Category Archives: Paper Goods

Fan-Created G.I. Joe Ephemera—Picking Up Where Collector’s Club Leaves Off, James Kavanaugh Jr. Heads Up a Talented Team of Graphics Experts to Produce Exclusive Posters, Cards, and Boxes To Be Given Away Every Year at JoeCon—For FREE!

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Utilizing Vintage Design to Promote RAH GIJoes— At first glance, you’d think this professionally created mini-poster is one of the original product brochures produced by Hasbro back in 1964 to promote its new line of 12″ GIjOE action figures and accessory sets. But you’d be wrong, my friend. In actuality, this masterpiece depicts GIjOEs of the more modern-era (3.75″) RAH variety. Produced by a team of graphics professionals spearheaded by James Kavanaugh Jr., this limited-edition (300) fan-produced poster is a superb example of how far some die-hard fans will go to further expand upon and refine GIjOE’s “universe.” (Framing by Sam Sears. Photo by: James Kavanaugh) Click to enlarge.

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Incognito Imagineer?— Apparently a man of many faces and talents, James Kavanaugh is also the chief designer of some of the world’s greatest GIjOE “faux ephemera.” (Photo: James Kavanaugh)

Bumping Into a Graphics Guru— When we first met James Kavanaugh Jr. at JoeCon 2015 in Springfield, IL, he was surrounded by about a dozen wide-eyed fans. They were all eager to get a closer look at James’ offering of expertly created GIjOE fan-graphics; including such nifty items as mini-posters and 3.75″ mini-boxes. Surprised by the professional quality of the items arrayed on his tables, we were sure they would be priced accordingly (i.e. expensive) and were stunned when he informed us that they were actually being given away to JoeCon 2015 attendees—for FREE!

If you know anything about the high costs of producing and printing quality graphic projects (and we do), then you’ll know we’re talking about some serious money here. For example, individual copies of James’ RAH posters could easily range upwards of $30 apiece (if outputted with high-end plotters or printers). Such JoeCon “freebies” can actually be very expensive to make (and very valuable to collect).

Clearly, this segment of GIjOE fandom isn’t a cheap corner of the “sandbox” to play around in. The large amount of time required to produce such quality pieces can ring up a hefty tab, and we were eager to learn what sort of “madness” drives Kavanaugh in this regard. Thankfully, he kindly assented to the following exclusive interview—for faithful readers of—The Joe Report!


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TJR: Thanks for speaking with us today, James. As fellow graphic designers and “brothers-in-arms” in the visual and communication arts profession, we’d love to hear the story behind your amazing GIjOE print projects; especially that stunning RAH mini-poster (shown at top).

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With a Wink and a Nod—GIjOE fan, collector and graphics expert, James Kavanaugh Jr. continues to produce and distribute GIjOE graphics at each JoeCon—for FREE! (Photo: James Kavanaugh Jr.)

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“The poster is a long answer to a short question. I pigeonhole myself as a RAH (Real American Hero) collector and since the 2005 convention, I’ve been making and handing out free custom file cards and package card backs.

They were originally designed to supplement the GIjOE club’s membership figures because the club was only providing a quick bio on the back of each membership card.”

TJR: What a excellent idea! And you still give all these cards and posters away for FREE?

“Yes, that’s right. Every year I make 300 for JoeCon and an extra (exclusive) 100 for the awards dinner as a token of my appreciation to all the wonderful people I’ve met at the shows.”

TJR: That’s very generous. You have some serious “Joe Karma” coming your way. Do you work on these projects all alone, or do you enlist the aid of other talented Joeheads?

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GIjOE Fan and Expert, Gary Godsoe (Photo: Gary Godsoe)

“Gary Godsoe is my right-hand man in these projects, and Ace Allgood was my go-to guy for reference photos, accuracy, and overall expert vintage opinion. I’ve also utilized the amazing skills of John Jett, Troy McKee, Andrew Hall and Todd Weinzeirl.”

TJR: That sounds like an “A-Team” of GIjOE experts. Are you a big fan of both the RAH and 12″ GIjOEs?

“Honestly, I was born in 1977 and grew up in an almost childless neighborhood with no older relatives, so  I knew nothing about 12” GI Joe. I assumed that he was just Barbie’s ‘Army boyfriend.’  And sadly, certain aspects of the 12” figure as a whole are simply lost on me. Nonetheless, I wanted to work backwards and explore GIjOE’s 12” history by undoing the RAH line. 

It began one day when I was thinking about the TV series ‘Gotham.’ I assessed that the show took the core of the Batman story, pulled it apart, and reassembled its disparate pieces into a new configuration. That made me wonder, what if the RAH line had been released back in 1982 with a more 12” style approach?”

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Giving Proper Credit— Contributors to each of Kavanaugh’s projects receive official credit bylines such as those listed in the corner of Jame’s RAH poster. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

TJR: Where did you take the project from there?

“Over time, the project evolved into various interpretations of the RAH portion of the GIjOE hobby, each a reflection of the current time. For example, in 2009, I inducted Bullet-Man into the ‘Crappy Figure Brigade.’ And in 2010, I did a Ted Williams card back for the love-to-hate-to-love subgroup of fans that support, shall we say, the more ‘unique’ G.I. Joes ever produced.”

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Packaging Fans Take Note— The classic GIjOE designs from the 1960s hold up VERY well today, as this closeup of James Kavanaugh’s poster clearly reveals. Hello, Hasbro? Are you seeing this? Here’s a great way to bring all GIjOE fans together under one “visual umbrella.” (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

TJR: What did you decide to produce for GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary?

“For the 50th Anniversary of G.I. Joe, I wanted to do something more dynamic and more in tune with the roots of G.I. Joe, not a RAH ‘off-year,’ so I developed the 4-inch boxes. They were designed to assume the role of a vintage package for the modern visage of G.I. Joe. They were also designed to emulate the vintage packaging as closely as possible, while fully selling the more ‘realistic’ aspects of the RAH.”

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Realistic Detail on Every Panel— The attention to detail on Kavanaugh’s projects is stunning; UPC codes, fine print, choke warnings, it’s all there. Look closely at this GIjOE “Infantry” box— there are even pictures of its related uniform and accessory sets depicted on the side panels at barely 1″ high. Get out your magnifying glass, because you’ll need it to read it! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

TJR: You’ve made mini-boxes, posters, and even authored books on RAH GIjOEs. But your new poster seems to be targeting fans of the vintage 12″ GIJOEs. What inspired the change?

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Debonair Author— James Kavanaugh Jr., renowned RAH GIjOE expert and “Human Chameleon,” demonstrated yet another of his handsome and distinctive “looks” while discussing his new book, “Rank & File, a Guide to 4″ GIjOE Action Figures,” at a convention held in the UK. (Photo: Tree-Bot)

“I wanted to do something a bit more abstract in relation to my previous work and also do something for a wider audience than RAH collectors. My RAH research showed me that, in many ways, early RAH was still thought of in terms of small 12” figures with names and an enemy.  This poster gave the RAH figures height, removed the names and gave them the interchangeable dynamic that was left behind in the transition. My goal was to also simulate a marketing approach to ‘higher ups’ so that the viewer feels like they’re looking at a conceptual pitch.”

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Collect ‘Em All— Kavanaugh’s wide variety of GIjOE-related creations have become a new collecting segment all of their own and it’s easy to see why. The cover of his new book, Rank & File, utilizes design inspired by the ’80s RAH comics. Get your copy HERE today!

TJR: Your poster is a superb demonstration of how Hasbro could have brought fans of both eras together by appealing to the heart-strings of older collectors while reviving vintage packaging design. What did your A-Team of experts think of your unique retro-poster concept?

“The early idea was difficult for me to convey, I had a hard time articulating my thoughts to my core consultants. They kept simplifying it as a 12” Grunt (like the figure in the 1994 Hall of Fame). The base figure is the Action Soldier male, not ‘Grunt’ as the RAH guys know him. The vintage RAH art is familiar to RAH collectors and was used to help accentuate the packaging while guiding the viewer to its hybrid conclusions.

I then divided the 82-84 line into Basic and Deluxe package options and used almost the exact character themes given to us in those respected years. I stripped away the unique shades of green that each RAH character is typically assigned (ex. Zap was light green while Grand Slam was dark olive) and tried to create as many reusable plastic parts a possible.

Customizable variations of the core product were also paramount.  The human essence of both lines was diversity so I wanted to assume the base figure was ‘available’ in various hair colors and skin colors.  But to take it a step further, the consumer could mix and match figures with outfits as they choose.”

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A Face All Fans Can Love— Whatever the scale, GIjOE’s “first face” was an iconic design that continues to resonate strongly with collectors worldwide. (Character art: John Jett/Andrew Hall) Click to enlarge.

TJR: What else should fans (of both eras) know about the content depicted in your poster?

“The versatility of the 12” line was there for the consumer to choose. So showcasing the iconic vintage 12” head was paramount in order to drive home the idea that this concept was 12”.  John Jett was the artist that nailed the various looks. The verbiage used in the poster derives heavily from the vintage RAH catalogs, and the fictitious Asst. #’s are based on the original Asst. numbers used in the original 1982 products (the ‘H’ is fake in all the numbers and the ’15’ is just the convention year).  My projects always have Easter Eggs in them.”

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Gutsy, Not Glamorous— Kavanaugh’s poster also features a GIJane action figure. Never meant to be a “pin-up” girl, the various depictions of Jane depict determined looking, capable fighting women instead. Out-STANDING! (Character art: John Jett/Andrew Hall) Click to enlarge.

TJR: Tell us about that GIJane figure. She’s a great addition to the poster!

“The real ‘twist’ with this poster’s concept was the inclusion of a female soldier. This fictitious, femme-fatale figure would’ve been sold separately—but equally—with the male. This led me to make the female look more in sync with the male figure, while still retaining female features. I will apologize beforehand when I say the female nurse isn’t the most attractive female action figure representation (in my opinion). Thus, John Jett was tasked with developing a more striking female. But hey, don’t get me wrong, she’s not posing for a glamour shot.  She’s here fight for freedom!

She’s obviously (to RAH guys) an abstract notion of Lady Jaye. However, the reason why I gave her a javelin thrower is not for RAH accuracy. I would’ve been inclined to give her a rifle like her male counterpart (though I’m sure some market research would’ve resulted in girls wanting some sort of ‘non-rifle’ weapon) but it hit me that GI Joe reflects contemporary pop culture and Hunger Games is a huge hit right now. The female star is called Katniss and fights with a bow and arrow. Of course, a traditional bow and arrow would’ve looked awkward compared to the male’s rifle, but a javelin shooter bridges that military gap and still gives girls the sort of heroine they’d want.”

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A GIJane With a Bow— Katniss from The Hunger Games inspired and impacted Kavanaugh’s depiction of the GIJane action figure shown on his poster. However, the movie character’s bow-n-arrow had to go and was replaced with a rocket-propelled “javelin” (instead of a rifle). (Photo: Lion’s Gate)

I asked John to produce a woman that looked like she means business, yet wouldn’t scare away female consumers.  The goal was for her to have an assertive demeanor. Then, females could utilize the basic accessories like the male, yet have their own exciting ‘looks’ that filled all roles.”

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Words to Live By— Real American Heroes need real mottos to steel their nerves in battle. The copy on James’ poster reminds kids and adults to fight the good fight—with GIjOE! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

TJR: Any closing thoughts on this poster and/or your reasons for creating it?

I believe vintage GI jOE could use as much attention as possible and I just wanted to do my part. Hopefully, this poster showed commonalities between both lines and illustrates how, with some minor changes, Hasbro could’ve painted a totally different picture of the brand’s landscape. With the proverbial product ‘well’ running dry or at least tapering off, maybe collectors who prefer one line over the other will decide to cross over into new territory so to speak, and further round-out their own perspective of the hobby.”

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Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks and best wishes to James “the Chameleon” Kavanaugh Jr. for all of his generous contributions to the GIjOE collecting hobby and to this article. You can reach James on Facebook HERE and find his books on Amazon HERE. Go (or Yo), JAMES!

 

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Rare 1966 G.I. Joe Sea Sled “Salt Water” Instruction Sheet Variant Discovered

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Dust to Dust— This unusual 2-color variation of the vintage (1966) GIjOE Sea Sled instruction sheet is now clearly showing its age. The left side has been eaten away (yikes!) by tiny insect bite holes and yellowing is overtaking what was once bright, white paper. Regardless, this fragile, folded page remains an exciting find for any fan and/or collector of GIjOE “ephemera.” Its belated addition of red type and graphics describing solutions to dealing with salt water damage, lost pontoon gaskets and escaping air from a scuba diver’s “pant legs,” make it very desirable and collectible. Original versions had none of this material, and intermediate versions had only a hand-applied stamp referring to those pesky pant legs (see at bottom). This third version was likely written, revised and then reprinted after early consumer feedback (and complaints?) made the additions necessary. In this condition, the ancient instruction sheet (50 years old!) now looks and feels like a treasure map— to GIjOE’s past! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

It Pays to Search Your Collection Now and Then

I’d received a customer request recently asking for an original (or reprint) of a vintage 1966 GIjOE Sea Sled instruction sheet. I didn’t think I had such a thing, but I promised him that I’d look into the matter and search through my personal GIjOE collection to see what (if anything) I could find. If nothing else, perhaps I could scan or photograph my precious framed copy and send him a photo?

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Lost at Sea— What would happen if you placed your Sea Sled out in the ocean? Say goodbye to your Scuba Joe, that’s what! The sled’s anemic, battery-powered motor would have no chance of keeping up with oceanic tides and/or wave pressures. Your 1:6 watercraft would be gone in seconds, probably never to be seen again. BUT…if you were so foolhardy as to have attempted such a voyage, at least your trusty “salt water” variation of the Sea Sled’s instruction sheet would’ve reminded you what to do when you got home. Yes, that’s right—WASH IT! As this closeup reveals, the so-called “saltwater” version of the 1966 instructions included (newly inserted) red type in a bold box. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

After sifting through piles (and piles!) of my miscellaneous GIjOE “ephemera” collection (i.e. paper goods such as flyers, ads, instruction sheets, etc.), I finally came across the sadly decaying, fragile page you see photographed above. Now over 50 years old(!), this forlorn instruction sheet has clearly not been well cared for. Numerous insect (or mice?) bites have eaten away at one side, splits and tears run along its fold lines, and just holding it in my hands made me feel it was falling apart.

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Was Joe Cutting the Cheese?— This red addition to the rare “salt water” variation instruction sheet reminded its owner to allow air to escape from the scuba diver’s “pant legs.” Just what was going on under those frogman wetsuits? HA. Perhaps children complained they were having trouble getting Joe to sink down in their pools or bathtubs. Otherwise…P-U! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

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Stamp Me Sea Worthy— This super-tight closeup of my framed (non-saltwater) instruction sheet shows that the only red type added to this earlier version clearly came from a hand-applied rubber stamp pad, most likely pressed on AFTER the page had been printed. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: I do own a second vintage Sea Sled instruction sheet that was lovingly framed and preserved under glass long ago in near-mint condition. Sadly, it lacks most of the “red” text additions apparently added to later saltwater versions. This unusual variation has been in my basement stacks for years, but I only really acknowledged and studied it closely today. Hmm… I wonder if my customer would prefer a photo of a (bug-eaten but rare) saltwater variation or a nearly perfect (but more common) specimen? Which version would YOU be most interested in seeing?

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

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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?”

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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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G.I. Joe “Classic Collection” Artist Releases New Military Art Calendar For 2016 Holiday Season

This will BLOW YOU AWAY— Can you imagine a better way to decorate the wall of your Joe Room than a new 2016 calendar from famed GIjOE artist, Larry Selman? Out-STANDING! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This will BLOW YOU AWAY— Can you imagine a better way to decorate the wall of your Joe Room than a new 2016 calendar from famed GIjOE artist, Larry Selman? Out-STANDING! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: Heads up, GIjOE and military history fans! A great new 2016 calendar has recently been released by Classic Collection artist extraordinaire, Larry Selman, just in time for this holiday shopping season. Much to our surprise, Selman sent us a free sample (THANKS, Larry!) and we have to tell you, it is freakin’ AWESOME! What better gift can you give a Joehead (or loved one) than a calendar ($20) that’s chocked full of iconic GIjOE packaging artwork? And who better to purchase one from than the artist himself? Here’s the link to get one for YOUR Joe Room. Enjoy!

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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.

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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)

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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)

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“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.”

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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?

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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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G.I. Joe Cosplayers Creating “Girls of the Finest” 2015 Calendars to Benefit “Wounded Warriors”

The world's most beautiful GIjOE/Cobra cosplayers will soon combine their considerable talents in an all-new 2015 calendar called, "Girls of the Finest." All proceeds will benefit the "Wounded Warriors Project." (Photo: The Finest)

The world’s most beautiful GIjOE/Cobra cosplayers are combining their considerable talents to create a 2015 calendar called “Girls of the Finest” to benefit the Wounded Warriors Project. (Photo: The Finest)

Actress/model, Veronica Orosco, strikes a pose as "The Baroness" in her cosplayer costume. Orosco and other beautiful "femme fatales" will soon grace the pages of a new 2015 GIjOE/Cobra cosplay calendar, proceeds of which will go to benefit the "Wounded Warriors Project." (Photo: Veronica Orosco)

Actress/model, Veronica Orosco, strikes a pose as “The Baroness” in her cosplayer costume. Orosco and other beautiful “femme fatales” will soon grace the pages of a new 2015 GIjOE/Cobra cosplay calendar, proceeds of which will go to benefit the “Wounded Warriors Project.” (Photo: Veronica Orosco)

Another Example of  How “The Power of Joe” Extends Far Beyond Personal Collecting

It’s a simple plan. Perhaps that’s why it’s proving so successful. GIjOE cosplayers from around the world are recruiting the most beautiful of their costumed forces to create a sexy, new “Girls of the Finest” calendar for 2015. They plan to sell the instant collectible to fans and collectors (who will immediately hang them in their Joe Rooms) and then donate all of the proceeds to the Wounded Warriors Project, a highly reputable charity organization dedicated to assisting injured U.S. military service members. We first heard of this superb example of “Joe karma” from actress and model, Veronica Orosco, herself a longtime fan and GIjOE cosplayer:

“Hello Mark, My name is Veronica Orosco, aka ‘The Baroness’ of the GI Joe Fighting 788th. If you’re unaware, the 788th is a regional garrison of ‘The FINEST‘ (the premier GIjOE/Cobra costuming club in the world). In honor of the 50th anniversary of GIjOE, all the different cosplayer garrisons across the US have decided to put together a limited-edition “Girls of the Finest” Calendar with all of the proceeds benefitting the Wounded Warriors Project. We’re very excited about this, and are trying to spread the word to as many different fan pages, groups, etc., to help us raise funds to get these calendars out to GIjOE fans! I am GIjOE proud and am very honored to be a part of this amazing calendar to benefit our nation’s Wounded Warriors!

What a GREAT idea! We had never heard of “The Finest” before (see their website HERE), but quickly discovered that its members are well-organized and making full and capable use of the power of the internet; utilizing social media, YouTube, and popular fundraising websites to create awareness and interest in their project. Take a look at the enjoyable, professional and humorous video created for their page on the indiegogo website HERE.

51oLm3PgDIL._SY300_Orosco went on to point out that fans could also visit a new page on Facebook set up exclusively for the 2015 calendar HERE and that The Finest further described the Wounded Warriors GIjOE/Cobra calendar fundraising project in a press release, stating:

“If you’re reading this, you’re probably a big fan of GIjOE. So are we! We’re the women behind the Girls of The Finest 2015 calendar. The 50th anniversary of GIjOE is here, and we wanted to do something special to celebrate this milestone. Trust us, this is no ordinary ‘pin-up’ calendar. We are passionate about the characters we portray and we want to reflect the passion of the GIjOE fandom. All of your favorite female characters (plus a few twists on classic characters) will be portrayed here—12 months of our amazing female coplayers photographed exclusively for this calendar.”

This recently released image proudly announced that the upcoming calendar project has already been fully funded. In addition to proceeds from the sale of the calendars, all additional funds collected on the indiegogo website will also go directly to the "Wounded Warriors Project" charity. (Photo: The Finest)

This recently released image proudly announced that the upcoming calendar project has already been fully funded. In addition to proceeds from the sale of the calendars, all additional funds collected on the indiegogo website will also go directly to the “Wounded Warriors Project” charity. (Photo: The Finest)

Bottom Line: This is another great example of how “The Power of Joe” is extending beyond mere personal collecting, helping others in need. Already funded and underway, the idea for the Girls of the Finest calendar is clearly a popular one (especially among fans and collectors of the 1980s RAH/Cobra line) and we see no reason why this method of fundraising can’t be repeated over and over again for other purposes (Hello, Cody Lane Foundation?). If you’re interested in picking up a copy while simultaneously contributing to the Wounded Warriors Project, go HERE and… Go, JOE!

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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”

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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.