Being a G.I. Joe fan during the 2002 – 2005 era was an exercise in enthusiasm, excitement, and on occasion bitter disappointment. Those formative years of the new era of G.I. Joe were surrounded by an extremely vibrant fandom who latched onto G.I. Joe’s new retail presence and celebrated through Devils’ Due comics, the G.I. Joe convention, which now catered more to the 3 3/4″ fans, and a lot of folks embracing the excitement and wacky nature of G.I. Joe for the first time since the 80’s.
From a conceptual standpoint, Hasbro was developing an impressive resume of characters from the old days as well as new characters, establishing almost a perfect formula of vintage and modern. The only problem was, back then, the toy design process was a bit hit or miss, and the actual product wasn’t measuring up to the concepts. Seems we’re at an opposite place now, where we have this process to develop fantastic figures, but conceptually there seems to be a struggle. If only we could get the JvC enthusiasm and marketing muscle with the modern design technology…
But I digress.
Over at their new podcast, Nerdrahtio, Sam Sears and Tom Mathias spent some time speaking with Sam Wells, formerly of Devils’ Due Publications, who shares some magnificent concept art from the Joe Vs. Cobra, Spy Troops, Valor Vs. Venom, and even DTC days. Back then, Draxhall Jump was doing amazing work building these terrific character designs, which unfortunately ended up somewhat limited in execution. But looking back at these spectacular concepts, it can’t help but make G.I. Joe fans wish for “what might have been”. Not only that, but there is a wealth of unreleased characters featured in the artwork as well. Amazing looking stuff, truly.
Still, kudos to both Sams and Tom for sharing the information. I’ve mirrored a couple of images below, but you should check out Nerdrahtio.com for the rest. You will NOT regret it. While you’re there, listen to that first episode as well, a great interview with Mr. Wells along with discussion about the concept art shown.