“Joelanta Weekend” Starts Tomorrow

Characters of all sizes can be expected to attend this year's event, even lost agents searching for Spy Island.

It’s finally here! The amazing Joelanta GIjOE Show begins TOMORROW (Saturday). Fans and collectors of GIjOE, Action Man, Dragon, 21stC,  BBi, Sideshow (and many others) are all converging on beautiful Atlanta, Georgia to celebrate everything 1:6 scale (and below).

Now in its second decade, Joelanta continues to grow in popularity and attendance. According to Atlanta GIjOE Club and Joelanta spokesman, Dave “Tanker” Matteson, they’re expecting “at least 1,200 fans” to show up for this one. That’s a lot of frothy-mouthed Joeheads in one place!

Master craftsman and diorama builder, Dan DiBiase presented his astounding 1:6 scale Star Trek bridge at a previous Joelanta.

The weekend kicks off with Saturday’s informal, yet very popular, “Lobby Swap,” which is just what it sounds like; a bunch of guys sitting around in the hotel lobby pawing through suitcases jammed with gear and assorted miscellaneous. Then there’s the parachute toss, how-to demonstrations, entertainment videos, special guests, contests and much more.

But the main event comes on Sunday, where many of the nation’s top dealers have reserved tables for Joelanta’s big buy/sell/trade event. Dioramas are on display. Conversations about GIjOE are in full swing. And fans are in full FEVER mode! We can’t wait to see this show. We’ve packed our bags, filled the car up with $4.09 a gallon gas (gulp!) and are hitting the road. Atlanta here we come!

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3 thoughts on ““Joelanta Weekend” Starts Tomorrow

  1. kneonknight says:

    The photo of the gentleman portraying “Spy Island Joe” sent me on a nostalgia trip all the way back to my childhood…

    I received “Secret Mission to Spy Island” as a Christmas gift in 1969. It was one of the early issue “Adventures of G.I. Joe” sets and included not the iconic black “wooly-pully” sweater and trousers from later versions, but the Marine camouflage uniform from the military line. Which was fine with me, as the comic included clearly depicted a U.S. Marine being sent on a top secret mission. In any event, there was a small, shallow creek which ran through our back yard, complete with a miniature waterfall, a tree root which bridged the stream a bit further down, and opening into a large, shallow pool before draining away though a small culvert under the access road leading to our house. I wish I had the foresight to have photographed that scene, as it was PERFECT for all sorts of G.I. Joe play.

    My brother and I used some scrap lath, branches, and twine to construct a small dock and and shed near the pool, and spent many hours there, playing wih out Joes, dinosaurs, and any other adventure/military toys we had. During one particularly long day of play, we decided we could leave our Joes on the dock for the night, rather than lugging them and all our gear back to the house. Fortunately, we parked the jeep and motorcycle above the pool with the bulk of our troops and equipment, leaving my Spy Island guy and brother’s Frogman to guard the dock.

    Sometime in the wee hours of the following morning, a particularly heavy rain gell, flooding the creek. Our small dock and shed were washed completely away, along with our Joes, raft, scuba gear and other small items we had left there. We awoke the next morning to water flowing rapidly past the jeep and our remaining joes, and quickly hurried out to retrieve what we could.

    Our Scuba Diver and “Secret Agent” were never seen again, although I did recover the paddle from the raft a few days later.

    Fast forward 3 years.

    My brother had outgrown G.I. Joe by 1972, and was into more ‘grown up toys like slot cars and sporting goods. I remained a loyal Joe fan, but was finding it increasingly difficult to locate any military themed sets. The only items available, it seemed, were the cardboard fottlocker full of Stony Smith gear (which I would dearly love to have again) and a few cheap knock offs from Woolworths and other five-and-dime stores. The Adventure team was really hitting its stride, but the fuzzy head guys didn’t really appeal to me, and most of their “adventures” actually looked more like scientific geek work than actual fun.

    But, to my amazement, under the tree that year was a brand new “Spy Island” with the black sweater and pants, and rubber stocking cap. I was skeptical about the black togs, but an older cousin who was serving in Vietnam assured me that it was a viable option.

    That set was one of the few AT items I ever actually owned.

    But wait, there’s more-remeber the cousin I mentioned? During the spring of the following year, he made a visit to us while on leave, and presented me with a truly fantastic gift.

    A black U.S. Navy “watch” cap. A black turtleneck sweater and authentic tousers he had custom made by a Vietnamese tailor to mimic current Navy SEAL gear. A toy submachine gun, a genuine G.I. pistol belt with canteen, and, most amazing of all, a two man inflatable raft with paddles and a U.S. Army lensatic compass. The raft was, of course, black, and to this day I have never been able to find one like it, or even any references to such an item either military or civilian.

    At this point in the story, one expects a maudlin turn, where my awesome cousin was either killed or severely wounded in the war, but my story has a happy ending. he returned home after 5 tours overseas and the worst injury he ever received was a case of athletes foot.

    But the best part is that my then 14 year old brother actually consented to play some “kid” games with me, and we spent many hours using the raft to infiltrate enemy territory across a local stock pond, always managing to escape in the nick of time.

    Good times? You bet. And i owe it to two G.I. Joes-my 12″ plastic pal, and my cousin, who now owns a successful stock and feed business in the Four Corners region.

    Oh, yeah…prior commitments prevent me from attending Joelanta (yet again) this year. But y’all take some pictures, and may you find your personal “Holy Grail” in C10 condition, for less than the cost of a gallon of gas. Have fun guys!

  2. kneonknight says:

    Just a quick one here, no novels, I promise-

    The striking brunette in the background-is she portraying “The Baroness”? I she is, she has definitely got the look. A bit too cheerful, but still…

    If she isn’t, and that is how she normally dresses, does anyone have her number?

    Enjoy the hell out of the con, and bring me back a program!

  3. Tanker says:

    She was in fact the Baroness! I think that was from last year. Got a great picture of her grabbing and hugging my son!

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