“When we get together, we are all 8 years old again, if only for a few days. You can’t beat those days in my opinion.” David Howard, GIjOE Fan & Collector
Special TJR Guest Editorial
By David Howard, with an introduction by Mark Otnes
And now, for something completely different…
Today, we turn over the helm of the media juggernaut known as The Joe Report to the very capable auspices of editorialist-extraordinaire—David Howard. In “real-life,” Howard is a professional graphic designer/illustrator, and as a longtime member of the D/FW GIjOE Collector’s Club, he has achieved well-deserved fame and renown for creating the boxes and graphics used to promote that esteemed organization’s convention exclusive figures (for complete information, see Howard’s previous profile HERE). Today, he reflects back on his life as a GIjOE collector, discusses the current state of the 1:6 scale hobby, and ponders its uncertain future. Without further ado…Herrre’s David!
The ‘Early Days’ Weren’t Easy
“I’ve been collecting GIjOE seriously ‘hardcore’ since 1985 or so, making me one of the hobby’s ‘old-school’ collectors, I guess. I grew up in a small, rural Texas town, graduated high school in 1983, and attended college near Dallas. That’s important, because had I not lived there, I would never have met Eva Thompson; a dealer and friend who was an early hobby/club/show promoter.” (see examples above and below)
“You have to remember that back then, there were no collector forums. Heck, there wasn’t even an Internet! We trudged to shows, flea markets and garage sales in an almost quixotic quest; just hoping for a GLIMPSE of GIjOE. The only connection we really had to other collectors were toy shows and copies of ‘Toy Shop’ magazine.”
GIjOE Fandom Today
“What’s the current state of the GIjOE-collecting hobby? Opinions may vary, but as for me, I’m not sure that the hobby has gone ‘downhill’ as much as it has changed. Change is to be expected with everything in life and hobbies are no exception. For example, shows are still around. Not as many maybe, but they still exist and are great fun to attend. Years ago, I only knew of a handful of other hardcore collectors. But today, thanks to the Internet and GIjOE-related forums, I know and communicate with many, many more. I’ve even made lifelong friends with a few that I would have never met otherwise.”
A Plethora of Product
“There has never been more great product to choose from in this hobby than there is right now—and for every budget. I can remember when there was ZERO 12″ product on store shelves. But look at all the stuff that has been produced in the last 20 years. A person can come into this hobby today, start a new collection, and there are endless forms his (or her) collection can take, including: Hasbro 12″ vintage, 12″ modern, 3 3/4″ vintage, 3 3/4″ modern, Sideshow, DID, 40th Action Man, or a combination of it all. And the level of detail and craftsmanship of these new items is 10-fold what it was 20 years ago (trust me, it is).”
An Explosion of Knowledge
“I still have the very first book that came out on the GIjOE hobby. It was a crude book by Carol Moody, with a few black and white photos and a LOT of badly drawn illustrations of GIjOE equipment and sets. But “Wow! ” I thought,”We have a book!” I laugh nowadays, when I think about how excited I was to get a copy of that thing.
Now we have hundreds of top-notch websites, chocked full of information, many great collecting books to choose from, and thousands upon thousands of talented individuals who are more than happy to share their talent, experience and wealth of knowledge through forums, videos, blogs and broadcast. Simply put, if you don’t have the information you need or want, you ain’t looking for it! Never has there been so MUCH great info out there on our hobby.”
GIjOE’s Future—is FUN!
“Has the hobby evolved over the years? Yes. For better or worse? That depends on the individual. My personal outlook is that the glass is more than ‘half full.’ There are so many great shows that I can’t afford to go to them all now (JoeCon, Joelanta and smaller regional shows). I also have more collecting friends than I have ever had (in-person and online). There’s also more great product to choose from than ever before, and so many websites to read that I can’t keep track of them all. In fact, from time to time, I have to back off my collecting and acquiring due to money, work, or other interests. Despite the occasional lull, I find that GIjOE holds a special place in my heart, and always will. Collectors are kindred spirits from childhood, and when we get together we are 8 years old again—if only for a few days. And you can’t beat those days in my opinion.”
Bottom Line: Our thanks to David Howard for his continued contributions and reportage to The Joe Report. It’s clear that the GIjOE-collecting hobby has grown exponentially and has continued to evolve ever since it was first introduced back at 1964’s Toy Fair—almost 50 years ago. Joe’s childhood fans have now become adults, and their needs and wants may have changed, but the underlying affection we all share for GIjOE and its myriad offshoots remains as strong as ever. If you’d like to comment on David’s editorial, you can do so HERE.