Author Archives: Mark Otnes

Gird Your Loins, Joeheads—Toylanta 2019 is Just Around the Corner—and it’s BIGGER Than EVER!


Beloved GIjOE and Toy Show Set for March 8-10, 2019
We LOVE when our far-reaching corps of fearless Field Reporters do our work for us. In this case, “Mighty” Marten Jallad recently contacted the news desk here at The Joe Report and submitted the following article he’d written about this year’s upcoming Toylanta. As expected, it is thorough—and EXCELLENT. Thank you, Marten. Enjoy, everyone!
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Marten Jallad (Photo: Marten Jallad)

“Earlier this year (in March) TOYLANTA (perhaps known better as “Joelanta”) will celebrate its 18th year of spreading the love of all things toy-related. The show—as many of you already know—was initially created as a one-day event for local GI Joe and one-sixth scale collectors and GI Joe has remained the heart and soul of the show. The show has, however, continued to attract more and more varieties of toys, from the 1960s to present, and this explosion has led to changes, and at times, growing pains, as the show has now transformed into a multi-day convention under the banner—TOYLANTA.” 
“One thing that has been key to our continued growth and success is the vision that show co-founder, Buddy Finethy, put fourth; to host an event by collectors FOR collectors to celebrate our love of collecting and the creative process behind enhancing and displaying our “precious plastic.” The amazing thing, from my perspective, is that that warm and friendly social atmosphere has transcended all the different groups that have now found a home at the convention, including Transformers, Star Wars, GI Joe RAH, and toy collectors in general. I truly love hearing folks say that everyone is so friendly, from the staff, to the vendors and the general public. Toylanta is a place for us to forget about the daily hardships of life and instead, to celebrate our mutual love of the wonder of brightly colored toys that allowed us to use our imaginations during endless hours of play.”
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The Hunt is On! Fans and toy collectors searched for their own personal “toy treasures” in one of the spacious dealer rooms of Toylanta 2018. (Photo: Marten Jallad) Click to enlarge.

“TOYLANTA now encompasses approximately 20,000 square feet with around 250 tables of toys, comics and pop culture. Events include panels, creative demonstrations, live music, Parachute Drop, film festival, EJ’s Lobby Swap, Pop Culture Car Show, State of the Hobby panel discussions, a live auction and custom figure and diorama contests, not to mention social events (held each night) for the three nights leading up to the convention. This year, we are also moving the custom area to a bigger space to accommodate MORE dioramas, and are thrilled to have actor-artist-GIjOE RAH creator, Larry Hama, and GIjOE Classic Collection artist, Larry Selman, in attendance for autographs, prints, etc.”
“The creative team has been hard at work on this year’s Joelanta 12” exclusive: The Mountain Man.  He will add to the rich history of the 12 (and counting) one-sixth scale exclusives. The World Famous EJ, King of the Lobby Swap, has also been working on his 5th annual Lobby Swap exclusive.  We can’t wait to see what his creative kit-bashing mind has come up with. We are also excited about our second RAH-style exclusive.”
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Seen any Beavers? Meet the “Mountain Man” of Toylanta 2019 (Photo: Marten Jallad)

“I’m often asked how we’re able to put together such a big event—year after year—that attracts so many people from around the country—and the world. The key, I think, is all of the dedication and commitment we receive from so many helpers and friends, both locally and online. Our local GIjOE Collector’s Club fan group meets together once a week at different people’s homes to share a meal, talk toys and enjoy each other’s company. This has been happening for over a decade! We are also bound to a higher goal of opening a Toy and Diorama Museum somewhere in the greater Atlanta area (as TOYLANTA is part of the nonprofit Cody Lane Memorial Museum). It has been a very challenging endeavor, but one that we are dedicated to making a reality.”
“We encourage others to start a local fan group, hold a swap meet, or even start a show of their own in their local community. We are VERY proud of all the other cool shows out there, like the DFW GI Joe and Action Figure Show, the Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo, the Augusta Toy and Comic Show featuring Joefest, and the upcoming Harrisburg Action Figure and Toy Show. Various members of the TOYLANTA crew have lent their talents and given creative and organizational input to assist those other ventures also be successful. Together, we believe we can continue to grow our hobby and keep that spark of creative sense of wonder and play alive in us all. We’ll see you all March 8-10, 2019!” —Marten Jallad, Toylanta
Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks and admiration go out to Marten and everyone at Toylanta who helps bring GIjOE fandom this truly wonderful event—every—single—year. You guys are the BEST!
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2018 is History—Happy New Year, 1:6 Scalers!

Bottom Line: We may have missed the deadline on this, but our sincerest and best wishes go out today to every one of you out there in the ever-growing (and ever-exciting!) 1:6 scale collecting and customizing “universe.” Please keep all of your great (1:6-related) stories coming in, and we’ll keep reporting on—and sharing them—HERE on The Joe Report for the enjoyment of all. Go, JOE!

The So-Called Professional “Movie Critics” are just plain WRONG—”Welcome to Marwen” is an Enjoyable and Entrancing Romantic Adventure!

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True Love at 1:6 Scale— Stars “Captain Hogie” and “Nicol” share a dance during a tender scene taken from “Welcome to Marwen,” a truly touching, heartwarming, and FUN 1:6 scale fantasy-drama from Universal Pictures, now showing in theaters across the U.S. (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

Romance, Action, Laughs—What more could you want from ANY movie?

You should only take what “professional” movie critics have to say with a grain of salt. When “Welcome to Marwen” premiered for press reviews today, initial critiques flew quick and harsh, all too hurriedly denouncing Robert Zemeckis’ superb new film as a major disappointment. But BOY, those critics are SO wrong. The movie is GREAT—and Patches of Pride got a few closeups, too!

Film Title: Welcome to Marwen

At Peace with his condition (we hope)— Steve Carell depicts Mark Hogancamp, who must deal daily with brain injuries suffered during a near-fatal beating. Welcome to Marwen is filled with scenes like this, where Hogancamp (Carell) takes time to set up figures and take photographs for an upcoming art gallery exhibit. (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge (and check out those Patches of Pride patches!)

Bottom Line: Marwen is a WONDERFUL adventure-fantasy-drama. From its opening scene to its last, the film is chocked full of action figure FUN. If you’ve ever loved playing with GIjOEs, Barbies, doll house miniatures, or anything else to do with the ever-expanding 1:6 scale collecting and customizing hobby, then this film is for you. More importantly, if you also crave to see movies with characters that you can really care about, individuals who demonstrate that they have good, honest, GENTLE souls, then you’ll love Marwen. Get up out of your office chair, get in your car, and go down to the local theater NOW to see this movie. We give it two BIG thumbs up—Go, HOGIE!

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Pain in the Plastic—Early Reviews SLAM “Marwen”

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Carell asks: “Why don’t they like me?” GIjOE Julie replies: “It’s too early, hon. Let’s wait for the 1:6ers to weigh in.” (Photo: Universal)

Will 1:6 Fans Agree—Or Disagree?

Bottom Line: While searching online for some additional intel this morning, we came across the Rotten Tomatoes website containing early reviews of “Welcome to Marwen.” To put it mildly, the critics don’t like the film. Comments from ordinary audience members have yet to come in in any force, but the critics are giving the 1:6 scale production a right ol’ PANNING right now, we’re very sorry to say. We’re posting a couple of screenshots we took about 11AM-ish today to give you an idea of what the critical coverage was looking like at the time of the posting of this article. Will this be yet another example of “love the subject matter, but hate the film?” Hope not! Let us know what YOU think—after you see the film. Thanks! —The Editor

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REJOICE!—Biggest 1:6 Scale Movie EVER—”Welcome to Marwen”—Premiering in U.S. Theaters Today

Grab your coat, get yer keys, start the car, it’s MOVIE TIME!— “Welcome to Marwen” premieres in theaters across the U.S. today. Don’t miss this 1:6 scale-PALOOZA! (Photo: Savoy 16) Click to enlarge.

We’re closing the Joe Report offices early today and treating everyone on staff to a “free” day—at the movies! As you probably already know, today is being celebrated simply as “Marwen Day,” because today is the long-anticipated (U.S.) premiere of the big-budget, (hopefully to be) blockbuster film, “Welcome to Marwen.” Directed by renowned auteur Robert Zemeckis and starring comedic/dramatic actor Steve Carell, Marwen also includes a cast of dozens of wildly diverse 1:6 scale action figures (yes, “dolls” too) that come to life and act out their own fantasy story set against (who else?) a heartless band of nazis. Should be both touching—and a hoot!

Yes, Toys CAN be “Dark”— No one said that toys should all be like Teddy Ruxpin or the Cabbage Patch Kids. That’s fortunate, because the 12-inch action figures starring in “Welcome to Marwen” are called upon to portray a decidedly ADULT-themed storyline of war, hate, sex (and more!), all whilst good battles evil over control of an imaginary town in WWII Belgium. Meanwhile, Steve Carell’s real-life character, Mark Hogancamp, recuperates from a hate-crime beating, battles PTSD, and jousts quixotically with his own real-world demons of fear, loneliness and insecurity. Check out today’s review in the New York Times (see photo above). (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line:  Marwen’s premiere is truly exciting news for legions of GIjOE fans, 1:6 customizers (and kitbashers) who will probably leave work early today to check out the film ASAP. Reviews have been largely positive, though mixed, while some—like the one in today’s New York Times—expressed that the fantasy-side of the film may be somewhat overwhelming. GIjOE fans may differ in that assessment. We say—can there ever be TOO MUCH 1:6 scale action on the big screen? We think not! If nothing else, the film promises to be a visual FEAST, as we watch our beloved toys becoming fully-animated by Hollywood’s special effects masters.

The Joe Report is sponsored by Patches of Pride. All products are proudly made and/or assembled in the USA.

Finally, here at The Joe Report, we also have a special reason for being proud and happy about today’s film’s release—our longtime (and sole) sponsor, Patches of Pride (a well-known 1:6 scale patches, decals and accessories producer), has some of its patches (and other products?) featured in the film. Exactly what will be included we’re not quite sure, but expect many an “eagle-eyed” PoPster to be carefully searching the production’s costumes, props, backgrounds and closeups for any signs of a familiar PoP product. Go get your ticket NOW—and ENJOY!

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“Welcome to Marwen” Sneak Preview Nets Mixed Reviews From Two Members of The Sly Fox Club

“Not-so-undercover agent” Brian Otnes, aka as one as one of the three “PoP associates,” poses for a quick snap next to a stand-up display for “Welcome to Marwen” before entering the theater to attend the film’s sneak preview last night—somewhere in Austin, TX. (Photo: Kim Otnes) Click to enlarge.

As we teased about late last night, Patches of Pride (PoP), the creator of (some of) the 1:6 scale patches used in the film “Welcome to Marwen,” had dispatched three of its most trusted associates to an early sneak-preview screening at a theater somewhere in Austin, TX. It turns out the three “associates” in question are actually family members of PoP’s head-honcho, Mark Otnes, and as such, were only too happy to be sent on a quixotic search for evidence of the use of PoP’s products in the production. Reviews of the film were mixed, but “sightings” of the company’s tiny patches were confirmed and unanimous. Of the three PoP associates who attended last night’s showing, The Joe Report was able to track down two of them, and both were able to provide us with their reactions to the movie itself as well as recounting experiences of attending the event.

Intrepid TJR Field Reporter and PoP Associate, Brian Otnes (Photo: Brian Otnes)

We begin the first of our two exclusive interviews with Brian Otnes (BO)—

TJR: How were you able to see “Marwen” ahead of its release this coming Friday?

BO: “We’re members of “The Sly Fox Club” (see website HERE) and we received three FREE tickets from them.” 

TJR: Lucky you! Well, the #1 question fans of Patches of Pride have been asking is—do Mark Otnes or PoP receive any sort of screen credit at the end? Yes or No?

BO: “No. We stayed all the through (the credits) to see if there was one, but there was no credit line for either. Did the movie producers promise one?”

TJR: No, that was always just “pie-in-the-sky” thinking. PoP never expected any official credit.

BO: “Well, it’s interesting—if you watch it, they have a whole lot of modeling credits. Some of the people you may recognize, who knows, but they’re probably all Hollywood-based people.”

Screenshot from a Welcome to Marwen preview (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

TJR: Any “sightings” of PoP products in the film?

BO: “Yes, a few. But Steve Carell’s character was the only American figure we saw, the rest were all Nazis and then the girls. I wondered about the Jeep too, but wasn’t sure if PoP had anything to do with it.”

TJR: Probably not. But two of the patches on Carell’s action figure are clearly PoP’s and the sergeant chevrons on the “G.I. Julie” doll are also PoP’s, as are—quite possibly—some of the German figures’ patches. We won’t be sure until we get to see the film ourselves (this Friday). You saw PoP’s other patches though, right?

BO: “Oh yeah. We saw them—for sure! Now let me ask you something—one of the Nazis has a stylized swastika tattoo on his arm. I don’t want to ruin the movie for you, so I’ll be careful of what I reveal here, but there’s a shot toward’s the end of the movie where Steve Carell is shown putting a waterslide decal—of the same swastika—on a figure’s arm.  It’s an actual decal like PoP’s ProSeries decals, along the lines of a custom decal that Patches of Pride would be able to make. Watch for it! You get to see him actually apply it to the arm. I was thinking, Oh! I hope that’s PoPs, because that’d be a PERFECT promo for them!”

TJR: Very exciting! PoP does create a TON of custom waterslide decal orders, body tattoos included, but I can’t recall creating that particular design, so I’d have to say I doubt PoP created it. But who knows? We won’t know for sure until we see the movie on Friday!

BO: “Well, I’m sorry if it turns out it wasn’t PoPs, but that’s something the movie people probably had to create themselves or special order—from somebody, somewhere.”

TJR: Agreed. Hogancamp is a real 1:6 kitbasher too; a real scrounger. Perhaps he found the decal included with an old model kit somewhere. We really can’t say for sure at this point.

BO: “I guess not. We looked VERY closely for anything else that could’ve been made by PoP. We were hoping maybe some more American soldiers would come in, but it was always the girls who saved him.”

TJR: Well, the original working title was “The Women of Marwen,” until October, I believe. Somewhere along the line they decided to change it to, “Welcome to Marwen.”

BO: (Laughs) “Frankly, I don’t think either one of them are a particularly good title.”

TJR: What was your personal reaction to the movie? Good? Bad? Or..?

BO: “I didn’t particularly care for the movie. We all like Steve Carell and were pulling for it to be a good movie and for us to enjoy it and all, but it just wasn’t that good. Fans of Patches of Pride will be very interested in Hogancamp’s modeling of the city and all the photos he takes, and his show at a gallery. The transitioning between the real world and the doll world was very well done too, but I think they could’ve done it just ONCE and it would’ve gotten the point across. It would have been better as a conventional drama, one wherein you see him dealing with his PTSD after the assault, and his daily life after it all happened. The going back and forth between his two worlds was just done too many times and didn’t really help the story.”

TJR: Very interesting observations. Thanks for all the great intel, Brian!

Our second exclusive interview is with Laurel Wilson (LW)—

TJR Field Reporter, Laurel Wilson of Austin, TX (Photo: Laurel Wilson)

TJR: Please tell us about your not-so-secret “mission” yesterday to the movies.

LW: “We went to see “Welcome to Marwen” with a particular mission in mind. Our mission was to pay extra close attention to the dolls in the story and to look for anything that might’ve been made by Patches of Pride (yes!). Then, we stayed through all the credits, but (sadly) we didn’t see any mention of Mark Otnes or Patches of Pride (whimper). I guess they couldn’t give credit to everyone, but PoP’s contributions WERE very important to the film, too!” 

TJR: What were your impressions of the film?

LW: “Overall, I liked it. It took me a while to ‘get’ where the story going and what it was going to be about. The main character was always having fantasies, making the plot a bit difficult to follow, at times. It turns out the film is based on a real story and that the characters are all based on real people. They also transitioned from the real world to the imaginary world of Marwen a bit too often. What would’ve worked better, I think, would’ve been to have spent longer in each world, instead of jumping back and forth so much. You know, give viewers a feeling for what was REALLY going on in this man’s life, not so much the fantasy storyline. It could’ve been improved as a film, but to me, it was a very INTERESTING story and we’re taken along on the journey of this man’s return—to the world.” 

Bottom Line: With only two days to go until it’s premiere, “Welcome to Marwen” looks to be an exciting and (hopefully) enjoyable film for fans and customizers of 1:6 scale action figures. Our sincerest thanks today to Mr. Otnes and Mrs. Wilson for their generous contributions to this article.

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Exclusive Sneak Peek of “Welcome to Marwen” Has Been Granted to 3 “Associates” of the Film’s 1/6th Scale Patches Producer—Patches of Pride (PoP)

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Hunker Down, Jerry! Movie “bootleggers” ply their illicit trade primarily in big cities (where nobody really cares) and badly videoed DVDs are sold openly on downtown street corners. Here, Jerry Seinfeld timidly demonstrates the act of video “bootlegging” in a screenshot taken from an episode of his 1990s hit TV series, Seinfeld. Patches of Pride is not bootlegging “Welcome to Marwen,” but it did dispatch two “associates” to see the new movie during a “members-only” sneak preview on Tuesday night. (Photo: CBS TV)

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“G.I. Julie” sports a set of US Army sergeant chevrons from Patches of Pride on her custom fatigue-dress. (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

No Bootlegging Allowed, Jerry!

We all know that “Welcome to Marwen” premieres in 3 days (nationwide) this coming Friday. But what would you say if we told you that Patches of Pride (PoP) has close “connections” with a couple of people who will see the movie much sooner than that—AND—will report their findings and opinions back to PoP (and the rest of the 1:6 scale universe) exclusively on tomorrow’s edition—of The Joe Report? Pretty cool surprise, huh? How is this even possible, you may wonder? Stay tuned, loyal PoPsters, because all will be revealed tomorrow (Wednesday).

Bottom Line— Fret not dear readers, nothing illegal is going on and no plot “spoilers” will be revealed to you ahead of Friday’s eagerly anticipated premiere in theaters nationwide. BUT— you can bet that our two trusty PoP “associates” will be watching the credits rolling at the end of the film VERY carefully and will report their findings here tomorrow—good, bad, or otherwise. See you Wednesday!

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Welcome to Marwen’s Steve Carell and Director Robert Zemeckis Conduct Pre-Release Interviews

Bottom Line: Many “deep” questions are answered in these excellent pre-release interviews INCLUDING—does Steve Carell wear high-heels in this movie? It’s time to find out—NOW. Enjoy!

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“Welcome to Marwen”—First Cast Interviews!

There was an official Hollywood premiere of the upcoming film, “Welcome to Marwen” Monday night, and for the first time, the film’s director, stars, and others were allowed to speak publicly about the the various parts they played in in its production. Most of the questions asked were pure “fluff,” but look for brief moments of clarity from director Robert Zemeckis and star, Steve Carell. Interestingly, Carell reveals he felt the “doll” representing him was TOO good looking, stating—

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Can a headsculpt be TOO handsome? 1:6 scale recreation of actor Steve Carell (Photo: Universal)

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“It’s crazy! Because it’s just so much better looking than me. They roll it out, I’m like, all right, yeah! I can dream. Pretty cool!” —Steve Carell

Bottom Line: We’re getting excited! Only nine (9) more days until the film’s official release date of December 21st. If you can’t wait, we recommend checking out Patches of Pride’s exciting “Ten Prizes to Marwen” contest giveaway (exclusively on Facebook) HERE as they continue to celebrate an unofficial “countdown” to the premiere by giving away 1 prize-a-day—for 10 days straight! HOOyeah!

 

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It’s Over—The Final (Ever) G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Newsletter Has Been Published and Mailed (Sniff?)

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The Final Issue— There will be no more. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Club Members Will NOT Be Allowed to Renew For 2019

Down in our mail room today, we received shipment of a rather poignant publication—the FINAL issue of the official membership magazine of the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club (GIJCC). To be honest, we’re not going to miss it. Not one bit! Despite Fun Publication’s best efforts over the years, we remain firmly on the side of Joe-fandom that has long argued the club’s newsletter has always been steered in the wrong direction, content-wise, and have considered it as (basically) one BIG “missed opportunity” for GIjOE-fandom (sorry!).

Yes, we know economics drive business. We understand also why the club had to make the decisions they did. But in our ideal (fantasy) universe (where we get everything we want), we firmly believe(d) that the official newsletter of our “hallowed” GIjOE Collector’s Club should have been something altogether different—and in so MANY ways. Of course, discussing all those sorts of ideas, especially now that the club is “kaput,” is all water-under-the-bridge, Monday morning quarterbacking type of thinking— i.e., it’s ultimately pointless.

Continuing our theme of complete honesty on this topic, for 12-inch GIjOE collectors, the average “read time” of each issue was typically just under a minute, often before the magazine was (sadly) tossed straight into a trash can or recycling bin. Yes, for fans of the “little Joes,” there was always more content of interest, as those members were the magazine’s primary demographic and intended “readership target.” And some members, despite openly caring little for the publication, readily admit they’ve kept every issue (show of hands, please) and even bagged them and put them in magazine files. Will missing issues command larger prices now? That remains to be seen.

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Goodbye “Regular Joes”— The back page of the final issue of the GIjCC newsletter features the last-ever comic photo-strip of the popular 12-inchers fondly known as the “Regular Joes,” created by the creative team of Dave Pisani and Tod Pleasant. We’ll probably miss their funny misadventures more than anything else the club has ever published! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Fortunately for 1:6 scalers, the magazine’s (final) guest reporter, Greg Autore did an admiral job penning an article entitled, “GIjOE Classic Collection—The Final Figures.” It—is—GREAT! We only wish Greg had submitted it to us HERE at The Joe Report, first (so we could’ve gotten the scoop, HA!). And bonus spoiler— Autore’s supporting photos even show some GIjOE products we’ve NEVER seen or heard of before. That sort of Joe-history revelation is ALWAYS exciting. OOHyeah! It’s hard to believe that this is the end of the GIjOE club (at least in print form). It remains to be seen now, how long the club will keep its website up and running. Once all remaining club merchandise is sold, there’ll be little incentive to keep paying for the site’s upkeep and maintenance. Regardless of the date of the club’s “ultimate demise,” our sincerest THANKS go out NOW (again) to Mr. Savage and the GIjCC. You guys RULE! Go, JOE!

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