Burying the Headline— A short, 9-word sentence in the January 2016 issue of the GIjOE Collectors’ Club official magazine has set off “alarm bells” among the ranks of its membership. Take a close look at the paragraph above that begins with “Please note.” Many believe that the second sentence not-so-subtly announces an impending death-knell for the club. What do YOU think? (Photo: Mark Otnes)
Whether he meant to or not, the GIjOE Collectors’ Club (GIJCC) President and Editor-in-Chief of Fun Publications (FP), Brian Savage, has created a mini-firestorm of concern and confusion among the faithful members of the GIJCC. If this is still news to your eyes and ears, dear reader, then here is the “alarming” sentence many believe has declared the foreseeable end of the mighty GIJCC:
Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector’s Club (Photo: GIJCC)
“All memberships will end with the December 2016 issue.” —Brian Savage
Whoa. That’s not good news. At first reading, the meaning of the sentence seems clear enough, perhaps even ominous—but is it really? Could it simply be a misunderstanding? Or semantics? Perhaps it’s merely an example of a how a hastily worded sentence can lead to unintended confusion or misinterpretation. Of course, only Savage and FP know the answer(s) for sure, but they’re not talking. So, while we wait for further clarification on the issue, let’s consider the following two possibilities:
#1: The Club is Merely “Resetting” Its Membership Calendar.
If everything’s still fine and dandy at the GIJCC and FP, Savage’s sentence may merely mean the magazine is resetting its signup date, and thus the calendric policy that it utilizes for processing annual memberships. It’s possible they’re moving to a single signup month, one wherein all members must enroll and pay their dues (i.e. the month of January?). Establishing such a system may help provide the club with a more predictable budget and revenue-stream for its wide variety of club events, exclusives, etc. This may be a naive supposition on our part, but the only other alternative appears to be…
#2: It’s OVER. Savage and Fun Publications are Getting Out of the Toy Fan “Biz”
Yes, sadly, the many doomsayers out there in Joeland may be correct. The end of the GIJCC may now be in sight. However, at the moment, Savage and his club are refusing further comment. And rather than circling their wagons financially, the GIJCC continues to steam full-speed ahead with plans for JoeCon 2016 in Colorado this upcoming June.
Then there’s licensing. Hasbro isn’t a cheap partner, to be sure. Keeping their officially sanctioned status may be becoming too costly a burden for the club to bear. And don’t forget, Savage and FP also run a similar club organization for fans of Transformers, hosting annual conventions known as “BotCons.” Apparently, those fans (and customers of FP) are now facing a similarly depressing “end of times” scenario. According to one renowned expert…
Chicago GIjOE Club members, Kevin Bolger (left) and Tave Lamperez (right), at a previous Joe Show in Algonquin, IL. Bolger weighs in on the current “sentence” controversy below. (Photo: Mark Otnes)
“It looks like this may be the end for the national GIJCC. Brian hasn’t confirmed anything so far, but he’s also not denying that all memberships will END in December 2016. And it appears this is the end of Brian Savage and Fun Publications helming the Transformers’ Club as well (see Allspark article HERE).
I’m not sure if the end of licensing with Hasbro was Brian’s choice or Hasbro’s. I remember a number of years hearing what the cost of the franchise was, but it was some real high $ amount. There has been some folks wishing that someone else would take it all on, but I doubt there will be any takers.
We’ll see what happens, but the conversations on the GIJCC Forum asking about the future seemed to be unanswered from the Club. Why would all memberships end on December 2016 unless this was the end? I’m not sure that anyone would really want to take on the big franchise cost to do an official Hasbro-sanctioned club, or want to do it as a business.
It’s really too bad, as the national Club did bring together folks together, especially in the early days of the internet. It gave incentive to those of us who would run into a fellow Joehead at a flea market or in the aisles of Toys R Us in the early ’90s, to actually get together at a large show devoted to our hobby.
I helped to start one of the local Chapters (the Chicago Division of the GIjOE Collectors’ Club) which had a good run. Hopefully, Joelanta and smaller Regional shows will continue to help fill the in-person void. And places like the Trenches provide something more frequently.” —Kevin Bolger, Chicago, IL
The only official club reply to repeated fan requests for clarification reads as follows:
“In regard to GIJCC memberships, the only information we have at this time is what is posted online. Thanks and have a Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!” —GIjOE Collectors’ Club