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The dichotomy between 2013 and this upcoming new year couldn’t have been more stark than it was when I was researching the Top 10 biggest news stories for the past year.  We went from anticipating a new film, lots of new Hasbro release toys, the emergence of Kre-O, and many other potential new G.I. Joe events from the upcoming year to a year of total uncertainty.

Today marks the beginning of the 50th Anniversary of the G.I. Joe brand, a brand steeped in history and cultural relevance, and it seems to be a real shame that such an event would go mostly ignored by Hasbro, who wouldn’t exist as an entity today without G.I. Joe’s presence throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.  A damn shame that nearly four full decades of success relegates a once remarkable brand to the potential dustbins of history and pop culture insignificance.  G.I. Joe as a brand helped build you, Hasbro.  It would be nice if you would at least spend some efforts trying to return the favor.

Rant over.  🙂

Click the “Continue Reading” link below to see my list of the Top 10 biggest G.I. Joe news stories of 2013, let’s all cross our fingers that there are enough reasons to be writing up a similar list this time next year!

It was a year of ups and downs.  By January, 2013, we had mostly gotten over the shock and disappointment of the G.I. Joe: Retaliation delay, and we were looking ahead to a potentially successful film.  But the 10th biggest news story was actually a bit of a negative one, though that didn’t become readily apparent until later.

10.  Harmony Gold sues Hasbro over the 2013 San Diego ComicCon Jetfire

I will admit, I initially discarded rumors of this event, thinking that it would have zero impact in the short or long term.  I ended up being incorrect, as sales of the SDCC 2013 set were never posted on or via the G.I. Joe Collectors Club until rumors of the lawsuit settlement emerged (right here on GeneralsJoes first)!  At the end of the day, the result was the same, and the boxed set was available for purchase after the show, but I can’t deny the importance of this story throughout the year.


9. G.I. Joe “Eaglehawk” is released, bringing the fan favorite Tomahawk to the masses

If 2013 was indeed a “swan song” of sorts for the G.I. Joe brand as he know and love at mass retail, at least the brand went out swinging.  John Warden and other associated parties put quarts of blood, sweat, and tears into this amazing revitalization of the old school Tomahawk helicopter, and managed the impossible…they made a nearly perfect vehicle even better.



8. Mike Costa announces the end of IDW’s G.I. Joe: The Cobra Files

When IDW Publishing relaunched their assortment of G.I. Joe titles for “Season 3” in 2013, things seemed to be looking good for that particular license.  They were bringing new blood to the mainstream title, and mostly leaving the Cobra title alone creatively, a decision that the fandom applauded.  However, before the year was up, it was evident that the new “Cobra Files” title was coming to an end, and Mike Costa confirmed it, elaborating on the decision to wrap this landmark series after three years.  Bringing a very unique “crime noir” style to the G.I. Joe universe, Costa, Antonio Fuso (and full share of credit to Christos Gage as well, who helped spark the title initially), the Cobra title was routinely a critical favorite and brought some great new adult elements to G.I. Joe.  It will be greatly missed.


7. G.I. Joe: “Ultimate” Wave 3.5 finally brings Kwinn to collector’s hands

Oh yes, I know we got a Kwinn with the Comic Packs back in 2004, but I think most G.I. Joe fans would agree with me that the arctic Kwinn is a pale imitation of the Kwinn that we all really wanted for the past thirty something years.  Well, this past summer, Hasbro fulfilled their long promise to finally get the figure out to retail, and he happened to be mixed into a mega wave of twelve figures, most of which were spectacular.  Like the Eaglehawk, if this ended up being one of the final “swan songs” of G.I. Joe’s modern legacy at mass retail, the designers deserve a huge fistfull of credit for pulling out the stops and kicking some real ass.  Looking at movie licensed product for films like the Avengers, Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, and Wolverine, you truly appreciate how good we had it as G.I. Joe fans with people like John Warden, Derryl DePriest, Logan Lubera, Richard Woodhouse, Steve Bono, Jason Sass, Mic Paolino, Dave Proctor, the other Boss Fight Studio folks and too many others over the years.  As fans, even if Hasbro proper isn’t putting their faith behind things right now, we have to honor and appreciate the folks “on the ground” who busted their ass and did everything they possibly could to bring us great new toys when so many other lines fell under the cost cutting knife.  Cheers.



6. G.I. Joe: Battleground released to mobile devices everywhere

I think many G.I. Joe fans would agree that one of the most glaring absences from recent years is a quality G.I. Joe video game.  I’m not entirely sure G.I. Joe: Battleground is what Joe fans had in mind, as a collectible trading card strategy game, industry powerhouse Mobage has built an interface that has brought new fans into the G.I. Joe mythology.  Dipping into every level of obscurity, Mobage and DeNA have succeeded in producing some extremely nice, high quality artwork from nearly every era of G.I. Joe.  Even for folks who don’t enjoy the game, there’s a lot to love from an art perspective with every weekly event.



5. G.I. Joe Kre-O brings an exciting new format to A Real American Hero brand

After the questionable debut of G.I. Joe building block toys with Built To Rule several years ago, many questioned the potential success of a more kid friendly and mini-figure based line from Kre-O.  Leveraging a great relationship with brick producer Oxford, Hasbro utilized their Kre-O brand on Transformers and G.I. Joe with some very impressive results.  Kre-On mini figures and Kre-O building sets have generated some really great buzz inside and outside the fandom, and with rumors of some upcoming new sets on the way, this may be a side of G.I. Joe that produces some cool new items in the upcoming year.


4. G.I. Joe: Retaliation “Extended Action Cut” features 15 minutes of additional footage

Even with a successful theatrical run, some fans felt the end result of G.I. Joe: Retaliation was somewhat stiff and seemed choppy in the transitions between scenes.  Also, many of the sequences revealed during early clips and behind the scenes footage appeared left on the cutting room floor.  Well, Jon Chu, Paramount, and Best Buy all stepped up and brought G.I. Joe fans everywhere the “Extended Action Cut” which fills in a lot of these gaps and gives us an additional nearly 15 minutes of footage not scene in theaters.  The result was a much more seamless and enjoyable film version of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and many viewers greatly appreciated having the chance to see this fuller version of the film.



3. Hasbro’s G.I. Joe silence is deafening

So amidst the blockbuster release of a major G.I. Joe motion picture and some of the best action figures released in the past few years, one would expect that enthusiasm for G.I. Joe at a corporate level would be at an all time high leading up to the 50th Anniversary.

Yeah, not so much.

Toy Fair 2013 gave us pretty much stuff that we’d seen already, and the 2013 G.I. Joe Convention was almost totally devoid of Hasbro related news.  G.I. Joe was mostly just a footnote at SDCC, and here we are, January of 2014 and not a single nugget of digestible information about the future of G.I. Joe seems prevalent.  Not the most auspicious way to start the movable action man’s 50th anniversary, I would say.  It would be a shame if Hasbro didn’t do anything of merit to celebrate this landmark occasion, and who knows, maybe they’ll pull a rabbit out of their hat, but at this point, as said above, their silence is deafening.  Who knows what we’ll see or hear at Toy Fair in six weeks, or the G.I. Joe convention eight weeks after that.  Yes, there were the rumors at SDCC about the reveal of the potential 50th Anniversary line at Toy Fair next year, but it’s been dreadfully silent since then, which leads one to believe this was just that…a rumor.


2. G.I. Joe Collectors Club picking up the ball and running with it

As Hasbro is seemingly letting the G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary slip through their fingers, by all indications, the G.I. Joe Collectors Club is only too eager to pick it up and run with it.  By all appearances, the first round of the Figure Subscription Service was a sales success, warranting a swift second series, that is currently shipping now.  There are already rumors of a third iteration, and perhaps we’ll see the first reveal at this at JoeCon in April.

Along with this, has gone through a very nice face lift, being more forum oriented and interactive, and we have the very fan friendly releases of Cross Country, the HAVOC Mk. II, as well as what promises to be a very exciting convention set with E.C.O. Force, the Zombie Hunters, and the Cobra Zombie-Vipers themselves.  While the silence from Hasbro themselves remains deafening, the rumble of excitement over the Collectors Club product gets louder as well, and hopefully they can fully capitalize on this potential lull in the collector market, bringing some great new product to the table.



1. G.I. Joe: Retaliation explodes to $400m worldwide, and G.I. Joe 3 is green lit with Director Jon Chu back at the helm

Originally these three stories all had separate entries, but I decided that they could all easily fall under the G.I. Joe: Retaliation umbrella and they were all a smaller part of a huge story of 2013, which was the release and success of the G.I. Joe: Retaliation film.  Even with the nine month delay, the impact of the film worldwide was evident within the first few weeks of release, rocketing to nearly $400m internationally and becoming a world wide hit.  Over reaching other feature films by individual stars Bruce Willis and Channing Tatum, G.I. Joe: Retaliation almost broke the Top 20 of highest grossing films for 2013.

The immediate response and success of the film drove Paramount to announce an early green light for G.I. Joe 3, featuring the return of Jon Chu to the director’s chair, as well as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Adrianne Palicki, and likely many other cast members as well.  According to Chu, shooting is scheduled to start in 2014, though a final release date has not yet been announced.  Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman) is working the script, and hopefully 2014 will see news for the third film emerge in a big way.


Honorable Mention

I would be remiss if I didn’t throw in an honorable mention here to my friends over at Boss Fight Studio for some potential big news in 2013.  Former Hasbro designers and freelancers, the guys and girls behind Boss Fight Studio are promising some big things for 2014, and all indications are they may provide some very cool stuff this year.  We are already enjoying the fruits of their labors with some awesome new head sculpts from the FSS 2.0, and here’s hoping they had a hand in the upcoming E.C.O. Force Convention set as well.

All in all, it was a thrilling 2013, and almost the antithesis of what we see so far for 2014.  But with a third film on the horizon, the G.I. Joe Collectors Club, and who knows what possible surprises for the 50th Anniversary, let’s all hope this lull is only temporary.

For crying out loud, Hasbro, this production gap is throwing me into the welcoming arms of Mattel and the Masters of the Universe Classics line, and I don’t think anyone wants that!