Category Archives: GIJOE Photography & Artwork

G.I. Joe Classic Collection Artist, Larry Selman, Unveils “Washington’s Review,” in Ceremony at National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, PA

Brig. Gen. Tony J. Carrelli, Pennsylvania National Guard deputy adjutant general – Air (left), Maj. Gen. Wesley E. Craig, Pa. National Guard adjutant general (right) and artist Larry Selman pose in front of Selman’s painting, "Washington’s Review," Dec. 6, 2014, at the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, Pa. The painting was commissioned on behalf of the Pa. National Guard and unveiled during its 267th birthday celebration. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum/Released)

Atten—HUT! In a formal ceremony held December 6th, 2014 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA, renowned artist and illustrator, Larry Selman (center), presents his latest work entitled, “Washington’s Review,” to Brig. Gen. Tony J. Carrelli (left) and Maj. Gen. Wesley E. Craig (right). Congratulations, Larry! (Photo: Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum/Released) Click to enlarge.

Larry Selman's masterpiece, "Washington's Review," measures in at a whopping 60" x 30" and carries on the tradition of fine military art he honed while working as an illustrator for '90s GIjOE "Classic Collection" boxes for Hasbro. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Larry Selman)

“Washington’s Review,” measures in at a whopping 60″ x 30″ and carries on the tradition of fine military artwork Selman first honed to perfection while working as an illustrator on various GIjOE “Classic Collection” packages for Hasbro Toys. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Larry Selman) Click to enlarge.

Larry Selman, renowned GIjOE packaging illustrator and artist of military history. (Photo: Larry Selman)

Larry Selman (Photo: Larry Selman)

Artist’s Latest Masterpiece to be Displayed Permanently at Pennsylvania National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Pennsylvania

GIjOE fandom’s favorite illustrator and artist, Larry Selman, made the news again recently when he unveiled his latest painting, a superb work he’d completed for the Pennsylvania National Guard. According to an official press release describing the event, as penned by Tech. Sgt. Andria J. Allmond (edited for length):

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“A painting commissioned by the Pennsylvania National Guard, and slated for display at the Pa. National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., entitled “Washington’s Review” by artist Larry Selman of Waynesboro, Pa., was unveiled at the National Constitution Center here Dec. 6.

The 60 by 30-inch image depicts Gen. George Washington assessing the 1st City Troop of Philadelphia June, 1775. The painting illustrates Washington returning the salute from the artillery officer while the enlisted men are at present arms as the officers pass by in review.”

The more you study Selman's work, the more you see. There are actually stories within the story being depicted and historic details that astound the viewer. Amazing! (Photo: Larry Selman)

Unbelievable! The closer you study Selman’s work, the more details you’ll discover. (Photo: Larry Selman)

Selman said he painstakingly conducts research before applying paint to his canvas, in order to provide not only a beautiful piece of artwork, but also an accurate account of history. One of America’s foremost historic artists, his body of work is comprised of capturing military scenes from the Revolutionary War to current military engagements.

Selman continued by stating that each painting is comprised of mini portraits, with research done on everything from the style of clothes worn and weaponry used, to how people would be positioned, to the correct landscape of the time and place. He explained that after conducting research, he obtains the correct clothing, equipment and people to serve as models in order to construct the original picture. Even body language and the emotional affect of individuals during the time the painting is portrayed are considered.”

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“When a picture is completed, if it’s wrong you have to defend it, it will always be wrong. But if it’s right, you’ll never have to defend it.” —Larry Selman

Selman's depiction of George Washington will ring a bell with fans and collectors of GIjOE action figures who remember a previous Selman painting of America's first President graced the packaging of an outstanding George Washington "Classic Collection" figure. (Photo: Timewarptoys)

Selman’s latest depiction of George Washington will ring a bell with GIjOE fans and collectors. Its layout and poses are similar to a painting the artist had previously created for the packaging of Hasbro’s George Washington “Classic Collection” GIjOE action figure. (Photo: Timewarptoys)

Bottom Line: Over the span of his illustrious 31-year career, Selman continues to “wow” and amaze his legions of fans with ever-more astounding works of artistic, technical and historic accuracy. Larry’s latest masterpiece, “Washinton’s Review” takes a well-deserved place among those works as one of his best and most memorable. Proceeds from the sales of prints of this painting will go to benefit soldiers and airmen in need (complete information HERE). Our sincerest thanks go out to Mr. Selman for all he’s done for the world’s GIjOE collecting community and for honoring members of the U.S. military. Visit Larry on Facebook HERE or at his website HERE.

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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?

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“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)

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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:

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“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

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“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

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“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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Brazilian “Fans of Falcon” Keep Spirit of 1:6 Scale Action Figure Alive With Release of 3 New Posters

There's nothing like professional GIjOE or "Falcon" posters to properly decorate your home. Surely your wife will approve! (Photo: Marcelo Santana)

Fans and collectors of Estrela’s “Falcon” GIjOEs will LOVE these 3 new posters commemorating each unique phase of the figure’s storied history (military, adventure, and sci-fi). (Photo: Marcelo Santana)

Never Give Up. Never Surrender!

While that rousing slogan was first made popular in the 1999 sci-fi classic, Galaxy Quest, it lately seems to reflect the die-hard attitude of thousands of frustrated Falcon fans living in Brazil. Falcon, as you no doubt recall from our previous article (HERE), was GIjOE’s exotic South-American cousin during the 1970s and ’80s, and is now as equally as revered and collectible as Action Man is to fans in the UK and Geyperman is to fans in Spain.

Falcon fans, meanwhile, remain undeterred by repeated (failed) efforts to revive the most famous creation of Estrela Toys, and have begun taking matters into their own hands. In addition to reaching out to U.S.-based Cotswold Collectibles, a second group of Falcon fans has invested its own time (and money) into producing a new line of Falcon-inspired promotional posters. According to exclusive “insider intel” we received recently from Brazil’s Marcelo Santana:

Marcelo Santana of Brazil (Photo: Marcelo Santana)

Marcelo Santana of StudioBrasilis, creator of 3 new decorative Falcon posters. (Photo: Marcelo Santana)

“Dear Joe Report—Your blog is an important reference for collectors of GIjOEs, Action Man and many other action figures. I visit often and read all the news that you post. For this reason I write to you today. Surely you know that here in Brazil the GIjOEs (Adventure Team, etc.) were renamed “Falcon” and re-released in 1977 by the toy manufacturing ‘Estrela’ and sold until 1985, when the line was discontinued. Unfortunately, since that time, fans have had no luck convincing Estrela to reissue Falcon as it was back in ‘the old days.’

Recently, a group of independent graphics professionals and myself decided to release an all-new, special series of 3 posters for collectors of GIjOE/Action Man/Falcon. Each poster in the set focuses on a different phase and characteristic of the Falcon line (i.e. the initial military phase, then adventure, and finally, futuristic/sci-fi).

This closeup shows the wonderfully large size of the new Falcon posters. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Marcelo Santana)

According to Marcelo, this poster translates as “The real hero invites you to a new adventure.” (Photo: StudioBrasilis)

Our company, StudioBrasilis, is an independent project of a group of friends and creative pros who came together to develop ideas that focus on producing new products related to popular culture and our childhood. Cool and modern ideas. For the 3 Falcon posters, the creation was all mine, but based on research I conducted with Falcon collectors here in Brazil. They told me that, as happened in other countries where the GIjOE Adventure Team was produced, the Brazilian version had unique characteristics of its own which differed from the others (i.e. its packages, vehicles, clothing, accessories, etc.).

Therefore, our intention was to create something different that did not yet exist. We knew that a few years ago, a commemorative poster for Hasbro’s Adventure Team had already been released, but nothing like it had ever been made for Falcon. In fact, Falcon is one of the rarest versions of GIjOE in the world. Our 3 new posters fill that void (a little) by portraying specific moments in the history of Falcon.

This closeup show some of the "Future" Falcon figures that made the line so unique. (Photo: Marcelo Santana)

This closeup show some of the “Future” Falcon figures that made the line so unique. (Photo: StudioBrasilis)

Finally, we wanted the collector, when seeing the posters, to easily recognize the elements and characteristics present in each, so this was a job that required real research—and creativity. Collectors can frame the posters and decorate the walls of their living room, or hang them next to his (or her) collection of Falcons and GIjOEs.

Each poster measures 24 x 36 inches (60 x 90 cm), is professionally offset-printed in high-resolution on bright, glossy stock (frame not included), and will be available in a limited edition (ONLY 300 sets). We want everyone to also know that we are not affiliated with Estrela Toys or any other toy manufacturer. The 3 poster set is being sold on ebay HERE for $49,90 U.S. (with FREE shipping).” —Marcelo Santana, StudioBrasilis

Bottom Line: StudioBrasilis’ posters are a fine example of fans and entrepreneurs taking matters into their own hands while the brands actual creators (Hasbro and Estrela) continue to sit idly by on the sidelines. We’d like to thank Marcelo Santana and everyone else at StudioBrasilis for their fine work and wish them all the best in their Falcon-based endeavours. Hopefully, their poster sales will be successful enough to galvanize additional fan support for the proposed Cotswold/Estrela Falcon reissue effort we reported on earlier (HERE). While we wait for further updates on that project, if you’re still a “newbie” to the ways and wiles of Falcon, take a look at this classic Brazilian TV commercial we discovered recently over on YouTube. It just might whet your appetite!

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“Aged” Commander is Older, But “Not Bitter”

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The “Aged Commander” GIjOE as envisioned by California-based artist, Maura Condrick, sports a wrinkled face and neck, a wider waistline, and walks with the aid of a (pretty cool-looking) cane. So…where can collectors get one of those nifty 1:6 scale canes, Maura? (Photo illustration: Maura Condrick)

The memorable "Aged Adventurer," as created by the GIjOE Collector's Club, featured an all-new bald headsculpt and unique balding flocked hairstyle. (Photo: Sean Huxter)

The memorable “Aged Sea Adventurer,” as created by the GIjOE Collector’s Club, featured an all-new bald headsculpt and unique balding flocked hairstyle. (Photo: Sean Huxter)

Illustrator Creates Images of Aging Toys

We were sitting around the offices of The Joe Report this morning when our new-fangled teletype machine began chattering away and spitting out pages full of the following so-called (GIjOE-related) “news story.” It’s about an illustrator based out of Venice, CA (‘natch!) named Maura Condrick, who had recently completed a series of photo-paintings portraying a variety of classic toys. (Not so interesting, we thought at first). But…what makes Condrick’s work unusual is that her art imagines what our favorite toys would have looked like if they had continued to age—along with their owners. (Ah! Now THAT’S intriguing!)

Of course, fans and customizers of GIjOEs have been playing around with that sort of “what if” idea for years, the most famous being the club’s very own “Aged Sea Adventurer” (see photo at right). Created as a convention exclusive, the club went so far as to create an all-new, balding headsculpt, flocked with a unique receded hair pattern (see complete review and photos by Sean Huxter on his excellent website HERE). In the article written by Margot Peppers for the UK’s Daily Mail (found HERE), Peppers notes:

“When children grow older, they outgrow their toys, but one artist has imagined what the toys would look like it they aged, too. Maura Condrick’s series ‘Toy Story: The Later Years,’ shows classic toys including Barbie and Ken, GIjOE, Mr Potato Head and Thomas the Tank Engine exhibiting signs of old age like grey hair, wrinkles and a stomach paunch.”

Customizers have taken their creative liberties with famous GIjOE's physique, such as Don Hanke's hilarious "Pot Belly Joe." Now THAT's hilarious! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Customizers have taken their own creative liberties with GIjOE’s famous physique, such as Don Hanke’s hilarious “Pot Belly Joe.” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

The images of Barbie with sagging breasts and a spindly-legged Ken are humorous to be sure, but we were more interested in what has become of “America’s Movable Fighting Man.” Apparently, he’s not quite as “movable” as once was, poor guy. According to the article:

“GIjOE now stands with the help of a walking stick and has certainly seen better days. But GIjOE wants to make it perfectly clear—he’s not bitter. He wasn’t bitter when Hasbro reduced him in size to better compete with Star Wars toys in the early ’80s. He wasn’t bitter when Channing Tatum played him in the movie version of his life, and despite rumors that have dogged him since the mid-’60s, the ‘real American hero’ continues to insist, ‘I’m not a doll, I’m an action figure.”

Bottom Line: If you wondering what all this silliness is about, Condrick’s art was created for an entertainment and lifestyle blog called “The Purple Clover” (found HERE) and her imagery works well with the clever commentary penned by blog writer, Larry Carlat. While it’s not a GIjOE “news story,” it IS a pleasant and irreverent diversion for fans (ala a Mad Magazine satire) and an enjoyable trip down memory lane. Hmm…did I take my pills today?

TJR’s “Video Pick of the Week” #16: “The Adventures of GIjOE: The Kayak Attack”

CIGCC logo.It’s a Sea Sled vs. SUPER Sea Sled Showdown!

The members of the Central Illinois GIjOE Collector’s Club (CIGCC) have just released another of their entertaining club videos. As usual, the members hope to remind other fans and collectors of the fading fact that GIjOEs were meant to be played with, and demonstrate yet another way to do just that.

In their past videos, the CIGCC has shown us how to create a self-towing convoy of vehicles using only pieces of nearly invisible fishing line, how to have a huge “backyard battle,” how to “swap noggin’s” between figures, and how to practice for and participate in the time-honored tradition of a GIjOE “parachute drop.”

This time around, the club has created an all-new, fan-fantasy GIjOE commercial entitled, “The Kayak Attack.” In it, a son decides to pit his vintage 1966 Sea Sled against his Dad’s modern-era “Super Sea Sled” to in attempt to determine which is the fastest.

Bottom Line: We love seeing children, teens, men and women (of all ages) playing with and enjoying their GIjOEs. Here at The Joe Report, we say, FREE YOUR JOES! When you grow tired of looking at them from behind all that cellophane, we recommend that you follow the lead of the members of the CIGCC and rediscover just how fun it is to PLAY with GIjOE. Go, JOE!

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

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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)

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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).

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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:

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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.”

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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)

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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.

Fans Learn to Collect 1:6 Scale “On The Cheap”

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Tony Carducci’s persistence and tenacity often pays off big time. Here, he sets a GIjOE doctor figure inside the garage sale Barbie van he found (just $10) and then customized into an Adventure Team Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV). Outstanding! And cheap. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Tony said he found this perfect, 1:6 scale “Thor’s Hammer” keychain ($6) at a local grocery store coinciding with the release of The Avengers movie. Wow! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“He who spends less, can buy MORE!”

At first reading, the quote above may seem contradictory or counter-intuitive. But as many fans of 1:6 scale are finding out, it’s actually true. While Hasbro’s offerings dwindle and higher-end alternatives from Sideshow and Hot Toys continue to climb higher in price, a growing number of collectors have begun looking for inexpensive ways to satisfy their 1:6 appetites. That means spending less on each individual item to get MORE.

And let’s face it. Joeheads love everything in 1:6 scale. It’s almost like an addiction. We’re always on the lookout for new figures, uniforms or accessories. Every so often, we pick up a new vehicle; maybe even an extra one just for customizing. But no matter what the size or scope of a collection, the “thrill of the hunt” for 1:6 scale never seems to go away.

“I would NEVER pay that much!”

Over the years, a 1:6 “sticker shock rebellion” had begun to squeeze its way into the 1:6 hobby. To illustrate the effects of this “rebellion,” we interviewed a leading proponent of the growing “Spend less to get MORE” crowd; big-time Adventure Team fan, Tony Carducci, of Colona, Illinois. After a long day repairing electric guitars and providing music lessons to wannabe rockers, Tony enjoys nothing more than relaxing at home with his extensive 1:6 scale action figure collection.

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Each shelf in Tony Carducci’s Joe Room is filled to capacity with a wide variety of 1:6 scale action figures. And dig that Adventure Team Yellow wall paint. Cool! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Tony found these 1:6 scale refrigerator magnets at his local Jewel-Osco grocery store. Each is a superb miniature sack (made of real paper) full of a variety of items. Get this: They were only $1 each! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

But, as with many collectors, adequate display space for his growing collection quickly became a problem. Undeterred, the “hands-on” and cost-conscious Carducci decided to add on to his home. Predictably, he chose to forgo hiring expensive contractors and in little over a year, with the able assistance of his family, he had completed a new master bedroom, bathroom and (best of all) expanded his basement area for an all-new “Joe Room!”

“Guess How Much I Paid For THIS?”

Tony readily admits he doesn’t like spending money. And the “fiscally responsible” (or restrictive) attitude he and other fans share carries over into his GIjOE-collecting hobby as well. According to Carducci:

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“I’m always keeping my eyes open for 1:6 scale stuff. And no, I don’t like to spend any more money on it than I have to. That’s why I regularly haunt places like Goodwill and local thrift stores, garage sales and even ebay. Fortunately (for me), for some reason, here in Colona there’s always a lot of great GIjOE-related stuff to be found. You just have to get out and look for it!”

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Happily ensconced in his new Joe Room, Tony Carducci enjoys working with a variety of 1:6 scale miniatures to create custom figures for use in his “Bob Diablo” photo-comics. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Here’s a nice closeup of one of Tony’s “City Survival” backpacks that come filled with chewing gum and are still sold at most supermarkets for just $2. What a great value! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

All of that time scrounging for 1:6 deals has clearly paid off for Carducci, who’s become the pride of his local division: The Central Illinois GIjOE Collector’s Club (CIGCC), At each club meeting, Tony simultaneously amazes and inspires with reports of recent low-cost acquisitions, and then advises others how they can do the same. According to one CIGCC member:

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“Every…single…time…we see Tony at a GIjOE club meeting, he’ll have a story to tell of some fantastic ‘find’ he picked up at a garage sale or thrift store. 1:6 scale vehicles for $1. A dozen Joes for $10. I mean, the guy hardly spends ANYTHING and yet he has more in his collection than 2 or 3 of us put together. On his days off, Tony’s always out there, looking for Joes and anything else he can find in 1:6 scale. Just look at his amazing collection. The guy is a Class-A, hardcore SCROUNGER!”

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Shelves groan under the weight of Carducci’s superb collection. But don’t ask how LITTLE he spent on it all. You wouldn’t believe it if he told you. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Here are some more “Tips from Tony” regarding recent 1:6 scale bargains:

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How about some cool, miniature boxes for your Joe’s “Joe Room?” These 1:6 scale superhero boxes were sold in bulk during Halloween and filled with candy. Dump out the candy and you have some killer props for a diorama. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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How about a 1:6 scale Monopoly game wit 3-D dice, card piles, houses and hotels? Just $2 at Walmart in their scrap-booking section. Superb “bang for the buck!” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Your Joes don’t like Monopoly? How about LIFE? Same price. Same place. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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There’s also Scrabble ($2, Walmart), complete with tiny tiles and racks. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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One of Tony’s greatest “on the cheap” achievements is a Barbie van that he customized and converted to a Mobile Adventure Team Satellite Tracking Station Vehicle (or MATSTSV), complete with backlit radar screens, flip down laptop console, computers and professional waterslide decal graphics provided by Patches of Pride. Carducci found the vehicle at a garage sale and traded for the PoP decals, keeping his final total cost for this amazing custom to only about $15. WOW. Fantastic job, Tony! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Don’t forget to look for these tiny erasers at Target and Walmart ($1). This milk jug is spot-on PERFECT at 1:6 scale. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: To look at his collection, one would think Tony had spent a fortune amassing it all. But in reality, the truth is quite the opposite. His tenacity and dogged determination to save a buck has clearly paid off for him BIG time as a GIjOE collector and provides a shining example for the rest of us on how to go forward during these tough economic times. Remember: “Collecting on the Cheap” doesn’t mean collecting poor quality items. It means saving on each and every purchase—to buy MORE tomorrow!

(Editor’s Note: Inspired by Tony’s success, we recently discovered even MORE 1:6 scale bargain items which we’ll share with you in an upcoming article soon.)

Customizer-Reviewer of 1:6 Scale Action Figures Creates “Star Trek Battle Log” Photo-Comic

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Mayne’s ability to combine his professional-level skills as a master model-builder, custom figure creator, computer-graphics wizard, and imaginative storyteller have resulted in the recent completion of his latest and greatest 1:6 scale photo story entitled, “Star Trek Battle Log.” (Photo: Hylton Mayne)

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Mayne’s photo stories are planned and executed down to the tiniest details. He even designed custom patches for the uniforms of his characters. Here, “Kumasa,” the hero of Star Trek Battle Log, sports new “Special Forces” and custom nametag patches designed by Mayne and produced by Patches of Pride. (Photo: Hylton Mayne)

Who ya Gunna Call?

Quick! Your entire planetary system is under attack by a malevolent, unstoppable alien force. Who do you call? Who has the training and power required to defend your (remaining) threatened home worlds from imminent devastation? Fortunately, those cosmically-important questions have (finally—phew!) been addressed in an exciting new 6-part, 1:6 scale photo-comic entitled, “Star Trek Battle Log.”

Created, written and photo-illustrated by master customizer and diorama builder, Hylton Mayne, this new (online-only) adventure serial follows the lives of a group of dedicated, hard-fighting Starfleet Special Forces Security personnel who have been tasked with the daunting, life-n-death assignment of repelling an alien invasion. “Prepare for Warp Speed!”

The Masterworks of Mayne

Mr. Mayne has extensive experience creating 1:6 scale photo-comics and stories, primarily for use on the Sideshow Collectibles website found HERE. When each new Sideshow figure is introduced, he will create a short adventure starring and demonstrating that figure. Sideshow clearly appreciates Mayne’s efforts, as customers and fans are provided with an entertaining way to view the company’s products, each professionally posed and photographed in a variety of action settings and scenarios. Simply outstanding in every way!

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This overhead view of Mayne’s scratch-built bridge set for the U.S.S. Titan, clearly demonstrates his superb skills as a craftsman and artist. Take a good look at this diorama. It’s all handmade and HUGE. What an accomplishment! (Photo: Hilton Mayne)

As a result of his ongoing and inspiring work for Sideshow, Mayne has accumulated quite a sizeable fan-base of his own. “1:6 scalers” of all stripes, from all around the world, appreciate his sophisticated photographic composition, creative storylines, and highly detailed, scratch-built dioramas. The growing support and encouragement of his fans eventually prompted Mayne to pursue personal projects of his own, leading to his most impressive work so far: Star Trek Battle Log. But the going hasn’t been easy. According to Mayne:

“What a journey! After two years of striving, walking away, trying, quitting, re-energizing, and passion re-kindling, I have FINALLY completed my 1:6 scale photo-comic project. I hope you enjoy it. If you get a chance, please tell me what you think.”

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The old adage “waste not, want not” applies to 1:6 scale diorama-building as well. Fans of vintage GIjOEs will recognize the source of a part of this custom spacecraft. Look closely. See it? It’s the blue firewall out of an old GIjOE Space Capsule, painted and weathered to match the rear section. And Kumasa’s battle armor? Perhaps that subtle bat logo on his chest will give it away. How clever! (Photo: Hylton Mayne)

Bottom Line: Mayne’s Star Trek Battle Log is an outstanding example of 1:6 scale “fan fiction.” Fortunately for fans, all six chapters (plus an epilogue) are now available for viewing online for FREE over at Mayne’s personal website found HERE. Hylton has also hinted he has plans for some sort of a future print-version of his 1:6 scale adventures. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

G.I. Joe “Fan Art” Exploding in Popularity

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In regards to this exciting rendering of Bulletman, talented GIjOE artist RM73 stated, “I did most of this on the train today and colored it at home. It’s a quick drawing of my favorite toy as a child. I carried Bulletman with me everywhere I went!” (Artwork by RM73)

A lack of leadership creates a vacuum. And apparently, a LOT of great artwork!

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This stunning illustration of the Baroness is QUITE eye-catching. Schwing! (Artwork by Doberdog) Click to enlarge.

We’ve discussed the work of GIjOE’s commercial artists many times before here on The Joe Report. Surprisingly however, famous artist/illustrators such as 1960s vintage packaging artist Sam Petrucci, 1970s Adventure Team illustrator Don Stivers, and 1990s Classic Collection artist Larry Selman are but a few of the many talents behind GIjOE’s ongoing visual legacy.

We’ve also covered the high-end market of GIjOE “fine art” (see article HERE) where GIjOE action figures are regularly depicted as the subject matter in oil paintings and other such works in museums.

But now there’s a third category: The artwork of FANS. For years, fans have been producing superb paintings, fiction stories, photo comics, 3D dioramas, etc., all noncommissioned and uncompensated, simply for the “LOVE OF GIjOE.” Despite being largely unheralded, fan art continues to grow in popularity, producing more and more astounding work—without ANY supervision or recognition from Hasbro!

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Clearly a labor of love by uber-talented artist and fan, Dusty Abell,”Action Figures of the Classic Seventies” features many Adventure Team members and vehicles. SUPERB! (Artwork: Dusty Abell)

Since all of this new GIjOE artwork is being created by fans, other fans are the first to see and admire it. For example, “eagle-eyed” Field Reporter, Barry Vedros, first spotted the outstanding work of artist and fan, Dusty Abell, and excitedly exclaimed:

“I’ve been checking out this guy Dusty Abell’s artwork over on DeviantArt. Holy crap! He has our generation nailed with his tributes. Check out the one above called ‘Action Figures of the Classic Seventies.’ GIjOE gets his fair credit in this one for sure!”

Joe's nemesis gets his own "15 minutes of fame" in "GIjOE: Pygmy Gorilla: Warhol. (Artwork by Sean Eley)

Joe’s nemesis gets his own “15 minutes of fame” in “GIjOE: Pygmy Gorilla: Warhol. (Artwork by Sean Eley)

All of this new GIjOE-inspired artwork can also be viewed as an attempt by frustrated fans at “brand resuscitation.” As the old adage states, “A lack of leadership creates a vacuum,” and that’s clearly what’s been happening at Hasbro for years. Without new “official” product output or guidance from GIjOE’s creators, many fans are asking themselves, “What do we do NOW?”

Well, in ever greater numbers, Joeheads are turning to their own creativity for answers. Some choose to sketch. Maybe just for ideas of new custom figures or vehicles. Some make videos, websites or club newsletters. Others go even further and paint or sculpt original works. Still more are writing short stories, expounding on the vast, untapped universe of Adventure Team, RAHs, and other well-known Joe-characters. A few artistic fans, such as Sean Eley, go so far as to combine original artwork or photographs with original storylines; creating their own comic books, slide-show photo stories or other genres of GIjOE-centric fan fiction.

Taken as a whole, the resulting variety and amount of new creative works inspired by and featuring GIjOE (and his foes) is literally staggering. In future articles, we’ll be discussing the rise in popularity of photo stories (both electronic and on paper), books, newsletters and other paper ephemera. But for now, here are some more great examples of GIjOE “fan artwork”…

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Full-blown comic art featuring the Adventure Team in “GIjOE and the Peril at the Temple of Dreams.” (Story and artwork by Sean Eley)

This closeup of Eley's work may remind fans of the old Peter Pan story book and record sets from the 1960s. It has that same sort of "retro" appeal. (Artwork by Sean Eley)

This closeup of Eley’s work may remind fans of the old Peter Pan story book and record sets from the 1960s. It has that same sort of “retro” appeal. And you can tell Sean’s a real Joe fan. Note his use of authentic props such as the backpack field radio w/handset and the venerable .50 cal machine-gun.
Great attention to detail. (Artwork by Sean Eley)

Closeup panel from one of Sean Eley's Adventure Team-inspired comics. (Artwork by Sean Eley(

Closeup panel from one of Sean Eley’s Adventure Team-inspired comics. (Artwork by Sean Eley)

This fine piece combines the feel the Adventure Team and Jonny Quests robot spider. COOL!

This fine piece combines characters and scenes from both the Adventure Team and Jonny Quest. Now we’re talking! (Artwork by Thomas Boatwright)

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We’d love to see more work from this fan-artist. His depiction of a grimacing, pith-helmeted Adventurer perfectly captures that exciting moment when a 6-wheel ATV hits the water. GRRR! Go JOE!
This is a great illustration. (Artwork by Frohickey)

This intriguing 3D Legos sculpture of a futuristic AT tank is as good as it gets. (Legos sculpt by Frohickey)

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The simple, cartoon-style of this fan’s work would be great for Adventure Team stories. (Artwork by Cal Slayton)

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This superb pencil sketch betrays the work of a die-hard fan and professional artist. How cool is this? (Drawing by Benito Gallego)

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The Adventure Team meets the Roswell Aliens. YES! (Artwork by Thomas Boatwright)

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Gallego’s work clearly deserves to be commissioned for an AT comic book. Hello? Hasbro? Are you seeing this? (Artwork by Benito Gallego)

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Joe meets the Giant Head. What next? (Artwork by Frohickey)

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The painstaking linear drawing style of this piece reveals the love and dedication of a true fan. (Drawing by ChrisgraphicsNow)

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Amazing character studies of Adventure Team members in a fan sketch called “GIjOE is a Manly Man.” Notice the tiny AT buckle on the hat band? Great detail! (Artwork by Johnny Turbo)

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The Adventure Team has their hands full fighting off a Hindu Goddess statue that’s come to life. (Artwork by Thomas Boatwright.)

Clearly the work of a professional AND a fan. Miss Scarlet never looked more deadly or beautiful. (Drawing by Adam Hughes)

This sketch of Miss Scarlet is clearly the work of a professional artist and huge GIjOE fan. Look at all the superb detail in that ammo belt, knife sheath, etc. (Drawing by Adam Hughes)

Bottom Line: This is only the tip of the iceberg. The work of “fan artists” can range from childhood scribbles to the astounding work of adult professionals. You could spend days and weeks searching the internet and never see all the amazing amateur work being done “in the name of Joe” around the world. However, if you’d like to try, we suggest you start by visiting art-posting sites such as Deviantart found HERE. Good luck and GO JOE!

G.I. jOE in the World of Fine Art: Mixed Media & Mixed Messages From a Variety of Talents

Suzanne Shifflett’s use of a unique, “deep-focus” painting technique made her “Astro Joe” acrylic a real attention-getter. (Art: S. Shifflett)

Ask some fans what their most precious possession in the world is, and quite often the answer will come back, “my first GIjOE.” That’s a seriously strong emotional attachment to anything, much less a toy. But since its introduction in 1964, GIjOE action figures have grown in popularity to such a degree that the toy line has now become a permanent part of the American psyche and worldwide pop-culture.

Other brands have come and gone. Some even surpassed GIjOE in terms of product detail or quality (Dragon, Hot Toys, etc.), but none has ever enjoyed the affectionate familiarity fans feel for “America’s Movable Fighting Man.”

Joe’s deep penetration into our collective consumer consciousness hasn’t escaped the attention of those in the artistic community either. In fact, GIjOE has become a very popular “still-life” subject for painters and sculptors worldwide. Many are clearly fascinated by the line’s effects on our imaginative roleplay during childhood, its effects on the commercialization of the military, and the ongoing anthropomorphization (i.e. the attribution of human characteristics to nonhuman objects) of toys, dolls and action figures—all worthy subjects of exploration through art.

There’s more than one interpretation for Shifflett’s “My First Tattoo” painting (2005). Acrylic on canvas. (Art: Suzanne Shifflett)

GIjOE as a recurring subject in “fine art” is a relatively new phenomenon that seems to be growing in popularity. While the commercially contracted works of famous illustrators Sam Petrucci, Don Stivers and Larry Selman are well-known, many fans are surprised to learn that fine art painters and sculptors regularly depict our favorite action figure in their work as well; not for use on a package or store display, but as a way to communicate an emotion, viewpoint or personal message.

One such artwork caught my attention recently. I was browsing over at (of all places) the shopgoodwill.com website when I came across an unusual acrylic painting that had been done by an “S. Shifflett,” depicting two GIjOEs figures. What caught my attention was that they had not been portrayed as humans (such as on a package), nor as a simple “still life” object (like a bowl of fruit), but as toys that were clearly ALIVE.

Suzanne had signed the back of the canvas enabling me to locate and contact her. (Photo: shopgoodwill.com)

Upon first glance, the painting appears to show a blonde, painted-hair sniper that has just been captured by a Fuzzhead Joe, who is pinning the sniper’s arms behind his back. But the sniper’s shirt is open and pulled back slightly revealing a tattoo, and his pants are hanging a tad on the low side. Is another (possibly erotic) interpretation to be made of this work? The answer is always left up to the viewer to decide. That’s what good art (hopefully) does—it makes the viewer THINK and FEEL.

I could see that the painting was signed “S. Shifflett 99” in pencil on the back. After a little online research, I discovered that the artist was the very talented, Suzanne Shifflett. See her website HERE. As it turns out, the painting I discovered on shopgoodwill.com was merely a color study or “practice piece” for a much larger, life-sized work entitled, “My First Tattoo” (see photo above). Fascinated by her choice of subject matter, I asked Suzanne to discuss her work and reasons for depicting GIjOE in art. She generously replied…

I think I got my first GIjOE when I was about 10. He had life-like hair and a beard. The thing I loved about him was that I could take off his clothes. I started sewing clothes for him pretty quickly. It was more fun playing with Joe because he had better moving parts and was easier to animate than Johnny West.

I liked the idea of how when we were kids we would get close to our action figures and imagine that they were real. It was easy to imagine that we where watching a movie or that WE where the figures having some kind of adventure.

Shifflett’s affection for GIjOEs and other childhood toys includes miniature plastic figures like the one depicted in her painting entitled “Marx Brothers 4.” (Art: Suzanne Shifflett)

I also loved the sculpts on the plastic Marx toys and GIjOEs. In preparation for my paintings, I take some reference photos with a macro lens so the field of focus is very shallow. I feel this gives the viewer the feel of being in the scene.

I didn’t want to paint the figures as real people like they were on their box tops. I prefer to pay attention to the nostalgic feeling that seeing their details gives me.

Finally, I only paint toys that I might have played with myself. I’ve tried taking photos of He-Man toys, but they didn’t have that same fuzzy feeling. It’s like when you take a creative writing class and they tell you to write about what you know.”

Brian Viveros’ “Baroness,” 2012. Oil on maple board. (Art: Brian Viveros)

Rather than depict a GIjOE character as a living toy, artist Brian Viveros, chose instead to depict the “Baroness” as predominantly human, but with one important exception—her neck remains segmented in an obvious homage to her plastic toy origins. With this simple alteration, Viveros’ work stands firmly in two dimensions; the world of reality (flesh and blood) and that of artificiality and imagination (toys). According to his website found HERE

Brian Viveros in his studio.
(Photo: Brian Viveros)

“Celebrated fetish artist Brian M. Viveros is internationally embraced for his erotic paintings of doe-eyed beauties with Marlboros dangling seductively from their lips and has also recently been utilizing the medium of film to capture the dark and evocative debris that radiates from his mind. His paintings are a drunken mix of oil, airbrush, acrylic, and ink. In his work, Viveros shines a light on his own inner world and society at large and aims to captivate even the most jaded eyes.”

“Joe and Ho 500” by Thedra Cullar-Ledford, oil on canvas. (Art: Thedra Cullar-Ledford)

While Viveros’ chose to create a unique toy/human depiction of the Baroness, artist Thedra Cullar-Ledford has instead chosen to depict Joe in his purely plastic, inert toy form. In her intriguing painting, “Joe and Ho 500,” the artist shows a reclining GIjOE, laying next to a wide-eyed doll with a broken arm. Countless questions are raised by this image. Is it merely a still life? Or are they supposed to be alive? Perhaps some clues can be gathered from the artist’s website HERE in which she reveals the following insights regarding her work…

“It’s a mash-up of conceptualism, minimalism, storytelling and autobiography. These paintings were always intended to come together into a single container — a book — which is itself the final, finished piece.”

Another artist, Tim Liddy, specializes in the creation of ultra-realistic oil paintings depicting both real and fantasy board games. Yes, you read that correctly. In his oil painting of “GIjOE Operation: South Beach” (shown below), Liddy is clearly going for humor as well as trying to show off with his top-notch painting skills—and he succeeds admirably. The box top he depicts shows a bearded, muscular Sailor Joe dubbed “Homo Erectus,” stretching out his shoulders while a couple of adoring “Kens” look on in raptured admiration. Hilarious! You can see more of Liddy’s amusing and realistic work HERE.

“GIjOE Operation: South Beach,” oil on board. (Art: Tom Liddy)

Commercial art typically only benefits the business or company that commissioned it, while fine art has a long tradition of being created and sold to support a specific cause or charity. For example, artist Trevor Hopkins recently created four outstanding paintings which were auctioned off during Joelanta 2012 to help the Cody Lane Memorial Toy and Diorama Museum. In addition to raising hundreds of dollars for the organization, Hopkin’s colorful abstractions of the four vintage GIjOE boxes drew great admiration from all the GIjOE fans in attendance (see photo below).

Four original paintings by artist Trevor Hopkins being auctioned off during Joelanta 2012.
(Photo: Mark Otnes)

There are countless other examples of “GIjOE in the World of Fine Art” I could show; paintings, photographs, sculptures, every possible medium appears to be utilizing our 12″ hero in some form or another. But I’ll just leave you with two more I came across…

“Tubed,” by Jazz Undy, oil on canvas w/3-D GIjOE (Art: Jazz Undy)

The first is called “Tubed” and is by actor-artist, Jazz Undy. This light-hearted, three-dimensional work incorporates an actual “found object” GIjOE, which, according to Undy’s website found HERE, “can be removed from the picture and played with.” The painting is bold, primitive and colorful; a simple work of whimsical decor.

Lastly, an evocative piece called “Reality Check” by artist Ira Upin, depicts a GIjOE whose leg has been replaced with a prosthetic from the knee to the ankle. Is the work trying to make an anti-war statement? A commentary on military medical care? Or…? You decide. It’s just cool to see GIjOE represented in artwork other than a package or box top. Upin’s asking price? A mere $9,000. As of the time of this post, it was still available. Go HERE to buy it now!

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