A lack of leadership creates a vacuum. And apparently, a LOT of great artwork!
We’ve discussed the work of GIjOE’s commercial artists many times before here on The Joe Report. Surprisingly however, famous artist/illustrators such as 1960s vintage packaging artist Sam Petrucci, 1970s Adventure Team illustrator Don Stivers, and 1990s Classic Collection artist Larry Selman are but a few of the many talents behind GIjOE’s ongoing visual legacy.
We’ve also covered the high-end market of GIjOE “fine art” (see article HERE) where GIjOE action figures are regularly depicted as the subject matter in oil paintings and other such works in museums.
But now there’s a third category: The artwork of FANS. For years, fans have been producing superb paintings, fiction stories, photo comics, 3D dioramas, etc., all noncommissioned and uncompensated, simply for the “LOVE OF GIjOE.” Despite being largely unheralded, fan art continues to grow in popularity, producing more and more astounding work—without ANY supervision or recognition from Hasbro!
Since all of this new GIjOE artwork is being created by fans, other fans are the first to see and admire it. For example, “eagle-eyed” Field Reporter, Barry Vedros, first spotted the outstanding work of artist and fan, Dusty Abell, and excitedly exclaimed:
“I’ve been checking out this guy Dusty Abell’s artwork over on DeviantArt. Holy crap! He has our generation nailed with his tributes. Check out the one above called ‘Action Figures of the Classic Seventies.’ GIjOE gets his fair credit in this one for sure!”
All of this new GIjOE-inspired artwork can also be viewed as an attempt by frustrated fans at “brand resuscitation.” As the old adage states, “A lack of leadership creates a vacuum,” and that’s clearly what’s been happening at Hasbro for years. Without new “official” product output or guidance from GIjOE’s creators, many fans are asking themselves, “What do we do NOW?”
Well, in ever greater numbers, Joeheads are turning to their own creativity for answers. Some choose to sketch. Maybe just for ideas of new custom figures or vehicles. Some make videos, websites or club newsletters. Others go even further and paint or sculpt original works. Still more are writing short stories, expounding on the vast, untapped universe of Adventure Team, RAHs, and other well-known Joe-characters. A few artistic fans, such as Sean Eley, go so far as to combine original artwork or photographs with original storylines; creating their own comic books, slide-show photo stories or other genres of GIjOE-centric fan fiction.
Taken as a whole, the resulting variety and amount of new creative works inspired by and featuring GIjOE (and his foes) is literally staggering. In future articles, we’ll be discussing the rise in popularity of photo stories (both electronic and on paper), books, newsletters and other paper ephemera. But for now, here are some more great examples of GIjOE “fan artwork”…
Bottom Line: This is only the tip of the iceberg. The work of “fan artists” can range from childhood scribbles to the astounding work of adult professionals. You could spend days and weeks searching the internet and never see all the amazing amateur work being done “in the name of Joe” around the world. However, if you’d like to try, we suggest you start by visiting art-posting sites such as Deviantart found HERE. Good luck and GO JOE!