Monthly Archives: October 2018

Grab That Greasy Joystick, Joe—It’s Arcade Time!

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Boxed up FUN— The games still in their original packaging. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

We LOVE miniature 1:6 scale video games. Fortunately for this holiday season, a batch of approximately 10 new ones are now appearing in stores across the U.S., primarily from the good folks at My Arcade. These new games are currently priced between $25 and $35 (each) depending on where and WHEN you buy them. Our advice? Watch your local big box stores like a hawk. Also, browse online at Walmart.com, Amazon, etc. Whenever you see a game’s price dropping, JUMP on it! These are popular little items with a wide variety of collectors and ordinary consumers, so they typically don’t last on shelves for long—virtual or otherwise.

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Battery Hogs?— These new games really need the juice, four AA batteries to be precise. Ouch! Remember to always REMOVE batteries when not in use! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

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Better Designed— Last year’s smaller, simpler, “one size fits all” cases from Basic Fun (shown on the right) don’t compare with this year’s bigger, better, more accurate case designs from My Arcade (shown on the left). Even the buttons and joystick sizes are more accurately scaled to fit 1:6 scale. EXCELLENT! Regardless, both games will still ROCK in GIJOE’s arcade! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

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A Back to Back, “Pac to Pac” Comparison— The new Pac Man game case from My Arcade (as shown on the left) is clearly more stylish and faithful to the original game’s design. The smaller, (boxier) case from Basic Fun (on the right) was good—but it wasn’t great. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

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Raise ’em up so Joe can PLAY— To save money, the makers of these miniature arcade games chop off the bottom halves of the cases where in the real-world, all of the game’s computer “innards” were stored. To make up the resulting height deficit, we recommend that you create some sort of a base to raise the games back up to Joe’s level (see our previous article HERE). (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: We’re hoping someone comes out with a miniature version of the original “Pong,” “Robotron,” or maybe even “Zaxxon.” Those were three truly iconic arcade games from back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Remember, watch those stores and look out for sales. Happy Hunting!

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Q: What is the Coolest?—A: G.I. Joe on Jeopardy!

Bottom Line: As Hasbro has turned its back on GIjOE fandom and the once venerable toy line continues its slow fade into pop-culture obscurity, “sightings” of the original 12-inch action hero are becoming increasing scarce—practically nil, in fact. Imagine our excitement here in the halls of The Joe Report then, when on October 28, 2018, “America’s Movable Fighting Man” was mentioned once again (albeit fleetingly) on an episode of the immortal TV quiz show, Jeopardy, (yes, it’s still hosted by Alex Trebek). So cool! A great big THANK YOU goes out to NBC TV and to Mr. Trebek for doing their best to help keep “the spirit of Joe” alive. You guys (and gals) are the BEST. Go, JOE!

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Heads Up!—”Stewart’s Attic” Reopened in Florida

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Scott Stewart, Stewart’s Attic (Photo: CAE)

Good News, Captain Actioneers and Best of the West Johnny West Fans—

Good things DO come to those who wait. Especially to those who’ve been waiting for the long-anticipated return of one of the 1:6 scale community’s most popular online dealers—Stewart’s Attic. That’s right, Stewart’s Attic—is BACK! YEEhah!

Owned and operated by longtime (and highly respected) Joelanta/JoeCon dealer, “Super” Scott Stewart, Stewart’s Attic is THE headquarters for all things MARX, Best of the West (BOTW) and Captain Action-related. What exactly can fans and collectors expect to find at Scott’s new and IMPROVED online establishment? According to a message received today on The Joe Report’s teletype machine, Scott revealed the following plans:

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“Hi Mark, I just wanted you to know that I’ve re-opened Stewart’s Attic. Although I’m not molding and casting custom items right now, I hope to have that set up soon. Thanks for your patience during my recent move to Florida.
Please visit: http://www.stewartsattic.com/catalog/Thanks! Scott Stewart, Stewart’s Attic

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to Scott for submitting this exciting intel and our best wishes to him too, in ALL of his endeavors. It’s the enthusiastic actions and efforts of men (and women) like Scott that help keep the 1:6 scale hobby alive—and thriving. Go, Stewart’s Attic!

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It’s Up to Zemeckis— How Much Will Hollywood Director Choose to Reveal About Film’s Real-Life Hero in His Upcoming Film, “Welcome to Marwen?”

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High on His Heels— Artist/Photographer, Mark Hogancamp, makes no secret about his fandom for feminine footwear, as this portrait of him in stilettos “pointedly” reveals. (Photo: NYT) Click to enlarge.

The Truth is Already Out There—But Will its Inclusion Hurt Box Office Receipts?

This is all public knowledge, but please stick with us. If you’ve seen 2010’s fantasy-documentary, Marwencol, or read the 2016 hardcover book, Welcome to Marwencol, then you undoubtedly already know that real-life artist-photographer, Mark Hogancamp—the lead character depicted in Robert Zemeckis’ upcoming motion picture, Welcome to Marwen (played by actor Steve Carell)—enjoys wearing women’s high-heel shoes and stockings. There. We’ve said it. Hogancamp’s “most shocking” true-life personality “spoiler” has now been re-revealed.

What isn’t known to many however, is whether Zemeckis feels that Hogancamp’s cross-dressing is “script-worthy” enough to be included in his latest release. Would such intimate insight detract from the film’s main storyline—a man struggles with PTSD after a brutal beating by creating fantasy photo-stories with 1:6 scale action figures and dolls—or enhance it? Is cross-dressing simply too “racy” a topic for the holidays, only to end up on the cutting room floor? Time—as they say, will tell.

For those who are unaware of the differences between “cross-dressing” and the better  known term, “transvestism,” we consulted that oracle of all knowledge and things online—Wikipedia—which (rightly or wrongly) defines the two (oft-misunderstood) terms thusly:

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“Transvestism is the practice of dressing and acting in a style or manner traditionally associated with the opposite sex. In some cultures, transvestism is practiced for religious, traditional or ceremonial reasons.”

“Crossdressing is the act of wearing items of clothing and other accoutrements commonly associated with the opposite sex within a particular society. Cross-dressing has been used for purposes of disguise, comfort, and self-expression in modern times and throughout history.”

Okay, that cleared it up (right?) Regardless, questions with serious financial implications remain— Will audiences harbor negative feelings about Hogancamp’s cross-dressing? And IF the topic is included in the film (we still don’t know if it will be) and “word gets out,” will that affect ticket-buying, movie-going audiences who DO harbor negative feelings about the subject and thereby cause them to stay home? You can bet the entire entertainment industry will be paying VERY close attention to this film when it premieres in theaters across the country on December 21st.

Fortunately for Zemeckis and his film

A cross-dressing dance act dubbed Junior New System (JNS) has just come to the rescue. This all-male, high-heeled dance troupe from the Philippines, recently broke onto the U.S. national scene during a series of high-energy (and high-heeled) appearances on NBC TV’s ratings-smash hit, America’s Got Talent. Their success appears to have made men-wearing-women’s-shoes a little less “offensive” in many viewer’s eyes, and much more “publicly palatable” as well. During their aggressive, athletic performances, the JNS men routinely and effortlessly switch between wearing traditional high-top sneakers to high-heel stilettos. Then, to everyone’s surprise, they proceed to perform powerful BACK-FLIPS, landing solidly on their traditionally unsteady and pointy “pumps,” without suffering any apparent missteps or twisted ankles. It has to be SEEN to be believed!

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It CAN be done!— Members of the Filipino dance group, Junior New System, proved that grown men can successfully perform backflips while wearing high-heeled, stiletto shoes. Here, they pose backstage with judge and media-mogul, Simon Cowell, during a taping of America’s Got Talent. (Photo: JNS)

As we stated at the outset, the subject of Hogancamp’s cross-dressing is largely “old news” to (most) 1:6 scalers, and has had little—to ZERO—bearing on the 1:6 community’s admiration and regard for the man’s artistic talents. His skills as an artist, photographer and customizer are obvious and beyond question. But how will non-hobbyist ticket-buyers react? That remains to be seen.

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Hogancamp’s Heroes Help Him HealMark Hogancamp, the creator of the imaginary and 1:6 scale town of “Marwencol” holds up his original, self-representational action figure—the “star” of Mark’s ongoing—and AMAZING—photo-adventures. (Photo: Mark Hogancamp) Click to enlarge.

Finally, other media outlets are also discussing this subject, largely reflecting the opinion that Hogancamp’s cross-dressing SHOULD be included in the film’s final script. The New York Times discussed it in an article HERE, and we found an overseas article about it in the UK’s The Telegraph, HERE. Clear “rumblings” of social expectation could be heard. Here’s one such quote:

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“The real truth behind Mark’s near-fatal attack is not something you’ll find in the trailer – he was set upon after admitting in the bar that he was a cross-dresser. When the film’s first American trailer landed, there was enough social-media kerfuffle to suggest that eliding this part of the story may well cause significant controversy.” —The Telegraph, UK

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Robert Zemeckis, Director of Welcome to Marwen (Photo: Hollywood Reporter)

Bottom Line: If the official Welcome to Marwen trailers are any indication of its final content, then it appears Mr. Hogancamp’s propensity for feminine footwear will NOT be made into much of an issue for the film. But, if you search the ‘net for further clues provided by Zemeckis himself, you CAN find short, inconclusive snippets about its inclusion (or exclusion) from the script. Make of the following quote what you will (especially the last line), but here’s his most telling —yet noncommittal—comment so far:

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“We can’t give everything away. There’s a lot more story than we were able to include. You’ve got to let the audience see something that they don’t know about.” —Robert Zemeckis, director, Welcome to Marwen

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Back From the Dead? Investors Aim to Resurrect Decomposing Corpse of Once-Mighty Toy Retailer—Toys ‘R Us to be Given a “New Life” in 2019-2020

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Crawling out of a “Grave” of Bankruptcy— Apparently, “dead” doesn’t always mean DEAD, especially when it comes to the weird world of business. Indeed, the unexpected announcement of an upcoming “resurrection” of failed toy retailer, Toys ‘R Us, struck many toy industry fans, observers, and financial analysts as a big surprise—even a SHOCK! Anybody seen Daryl and his crossbow? (Art: Party at Lewis)

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Toys ‘R’ Us mascot, “Geoffrey”

Do YOU still care about the fate of Geoffrey the Giraffe—or Toys ‘R Us?

An article in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal announced that the (supposed) end of Toys ‘R Us (TRU) may not be so final after all. Apparently, selling off all of the assets of the moribund toy retailer makes less financial sense to some investors (really?) than keeping it going. Despite the burgeoning growth of Amazon, Walmart and other online worldwide retailers, this group of financial “wizards” now believes that (somehow) reinventing TRU’s brick-n-mortar stores will (somehow) make them more money in the long run. We’ve reported on this same “keep it going” concept regarding FAO Schwarz (see HERE), but applying it to TRU makes little sense (to us). Regardless, here are some of the more telling quotes from the WSJ:

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“A group of hedge funds in line to take control of Toys “R” Us—the same group that pulled the plug on the retailer’s reorganization this year—intends to revive the business behind the Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us brand names.”

Really?

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“The retailer said in court papers filed Monday that while it received qualified bids for assets—it has opted to forgo a much-anticipated bankruptcy auction for its brand name and other intellectual-property assets.”

Really?

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“The hedge fund group has determined the qualified bids wouldn’t likely yield a superior alternative to the plan, because of factors including the recovery to creditors, as well as the benefits to other stakeholders in maintaining the brands under a newly-established, independent U.S. business.”

REALLY?

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“The absence of Toys ‘R Us has also left an $11 billion hole in the toy industry, and hundreds of toy vendors without a major bricks-and-mortar platform to sell their goods. The decision to shut 800 U.S. Toys “R” Us stores also left 33,000 people without jobs. In recent months, those workers have been fighting for severance pay. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Toys “R” Us private-equity backers Bain Capital and KKR & Co. will be creating a $20 million fund to be distributed to the workers.”

Bottom Line: It’s good to hear that all of the laid-off TRU employees will be receiving SOMETHING out of all of this financial hoo-hah. And while we can see (perhaps) trying to keep NYC’s historic FAO Schwarz going, Toys ‘R Us has always just seemed like some sort of big toy warehouse to us. We have to wonder— are their investors throwing good money after bad by trying to keep it all going? Especially in this “one click” internet age? We’ll see. Stay tuned!

THIS JUST IN! Reliable Rudy Panucci has just posted a wonderful article going into greater detail regarding this topic on his “PopCult” blog found HERE. Thanks for all the updates, Rudy!

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