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The last few days have been a whirlwind, and I’ve been trying to get up as much coverage and pictures as possible, and I’m still digging through notebooks for information as its needed.  Keep in mind when viewing the scores of Rise of COBRA product that this is  Hasbro’s main focus for 2009, and it should be.  With a 170 million dollar budget, this is a very critical point in the G.I. Joe brand, and this could either skyrocket it into the public conscious or it could negatively impact the brand for a long time.  Anyone who wants G.I. Joe as a whole to be successful should hope that the film does well, even if it’s not your cup of tea.  Heck, the film isn’t really my cup of tea, but I’m going to support it and I’ll be crossing my fingers that it makes a profit and maybe enough of a profit to give G.I. Joe the current “street cred” that Transformers now has.  I have a feeling it will be an uphill battle.

Keep in mind also that items like the Attack on COBRA Island 7-Packs are a direct result of Hasbro’s interaction with the fans and a strong desire on their part to give us at least some of what we’re asking for.  I know it’s easy to write off Hasbro as having no fan loyalty, not caring what we want, etc…  but can that really be true?  The retailers are all moving on.  They’re prepping for the movie line and they want to move forward, and Hasbro has to move forward with them.  But instead of just writing off the items they promised us, they found us a way to get them.

The marketing folks who answer the Q & A’s went out on a limb a few months ago.  They didn’t have to tell us about Mindbender, Recondo, Chuckles, or any of that.  But they did.  They valued collectors enough that they went ahead and made a commitment to us that they were going to give us characters that we wanted and figures that filled holes in our collection before moving on.  But things happen, and sometimes plans change.  Sometimes it’s the retailers, sometimes it’s the direction of the line, and sometimes it’s even the global economy, but whatever the reason, plans sometimes change, and plans DID change, and like it or not, the next phase of G.I. Joe is “Rise of COBRA”.  Hasbro could have easily moved on, shoved the Anniversary in the background and focused all attention on the remainder of 2009.

Instead, they honored their commitment.  Instead of devoting 100% of resources to 2009, they dug back into 1989, ’88, ’87, ’86…all the way back to 1984 and pulled out some winners that they knew the fandom was clamoring for and the fandom would appreciate.  They know retailers won’t attach themselves to these retro figures, so they’re making them online exclusives.  They know costs prohibit single-carding these figures and selling them individually at a high price point, so they’re multi-packing them and getting them to us at a more affordible cost.  Let’s face it, single-carded figures these days are retailing for eight bucks.  The Hostile Environment 7-Packs were $25.  So instead of potentially coughing up well over a hundred bucks for these fourteen figures, we’ll be able to get them for more affordible prices…and let’s face it, they’re almost all characters we’ve been demanding anyway.

These photos weren’t very flattering…there’s a lot of gear missing, and the figures are somewhat roughed up, but the final releases will impress EVERYone.  Trust me when I say these guys will get the gear you want and every one of them will fill a necessarily hole in your vintage collection.  And they’re a very good way to “close the door” at least temporarilly, on the Anniversary line and the vintage homages, because let’s face it, in order to survive, G.I. Joe has to move forward, not be stuck in the past.

It’s time.  It’s time to move on, at least for a year.  It’s time to turn the page.  You never know, you might even like the next chapter better than you thought.