As an adult collector it can be a little too easy to turn to snark and disdain when speaking to certain pop culture elements, especially ones that were so important to us as children. Anyone who has visited GeneralsJoes knows that I try and retain some of the pleasure and joy that toys brought me as a kid, and I’m extremely happy to announce a new project between myself and Jim Beard!
We are working together to bring a new book to the collecting community. Entitled The Joy of Joe, it endeavors to portray the pleasure of G.I. Joe to kids throughout the years.
But in order to move forward on the project, we do need your help. We do have a potential publisher, but we need a professionally designed cover and interior formatting, which does cost some up front money. It’s not much, but it is necessary. If this is a publication you’d like to support, please consider checking out the GoFundMe page and throwing some support our way. All we’re asking for is money to develop the cover and format the book. I’m greatly looking forward to getting this project out there, and sincerely appreciate anyone who might consider supporting it. The full details are below!
THE JOY OF JOE is thirty-plus essays about the joy of growing up with one of the greatest toys of all time.
“The book will collect the memories of Joe fans from over fifty years of childhood play, and focus on the true joy of the figures and their accessories. Everything from the original 1960s soldiers through the 70s Adventure Team and into the later Real American Hero era will be covered in equal measure.”
Jim and I see this as the ultimate tribute to not only the toy itself, but to the joy of play and childhood. We would be very grateful if you could help us achieve our vision of the book and have it look as professional as possible. In return, we will try to keep its price as reasonable as we can when it’s published, so that everyone can share in THE JOY OF JOE.
The lastest installment of the Full Force podcast is now online, as the boys are joined by members of the What’s on Joe Mind crew to talk about the year that was in 2015. Lots of news to cover, lots of great Joe talk, both foreign and domestic, and a whole lot of G.I. Joe podcasting fun.
Check out the latest episode on the Podbean page, or embedded below.
In the 1960’s Hasbro, quite simply, wasn’t what it is today. Beginning in 1923, the Hassenfeld brothers formed a company selling textile remnants, then migrated to school supplies, and finally, in the 1940’s spun off into producing toys. In 1952 with the arrival of Mr. Potato Head, they finally had a big toy brand to call their own.
Meanwhile, Mattel was rolling hard and strong with Barbie, and while Hasbro was doing okay, it wasn’t in the same league as its west coast competition.
Then came 1963. Then came the revelation that they could do what Mattel is doing and make a Barbie…but make it a Barbie for boys.
G.I. Joe was born.
Pitched in 1963, the brand depended on a successful reception at Toy Fair in New York City to spring forward into production. Deals were made in New York, not in the backrooms in the months leading up to what is now essentially a press event. Brands literally lived and died by their presentation.
It all came down to this.
With the above film reel from 1963, Hasbro officially convinced American retailers to buy into this brand. In 1964 and 1965 G.I. Joe made up 75% of Hasbro’s sales, and while it dipped in the late 70’s, it rebounded in the 80s to become the first multi-media toyline release with a cartoon, comic book, and landmark series of highly articulated action figures all hitting at once. It was an incredible feat of marketing the likes of which had never been seen before, and have rarely been replicated to such perfection even 30+ years later.
It all came down to that nine minute video. The concept of Action Figures was born there, and lives on today.
Today, three decades later, G.I. Joe remains one of the most recognized American icons and toy brands around the world.
It feels like forever since I’ve been able to say this, but a new episode of the What’s on Joe Mind podcast is HERE.
Rescued from technical purgatory by our esteemed editor Gary, the 46th Special Edition focused on the fun of JoeCon 2015 in Springfield, Illinois! It’s a review of the excellent 2015 G.I. Joe Convention hot on the heels of the four day foray into G.I. Joe fun and nerdery.
Go check out this latest special edition on our Podbean page, or check it out embedded below.
Last year, the G.I. Joe Collectors Club strongly indicated that they would provide a hint to the 2015 G.I. Joe Convention set in the Diamond Solicitation of their convention comic.
Sure enough, in the comic, an ad for the 2015 G.I. Joe Convention appeared, complete with a tiger pattern on the background. As we all know, last year’s set had Tiger Force elements.
Fast forward to this year… the Diamond Solicitation of the JoeCon comic hit shops last week, and there is another G.I. Joe Convention advertisement… but the background is different:
That’s right, it’s the clear blue sky.
Now, the G.I. Joe Collectors Club never stated this year’s comic would contain a hint to the JoeCon set, but if we’re to go by previous years, they could be throwing us a bone here.
Could we be seeing Sky Patrol in 2016?
And if so, who would they be facing off against? The G.I. Joe newsletter has been featuring Action Force pretty heavily, but I’m not sure how Action Force dovetails with Sky Patrol (especially considering they’re both good guys).
Who knows, the whole thing could be a red herring, but it’s certainly going to make for some interesting speculation. Hopefully we’ll hear more details about the 2016 G.I. Joe Con set soon! Keep watching GeneralsJoes and GIJoeClub.co for the latest info.
What’s to come after the COBRA World Order is still up for grabs, but IDW has provided their solicitation list for April, 2016 which reveals a bit more information on what’s to come in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero going forward. Also check out the details of Transformers vs. G.I. Joe and Street Fighter X G.I. Joe!
With the first round of duels settled, the World Warrior Tournament enters the quarterfinals! But can the forces of G.I. Joe and their Street Fighter allies remain in the fight long enough to take down M. Bison himself? The time for titanic tussles has arrived!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Street Fighter X G.I. JOE #3 (of 6)—Subscription Variant
Your favorite Street Fighter characters face off against G.I. JOE for the first time ever!
8-bit Variant Cover by Matthew Waite!
Transformers vs G.I. JOE #12
Tom Scioli, John Barber (w) • Scioli (a & c)
WELCOME TO THE TERROR DROME! As the forces of COBRA plot a treacherous move, OPTIMUS PRIME descends in to CYBERTRONIAN hell in search of the MATRIX. They say the sun also rises… but will it be friend or foe?!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Transformers vs G.I. JOE #12—Subscription Variant
Tom Scioli, John Barber (w) • Scioli (a) • Giannis Milogiannis (c)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
The road to hell is paved with good intentions… and DINOBOTS!
The end is nigh, and the action has never been bigger!
G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #227: Cobra Nation, Part 2
Larry Hama (w) • S L Gallant (a & c)
Cobra Commander’s plan would be going perfectly—If he hadn’t messed with the wrong people: his own members of Cobra! Now Destro, Zartan, The Baroness, Tomax and Xamot want something from Cobra Commander… and if he wants his COBRA NATION to succeed, he’ll have to do just as they say!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #227: Cobra Nation, Part 2—Art Appreciation Variant
Larry Hama (w) • S L Gallant (a) • Juan Carlos Ruiz (c)
All the way back in the mid 80s, during Season 3 of the Transformers animated series, the Sunbow writers made their clear link between the G.I. Joe and Transformers universes by introducing both Marissa Faireborn (daughter of Flint and Lady Jaye) and even more directly bringing forth the character of “Old Snake” a mysterious former terrorist who looked and sounded remarkably like COBRA Commander. Leveraging the whole idea of Synthoids only went to further that story.
Seems like forever that fans of both properties have been clamoring for some kind of official toyline joining the G.I. Joe and Transformers lines together. Certainly there have been some heavy homages over the years (including the Combiner Wars Viper figure just released last year) but this joint exclusive between the G.I. Joe Transformers Club and the G.I. Joe Collectors Club was the first time the joint effort was made somewhat official. Yes, there were ComicCon boxed sets (that were pretty awesome), but is the first real in Sunbow continuity attempt to make both universes gel.
Both this installment as well as the Marissa Faireborn/Afterbreaker pack use Season 3 of the animated series as a heavy influence.
Long before 80s nostalgia fans dreamed of ways for G.I. Joe and Transformers to co-exist, Sunbow tied the two universes together during Season 3 of the Transformers cartoon featuring the mysterious “Old Snake” an obvious connection to COBRA Commander. It only seems right that if the Collectors Club were to revisit a joint G.I. Joe/Transformers series that they start by building off of that old school connection.
Old Snake appeared back in the 80s as a man in a reflective mask with a hat and trenchcoat, with some easily identifiable COBRA Commander trademarks and just enough additional disguise to not be too obvious. The Collectors Club uses these trademarks in developing this figure.
COBRA Commander’s head with Rise of COBRA Storm Shadow torso/coat and arms give the figure the familiar face and trenchcoat. Underneath the coat they use Resolute Snake Eyes legs to represent a baggy pair of blue pants underneath. While the Rise of COBRA Storm Shadow jacket does restrict movement quite a bit, due to the nature of its design, the elbow joints and knee joints are nicely poseable and utilize some relatively modern parts.
The color scheme is gray throughout the coat and hat, with the pants a familiar blue, looking a lot like COBRA Commander’s original uniform from the 80s and from the Sunbow series.
There aren’t a ton of accessories here, with the RoC themed laser pistol (which fits in the holster) the backpack that originally came with Retaliation Lady Jaye, as well as a pair of Energon cubes. I will warn folks to be careful with the backpack. The straps are very thin, and one of mine snapped when trying to put it on Old Snake’s back.
The end result of the Old Snake figure is a pretty effective looking version of the classic future-COBRA Commander character that looks and moves the part.
I’ve always had a weird relationship with Transformers. I’ve never been especially attached to the familiar G1 aesthetic, mostly because I collected them as a kid and their restrictive movements always left me frustrated when attempting to “play” with them as a youngster. As a result, while I was captivated by Transformers for a short period of time, it was a hobby that went out of vogue around the same time as Transformers: The Movie killed off all my favorite classic characters. Hasbro’s marketing scheme backfired in that case, and instead of being inspired to buy a whole new cast of characters on store shelves, I merely retired my Transformers collection and moved on to other things.
However, in the 90s my Transformers love was reignited by Beast Wars and in the years since I’ve collected most Transformers that jived with their animated appearances. I didn’t do the Energon trilogy stuff, but I did collect Transformers: Animated and Transformers: Prime. Because of my interest in Transformers: Prime, I was already familiar with the figure that the Stealth B.A.T. is based off of, Transformers: Prime Soundwave. As a Transformer that uses a Predator type drone as an alt mode, it makes a lot of sense in the G.I. Joe aesthetic. The Soundwave figure doesn’t necessarily look a lot like classic fans view Soundwave, so there’s no conflict there with the classic G1 universe.
The size of the figures works well, too, because they are a little larger than your standard G.I. Joe figure, but not so large that they fall out of scale (or out of the price range) of the collectors who want to buy them. As with most of the recent Transformers offerings, articulation is pretty great here, too, with nice knee, hip, and elbow joints. Clearly the Club is using deco to translate this figure to a B.A.T. type android, using the familiar black and yellow paint scheme with a semi-translucent red face mask, as we often saw in the Sunbow animated series.
The transformation is relatively straight forward for an inexperienced rookie Transformers fan like me, and both modes work pretty well. The Predator-style drone looks like it would fit within the aesthetics of the modern G.I. Joe universe, and would be an effective COBRA weapon even in vehicle mode. I could see the Stealth B.A.T.s being used in vehicle mode as surveillance, then transforming and attacking in a devastating new way in robot mode.
The small detachable mini drone is a cool touch, too. With the original Soundwave figure it was basically a Transformers: Prime version of Laserbeak. Here it’s a separate spy drone component that adds a neat new element to the figure and is also a cool (if perhaps unintentional) throwback to the old school Night Raven.
At the end of the day, the two Stealth B.A.T. figures look like somewhat oversized attack robots that you might find in the G.I. Joe universe, and the paint scheme works as a B.A.T. type offensive weapon, too. It’s a nice combination of base figure and paint scheme and adds some interesting twists to the Old Snake pack.
These Stealth B.A.T.s manage to be a nice combination between Transformers design and G.I. Joe aesthetics and is a really nice marriage between the two in both robot mode and alt mode. It’s a fun and flexible toy that works as a bridge between two universes, but also is just a flat out fun G.I. Joe themed action figure as well.
All in all, there are some great vintage homages here as well as some great new elements. Something that appeals to many different crowds. This set is expensive, to be sure, but I’m finding it surprisingly enjoyable and a neat new take on the typical G.I. Joe stuff.