Category Archives: Books & Magazines

Attention G.I. Joe Ephemera Collectors———One of the Earliest Known Articles Mentioning G.I. Joe Discovered in July 1964 Issue of LOOK Magazine


Lookin’ Good, Proto-Joe! This photo of one of the first prototype U.S. Army GIjOEs, is likely a Hasbro “stock shot” taken at the 1964 Toy Fair and appeared in the July 1964 issue of LOOK magazine. Dubbed “model GI” by the magazine, this figure is (likely) one of the earliest appearances of GIjOE in popular media (i.e. media outside of Hasbro’s control). Remember, at this early time of the year in 1964, GIjOE was still largely unknown and unavailable in stores. Christmas was still 6 months away! (Photo: LOOK)

“Tough, Movable Action Figures” w/ “Battle-Incurred Facial Scars” are… “For Women Only?”


Look for this issue— Within the pages of the July 1964 issue of LOOK magazine (on page M15, to be exact), you’ll find the previously unknown half-page article. (Photo: Mike Lynch)

If you’re one of those odd animals out there that enjoy collecting GIjOE ephemera (go ahead, raise your hand), it’s likely your pulse races at news of the discovery of anything PRINTED that describes or depicts GIjOE action figures, vehicles or equipment. And the older and lesser known that ephemera is, the more desirable it must surely become, as well.

If you’re not aware, “Ephemera” refers to fragile collectible or historic items, typically made out of paper. At the time of their creation or publication, such items were not expected to be kept, stored, or survive, for very long periods. Rather, they were meant to be read, utilized (if possible) and then tossed in the trash—never to be seen again.

Examples of GIjOE ephemera then, includes such collectibles as product instruction sheets, brochures, posters, newsletters and old “Andy & George” comic book ads. But what must be among the rarest of them all, are news articles mentioning or featuring the toy line in adult and/or general audience (i.e. non-toy industry) publications. One such “find” of publication ephemera is an unusual discovery made yesterday by The Joe Report’s very own research staff; a half-page, “for Women only(?)” article, that originally appeared in the July 1964 issue of LOOK magazine.


Is THIS the first-ever media appearance of GIjOE’s scuba diver? Perhaps. But what we find more interesting is the use of a photo backdrop behind the figure. Such a professional set-up (in 1964) confirms that the image was likely provided by Hasbro for press release purposes. (Photo: LOOK)

How the LOOK Article Was Discovered

We were holed up in our musty research library last week (i.e. my comfy living room chair watching TV), as our faithful research staff (me, myself and I) was flipping through piles of old magazines we’d recently unearthed (er…I’d purchased at a local garage sale) when suddenly we (I) came across an unassuming, half-page article in an old, yellowing copy of the July 1964 issue of LOOK magazine.


With all his cool equipment, it’s interesting that LOOK magazine decides to focus on the USAF pilot’s “jump boots.” What the…? This definitely looks like a Hasbro-supplied pic. (Photo: LOOK)

Bottom Line: Such a GIjOE ephemera finding would normally not be that unusual, but after rechecking the date of the article’s publication, we realized that this piece could actually be one of the EARLIEST known mentions of GIjOE ever made, especially out in the wider, “popular press.” Remember, GIjOE was introduced at Toy Fair in NYC Feb. 9, 1964—just 5 months earlier!

BONUS: Here’s the entire article as it appeared in LOOK. What a “time tunnel” trip. Enjoy!


Joe’s History BEGINS— Here’s the entire “For Women Only” article that appeared in the July 1964 issue of LOOK magazine introducing GIjOE “action figures” from “Hassenfeld Bros., Inc” (Scan: Mark Otnes)

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Action Man Fans Working to Ensure Palitoy’s UK Version of 1:6 Scale G.I. Joes Are Never Forgotten

Much Like its American Counterpart G.I. Joe, the wide variety of original Action Man (AM) products was literally breathtaking. Children of the 1960s and ’70s can still remember finding this sort of display inside local toy and department stores. As adults, those same fans are now working to ensure Palitoy’s beloved UK/Europe toy line will never be forgotten. (Photo: Palitoy) Click to enlarge.

Action Man fan and collector, Robert Wisdom, poses alongside "his better half" for a pic taken at a recent 1940s weekend in Sheringham, Norfolk. The event is held every September in the UK, and according to Robert, "is a great chance to get out my 1940s Battle of Britain dress uniform and soak up the atmosphere, ride steam trains and marvel at Spitfires flying overhead. Hundreds of US vehicles line the streets too, so it's worth a trip over the pond!" Sounds like a FANTASTIC time! (Photo: Robert Wisdom)

Action Man fan, collector and advocate, Robert Wisdom, poses alongside “his better half” for a pic taken at a recent 1940s weekend in Sheringham, Norfolk. The event is held every September in the UK, and according to Wisdom, “is a great chance to get out my 1940s Battle of Britain dress uniform and soak up the atmosphere, ride steam trains and marvel at Spitfires flying overhead. Hundreds of US vehicles line the streets too, so it’s worth a trip over the pond!” Sounds like a FANTASTIC time! (Photo: Robert Wisdom)

All-New Websites, Videos, DVDs, and Limited-Edition Books Are Being Created to Commemorate the Upcoming 50th Anniversary of Palitoy’s 12-inch Action Figure

When someone REALLY loves someone—or someTHING—he or she often chooses to share their positive, heartwarming feelings through some sort of physical manifestation or demonstration.

For example, heroes and other historic figures regularly have statues or other memorials erected in their honor. Famous personalities of all sorts and stripes, because of their past and/or present notoriety, have books and videos created about their lives and careers. Even beloved family members receive similar treatments when relatives commission cemetery markers, portrait paintings, or family photo albums or DVDs in their memory.
So why not—Action Man?

That’s right. Inanimate persons, places and things can also be revered and remembered by their ardent fans and followers. You only have to visit a local shopping mall to gaze upon a multitude of books, videos, calendars and other commemorative objects devoted to such diverse (non-living) subjects as Texas BBQ, the Eiffel Tower, Muscle Cars, Superheroes, Hobbies, Hollywood Films, etc. If making people recall something fondly is the main criteria for such commemoration, then certainly the upcoming 50th anniversary of Palitoy’s Action Man (AM) is worthy of WORLDWIDE acclaim.

Unofficial Action Man HQ (Logo: Robert Wisdom)

Fun for Fans—The “Unofficial Action Man HQ” website, created by professional graphic artist, Robert Wisdom, has become a popular hub of activity for AM collectors worldwide. (Logo: Robert Wisdom)

Action Man Commemorations Being Ably Guided With Aid of Graphics Professionals

As much as we enjoy “amateur” fan tributes created in honor of GIjOE and Action Man, it’s always such a pleasure whenever top-drawer graphic artists, illustrators and professional designers come along and offer up their considerable talents to support the cause of commemorating our favorite 12-inch action heroes. One such talented and artistic fan is Robert Wisdom of the UK. Robert’s new “Unofficial Action Man HQ” website (HERE) has become one of the hobby’s leading AM forums and his creation of professional-quality AM photography and videos, is also doing a great deal to advance the 1:6 scale collecting hobby as well (see sample video clip above).

Indeed, after the backhanded AM “tribute” proffered by James May on his James May’s Toy Stories program (HERE), Wisdom’s more positive contributions to Action Man feel like a breath of fresh air. And while other AM collectors are openly expressing a desire, nay a HUNGER, for better treatment of their favorite toy, it’s wonderful to discover fans such as Wisdom who are willing and (professionally) able to assist them in that regard. When its 50th anniversary arrives in 2016, it appears Action Man will finally receive the level of respect and commemoration he deserves.

It's all about RESPECT— One of the recent AM "photo bombs" by Robert Wisdom shows how powerful a teaching tool and the veteran 12-inch action line

Changing of the Guards— This stunning 1:1-1:6 scale “photo bomb,” created by professional graphics wiz, Robert Wisdom, reveals the amazing realism of Action Man whilst posed alongside a REAL member of the Queen’s Life Guards. Out-STANDING work, Robert! (Photo: Robert Wisdom)


While there are scores of Action Man collectors around the world, for the sake of time and space, we’re focusing today on the intriguing efforts of England’s Robert Wisdom. Wisdom is a die-hard AM collector and has devoted a great deal of his own personal and professional time towards the toy’s promotion and commemoration. In the following exclusive interview with The Joe Report, he explains his connection to Action Man and how he plans to honor the toy line in the future:

Robert Wisdom, Action Man fan and collector (Photo: Robert Wisdom)

Robert Wisdom, Action Man fan and collector (Photo: Robert Wisdom)


“I received my first Action Man (a Talking Commander, blond) for Christmas, 1971. I would have been around six. He was an instant hit. He knew exactly what I was thinking and played hard at whatever I suggested without a second thought. A true buddy. As kids, we used our imaginations. It’s sad to say that today’s kids, for the most part, have it all worked out and done for them. They don’t create. They just play with what’s already created, and then in a year later (or less!) it becomes another unloved thing in a charity box.

I know Action Man, in my childhood, lasted for YEARS. He was very much an extension of me. He did the things I dreamt of doing and that which I dared not do. At some point, Mum would have noticed I didn’t play with Action Man so much, a bit like the scene in Toy Story where Andy starts to overlook Woody. And so, sadly, my childhood collection is elsewhere—possibly the plastic graveyard in the sky.

But it wasn’t too long after Art College and embarking on a fledgling career as designer, that I rediscovered Action Man. I was now in my 20’s and had the good fortune to accompany a dear father-in-law to a Toy Fair in a community hall to look for the Matchbox Models of Yesteryear that he collected. Whilst there, I saw a flock-haired tank commander nestled between some other bits and couldn’t leave without ‘rescuing’ him from his plight.

It all came flooding back… I slowly became hooked again, and eventually set about reading up on AM and running the Unofficial Action Man HQ (UAMHQ) website, just to share what I had learned. I was disappointed there was almost a total lack of info on the web! I approached a well-respected AM expert to assist / partner the build of a new website, but he was pretty uninterested (which surprised me). Today, the site needs another overhaul, now that we are all broadband enabled.”

“I currently run a design agency in the UK (HERE) and the next big project I’m trying to organise is a 300-page, 13″ limited-edition square book (with a slip case) for Action Man collectors by Action Man collectors. ‘MISSION 50’ will be one of a kind—the likes of which have not been seen before on this subject.

It will be an AM book to end all AM books, with high-res actual size photography, minute detail and footnotes on changes to production, rarity and suchlike from 1966 thru 1984. A lot still needs to be considered, we need to approach all the copyright holders and the powers that lurk beneath. I cannot do it on my own, I need to have a team of enthusiasts on board, but initial response has been excellent and I am considering crowd-funding when the proposition is worked out in detail.”


An AM Book to End All AM Books— Robert Wisdom’s “Mission 50” hardcover book is expected to weigh-in at 300 full-color pages that fit neatly within its own protective slip-case. (Photo: Robert Wisdom)

“In addition to the UAMHQ website and its forum, a Facebook Page (HERE) has also been created. That Facebook page is expected to become key to helping me ascertain how popular the MISSION 50 concept is and for spreading the word around about its production. I would like to ask any AM enthusiasts out there to PLEASE take the time to ‘like’ that page.

And as to the future, I suppose, as a mark of respect, we should all continue to seek out, repair, and restore (to original condition) those little fellas that set us FREE to explore and enjoy a healthy childhood—before computers came along to ‘fake it’ all for us. Action Man will surely outlast all of us mortals, and it was a pleasure that we (of a certain age) were there at his birth.” —Robert Wisdom

The modern-day Action Man logo is superb and would look GREAT on some all-new 50th Anniversary products! (Graphic: Wikipedia)

The POWER of Great Graphics— The modern-day Action Man logo is superb and would look GREAT on some all-new 50th Anniversary (or later) products. Is it time for another relaunch? (Graphic: Wikipedia)

The Story of Action Man has been faithfully recounted on a superb 2013 DVD by Australia's Tony Roberts. (Photo: ebay)

The Story of Action Man has been faithfully recounted on a superb 2013 DVD by Australia’s Tony Roberts. (Photo: ebay)

Bottom Line: The story of Action Man closely parallels that of our own beloved GIjOE, trailing its development by only a couple of years. Much of AM’s equipment is similar, and much is identical. But without a doubt, Palitoy’s Action Man was responsible for the creation of a multitude of unique 1:6 scale product innovations (of which we are continually jealous!). Our sincerest thanks and best wishes go out to Robert Wisdom for all of his generous assistance with this article, and to the Action Man fans around the world, we’d like to wish you all a “Happy 50th Anniversary” in 2016. While we eagerly await that exciting date (and hopefully the release of Wisdom’s Mission 50), may we suggest that you pick up a DVD of 2013’s The Story of Action Man (HERE) produced by renowned AM fan, Tony Roberts, of Australia (view teaser below). It’s equally informative and entertaining. Go, Action Man!

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Too Racy For G.I. Joe Fans? Photographer Blurs Boundaries Between Fashion Photography and Pornography With New (Self-Published) Book

Art? Porn? A little of both? It's always been in the eyes of the beholder. (Photo: Tony Kelly)

Art, porn, or a little of both? As always, the answer rests in the eyes of the beholder. (Photo: Tony Kelly)

We debated long—and hard—about the appropriateness of this image on The Joe Report. Eventually, we came to the conclusion that it would barely squeak past the censors and went ahead with it. What do you think? Is the new book by fashion photographer, Tony Kelly, too much for

We debated long and hard about the appropriateness of this image appearing on The Joe Report (and our apologies to any readers who are offended). Eventually, we came to the conclusion that it would barely “arouse” the ire of today’s ‘net-censors and went ahead. (Photo: Tony Kelly)

Utilizing 1:6 Scale G.I. Joes As Props in Sexually Explicit Pics—Is It Going Too Far—Or Is It Simply An Adult “Artistic Interpretation” of Hasbro’s Iconic Action Figure?


“Never complain. Never explain. Welcome to the world of Tony Kelly Photography.” —Tony Kelly

What do you get when a fashion photographer combines an obvious passion for the female form with—1:6 scale GIjOE action figures? Well, if you’re Dublin-born Tony Kelly, the results are compiled into his newly self-published book entitled, “Tony’s Toys,” and feature page upon page of glossy, full-color photos depicting nude and semi-nude female pulchritude, all carefully posed with numerous 12-inch GIjOEs (and other figures) in a variety of humorously compromising positions. Attention Parents: It’s important to note, that despite this book’s use of children’s toys as subject matter, it is an adult-oriented photo album that is definitely not intended or appropriate for viewing by children. On the other hand, some (over 18) adult collectors of GIjOE-related paraphernalia may actually enjoy Kelly’s new tome and (may) even consider plunking down the approximately $75 he’s requesting in order to add it to their personal “Joe-Libraries.” Of course, that depends entirely on a given fan’s personal collecting preferences and his or her tolerance threshold for this sort of adult-oriented “reading material” (i.e., This book’s not for everybody).

This is coming off! Even Joe's 8-inch cousin, "Big Jim"  gets in on the action in Kelly's new book. This is one of the few pics we can show here. Others are too explicit (sorry). (Photo: Tony Kelly)

Even Joe’s 8-inch cousin, “Big Jim” gets in on the action in Kelly’s new book. Unfortunately, this is one of the few pics from the book we can show. Most are simply too explicit. (Photo: Tony Kelly)

The ideal male body? Art historians largely regard Michaelangelo's "David" (1501) as the world's greatest statue of a male body. Yet, despite its obvious superb artistic achievement, conflicting morals and viewpoints regarding nudity prevent many from appreciating its undeniable perfection as a work of art. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Art historians and experts agree Michaelangelo’s “David” (1501) is one of the greatest sculptures ever created, if not THE greatest. If Kelly added a couple of GIjOEs to this shot, would it bother you? Or amuse you? (Photo: Wikipedia)

As it has always been throughout human history, the ever shifting sands of morality and tolerance of nude imagery has ultimately rested within “the eyes of the beholder.” Ever since the earliest creations of African and Asian erotic “fertility art,” ancient Greco-Roman sculpture and Renaissance era through modern-day paintings (and most recently, photographs), all works featuring nudes as their subject matter have routinely been regarded BOTH as art, and/or derided as “filth” (or even worse). Today, more than ever, with the inexorable infiltration of nude imagery into modern-day advertising, television and everyday pop culture items such as comic books and video games, works such as Kelly’s new photo book will continue to probe the level of current public acceptance for materials that “blur the lines” between what is considered adult-oriented art, or—to put it simply—prurient pornography.

Are GIjOEs Too “Grown Up” Now?

As collectors of 1:6 scale action figures know all too well, the once simple world of “America’s Movable Fighting Man” has increasingly become “infiltrated” by a growing number of adult-themed, “sexy” female action figures, many now with hidden joints, “life-like” rubber skin, interchangeable breasts (DD anyone?) and even anatomically-correct female features once considered off-limits, such as nipples and…well, you know the rest. Collectors of this adult-niche of the 1:6 hobby can also purchase a wide variety of sexy, adult lingerie (for the figures, HA), items previously seen only in Victoria’s Secret stores or in old Frederick’s of Hollywood catalogs. Of course, today’s Barbie fans can also purchase similar 1:6 scale “intimates,” and the preference for such risqué outfits again, rests entirely within an individual’s collecting prerogative and personal preferences. Despite the limitations of such 1:6 products (i.e. they’re not intended for use by children), this emerging adult-market segment appears to growing steadily and surely.

Are they coming—or going? In another photo that barely squeaked by our editorial staff, a group of nude Joes seem to trying to decide something. Either that, or they've just been "birthed" by the unknown woman. What do YOU think is going on? (Photo: Tony Kelly)

Are they coming—or going? In another photo that barely squeaked by our editorial staff, a group of nude Joes seems to be trying to decide…something. Either that, or they’ve just been “birthed” by an unknown woman looking at her fingernails. What do YOU think is going on here? (Photo: Tony Kelly)

Kelly travels the world to complete assignments for various fashion and adult magazines. (Photo: Tony Kelly)

Kelly travels the world to complete assignments for various fashion and adult magazines. (Photo: Tony Kelly)

Kelly’s experience photographing nude and semi-nude women for high-fashion magazines and adults-only fare such as Playboy, has prepared him well for this first book project, but as might be expected, any book full of naked women posing with GIjOEs and other children’s toys is bound to strike a sensitive nerve with some. Indeed, there are always going to be fans who feel such imagery is demeaning or insulting to women. Others will take a more blasé view and point out that such “shocking” images are merely an attempt by the artist or photographer to stir up public reaction and (hopefully) boost sales of their products. Finally, there will also be fans who find this whole subject much ado about nothing, laughing at all the fuss and folderol.

Not surprisingly then, once news of Kelly’s book was released on the internet, it didn’t take long for Facebook’s GIjOE fan boards to “light up” over this topic. After the usual back-n-forth sexual banter and “nudge-nudge” innuendoes had been made, some male GIjOE collectors wanted to know how their female counterparts felt about all this, and we too, were curious how GIjOE collectors of ALL stripes and types regarded this relatively unusual use of their favorite childhood toy. Predictably, opinions varied widely, but one female fan, Xio Vasquez, was quick to voice her concerns about the sensitive material and the fact that some (male fans) in the the male-dominated Sandbox Facebook group appeared to be discussing the topic too casually, stating:

Get the Point? It's amazing what a long pair of perfect legs and 2 scuba GIjOEs can do. Or is it? (Photo: Tony Kelly)

Get the Point? It’s amazing what a pair of perfect legs and 2 scuba Joes with spearguns can do to…Oh, never mind, we’re too busy lookin’ at those gams! (Photo: Tony Kelly)


Honestly? As a female collector? I’d like to say I’m feeling pretty alienated and weirded out by all of it. It’s… Honestly, it’s pretty much the pickle on the crap sandwich that collecting has become for me. I’d like to think that I don’t personally ask for much, and hardly anything in a public space, but figures in general that look practical or cool. What I get instead, turns out to be a myriad of military figures, which I have no problem with at all, and then an over-sexualization of female figures, both mass produced and custom. And I can deal with this. Grit my teeth and bear it. Make my own custom ladies who are badasses and cool-looking myself. Yes, I have to sluck through a marshland of PVC and latex-clad ladies with no aesthetic or practical value in order to find some gems, but hey! At least there ARE gems. But now there’s this (Kelly’s book). It’s a strange, niche fetish being advertised in a group that I thought was supposed to be wholesome and, well, anything but… THIS. I’m really not sure how to describe it. But I honestly expected a lot better than this kind of display from a bunch of adults. And yes, we may all play with toys, but we really are all adults here. It isn’t the fact that it (an ad for Kelly’s book) was posted at all. It’s the fact that it’s being advertised and encouraged, really. Discussing prices of how much a real woman costs, like she’s an actual toy to be bought, used, and discarded or traded once boredom sets in. I’m not really sure this is a group that I’m gonna fit in with if this is the kind of talk that’s had. Sorry if this seems harsh or humorless, but it’s the truth, and someone’s gotta say it, I think.”

GIjOE fan and collector, Xio Vasquez (Photo: Xio Vasquez)

GIjOE fan and collector, Xio Vasquez (Photo: Xio Vasquez)

Xio’s views were typical of many women, but we also expected to hear from female fans who weren’t bothered by advertisements for Kelly’s book or its risqué content. And we were right. First, we heard from our own intrepid “Field Reporter,” Carin Reddig (a well-known collector and customizer of GIjOEs) regarding her thoughts on Kelly’s book. She replied:

GIjOE fan and collector, Carin Reddig. (Photo: Carin Reddig)

GIjOE fan and collector, Carin Reddig. (Photo: Carin Reddig)

womancomment“Wow. Ha-ha. Some of them (the photos in Kelly’s book) are kind of clever. I don’t see myself buying it (the book), but I can certainly see how it might appeal to some Joe collectors. Definitely not at all offended though. He should do a sequel using male models—and Barbie’s!”
Carin Chromie Reddig
Intrigued, we asked another long-time action figure fan and customizer, Laura Ann Ostermeyer (also a trusty TJR Field Reporter) for her opinions regarding Kelly’s book and the 1:6 scale hobby’s recent increase of the marketing and sexualization of action figures in general. She kindly responded:
GIjOE fan and "playscaler," Laura Ann Ostermeyer. (Photo: Laura Ann Ostermeyer)

GIjOE fan and “playscaler,” Laura Ann Ostermeyer (Photo: Laura Ann Ostermeyer)

womancomment“Although I haven’t had an opportunity to see the entire contents of Tony Kelly’s book, I have been amused and intrigued by the images seen on-line. Groups of GIjOEs and other action figures checking out nude pinup girls in a variety of poses—even getting ‘up close and personal’ in a few shots. I am actually more interested hearing what other people think of them—probably due to my background and having studied anthropology and having majored in it in college. Sitting back and watching others weigh in and seeing what makes them tick is fascinating.

Am I offended? Especially, since I am female? No. It takes a lot to offend me. I grew up in Hollywood, CA, in the 1970s and saw many interesting things. I worked in the entertainment industry and also was around a lot of different art. I also am an artist myself, so to me, this is just another form of art. The human body is a work of art. Action figures and doll bodies are works of art. Meshing them together to create new and interesting images and stories—this too is a work of art. My only wish was that Bettie Page could have been around for one of Tony Kelly’s GIjOE photo shoots. That would have been really cool to have had 2 very classic American icons together for something fun!” —Laura Ann Ostermeyer
Marketing on the Move! Clearly, Kelly knows how to increase public awareness of his new book: hire a billboard truck and drive all over Hollywood! (Photo: Tony Kelly)

Marketing on the Move! Clearly, Kelly knows how to increase public awareness of his new book: hire a billboard truck and drive all over Hollywood! (Photo: Tony Kelly)

No longer a Toy? Phicen's new life-like 1:6 scale female action figures feature "assets" never imagined before. (Photo: Phicen)

No longer a Toy? Phicen’s new life-like 1:6 scale female action figures feature “assets” never before imagined. (Photo: Phicen)

Bottom Line: For most GIjOE fans, deciding whether to purchase Kelly’s book or any of the new high-end, ultra-realistic, anatomically-correct, female action figures (such as the one from Phicen, shown at right) are easy take-it-or-leave-it decisions. These products are clearly not for everyone and their high costs helps make the decision easier for many. Regardless of your opinions and personal purchasing preferences, please feel free to leave a comment to this article. We’d love to hear from you! Finally, here are a few more opinions to get you thinking:


“I gotta side with Xio on this one. Sexualized figures, as ‘absurd’ as they may be, are frankly just juvenile, in my opinion. I know some collectors enjoy such things, but I find them quite awkward. I don’t care if other people collect them, I don’t care if they showcase them here (on the Facebook Sandbox) or elsewhere–I just turn away from the stuff (and I’m renowned for having my own ribald sense of humor, too).” —Ken Davis


“The sheer absurdity of the project (Kelly’s book) amused me, but I can see how it could offend women. My wife just rolled her eyes at it, but she knows me and understands that I’m not sexist, just absurdist.” —Rudy Panucci


“I like military figures and have no interest in scantily-clad 1:6 scale females (only 1:1 females). I will say the book has pictures offensive to some, but at least they are doing more with 1:6 Joes than Hasbro is currently doing.” —Greg Page

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Chester Nez, U.S. Marine, Last Survivor of Original 29 Navajo Code Talkers, Dead at 93

As the LAST of the original Navajo Code Talkers, Chester Nez, was recently the subject of a wonderful profile article in Navajo Nation Fair Magazine. (Photo: Navajo Nation Fair Magazine)

Bottom Line: We start with the “bottom line” today to tell you simply (and sadly) that American hero and Navajo Code Talker, Chester Nez, has died at the age of 93. As you may recall, Nez was the subject of a previous article here on The Joe Report, concerning the book he had co-authored recounting his time and experiences during WWI. In honor and memory of Nez’s passing, we’re re-running that article here today. For a complete obituary on Nez, we recommend you go HERE.

inmemoriam2The following was originally published September 25, 2012:

I came across an important magazine article today…

It’s about a tough, American war hero, Chester Nez. At age 90, Nez is a former Marine and the LAST surviving member of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers. This made me curious, and so I browsed around the ‘net until I found another article (from ICTMN), revealing more about Nez…

“His mission was so important that he didn’t get leave for three years. His mission was so secret he couldn’t talk about it until 23 years after the war ended. Proper honor for what he did wouldn’t come for 55 years. Code talkers were sworn to secrecy even after the war in case the code had to be used again. And it was, in the Korean Conflict and again in the Vietnam War.”

“Code Talker” by Chester Nez is now available in bookstores and online. (Photo: Berkley Trade)

Fortunately for all of us, the real story of the Code Talkers and their activities during those conflicts has finally been revealed with the recent publication of Nez’s new book entitled, “Code Talker.” Nez’s book is the ONLY memoir written by one of the original Navajo Code Talkers and for that reason, is considered by WW2 historians to be a VERY important account.

All too often, members of “the Greatest Generation” have passed on before leaving behind any written or oral record of their military service. Here is just one exciting excerpt from Nez’s book about WW2 in the Pacific theater…

“With saltwater filling our boots and dragging against each step, Roy Begay and I force ourselves forward. We try to avoid the bodies and parts of bodies that float everywhere. But that’s impossible. Blood stains the tide washing onto the beach. Roy and I tote a TBX radio and a microphone. Headsets clamp over our ears, so we can’t hear the hiss as hot bullets hit Pacific waters. But we’ve heard that sound too many times before. Rifles remain slung over our shoulders, unused. Our job is to talk, not to shoot.”

A Navajo Code Talker during WW2.
(File photo: USMC)

Such first-person accounts are becoming all the more important as time passes by. For example, when asked why he decided to join the Marines and help form the original Code Talkers, further insight is revealed when Nez replies…

“I reminded myself that my Navajo people had always been warriors, protectors. In that, there was honor. I would concentrate on being a warrior, on protecting my homeland. Within hours, whether in harmony or not, I knew I would join my fellow Marines in the fight. The white man’s military had accepted us as tough Marines. Hardened by the rigors of life on the reservation. We often out-performed our white peers.”

Hasbro saw fit to (appropriately) honor the Code Talkers with a unique “talking” GIjOE. These figures are still available online, and this one includes a code-word sheet and free “Junior Navajo Code Talker” patch. COOL!
(Photo: Southwest Indian Foundation)

Today’s Homework Assignment for all Joeheads… If you’re interested in learning more about the USMC Code Talkers, you can read more about Chester Nez online HERE, purchase his new book HERE, watch a moving, 10-minute video (below), visit the official Code Talker’s museum website HERE, or order one of the GIjOE Code Talker action figures from the Southwest Indian Foundation website store HERE. Davey Baker, a fellow Marine who worked with the Code Talkers during WW2, described the Code Talker’s thankless, secretive work best, when he said…

“If God alone may know, they saved thousands of American lives, yet their tale has been hidden by the very role they played.”

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Famed Author & G.I. Joe Historian, John Michlig, Confirms That Hasbro’s Interest In Reviving the Original 12-Inch Version Has Always Been Low

They weren't perfect, but the "Masterpiece Edition" GIjOEs that came packaged with John Michlig and Don Levine's ground-breaking book, "GIjOE: The Story Behind the Legend," proved to be an exciting reintroduction to the GIjOE collecting hobby for thousands of fans. Unfortunately, Hasbro had little interest in the project and proved to be more of an opponent than an ally. (Photo: Vectis Auctions)

No, they weren’t perfect, but Don Levine’s “Masterpiece Edition” GIjOEs were the first Hasbro-licensed reproductions of the original 12-inch figures that fans had seen since the 12-inch line ceased production back in 1976. John Michlig’s ground-breaking book, “GIjOE: The Story Behind the Legend,” also proved to be a revealing and historic commemoration of the iconic toy. Unfortunately, Hasbro showed little interest in Michlig and Levine’s 2-part project and proved to be more of an apathetic observer than a supportive or encouraging mentor. (Photo: Vectis Auctions)

 hasbrologonewApathetic Company Forces Fans to Fend For Themselves

With all the silent stonewalling emanating from Hasbro in 2014 regarding GIjOE’s 50th and (so-called) “golden” anniversary, it should come as no surprise to fans to learn that the company’s stunning indifference to its 12-inch action figure is in actuality—nothing new. In fact, in a revealing post made just last week over on the new “50 Years of GIjOE” fan group (hosted on Facebook HERE), the renowned GIjOE author and historian, John Michlig, bluntly and forthrightly recalled the many “blank stares” he received and the surprisingly minimal interest Hasbro had in reviving what they derisively described as, an “ugly old body.” According to Michlig:

Author and GIjOE historian, John Michlig. (Photo: John Michlig)

Author, GIjOE historian and Masterpiece Edtion co-creator, John Michlig. (Photo: John Michlig)

It’s been interesting catching up with ‘Friends of GIjOE’ via groups like this on Facebook. Hasbro’s apparent attitude toward the 12-inch ‘original configuration’ GIjOE on its 50th birthday brings to mind the blank stares we received when proposing the return of the original GIjOE via the Masterpiece Edition back in the mid-90s. I naively thought it would be a no-brainer: After all, I was going in with Don Levine himself(!), who was willing to bring his reminisces to the book aspect of the project as well as his expertise to the re-creation of the tooling, etc. Instead, we heard, ‘Who wants that ugly old body?’ Hasbro really didn’t see the attraction. So, we ponied up SIX FIGURES for a license and re-tooled the original ‘ugly old body,’ and the rest is history. Of course, after we sold a whole bunch of Masterpiece Edition sets, Hasbro thought enough of the ‘old’ Joe that they introduced the Timeless Collection line.”

Don Levine interviewed on CBN (Photo: CBN)

Don Levine interviewed on CBN (Photo: CBN)

Hasbro’s (by now, almost predictable) lackadaisical attitude toward 12-inch GIjOEs has long acted as an anchor, dragging down attempts by fans like Michlig and other enthusiastic supporters. Over the years, renewed suggestions and repeated requests from collectors for Hasbro to return to its original “razors and blades” marketing concept continued to fall on deaf ears in the corporate boardroom. Fortunately, Michlig was able to recruit powerful allies, and went on to describe how he met and gained the full cooperation of creator Don Levine and many others, stating:

“The Intrepid event is where I first encountered ‘GIjOE fandom,’ and also the place where I first met Don Levine. I have a picture I took of him attending the press conference where they were announcing the new ‘Sgt Savage’ line, and he looks like a guy watching his son graduate from college. Right after I took the picture I walked up and said, ‘You had something to do with this, didn’t you?’ A LONG conversation followed.”
Former Hasbro Product Manager, Kirk Bozigian. (Photo: GIJCC)

1990s Hasbro Product Manager, Kirk Bozigian (Photo: GIJCC)

Fortunately for fans and collectors, that “long conversation” would turn into the highly prized “Masterpiece Edition” line of books and figures, which prompted renewed interest in 12-inch GIjOEs among grown men seeking to reconnect with “an old friend,” and young children who had never seen a toy quite like it before (no, we don’t count Barbie’s beau, Ken!). Michlig concluded his reminiscences by lauding another who had helped inspire the revival of 12-inch GIjOEs:

“Frankly, had it not been for Kirk Bozigian ‘on the inside’ at Hasbro—he seemed to be the only guy there who had any enthusiasm whatsoever for the concept, and was a tireless advocate—I very much doubt that the Masterpiece Edition would have gotten past the drawing board. If you have it, grab your copy of GIjOE: The Complete Story of America’s Man of Action, and look at the photos on page 12. Creating GIjOE back in the early ’60s was basically MAD MEN with toys. It’s UNBELIEVABLE to me that they aren’t celebrating the accomplishment (and risk) if not the action figure itself!” —John Michlig

Bottom Line: GIjOE fans and collectors owe a great debt of gratitude to men like Michlig, Levine and Bozigian. When faced with corporate indifference and tremendous financial hurdles, these intrepid and creative souls committed themselves and forged ahead to accomplish great deeds, helping to advance the 1:6 scale GIjOE hobby as we know (and LOVE) it today. Think about that. Without their efforts, where would GIjOE collecting be today? In closing, the ever humble Bozigian took a moment to reply to Michlig’s praise and sums it all up nicely, by saying:

“John, thanks for the shout-out, but the genius was YOURS. You had the vision of writing the definitive history of 12-inch GIjOE and your secret weapon—a replica of the action figure that started it all!”

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Author Details How “Utterly Generic” 1960s Military G.I. Joes Evolved Into “Hipper” 1970s Adventurers in: “The End of Victory Culture”

Wow. Is this worst book jacket EVER? Quite possibly. Hopefully, it won't hurt sales of Tom Engelhardt's intriguing new historical account entitled, "The End of Victory Culture: Cold War America and the Disillusioning of a Generation. (Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press)

Wow. Is this worst book jacket EVER? Quite possibly. Hopefully, it won’t hurt sales of Tom Engelhardt’s intriguing historical account entitled, “The End of Victory Culture: Cold War America and the Disillusioning of a Generation.” (Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press)

GIjOE’s “Secret History” Analyzed

We stumbled across an article the other day entitled, GIjOE’s Secret Past.” Naturally, we were intrigued. The article’s headline proved to be a tad misleading, however, as it turned out to be a collection of book excerpts instead, none of which contained anything new, unknown, or even remotely “secret” about GIjOE. Nevertheless, the book itself looks to be an interesting read, and we felt that it warranted a quick mention here on The Joe Report.

As Joeheads already know, as America changed during the ’60s and ’70s, so too did “America’s Movable Fighting Man.” What you probably didn’t know was that GIjOE’s familiar story was recounted in a 1995 book with the lengthy academic title, “The End of Victory Culture: Cold War America and the Disillusioning of a Generation” by Tom Engelhardt.

Engelhardt describes his book as an “idiosyncratic history of American triumphalism.” Okay… Well, despite its wordy title, Tom’s rather obtuse description and extremely lame cover art, the passages explaining societal factors affecting GIjOE’s evolution were all very well written and seem predominantly factual. Engelhardt further described the contents of his book thusly:

Author Tom Engelhardt (Photo: Tom Engelhardt)

Author Tom Engelhardt (Photo: Tom Engelhardt)

“I filled the book with the pop culture detritus of my own childhood, from horror comics and nuclear-mutant movies, to toy missiles and toy soldiers. While writing it, I became fascinated with the way in which an adult culture of war-making played itself out in children’s lives and also the ways in which the business of children’s culture sometimes anticipated developments in the adult world…how war was stripped from children’s culture in the Vietnam era, and how it returned.”

Sideshow's so-so 12-inch figure of John Wayne from his fun, but not-so-great film, The Green Berets. (Photo: Sideshow)

Sideshow’s so-so 12-inch figure of John Wayne from his so-so 1968 film, The Green Berets. (Photo: Sideshow)

Intrigued and curious to learn more, we skimmed ahead until we located the first excerpt referring to GIjOE:

“It was 1964, and in Vietnam thousands of American ‘advisers’ were already offering up their know-how from helicopter seats or gun sights. The United States was just a year short of sending its first large contingent of ground troops there, adolescents who would enter the battle zone dreaming of John Wayne and thinking of enemy-controlled territory as ‘Indian country.’ Meanwhile, in that inaugural year of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, a new generation of children began to experience the American war story via the most popular toy warrior ever created.”

Vincent Santelmo's "Official Identification and Price Guide" from 1999 is still a "must own" for collectors and fans of GIjOE. It's full of great information, full color photos and much more. (Photo: Krause Publications)

The cover of Vincent Santelmo’s “Official Identification and Price Guide” from 1999 depicts the original 5 GIjOEs as described by Engelhardt. (Photo: Krause Publications)

In the 1960s, the U.S. would lurch from the Cuban Missile Crisis, through the traumatic Kennedy and MLK assassinations, and on into the morass of the Vietnam War. It was a turbulent, troublesome time, and Engelhardt begins by reminding readers how Hasbro’s initial marketing of GIjOE as a military soldier strategically coincided with LBJ’s Great Society, America’s Cold War with the Soviet Union, the civil rights movement and other emerging mentalities of 1964, saying:

“Joe was redolent of America’s last victorious war and utterly generic. There was no specific figure named Joe, nor did any of the ‘Joes’ have names. ‘He’ came in four types, one for each service, including the Marines…Since he was a toy of the Great Society with its dreams of inclusion, it only took a year for his manufacturer, Hasbro, to produce a ‘Negro Joe,’ and two more to add a she-Joe (a nurse, naturally). Joe initially came with no story, no instructions, and no enemy, because it had not yet occurred to adults (or toy makers) not to trust the child to choose the right enemy to pit against Joe.”

Engelhardt hits the bulls-eye repeatedly and intelligently with such prose, and in additional excerpts from the book, he recounts how the GIjOE product line began and then evolved over time, reflecting concurrent and shifting American attitudes towards “triumphalism,” war, and the appropriateness of war-related toys. Tom begins by reminding readers of GIjOE’s initial positioning:

“In TV ads of the time, Joe was depicted as the most traditional of war toys. Little boys in World War II-style helmets were shown entering battle with a GIjOE tank, or fiercely displaying their Joe equipment while a chorus of deep, male voices sang (to the tune of ‘The Halls of Montezuma’), ‘G.I. Joe, G.I. Joe, Fighting man from head to toe on the land, on the sea, in the air.’ He was ‘authentic’ with his ‘ten-inch bazooka that really works,’ his ‘beachhead flame thrower,’ and his ‘authentically detailed replica’ of a U.S. Army Jeep with its own ‘tripod mounted recoilless rifle’ and four rocket projectiles.”

We’ve located that original 1964 GIjOE commercial Engelhardt mentioned. You can view it NOW:

The "hippest" of all GijOEs had to be the "Counter Culture Joe' produced by the national GIjOE club as their 2003 convention exclusive figure. The CCJ's are now highly sought after by collectors. (Photo: GIJCC)

The “hippest” of all GijOEs had to be the “Counter Culture Joe’ produced by the national GIjOE club as their 2003 convention exclusive figure. The CCJ’s are now highly sought after by collectors. (Photo: GIJCC)

<Drool> Oops. Sorry! I’ll clean that right up. After tracing Joe’s story up through the Adventure Team era of the 1970s, Engelhardt eventually exhausts his GIjOE (reflected-an-evolving-U.S.-society) analogy, and moves on to introduce Barbie, the Star Wars films, and other such pop-culture examples deemed relevant to his discussion. But for our own selfish “Joe-centric” interests, we’ll leave you with one final passage from the book:

“This hipper, new Joe was, if not exactly gaining a personality, then undergoing a personalizing process. He no longer appeared so military with his new hairstyles and his ‘A’ (for adventure) insignia, which, as Katharine Whittemore has pointed out, ‘looked just a bit like a peace sign.’ In fact, he was beginning to look suspiciously like the opposition, fading as a warrior just as he was becoming a less generic doll. By 1974, he had even gained a bit of an oriental touch with a new ‘kung-fu grip.’ In 1976, under the pressure of the increased cost of plastic, he shrank almost four inches; and soon after, he vanished from the scene. He was, according to Hasbro, ‘furloughed,’ and as far as anyone then knew, consigned to toy oblivion.”

Bottom Line: Engelhardt’s book goes on to assert that little by little, “the monolithic story of America that had previously been imposed on a nation of children” is being stripped away, leading to the rewriting of history texts and a nation’s rediscovery of much of its “forgotten” history (re: minorities, the poor, native americans, etc.). The book may not seem like an obvious choice for a collector’s “GIjOE Library,” but it would make an enjoyable read nonetheless. And it’s always interesting to learn about how the “world’s favorite toy” has impacted the lives of so many around the globe. If you’d like to purchase Tom’s book, you can find it for sale HERE. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Larry Storch! Famed Actor, Comedian, & Star of ’60s TV, Turns 91 Today

A 1960s

An “F-Troop” comic book cover depicts the show’s cast, including (from l to r) Ken Berry, Melody Patterson, Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch (far right) as Corporal Agarn, the most famous comedic character of his long and illustrious shown business career. (Photo: basementcomics)

Larry Storch entertains the crowd during a 2011 appearance at the Friar's Club in New York City. (Photo: Drew Friedman)

Larry Storch entertains the crowd during a 2011 appearance at the Friar’s Club in New York City. (Photo: Drew Friedman)

F-Troop star and TV icon, Larry Storch turns 91 today. Happy Birthday, Larry!

My “Brush with Greatness” Double-Header in Small Town, USA

It was 8PM on a cold, dark September evening. The year was 2002, and the place was a Barnes & Noble (B&N) bookstore in the small college community of Champaign, Illinois. At that time, the bookstore was perched on the outermost edge of town, at the end of a retail district where civilization seemed to come to an abrupt end, butting up to hundreds of square miles of adjacent corn and soybean fields that stretched off to infinity in all directions.

The crops themselves had been harvested just a few weeks before, so now, there remained only row upon row of jagged corn-stubble and upturned, gray soil. The stalks pointed “all a kilter,” looking like the blast craters of a WWI battlefield, missing only trenches and doughboys to complete the effect. Flying high over the desolate scene, visiting TV icon Larry Storch probably looked out his plane’s window and felt like he was about to land on the moon.

Peter Marshall on the set of

Peter Marshall on the set of “Hollywood Squares” sometime in the 1970s. (Photo: NBC)

But I’m getting ahead of myself. On that particular night, I wasn’t waiting to meet Mr. Storch at all. Rather, I was flipping through pages of a new book entitled “Backstage with the Original Hollywood Square,” written by another television great, Peter Marshall, the longtime host and star of the iconic comedy game show, Hollywood Squares. It was actually Marshall, that I and about 25 other “locals” were there to see.

Despite our town’s small population and relatively isolated location, Marshall had been scheduled to appear there that evening for a personal appearance and book signing event. Purely by chance, I had seen a tiny blurb about the event in the paper the day before, and almost disbelievingly, decided to drop by the B&N after work. But why, I wondered, would Peter Marshall want to come here, when Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis are all just a few hours away? Those were much bigger markets. Hmm…

Peter Marshall and wife, Laurie Stewart. (Photo: getty)

Peter Marshall and wife, Laurie Stewart. (Photo: getty)

An Unexpected Celebrity 2-for-1

Whatever the reason, I planted myself in front of a table displaying his books, and filled the time as I waited by looking at the book’s photos, marveling at all of the great celebrities Marshall had known, worked with, and befriended during his many decades in show business. Suddenly…the doors of the store opened. All heads turned. And in walked…Peter Marshall!

He was accompanied by his beautiful wife, Laurie Stewart, and the “crowd” began to drift towards the area where he would sign his books. But hold the phone, Watson! A few seconds later, in walks Larry Storch (!)…also accompanied by HIS wife! I remember just blurting out, “Hey, That’s Larry Storch!” to a perfect stranger standing next to me. Unlike many celebrities, Mr. Storch is instantly recognizable in person. Despite his age, he has changed very little over the years. That night, he looked spiffy in a black turtleneck, slacks and sport coat, and he walked across the room with an almost imperious self-confidence. I was actually more excited to see Mr. Storch in person than Mr. Marshall.

This is my copy of the Peter Marshall book, “Backstage with the Original Hollywood Square.” I actually bought two copies that night, and had both stars autograph them (one as a gift for a relative). (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

What a FAN-tastic Surprise!

Okay, so here’s where the Twilight Zone part of my story begins: As Peter Marshall busied himself greeting the B&N manager and various store employees, I gathered up my nerve, and approached Mr. Storch first. He and his wife were just standing there, watching the activities, and no one else was talking to them. After telling him of my great admiration of his work, he and his wife, Norma Storch (an actress), thanked me and then… asked me to sit down WITH them in some chairs on the front row! Stunned, I quickly accepted, and after we had all introduced ourselves and shook hands, we sat down together… for a chat! Here it is:

In this 2003 photo, Larry Storch poses with his F-Troop co-star, Melody Patterson (c) and his wife, Norma Storch (r). Both Storch and his wife look much as they did when I met them a few months earlier. Sadly, she died from cancer a few months later. (Photo: Blessing Moore)

In this 2003 photo, Larry Storch poses with his F-Troop co-star, Melody Patterson (c) and his wife, Norma Storch (r). Both Storch and his wife look much as they did when I met them a few months earlier. Sadly, Norma died from cancer less than a year later. (Photo: Blessing Moore)

The “World’s Shortest Interview” with ’60s TV Icon and Funnyman, Larry Storch and his wife, Norma Storch

TJR: How was your flight? Are you having a nice trip?

Larry: “Oh man, it was rough. What a terrible flight!”
Norma: “The worst!”

TJR: I’m so sorry. What was the matter? What kind of plane was it?

Larry: “It was one of those little prop-jobs. And it was just bumpy all the way.” (Norma nodded and added an eye-roll for emphasis.)

My copy of Marshall's book with both his and Storch's kind inscriptions and autographs. What nice guys! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

My copy of Marshall’s book with both his and Storch’s kind inscriptions and autographs. What nice guys! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

TJR: Well, I’m so glad you made it safely. But it’s such a surprise to see you here. Why ARE you here, by the way?

Larry: “We’re just traveling with Peter and Laurie, to keep ’em company and have some fun.”
Norma: “Yes, but I don’t even know where this place is. HA!”

I suddenly realized what a rare opportunity our private little conversation was, and asked Storch if he would also sign Peter Marshall’s book. He chuckled, and said, “Sure!” writing out the kind inscription and autograph you see in the photo above. Soon after, Peter Marshall took his seat at the “official” book signing table, and since they were ready to begin, I thanked Larry and Norma and excused myself to get in line to meet Peter.

Bottom Line: In the end, both men signed my copy of Marshall’s book and today it remains one of my most valued possessions. Our youngest readers may have no clue about the two stars I’ve discussed today, and that’s truly a shame. Both men are hugely talented, widely accomplished, and were a great pleasure to meet in person. If I’ve peaked your interest in Larry Storch or Peter Marshall at all, I suggest you watch the following two short videos. Enjoy!

John T. Marshall, Renowned Author of “G.I. Joe and Other Backyard Heroes,” Stuns Fans With Plans to Sell-Off His Entire G.I. Joe Collection

Author and "Joelebrity," John T. Marshall, has announced he intends to sell-off all of his GIjOEs on his Facebook page. (Photo: John T. Marshall)

Renowned toy book author and “Joelebrity,” John T. Marshall (49), recently announced intentions to sell-off his entire GIjOE collection, starting on Facebook and then on ebay. (Photo: John T. Marshall)

Marshall's book, "GIjOE and Other Backyard Heroes," shows many of the vintage items to be included in the sale. (Photo: Schiffer Books)

Marshall’s book, GIjOE and Other Backyard Heroes, shows many of the vintage items to be included in the sale. (Photo: Schiffer Books)

“Joelebrities” Lining Up—to Sell-Off

In an exclusive announcement made to The Joe Report yesterday, esteemed and respected GIjOE fan, collector, expert, and author, John T. Marshall (NJ), has announced his intentions to sell-off his ENTIRE vintage (and famous) GIjOE collection. It was the second such announcement made this month by a noted “Joelebrity.” Earlier this month, a similar announcement was made by the son of the ailing GIjOE superfan and collector, James DeSimone.

Is this the start of some sort of “sell-off” trend among collectors of vintage toys and GIjOEs in particular? Or is it purely a coincidence that two such famous Joeheads would go down the same “dark path” at the same time? (Hum the Twilight Zone theme music here) We contacted Mr. Marshall and he graciously agreed to the following interview:

Comic Book Hero Toys by John T. Marshall (Scheiffer Books)

Comic Book Hero Toys by John T. Marshall
(Schiffer Books)

TJR: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today, John. Could you tell us WHY you’re having this big sale?

“The truth is, I’m a TERRIBLE collector. I get restless and I like to ‘flip’ collections. GIjOE, then superheroes, then movie memorabilia, then back to GIjOE again.”

TJR: How will you conduct this sale? Through ebay, a local auction company, or…?

“It was only when I rejoined the GIjOE collector community (via Facebook) that I saw the love and dedication—and expertise—that fans have for all things Joe. That’s when I knew that anything I had of real rarity or value should go to you guys—where it will ALWAYS be appreciated for the fantastic stuff that it is. So…I’m selling and offering it to the GIjOE community on FACEBOOK first.”

Collecting Monster Toys by John T. Marshall (Schiffer Books)

Collecting Monster Toys by John T. Marshall (Schiffer Books)

TJR: When will your big sell-off begin and how will you handle it?

“The sell-off began on October 14th and will include EVERY collectible object in my possession. Primarily, loose and packaged vintage GIjOE stuff. I’m previewing it all on my Facebook page called,’ John T. Marshall’s Vintage Adventure Figures’ HERE and members of that page can (and have) submitted offers. Any collectors who aren’t members are encouraged to join the page. Anything left on January 1st will go up on eBay.

Action Figures of the 1960s, by John T. Marshall (Schiffer Books)

Action Figures of the 1960s by John T. Marshall
(Schiffer Books)

TJR: And your goal on ebay will still be a complete “sell-off?

“EVERYTHING will go. I have decided that collecting things simply takes too much time away from my creative projects. As I stare down the big 5-0, I’m very aware of how quickly time is passing and I feel like I’ve not been as productive as I could’ve been in the last few years.”

TJR: Once you’ve sold-off all of your GIjOEs and toys, will you be writing more books?

“Once in a while I get asked by my publisher for book ideas, but I feel that the Internet has become the great repository of information on collectibles. I have joined many toy-related Facebook pages and there are many collectors who are walking reference guides. I thought I knew everything, but after a few months on Facebook, I realize I only know ALMOST everything!”

The DVD cover of "Slammerella," an independent film by John T. Marshall (Photo: John T. Marshall)

The DVD cover of “Slammerella,” an independent film by John T. Marshall (Photo: John T. Marshall)

TJR: Will you be working on creating more comic books then, or…?

“Probably not comics, but movies DEFINITELY. I tried my hand at filmmaking a few years ago and made a micro-budget comedy called Slammerella. I’d never expect anyone to pay to see it (if anything, just the opposite) but it’s pretty decent for a first try and very well acted. Several of the people in it went on to much bigger things.”

TJR: Sounds great! Any final words for your fans in the GIjOE collecting community?

“As passionate as I am about vintage toys, I simply cannot juggle career, family, filmmaking AND collecting GIjOEs. So collecting had to go. But I will ALWAYS love vintage toys and I intend to stay as active as I can on the Facebook boards, with my usual mix of arcane knowledge and cheap jokes!”

Bottom Line: So there you have it, Joeheads. Two famous GIjOE collectors are now selling off their entire collections—at the same time. One due to health concerns, the other due to mid-life crisis and career wanderlust. We wish them both the best, but remember… If you want to nab some of Marshall’s famous Joe-swag, you’ll need to start by “liking” his Facebook page first. Whatever’s left after the initial run-through, will then go over to ebay. Good luck and Happy Hunting! Our best wishes and thanks to John T. Marshall for his contributions to this article. 

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NYCC Exclusive “Captain Action” Coloring Book Intended for Kids—But Appeals More to Adults!

Copies of this superb retro-modern Captain Action "sketch and coloring book" will be sold to fans attending the New York City Comic Con in October, 2013. Outstanding! (Photo: Joe Ahern, Round 2)

Copies of this all-new, retro-modern Captain Action “sketch and coloring book” will be sold to fans attending the New York City Comic Con, October 10-13, 2013. Outstanding! (Photo: Joe Ahern, Round 2)

Joe Ahern of Round 2 and Captain Action Enterprises. (Photo: Joe Ahern)

Joe Ahern of Round 2 and Captain Action Enterprises. (Photo: Joe Ahern)

New CA Collectible to Debut 10-10-13

In yet another creative (and intelligent) demonstration of how Round 2 strives to please its existing customer base while simultaneously creating a new generation of “Actioneers,” Captain Action (CA) Enterprises head honcho, Joltin’ Joe Ahern has just released a press release announcing the production of an eye-popping CA “sketch and coloring book” to be offered as an exclusive to fans and attendees of the upcoming 2013 New York Comic Con. Ahern excitedly declared:

“Hey Actioneers! Captain Action Enterprises announces another New York Comic Con exclusive: The Captain Action Convention Sketchbook and Coloring Book. Building upon the fan enthusiasm for convention sketchbooks, this 44-page book will feature Action Artwork by an impressive collection of comic artists, including: John Byrne, Joe Jusko, Ron Frenz, Ruben Procopio, Steven E. Gordon and Art Thibert.”

This "retro-modern" ad for Weston crayons perfectly captures the mood of "surprise" and delight that Round 2 strives to achieve with its own reinterpretation of Captain Action's vintage charm and fun. (Photo: Round 2)

This “retro-modern” ad for Weston Crayons perfectly captures the mood of “surprise and delight” that Round 2 strives to achieve with its current assortment of Captain Action products. And yes, little girl, we’d like a copy of that Jonny Quest coloring book too! (Photo: Round 2)

Ed Catto of Round 2 and Captain Action Enterprises. (Photo: Ed Catto)

Ed Catto of Round 2 and Captain Action Enterprises posing with—and wearing—some recent additions to the growing CA product line. (Photo: Ed Catto)

R2 Decides to “Take It Up a Notch”

In contrast to their colorful, fantastically painted outer covers, the black-n-white line-art filling the interior pages of coloring books is often simplistic and well…DULL. Round 2’s decision to upgrade their new CA book by utilizing only well-known and TALENTED comic book artists, ensures that its convention souvenir will become an instant collectible. Ahern’s fellow genius-in-business, Excellent Ed Catto, chimed in with his own intel, saying:

“With a nod to the retro past that Captain Action so often embraces, this limited-edition is designed to evoke the look and feel of a classic 1960s coloring book. From the painted cover to the black-and-white interior images to the corny captions, it’s all designed to make the reader feel as if he or she’s stumbled across a lost coloring book in a forgotten corner of some out-of-the-way antique store. This NYCC Limited Edition Convention Exclusive will be sold at the Captain Action booth at the New York Comic Con, and retail for $9.99.”

nycc2013-logo-thumbBottom Line: This new book is a no-brainer for Captain Action fans. We recommend you keep your eyes peeled and pick one up whenever and wherever you can. If you’re in the area, the 2013 New York Comic Con will be held at the Javits Center in New York City on October 10-13th. So…”git yer crayons out” and… Let Justice Be Done! (Psst! Hey, Hasbro! Here’s ANOTHER great idea for GIjOE’s 50th… Hello?)

Newly-Published “Sector 6” Fan Fiction Utilizes 1:6 Scale Action Figures; Inspired by Format of WW2 German Propaganda Magazine, “Signaal”


Professionally designed and printed, the first issue of Oscar Aguado Garcia’s Sector 6 is an outstanding example of 1:6 scale “fan fiction.” (Photo: Oscar Aguado Garcia)


A typical issue of the propaganda magazine, Signaal (1940-1945), depicted happy, healthy Wehrmacht troops, ready and able to defend the Third Reich against its enemies. (Photo: ioffer)

First, a Short History Lesson…

During the second World War, print publications proved to be some of the most effective ways to reach out and “touch” the hearts and minds of a civilian population. Germany’s answer to the Allied Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes was its own political publication titled “Signaal.” Signaal was a slick little propaganda magazine, professionally designed and chocked full of articles and heroic imagery depicting the “supremacy” of German armed forces.

While one might suspect Signaal was a product of Joseph Goebbels and his vaunted Propaganda Ministry, it was actually created and controlled entirely by the German Army or “Wehrmacht.” Everything within its pages was carefully selected by Wehrmacht staffers to portray an idyllic and heroic vision of German troops as they fought to defend the Third Reich from advancing allied troops and the “Bolshevik hordes” (that would be the Russians).


Oscar Aguado Garcia poses on the set of a Spanish TV show prior to being interviewed about his new fan-fiction book, Sector 6. (Photo: Oscar Aguado Garcia)

Looking past the patently obvious hyperbole of its contents, Signaal has long been regarded by historians as one of the better sources of photographic reference about the Wehrmacht during WWII. It even featured a full-color centerfold! If we ignore the political slant of its articles, the LOOK of the magazine was undeniably clean, crisp—and effective.

2013 “Fan Fiction” Inspired by 1940’s Design

Over 68 years later, Oscar Aguado Garcia, an action figure fan and collector from Spain has just created an all-new publication entitled Sector 6. Clearly inspired by the Wehrmacht’s wartime design of Signaal, Garcia’s new work of “fan fiction” is a faithful (and expensive) recreation, but with a unique twist: All the soldiers depicted in his photos…are in 1:6 scale! Utilizing an excellent selection of Dragon and other high-end figures, Oscar has essentially produced an all-new version of a vintage Signaal magazine. In an interview with The Joe Report, he describes Sector 6 this way:


Sample page of Sector 6 (Photo: Oscar Aguado Garcia) Click to enlarge.

“Sector 6 was inspired by World War II propaganda magazines, specifically the German magazine, Signaal. The title comes from an abbreviation of ‘Sector 1:6,’ referring to the scale that we all love to work with. Inside, action figures from the Second World War rewrite history from their own unique point of view, creating fictional war scenes in an exclusive selection of over 300 photographs (246 colour and 55 black-n-white.)

Sector 6 was designed to look like the vintage WW2 magazine and its contents are based on different articles, some of them true, others fictional, and others in-between. With a total of 82 pages, 14 articles (1 romance illustrated by pictures), 1 DIY, and (as in the original Signaal) adverts of various products, the publication measures 210 x 275,5 mm, and is a very high-quality product.”


In this screenshot, Oscar reacts to a question from a TV show host during an appearance on Spanish television promoting his new book. (Photo: YouTube)


As in Signaal, Garcia’s Sector 6 also includes humorous advertisements for products such as suppositories, typewriters and boots. (Photo: Oscar Alguado Garcia) Click on image to enlarge.

Fan fiction is a very narrow niche extension of action figure collecting. It requires creativity, artistic ability and graphic design experience just to get a project off the ground. Then, passion, patience and yes—MONEY—are also needed to see it through to its completion. We began to wonder about all the hard work and financial risks involved and asked Oscar to share his thoughts on those topics, as well as on any other projects he’s currently working on. To that, he replied:

“Sector 6 is actually the culmination of an 8-year ‘game’ I have been playing where I act as a war correspondent and my collection of action figures are the characters or ‘stars’ in the war. But I want to make clear that unlike the original Signaal, my book has NO such ideological intentions. On the contrary, I criticize and parody such propaganda.

I also have other projects in the Blue Division Museum and at the trade exhibition “No sólo Militaria.” But, as I am the only worker there, my biggest efforts are now focused on selling out the first printing of Sector 6 and then releasing numbers 2, 3 and so on.”

Bottom Line: Currently, Sector 6 is only available in Spanish, and there are no plans to release it in English. But that doesn’t really matter to us here at The Joe Report. We believe the publication’s original Spanish version will be the best and most collectible. If you’d like to purchase a copy of Sector 6 for your “Joe Library,” we recommend you visit the official Sector 6 website HERE and contact Garcia personally via email HERE.

Bottom, Bottom Line:  We just received a complimentary copy of the Sector 6 book. It is absolutely PHENOMENAL. Far and away better than we could have ever imagined. And it’s LONG too (80 pages)! Top-notch, professional graphic design, layout and photography all throughout. Chocked full of inspirational outdoor diorama set-ups and photos. Yes, it’s all in Spanish, but who cares? We’ve never seen a 1:6 scale photo-book as cool as this. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.