for future G.I. Joe: Retaliation product, and even though Wave 3 has been delayed by 2 months, it’s been delayed so that production can be increased to meet retailer demand.  This is a phenomenon that has not occurred with G.I. Joe for several years, and it’s a great indication that things are moving in the right direction for retail sales.

4. G.I. Joe Collectors Club – Yes, there is a subsection of the fandom who don’t consider the GIJCC’s presence in G.I. Joe to be a positive one, but I cannot fall under that umbrella.  The product we received for the Convention set this year was absolutely phenomenal.  Some of the best G.I. Joe exclusive figures I’ve ever seen.  They’ve got access to a terrific reservoir of parts with the 30th Anniversary and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and they are using those parts very well.  The outline for FSS Series 2 looks to be heads and shoulders above Series 1, and considering what new parts they have access to, I’m already imagining what exceedingly cool things they are going to do with them.

5. The 50th Anniversary – One of the most disappointing things about the 2013 Convention was the lack of apparent planning or preparation on Hasbro’s part for the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the G.I. Joe brand in 2014.  Even if Hasbro doesn’t have specific plans, though, I think it’s probably a safe assumption that the Collectors’ Club just might come up with something.  I mean, it’s the 50th Anniversary of action figures in general for crying out loud.  That just screams for celebration, and I would be shocked if 2014 passes without some type of commemorative event or product to celebrate.

During the convention, Derryl DePriest mentioned a specific connection between the G.I. Joe mythology and the Star Wars prequels and it all seems to match up pretty darn well.  The flood of product from the Rise of Cobra and lack of sell through certainly seems to mesh with what folks saw with Episode 1.  A lack of product to supplement demand matches up with Episode 2…and by Episode 3, quantity levels were matched nicely with demand for a home run in retail presence for Star Wars.  This could certainly be what happens with G.I. Joe going forward.

Now, I’m with everyone else… I don’t want G.I. Joe to be relegated to a movie property only, but as we all know, plenty of Star Wars figures were produced and sold between films back then, too.  No reason why that won’t happen here.

Believe me, I was a bit confused and irritated with the lack of Hasbro presence at the convention this year… after all, the concept case figures were only hope for an hour or two, and they were put up during a panel I was a part of, so many of us never even got a chance to see them.  But I don’t think this means that it’s “end of the road” for G.I. Joe.  Financial returns from G.I. Joe: Retaliation have been extremely exciting, and the brand has been made relevant to mass markets again, almost overnight.  This is a great thing, and we should all be crossing our fingers and looking towards a potentially bright tomorrow for the G.I. Joe brand.

Images courtesy of Jon S. and Fred from JoeBattleLines

  • Believe what you want, but you’re wrong. There’s profit sharing between the two but the cost of one has nothing to do with the other.

    The club is not going to go bankrupt to give you new o-ring figures. Except it and move on already. They’re not who you should be going to for such things in the first place.

    Shapeways is fine if you’re into customizing in the first place, but if you’re expecting a finished product on par with mass-produced items made by large companies, you’re going to be very disappointed. For the club’s needs, what they do now is a far better option. Of course you would know these things if you DID YOUR HOMEWORK. Until you show you CAN, just stop already. I’m tired of disputing your nonsense. It’s like arguing with a brick wall.

  • Well, yes. Statues generally have no articulation. That’s why there’s no uproar about the lack of it in them because it’s not expected. You know, because they’re STATUES, but since no one here is talking about statues anyway, then they’re irrelevant. We’re talking about action figures. Action figures have articulation. 1:18th scale GIJoe figures have ALWAYS had a high level of articulation. It’s expected. Take that away and people get upset because that’s what they want in their GIJoes. Maybe if you’d stop babbling about irrelevant things that have nothing to do with the topic at hand, you’d understand this. Please go get educated and don’t come back until you are. Goodbye.

  • Scott

    Exactly, but there has to be a balance between the statue and action, for design to be what I would consider good.

    This absolutely not irrelevant, as if you are even a little educated in art history, you would be aware of thousands of years of human figure representation in different mediums around the world. From the ancient Egyptians to current day.

    GIJoe figures borrow design elements from the real world, this is what adds realism. The classic RAH could move around just fine, and I think that the 2005 VvV 3.75″ figures were really starting to head in the right direction on tightening up the species design.

    Too many joints, though, The focus of the human figure in the design is overtaken.design,

  • Scott

    Brick walls are usually very strong. A good building material. I like the way you think, and like the “tree” we planted, we make a good team with our many branches of ideas coming together.

    Now, if the Club is not who I should be going to for such things as older GIJoe figures, who should I be going to?

    Is the Club not based in the celebration of the 12″ guys that essentially disappeared like dinosaurs?

    If in 1982, would you have told the 12″ guys to piss off when Hasbro launched the old RAH line? Would you have told some group of guys to piss off when they were forming the basis for today’s Club?

    How do know that the Club will go bankrupt if they were to make things on their own? Are you afraid you might lose out on future items regarding you particuar favorite style of figure?

  • Scott

    You are definitely able to affect the labor practices of companies using China. You can really can make a difference in the world.

    One thing we could do together is start a group of fans that call on Hasbro to guarantee “sweat shop free” produced products.

    If we were successful, better human conditions could be YOUR doing on the planet, no matter the scope or size, you can make the difference. You are willing to pay a little more for the quality and I am happy to see that, so lets truly kick up that quality.

    I don’t believe it is impossible or cost-prohibitive to bring it back to the U.S.. The only thing holding it back is the profit end of things.

    They both make too much profit.

    Now, I am uneducated, but I want you to help me with my homework. What is the profit that the Club gets from a yearly convention? How much does the Club make?

    Also, what is the markup on, let’s say, our modern 4″ figure sitting on the retail shelves?

    I want to know what the profits are so I can believe you when you say that the “cost” of things is too great.

    Or, you must know, since you are educated, what company does Hasbro and the Club use in China?

    You must know this, right? What other products does that Chinese company produce? How much does their assembly line workers make? How does this compare to what you pay for something, and how much the Club or Hasbro makes?

    Or does the Club simply aim to break even, donating the profit to Texas charity?

  • Aidan prior

    Hope that the make this Gung Ho figure which is far superior than the last two. The grey skinned version and the dull puny figure in grey uniform! Fingers crossed