Well, when you figure the Collectors Club has five short months to roll out two FSS’s, plus the extra 12 bonus figures, I guess they’d better move at a pretty quick pace.
As usual, JE Russel received his figures first (it pays to live close to the Club’s home office, I suppose), and I’m posting them below the “READ MORE” link below to preserve spoilers for those who are into those kinds of things.
During the History of the GIJCC Club Comic, Dave Lane made sure to point out that we may see some new characters in upcoming comics, but not to get too excited because the license was winding down and they likely wouldn’t be getting to everyone we’d be seeing. They were placed in there as Easter Eggs primarily.
Well, the latest issue of the Club Comic has arrived in mailboxes and there are Easter Eggs aplenty, including a surprise appearance by a non-G.I. Joe character. Generally I frown upon showing images from the Club Comic, I know they keep the monthly newsletter close to their vest, but with the license winding down in a few months, it seems like not such a big deal.
First of all – look at all dat Star Brigade goodness! Sigh…
But really it’s that second panel that has me (and plenty of other folks) excited… Miles Mayhem sitting at the head of the table full of COBRA operatives. It would seem, even within the Club comic, the worlds of G.I. Joe and M.A.S.K. are being linked more closely together.
Just imagine if the Club had an opportunity to do a M.A.S.K. Convention Set? My heart weeps. Granted, it would go pretty strongly in opposition to their recent philosophy against removable helmets. Maybe if they’d done one with Boss Fight’s involvement in 2014… excuse me while I go cry in a corner somewhere.
I mean, who are we all kidding? This is what JoeCon is all about. Even with a nearly non-existent toyline, a lack of official reveals at the convention, and the wind down of Fun Publications as a whole the entire JoeCon weekend was an absolute blast. A whirlwind of activity, both convention related and not, and a reminder of just what these shows are all about.
It started the day I got there, Thursday, when I told myself I wasn’t going to wait in line. I went as an Aide specifically so I could enjoy myself and not feel hamstrung by product to buy, money to spend, or lines to wait in. Yet, still, that first night, I found myself waiting and walking through the line because so many of my friends were there. For at least four hours I stood in lines even though I didn’t have to, just to say hi and see what I’d missed over the past few years.
Thursday night, me and a few friends went to the incredible WordBurglar show at a local improv, which was terrific as well. WordBurglar is a legit G.I. Joe and 80’s fan, and he killed it both with his skills on the mic, and with his knowledge of G.I. Joe (and Nintendo for that matter). I believe “Long Pour” himself took video of nearly the entire show…
Friday I had a nice breakfast at the rocking City Diner (open 24 hours), and while I unfortunately missed the parachute drop because of it (well, maybe not so unfortunately based on what I heard about it) it was totally worth it. That night was spent in a friend’s hotel room, talking about Japanese imports (long live Diaclone!) and introducing former Hasbro employee Mark Weber to the more intricacies of JoeCon tradition. We also spent some time in the hotel lobby drinking beers (huge thanks to code name “Long Pour” for his constant stream of quality beverages) and just talking. Friday also gave us our first sneak peek at the sales floor when I basked in the glory of Complex and fainted dead away when one of my buddies told me what he spent in the first fifteen minutes of the show.
Then there was Saturday. I opened Saturday at the diner again with another good friend, talking hobby stuff (and business stuff!), then moved to the sales floor to try and get even more facetime with the product, with friends, and with familiar vendors. We were treated to the now infamous “Behind the Scenes of the first G.I. Joe Micro-Movie” panel and I was able to spend some serious time on the sales floor, which was great.
Saturday night brought us Casino Night, which I spent playing bingo (BANGO!) with more friends, enjoying the cosplay, and even some facetime with YoJoe admin Terry who broadcast all the way from Seattle via a telepresence robot and was able to join us all for dinner. It was a truly fantastic moment and one of those small things that makes this show great.
The best thing about Saturday, though, happened after Casino Night when I got a chance to hang out with some long time friends at a few separate establishments in the greater Chattanooga area. We checked out two different places, the Honest Pint and the Pickle Barrel (we had one hell of a view at the Pickle Barrel) and ended up closing both of them down. We returned to the hotel lobby where we shut down JoeCon after hours as well, finally retiring at right around 5:00 o’clock in the morning. Hey, at least I didn’t have to drive home on Sunday or anything… oh, wait. Yes I did.
I think by now we all know what Sunday was like. It was odd, though, there wasn’t really a feeling of melancholy, it was a mostly fun, exciting day punctuated by bouts of emotion. The real struggle came during the last panel, when folks were gathering to say good-bye afterwards, promising each other that this wouldn’t be the last time we all saw each other, promising that there were other regional shows and we’d all meet again somewhere down the line.
Yes, this is true. There are regional shows, and many of them, and they all have a ton of promise. Assembly Required, Coil Con, JoeFest, each of these gatherings promise to be fun. But will any one of them capture the breadth of attention that JoeCon did? Will any one of them draw in so many disparate collectors under one roof?
I hope so. I really and truly do. I’ve been going to JoeCon off and on (mostly on) since 2003, and in spite of a fifteen year run, I’m not ready to say good-bye to these people yet. I’ve seen a pregnant woman in 2003 raise a child, who is now entering high school. I’ve made new friends and I’ve lost friends along the way. JoeCon, at least the attendees of JoeCon, have become a part of my extended family in a way that my real family will never quite know or appreciate. It was a good run, I met some great people, and my world was made better by the folks I’ve come to know and love through JoeCon.
So, when Hasbro has very little presence at JoeCon and there’s no real new product reveals, beyond the toy dealers, what is there on the sales floor to garner the interest of the fandom?
Turns out, there’s a whole bunch!
The sales floor this year was pretty amazing, actually, with a plethora of excellent dealers and a TON of G.I. Joe product (among other things). As always, I didn’t get a ton of time to walk around, but the time I did spend was pretty incredible. Chris Neal’s booth was astounding as usual, and I got a chance to have great conversations with Robert Atkins, Marauder John and Carson from 3D Joes.
Perhaps the most welcome and pleasant surprise, though, was the new product reveals that WERE there. No, nothing G.I. Joe related, but several companies had a presence on the floor, introducing new product and upcoming releases. Even if Hasbro themselves had little to share, for fans of 4″ scale action figures, there was still a LOT to love.
RagingSpoon had their brand new Complex base building kits on display and available for purchase, and by all accounts, they were exceptionally popular. I saw folks buying all weekend long, putting things together, and really loving what they’re doing. The diorama was amazing, and they also introduced a new “catwalk” addition that is in production phases now for a series 02 release. Complex base building kits are still available for pre-order on SmallJoes.com and should be shipping within the next few weeks! You can also check out my review of the Complex building kits right here on GeneralsJoes.
Yes, it’s been a while since their Kickstarter was funded, but I’m happy to say things are moving right along for Eagle Force. They had paint masters on display at the Dime Novel Legends booth and they’re looking pretty awesome! I don’t have a precise time table for shipping yet, but it’s always cool to see the physical product out there in front of you. It makes it a little more real.
Marauder Task Force
I was fortunate enough to get a chance to talk with Marauder John for a few minutes at the booth, and it’s always a huge pleasure. He also had his amazing JoeCon exclusives on display along with test shots for the Exo-Suit, the K-9’s and some of the upcoming World War II Kickstarter figures! Always a highlight of JoeCon to me.
Dime Novel Legends
Some physical samples of the upcoming Dime Novel Legends cowboy figures were also on display at the Chicken Fried Toys booth, and things look like they’re coming along very nicely there, too. Things are still in the midst of the production process but it seems like they are moving right along.
Animal Warriors of the Kingdom
Also at the Chicken Fried Toys booth was the latest samples from Animal Warriors of the Kingdom (Deluxe Wave up on Kickstarter now!) which featured a nice mix of samples of their Deluxe product as well as more regular releases as well. Great stuff for 1:18 scale fans.
Okay, this blew me away! An amazing project that looks to take a well-designed schematic and make “build to order” sets for the Venomous Sea Serpent, a COBRA-themed aircraft carrier/attack boat. It looks like a spectacular display piece and it was great talking to the folks behind it. More information can be found right here as well as in the Facebook group.
I need to take a moment to talk about JoeDeclassified as well, even though I couldn’t take any pictures of their fantastic booth. Pete Hubner was there with his 2-up collection and it was IN-SANE. Dude even had a Hit & Run 2-up. As always, the DeClassified guys were very awesome, had a fantastic freebie, and always a steady stream of people in and around their booth. One of the highlights of JoeCon for sure.
All things considered, the sales floor was pretty amazing this year, full of great product, access to awesome Joe-lebrities and some really cool new reveals to keep things interesting.