As I’m writing this from a hotel room in Roanoke, Virginia, running on about 10 hours of sleep over three nights, I’m still trying to gather my thoughts together as I decompress from another three days of JoeCon whirlwind. Add that to the fact that there’s some emotional residue from this being the final JoeCon and this is an incredibly difficult recap to write.
I’d like to say that this year I performed some social experiment (rather than the fact that I just didn’t have the funds) but I made a conscious decision this year to go to JoeCon for the specific purpose of enjoying the people and enjoying the content. I purposefully did not buy a boxed set nor any exclusives, not only because money is a little sketchy at the moment, but also because I was determined to enjoy JoeCon without the hassle of waiting in lines or the stress of trying to budget $1,000 for toys I don’t necessarily need. That left the event a bit more “pure” where I could focus just on the people and the event itself, and I have to be honest – it was the right decision (for me).
One recurring theme throughout this final JoeCon was that these events are supposed to be about “people, not plastic” yet routinely, every year, it seems the acquisition of collectible figures is the primary goal for many in attendance. So much so that they risk knocking over children in order to get a rare figure. The despicable nature of that specific act aside, not feeling committed to buying things went a very long way towards making this whole event far more enjoyable, at least for me.
Image courtesy of JoeCustoms.com!
But at its core, this was still being billed as “The Final JoeCon” which automatically made it a significant event in G.I. Joe history. Counting what has come before it’s been over twenty years since there was no G.I. Joe convention held every year and when you plan your yearly schedule around an event like this, its loss will leave a void.
Over the next few days I hope to break down the different elements of this final JoeCon and explore what made it memorable, and use this as a forum for decompressing and understanding where G.I. Joe was in 2003 compared to where it stands now.
The years 2002 and 2003 felt like the beginning of a bright era of G.I. Joe history. Joe Vs. Cobra had morphed into o-rings (plus we were getting classic figures via Toys “R” Us), we were fully immersed in a new Devils’ Due comic, and life certainly looked to be good. Now, things don’t feel quiet as rosey.
But in spite of that, for one extended weekend at least, G.I. Joe fever was in full effect and the brand we all love was at the forefront of everyone’s mind.