Fans Share Reactions to Recent Show
JoeCon 2014 is now one for the history books. Based on forum reviews, e-mails to the editor, and direct first-person “field reports” received here by our news desk, fan reaction to the 4-day event held last weekend in Dallas, TX appears to be primarily—positive. Attendance was similar to last year’s subdued affair in Indianapolis (i.e. “so-so”), not up or down significantly. The 12-inch dealer, fan and collector presence all seemed to be (fairly) well represented, with sales and product equally (fairly) plentiful. And, the number of 1:6 scale custom figure and diorama entries contesting for prizes seems to have held its own this year among a much greater number of 3.75″ RAH entries. It wasn’t the 50th Anniversary “blow-out party” fans had long been hoping for, but overall, JoeCon 2014 would have to be categorized as—a (qualified) success.
Of course, third-person recaps are fine, but nothing beats having first-person “boots on the ground” reportage when covering a major event such as this. For that sort of up-close and personal coverage, we now turn (once again) to our intrepid pool of TJR “Field Reporters,” each and every one a dedicated fan, collector, and concerned analyst of the GIjOE collecting hobby. Here’s what they had to say:
“I went to the Saturday general admission exhibit area of JoeCon 2014. The show was nice and seemed to be well organized. Overall, it was bigger than the one I went to in Frisco, TX several years ago. There was a good mix of items for sale for both the 12 inch and 3 3/4 inch collectors (with a slight more emphasis on the 3 3/4 inch figures). Being just a general admission attendee, I didn’t get to do anything else, but there was a seminar on the ‘History of GIjOE’ going on in another area while I was there. I had a great time and look forward to the upcoming D/FW show in October!” —Brad Byers
Dealers and 1:6 scale-related businesses will be interested to learn what Greg Brown of Cotswold Collectibles had to say about his experiences at this year’s show:
“I did some quick GIjOE shopping Friday morning, picked up a NICE Irwin Scout Car from Ace, a tan field radio with handset-n-strap from Jason, a pair of machetes with sheathes and an AT Talking Commander Shirt and Pants I found buried way in the back of a 3.75” dealer’s booth.
After lunch, my son and I manned the Cots booth as the 2 PM crowd came in (and what a crowd it was). We stayed busy until 5:15 PM, when they finally ran off the holdout customers in our booths. Contrary to popular belief, there are still 12″ Joeheads coming to this show, and they came to spend money!”
“Saturday was just as busy. We sold a ton of stuff and talked to a TON of people. I called it a day at 5 PM again. Didn’t do the club dinner that night for I hadn’t purchased a convention package, so my boy and I just ate in the hotel restaurant, and retired back to our room, wherein he read the stash of GIjOE comics he got that day, and crashed from exhaustion. There was a clandestine para-drop that night, but we were so out of it, we didn’t go.
Sunday was my third and final day at the show. It was slower, so I got to walk around a little. I talked to Brian Savage for a pretty good amount of time, ‘shop talk’ mostly, which was productive.”
“Even though the Club didn’t do much in offering 12″ product at the show, you couldn’t say that 12” was dead there. I was representing Cotswold, Ace Allgood and his crew had 5 booths full of vintage 12″ or 1:6 scale product, Ross Craig had a TON of Adventure Team sets and figures, Greg Patterson had an assortment of 40th sets, Eva Thompson had two booths plus of vintage and other 12″ product, Tony Tillman had a TON of loose figures and parts out the wazoo, Cosmic Collectibles had some nice boxed AT vehicle sets as well as good loose parts, and there was even a man and wife team from California(!) with 12″ vintage.”
“So from a personal perspective, I’d have to say that this was a fun show and it was great to reconnect with the Con ‘regulars’ I remembered from years back. From a business perspective, we had a lot of people tell us that they had missed us and were happy that Cotswold Collectibles had come back this year. They showed their appreciation financially too, for it was probably the BEST JoeCon we’ve had in years, maybe even the past 10 years! When I sat down and totalled up our numbers, I was shocked at how much we sold.” —Greg Brown, Cotswold Collectibles
Greg’s “after action” report is undeniably upbeat and a relief for other sellers and dealers who were worried that business at JoeCon had all but dried up. But did everyone who attended feel as positively about the show as Mr. Brown? Apparently not. For some additional insight and impartial perspective, let’s hand the microphone back over to some show attendees:
“I can’t say that I was all that impressed with the show this year. I swung by, and after an hour, I was ready to leave (and did).” —Michael Milstead
“If you went to Joelanta, you saw 75% of the vintage that was at JoeCon, more than likely with the exception of a few small dealers. For the money, Joelanta was a better choice for me. And scheduling JoeCon so close to Joelanta is a bad idea. Unless you have a deep pocketbook and tons of inventory, it’s difficult to attend two major shows back to back.” —David Howard
“There was a lot of 12″ stuff, there just wasn’t a lot of 12″ collectors, or collectors in general. I don’t know if it was the fact that the dealer room was huge, but this seemed to be one of the lightest-attended Joecons I have been to.” —Joe Czar
Hmm… Interesting! With disparaging remarks such as “lightly attended,” “Joelanta was a better choice,” and “after an hour I was ready to leave,” it appears some fans viewed the proceedings through a slightly different lens. Of course, if you look at the club’s official convention photos (found HERE), you only get the impression of packed halls, busy banquets and energetic dealer rooms full of happy fans. That may be (mostly) true if you’re a collector of the little 3.75″ figures, but it’s clear some 1:6 scalers felt “left out” during this year’s JoeCon. To get a more overall and detailed description of the show from a fan’s perspective, we dispatched our intrepid, undercover Field Reporter, Louie Lapointe (shown below) to cover the events and report back to us with his own honest summation. Here then, is Lapointe’s intel:
“Overall, I saw some great fan enthusiasm at JoeCon 2014. Those that go to JoeCons are a niche group, and they really enjoy being there. I felt a positive chemistry in the air with so many like-minded people gathered together. I frequent Comic Cons as well. At those shows, the vibe is different because there are so many varied interests. At THIS show, I walked past many groups of people animatedly discussing things related to GIjOE. And the lines to see the various ‘Joelebrities’ were also filled with fans, all happy to wait to meet their favorites.”
“I also witnessed some outstanding cosplay (costumed players). Being an old ‘Con Rat,’ I’ve seen a vast improvement over the years in terms of costume craftsmanship and care given regarding the portrayal of beloved characters. Most at this show were top-notch!”
“As far as custom figures and dioramas, there were some truly inspired, imaginative and downright FUNNY ones on display. And at one booth, there was even some creepy and creative avant-garde pieces to experience.”
“As to vendors and dealers, my impression was, overall, very positive. You could tell that they were fans as well and were knowledgeable about the stuff they had up for sale and/or trade. Most were SUPER friendly, willing to make a deal, and eager to help you find whatever it was you were looking for.”
“My only complaint—and it’s one that I (sadly) anticipated—was the lack of any real celebration of GIjOE’s 50th anniversary. I’m 52 now, and I find it kind of funny that the GIjOE sets I couldn’t afford way back when they first came out, I STILL can’t afford today! Oh well, at least, my 20-something son made out like a bandit with his own particular list of wants. Any time I can share my hobby with him gets a BIG check mark in the positive column!” —Louie Lapointe
Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to all of the intrepid TJR Field Reporters who generously contributed their time, insights and photographs to this article. And our sincerest and heartiest congratulations to Brian Savage and the rest of his hard-working employees (and volunteers) at the GIjOE Collectors Club. Despite all of the “gripes and grumbles” fans send their way, the club’s professionalism and experience in organizing, promoting, and hosting these annual conventions is undeniable and worthy of fandom’s sincerest admiration and respect. If you’d like to view more photos of JoeCon 2014 and its proceedings, we recommend you visit the GIJCC photo gallery HERE. Mr. Savage also chimed in regarding the recent success of JoeCon 2014, saying:
“The overall vibe was VERY positive and we raised over $6,000 for the Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth! Unfortunately, I don’t have time to write a report for you now, but we will have others writing JoeCon articles for the upcoming (June) issue of the collector’s club magazine.”