Is it Over? 9-Word Sentence in the G.I. Joe Club’s Official Magazine Sparks Concern & Confusion

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Burying the Headline— A short, 9-word sentence in the January 2016 issue of the GIjOE Collectors’ Club official magazine has set off “alarm bells” among the ranks of its membership. Take a close look at the paragraph above that begins with “Please note.” Many believe that the second sentence not-so-subtly announces an impending death-knell for the club. What do YOU think? (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Whether he meant to or not, the GIjOE Collectors’ Club (GIJCC) President and Editor-in-Chief of Fun Publications (FP), Brian Savage, has created a mini-firestorm of concern and confusion among the faithful members of the GIJCC. If this is still news to your eyes and ears, dear reader, then here is the “alarming” sentence many believe has declared the foreseeable end of the mighty GIJCC:

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

“All memberships will end with the December 2016 issue.” —Brian Savage

Whoa. That’s not good news. At first reading, the meaning of the sentence seems clear enough, perhaps even ominous—but is it really? Could it simply be a misunderstanding? Or semantics? Perhaps it’s merely an example of a how a hastily worded sentence can lead to unintended confusion or misinterpretation. Of course, only Savage and FP know the answer(s) for sure, but they’re not talking. So, while we wait for further clarification on the issue, let’s consider the following two possibilities:

#1: The Club is Merely “Resetting” Its Membership Calendar.

If everything’s still fine and dandy at the GIJCC and FP, Savage’s sentence may merely mean the magazine is resetting its signup date, and thus the calendric policy that it utilizes for processing annual memberships. It’s possible they’re moving to a single signup month, one wherein all members must enroll and pay their dues (i.e. the month of January?). Establishing such a system may help provide the club with a more predictable budget and revenue-stream for its wide variety of club events, exclusives, etc. This may be a naive supposition on our part, but the only other alternative appears to be…

#2: It’s OVER. Savage and Fun Publications are Getting Out of the Toy Fan “Biz”

Yes, sadly, the many doomsayers out there in Joeland may be correct. The end of the GIJCC may now be in sight. However, at the moment, Savage and his club are refusing further comment. And rather than circling their wagons financially, the GIJCC continues to steam full-speed ahead with plans for JoeCon 2016 in Colorado this upcoming June.

Then there’s licensing. Hasbro isn’t a cheap partner, to be sure. Keeping their officially sanctioned status may be becoming too costly a burden for the club to bear. And don’t forget, Savage and FP also run a similar club organization for fans of Transformers, hosting annual conventions known as “BotCons.” Apparently, those fans (and customers of FP) are now facing a similarly depressing “end of times” scenario. According to one renowned expert…

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Chicago GIjOE Club members, Kevin Bolger (left) and Tave Lamperez (right), at a previous Joe Show in Algonquin, IL. Bolger weighs in on the current “sentence” controversy below. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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“It looks like this may be the end for the national GIJCC. Brian hasn’t confirmed anything so far, but he’s also not denying that all memberships will END in December 2016. And it appears this is the end of Brian Savage and Fun Publications helming the Transformers’ Club as well (see Allspark article HERE).

I’m not sure if the end of licensing with Hasbro was Brian’s choice or Hasbro’s. I remember a number of years hearing what the cost of the franchise was, but it was some real high $ amount. There has been some folks wishing that someone else would take it all on, but I doubt there will be any takers.

We’ll see what happens, but the conversations on the GIJCC Forum asking about the future seemed to be unanswered from the Club. Why would all memberships end on December 2016 unless this was the end? I’m not sure that anyone would really want to take on the big franchise cost to do an official Hasbro-sanctioned club, or want to do it as a business.

It’s really too bad, as the national Club did bring together folks together, especially in the early days of the internet. It gave incentive to those of us who would run into a fellow Joehead at a flea market or in the aisles of Toys R Us in the early ’90s, to actually get together at a large show devoted to our hobby.

I helped to start one of the local Chapters (the Chicago Division of the GIjOE Collectors’ Club) which had a good run. Hopefully, Joelanta and smaller Regional shows will continue to help fill the in-person void. And places like the Trenches provide something more frequently.” —Kevin Bolger, Chicago, IL

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The only official club reply to repeated fan requests for clarification reads as follows:

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“In regard to GIJCC memberships, the only information we have at this time is what is posted online. Thanks and have a Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!” —GIjOE Collectors’ Club

Bottom Line: If Savage’s 9-word sentence was unintentionally misleading and simply led to confusion based on ambiguous or overly succinct wording, then we hope he clarifies the situation quickly, stilling the racing hearts of thousands of anxious fans. If, however (and sadly), he meant what he said in the first place… then you’d better take a closer look at your own local club divisions and help prepare them to “fly solo” sometime in the near future. Stand by for updates!
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10 thoughts on “Is it Over? 9-Word Sentence in the G.I. Joe Club’s Official Magazine Sparks Concern & Confusion

  1. Greg Eaton says:

    When I read it, I simply thought that they were resetting their membership calendar. But now that Brian/FP has released their comment, I tend to think the club is closing. Brian/FP could easily have quashed the rumor mill and chose not to.

  2. Rudy Panucci says:

    Option #3: The current contract to allow Fun Publications to operate the GI Joe club expires on December 31, and no new deal has been struck yet, so they have to inform members that they may be paying for a full year, but only get a partial yeear, just in case.

    This does not mean that the club is gone, but it remains a possibility if no new deal can be struck. Brian is in a situation where he can’t make public comments while negotiating, or hoping to negotiate a new deal. He’s a bad spot where he has to warn people that the club may end, but has to clam up about any ongoing discussions with Hasbro to keep it going.

    That’s why it’s the only information they have. It’s still a big question.

  3. Charles says:

    There is a step that you are missing here. Hasbro just announced a new media plan and deal to unite all its owned intellectual property into one universe. From Transformers to GI joe to MASK and Micronauts, all will share the same world. Which means that GI Joe, whether we are talking the 12 in guy or his Action Team variant, the 3.75 Real American Hero version or the last two movies version; is being overhauled with a serious change to the ideas and concepts of the IP.
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/paramount-hasbro-gi-joe-universe-848920

    To make that new IP successful though the media relations types are going to have to do one of two things. 1. Acknowledging the older version and say it doesn’t exist in the new world but in a new unsupported (ie unlicensed) universe. Or 2. Completely destroy all previous versions and thier license supports (like GI Joe Collector Club) and push a big old reset button.

    My money is leaning towards number 2, even more so considering how the fans reacted to both previous movies that had come out, even more so with movie number 1.

  4. Panzertruppen says:

    “Paramount and Hasbro have had a longstanding relationship, and we’re proud of the success we’ve enjoyed on the Transformers and G.I. Joe franchises,” Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey said in announcing the deal. “We’re excited to grow our agreement and make even more movies based upon these popular and powerful Hasbro characters and their worlds.”
    —————————————————————————————————————————-

    I am assuming that Charles misread that or missed it. No matter how anyone looks at it, what is going on in Hollywood and what is going on with the GIJoe Club are two very different entities. The GIJoe club can exist without being part of the New World Order. Hasbro hasn’t put a dime into the club as the club has held it’s own for a long time and I am no big fan of the club.

    People who hated the first GI-Joe live action movie own the DVD to this day. I was first into the theatres to see both movies. When they revamped it and turned it into Renegades people hated that too…and now own the DVD. I own both and watch both from time to time. But I didn’t crap on the franchise. And they are still writing for the franchise.

    Then we look at Transformers. They are still writing for the franchise. The funny thing is this, people loved the first movie until they hated LeBouf. I loved all the movies right up until they killed Iron Hide but regrouped until they ground up Ratchet (which they didn’t because they were getting info from his head which was still on the lab table which means he was still alive).

    Now there are plenty of rumors. One rumor says they are writing a MASK/Joe crossover which would be hard to believe but the crossover that would work and could make money for both franchises is a GI Joe/Transformer crossover. Many people like myself saw the call sign of the A10 pilot in the first Transformer movie as “ACE” but when it hit DVD it was gone yet the 10 seconds in which you watch the cockpit of an A10 is still in the film. Also, if you bother to watch the film at all you will notice that there are several uniform types in the movie. Then, just like GI Joe, there many different uniforms and nationalities with energy weapons defeating the Decepticons just like in the Transformer/GI-Joe crossover. But I digress.

    If the club crashes, it’s because of the way it has been run, not because Paramount and Hasbro are banding all the properties together. If anything, it should make the club stronger because of their Transformer/GIJoe association.

  5. Rainman Red says:

    I wish a smaller group or company (like Cotswold’s ) could acquire a kind of limited license to simply continue putting out the classic 12 inch GI Joe and satisfy the niche market which is still sizeable, as proven by the fact that such businesses exist. The fans themselves have their own active clubs anyway. They will persist without a license.

  6. Kevin Bolger says:

    Charles, that does make a lot of sense. It is in one sense similar to what Marvel and DC did with their characters which were previously fractured through different licensing agreements, movie deals, etc. and are now more consolidated and reigned-in. Makes sense that Hasbro would do the same – probably need to look to what other companies like Mattel are doing with its properties.

  7. Kevin Bolger says:

    I think that Charles is right. Hasbro may be pulling in the reigns to assert more control over its products. That would include things such as the current clubs and club-authorized products

  8. Any update on this? The Club seemed to just really be getting good.

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