JoeCon 2014 Closes to (Mostly) Positive Reviews

This superb VTOL Air Adventurer flight diorama was clearly the

This superb, custom VTOL Air Adventurer diorama by Sean Huxter was clearly the “show stealer” of the day at JoeCon 2014. Hand-crafted and 3D-printed, exquisite details were everywhere you looked. (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

This feisty

This feisty “Baroness with a Whip” clearly wanted to get into the spirit of the occasion by wearing her handmade, skin-tight Baroness costume to JoeCon 2014. RrrOW! (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

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:

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GIJOE fan and collector, Brad Byers (Photo: Brad Byers)

GIJOE fan Brad Byers (Photo: Brad Byers)

“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

Some dealers at JoeCon 2014 clearly made the most of their limited display space by building their shelving up, up, UP! While such display tactics may help them show more merchandise, it's questionable whether buyers pay as much attention to items placed high above eye-level. (Photo: Brad Byers)

Some dealers at JoeCon 2014 clearly made the most of their limited display space by building their shelving up, up, UP! While such display tactics may help them show more merchandise, it’s questionable whether buyers pay as much attention to items placed high above eye-level. (Photo: Brad Byers)

Greg Brown of Cotswold Colletibles (Photo: DFW GIjOE Club)

Greg Brown of Cotswold Colletibles (Photo: DFW Club)

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:

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“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!”

“Celebrating 25 Years of Action,” Cotswold Collectibles continues to step into the 12-inch product “void” created by Hasbro’s near-total departure from 1:6 scale. Cotswold is now producing its own superb line of figures, packaged and sold in vintage-style “coffin” boxes to ever greater success. Bottom line? More lost revenue for Hasbro, and more profits for Cotswold! (Photo: Brad Byers)

“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.”

Cotswold also set up a display advertising how you could:

Cotswold also set up a display advertising how you could: “Build your own Explorer!” by selecting from various colors of backpacks, canteen covers, belts and uniforms. YES! (Photo: Brad Byers)

“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.”

This massive wall of figures quickly dispelled the notion that there was going to be

This massive wall of figures quickly dispelled the notion that there was “no 12-inch” at the Con. Each figure bore a price sticker, right on its chest, making sales quick and easy. When faced with such fantastic selection, fans and collectors feel like kids in a candy store as they try to pick their favorites. There’s even a muscular-bodied, CA “Thor” peeking in at the lower right. By, Asgard! (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

“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

This dealer's table included 12-inch GIjOES, Action Man figures and even a group of 1:6 Star Wars characters. Sweet! (Photo: Brad Byers)

Another dealer table loaded with 12-inch GIjOES, Action Man “Eagle-Eye” figures and an assortment of 1:6 scale Star Wars characters. There was something for everyone! (Photo: Brad Byers)

This customized

This custom gold Bulletman figure looked great with his all-new uniform, boots and paint. (Photo: Brad Byers)

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:

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 “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

Every year, the GIjOE Collector's Club uses this same display case to show off its convention exclusive figure sets, t-shirts and other premiums. This year, the lackluster

Every year, the GIjOE Collector’s Club uses this same display case to present its convention exclusive figure sets, t-shirts and other merchandise. This year, their lackluster “Codename: GIjOE” 12-inch set was a disappointment and drew little interest from fans. (Photo: Brad Byers)

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David Howard, GIjOE Collector (Photo: Joelanta)

David Howard, GIjOE Collector (Photo: Joelanta)

“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

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We're not sure who this guy's supposed to be. He looks sort'a like a human geiger counter! Whatever his real character's name may be, this outfit with a giant analog gauge really helped him

We’re not sure who this cosplayer’s supposed to be. He looks sorta like a human geiger-counter! Whatever his real character’s name may be, this costume, with its giant analog gauge really helped him “measure up” to the competition! (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

“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:

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GIjOE fan and collector, Louie Lapointe (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

GIjOE fan and collector, Louie Lapointe (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

“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.”

GIjOE co-creator and icon, Sam Speers, alongside a 50th Anniversary banner at JoeCon 2014 in Dallas, TX. (Photo: GIJCC)

GIjOE co-creator and icon, Sam Speers, poses alongside a 50th Anniversary banner at JoeCon 2014 in Dallas, TX. Speers is widely regarded as one of the “Founding Fathers” of GIjOE. (Photo: GIJCC)

“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!”

Two RAH

Two RAH “cosplayers” show off their carefully constructed costumes with detailed, color-coordinated accessories and headgear. (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

“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.”

Perhaps the most detailed diorama at the show was this superb 1:6 scale recreation of the

Perhaps the most detailed diorama at the show was this superb 1:6 scale recreation of the “Bad Mother Tattoos” tattoo parlor. Note all the tiny details including magazines, books, framed samples, equipment, and even a 1:6 scale tattoo gun. Simply out-STANDING work! (Photo: Brad Byers)

This closeup of the 1:6 scale

This closeup of the “Bad Mother” Tattoo Parlor’s 1:6 scale tattoo gun reveals superb attention to detail and miniature realism. Excellent work! (Photo: Brad Byers)

“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.”

Fans of 12-inch were surprised and pleased to find many rare figures available at the show. (Photo: Brad Byers)

Fans of 1:6 scale GIjOEs had mixed reactions to the quantity and availability of 12-inch merchandise at JoeCon 2014. Despite that fact, take a look at THESE great figures. WOW! (Photo: Brad Byers)

Attention, Ape-heads! This fantastic collection of customized

Attention, Ape-heads! This fantastic collection of customized “Adventure Primate Elite” figures stands ready to take over the Earth at your command. Even the sign was hand-carved and painted. (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

“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

Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector's Club (Photo: GIJCC)

Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector’s Club (Photo: GIJCC)

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:

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“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.”
Brian Savage
These great medical dioramas NEVER get old. Look at the well-chosen background accessories and nicely posed figures. GREAT job! (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

A good medical diorama never goes out of style. This entry in the 1:6 diorama category had well-chosen background accessories and nicely posed figures. Simple and effective. (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

There are still copies of this special brass commemorative coin available at the club store. ($25 each). (Photo: CIGCC)

Copies of this commemorative coin are available from the club—for $25! (Photo: GIJCC)

Dessert options for the banquet included your choice from these 4 superb GIjOE-themed cakes. Which one would YOU choose? Mmm! (Photo: GIJCC)

Dessert options for attendees of the Con’s awards banquet included a piece from one of 4 superbly crafted  GIjOE-logo cakes. Which cake design would YOU choose? Mmm! (Photo: GIJCC)

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4 thoughts on “JoeCon 2014 Closes to (Mostly) Positive Reviews

  1. Tim Weedn says:

    Lisa and I went Saturday. Found some neat stuff and had a great time. Probably would not have gone were it not in Dallas which is roughly 30 miles away. Overall, it was quite enjoyable.

  2. Ruby Rios says:

    This note goes to Sam Speers. PLEASE… How can I get one of those “50th celebration” t-shirts? I was not able to make the GIjOE convention here in Dallas, TX. Is there any way I can brag and tell that I’m a huge GIjOE collector and fan since I was a little girl? When Joe turned 50, it was my birthday as well! My aunt used to buy me GIjOE “dolls” because she used to think they were so cute. Now, I continue to collect them. I’ve lost count of how many real GIjOEs I have. I LOVE GIjOEs! Please reply. I’d also like to know WHY did Hasbro stop the “fuzzhead” GIjOEs? Who wants a hardhead GIjOE? Please! I have many more questions. Thank you.

    • Hi Ruby, Thanks for writing. I’m not sure if Sam Speers reads The Joe Report, so I thought I’d jump in here and notify you that, for the time being at least, the club is selling those t-shirts from their website. They seem to be selling out fast, so if you want one, I’d suggest you move quickly. As of today, here is the direct link to that page. Good luck!

  3. Joey Tutor says:

    I must say, I had a great time at the con this year. It was my first one, so I didn’t know what to expect. I made some new friends and I think I bought something from every 12-inch vendor there. For us 12-inch guys, we did great on the dioramas, getting 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the small setup. And although I didn’t place, the medical aid station shown in this article was mine. My wife even bought herself a figure and had a good time as well. I can’t wait until next year to go again!

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