Bottom Line: You already know it’s going on. If you don’t, well… it is! And if you’re there, HAVE FUN! If you’re not… there’s always next year—in Chattanooga, TN. June 21-24, 2018. Go, JOE!
Bottom Line: You already know it’s going on. If you don’t, well… it is! And if you’re there, HAVE FUN! If you’re not… there’s always next year—in Chattanooga, TN. June 21-24, 2018. Go, JOE!
Bottom Line: How did this great event sneak up on us again this year? Oh well, fans in the U.S. will either have to catch the next Concorde SST flight (that ain’t happening again anytime soon) or simply wait until next year. Regardless, our best wishes go out to all of our AM friends and fans living in the UK. Have a great time, mates! And… GO, ACTION MAN!!!
Bottom Line: Just a quick update to our previous article of May 11th, 2017. Here’s what’s you’ll find inside the 2017 JoeCon 12-inch exclusive boxed set. Surrounded by black foam, you’ll find two excellent uniformed figures (one painted-hair w/nose-picker hands and one fuzzhead with KFG grips). Both come with oodles of equipment, a giant snake, the mystical serpent’s staff thingy, a convention lapel pin and a mini-comic book (not shown). Is all this new Joe-swag worth the club’s usual asking price of $375 (for club members) or $460 (for non-members)? As the Bible revealed, snakes can be QUITE tempting to many humans. Will YOU succumb to their shiny seducements?
Bottom Line: We couldn’t find any images of this new box elsewhere online, so we just snapped some quick pics of the club’s magazine page (p.3) that shows the artwork. And yes, once again, Classic Collection master artist, Larry Selman, has produced two exceedingly wonderful paintings for yet another exciting set. Are you planning to attend this year’s convention? If not, you can still order one of these sets online HERE, to be mailed to you after the event. Go, Joe! Go, Larry!
So much for stringing fans along for months in advance—
This year, instead of posting numerous little “teaser” pictures online in an obvious attempt to pique collector interest and increase JoeCon convention attendance, the GIjOE Collector’s Club has decided instead to simply post one BIG pic and be done with it. And WHAT a pic it is! This solitary image answers a multitude of fan questions and in one fell swoop, reveals the contents contained in the club’s upcoming, exclusive, 2-figure (12-inch) set for JoeCon 2017. Further description is also forthcoming in the club’s official press release, which states:
“This year’s 12-inch convention set is based on the vintage Marine Jungle Fighter and the Adventure Team, Jungle Survival accessory set. It comes with: Painted Head Figure; Marine Jungle Uniform; Belt; Canteen and Cover; .45 and Holster; Boonie Hat; Vinyl Shoulder Radio; Flame Thrower; Tall Brown Boots; M-16 Rifle; Machete and Scabbard and Dog tag; Flocked Head Figure; Jungle Survival Uniform; Tall Black Boots; Belt with Canteen; two Snake Anti-Venom Pouches; Pith Helmet; Yellow Short Radio; First Aid Kit; Compass; Machete and Scabbard; Tranquillizer Rifle; Equipment Storage Crate; Dog Tag; Knuckle Knife; Snake and Golden Cobra Staff. It also comes with a Mini-Comic with a surprise ending!”
Bottom Line: You know you want it. So call or visit the GIjOE Collector’s Club today!
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!
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).
“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?
“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?”
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.”
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.”
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?
“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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
“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.”
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.”
—James Kavanaugh Jr.
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!
Have you ever dreamed that you could afford to live in both the U.S. and the U.K? If so, you could simply drive over to the Upshire Village Hall tomorrow and attend Action Man Day 7, a UK event determined to honor and celebrate the 50th anniversary of everyone’s favorite 1:6 scale action hero. According to the show’s official Facebook page:
This is the BIG one! Action Man’s introduction to the UK was 50 years ago this year. Come to the biggest and best Action Man Show. Bob Brechin (Action Man designer for Pailtoy) is special guest of honour. Stalls selling vintage Action Man, GI Joe, Geyperman, Action Team, Dragon in Dreams etc. Refreshments available. Entry £2.50 and under 16s free. Special Limited Edition Commemorative Poster available on the day £2. For more information or to book a stall: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bottom Line: Blimey! There’s a lot of fans in America and elsewhere around the world who wish they could attend this event. Sadly, until someone invents a Star Trek transporter device, we’ll have to content ourselves with wishful thinking, from afar. Have a great time, lads. Go, ACTION MAN!
If at first you don’t succeed in getting rid of your life-long GIjOE and vintage toy collection via local toy shows, online sales or auctions, then try, try again; this time with an estate sale held—at your own home! Yes, once again, the man whom Hasbro deemed “GIjOE’s #1 Fan,” James DeSimone, is preparing to put (what remains) of his massive vintage toy collection up for sale—at an estate sale—on May 1st, 2016.
Buyers and collectors will have to travel to James’ home in Burbank, CA, but this time they’ll be rewarded for their efforts by being allowed to dig through decades of collectible treasures, piled high up to the sky (or at least to James’ garage ceiling), and inspect each and every item up close and personal before deciding on a purchase. But remember, estate sales are “first come, first served,” so you better get there early (with cash in hand) if you want the best chance at snagging those long, lost toys of your childhood. According to the sale’s information page HERE, this is what to expect:
“GIJOE and Vintage Toy Estate Sale!! Featuring the sale of the collection of James DeSimone, consisting of GIJOE plus thousands of other TOYS from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, including: 1000s of 1960s GIJOE accessories. 1000s of 1980s GIJOE accessories. 1000s of 1960s Ken/Barbie accessories. 1/6 scale vehicles, 1000s of VINTAGE toys by Gilbert, Marx, Tonka, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Topper, Kenner, Ideal, Hasbro, Mattel, Mego, Aurora, Batman, James Bond, Captain Action, Space toys, GIRLS toys, tools, Playsets, all kinds of TV/movie character toys and figures, toy cap guns, models, food and advertising toys, games and the list of different stuff goes on and on! NOTE THE DIFFERENT LOCATION FOR THIS EVENT: 1524 Broadway Burbank, CA 91504 Hours are 8AM to 5PM. Come take pictures with a replica 1966 Batmobile! This is a special one time event held at this location, don’t miss it!! The show will return to the Ramada Inn for the December show.” If you have any questions, please email: email@example.com
What we’re observing is that a collection as large and diverse as DeSimone’s is proving to be quite the challenge for him (or anyone) to disperse. In the beginning, James utilized his CA GIjOE shows, then held an auction (see HERE) and now, will try selling the remainder of his 1950s, ’60s and ’70s vintage toys at his upcoming estate sale. Regarding this unique event and its impact on his life, James graciously provided the following insights—exclusively to readers of The Joe Report:
“Hi Mark (et.al), Forgive me. I just don’t have the ability to do much anymore, including long responses. But I owe you at least that for all your support. It may take a few hours to write this all to you. The doctors are telling me to handle my affairs, and my body agrees. I want to live long enough to see my daughter (shown below) graduate from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 7 weeks.
Yes, everything is going. Fortunately, I dont need the money. I need peace of mind, knowing that my family doesn’t have to deal with all this. It’s interesting you should mention Hasbro’s #1 fan. I was just wondering about that. It has the prototype 12″ Duke body and a custom head Hasbro made and gave me, a hand-cast prototype 3 3/4″ Duke, a #1 production 3 3/4″ Soldier; both of which Hasbro gave me. In addition, a Hasbro employee watch, ring and a gold dogtag, all of which Hasbro gave me. I think I would like to sell it all as a set (as it was presented to me) to one person who will appreciate it and won’t use it for target practice! (lol)”
“As for how I feel… I once wrote a story about Artie Rickun, a friend and toy dealer from Milwaukee, at one time had 10,000+ packaged GIjOE items! He told me that once I had kids, nothing else would matter to me. Having died once already, I consider myself fortunate to have had a little time to plan. So no, it is of no great loss to see it all go. Very little matters to me anymore. Hopefully, I will get some joy out of seeing someone buy something from me, like that all too familiar feeling of finding a GIjOE at a garage sale!”
“All of my toys used to be upstairs on the second level. For the past couple of months, volunteers have been helping me bring it all downstairs so that it will be accessible to foot traffic. Right now, its all a mess. I thought I would have a couple months to sort it all out, but my energy level is non-existent now and I haven’t been able to do very much. Thankfully, I’ll have volunteers helping the week before the sale to set it all up in my home.”
“GIjOE has provided me with a great life; a life that most people could only dream of. But, GIjOEs are only toy possessions, none of which matters anymore, simply because I cant take them with me. I have raised 2 of the greatest kids a man could ever hope for. I share a love with a woman which is the stuff epic novels are written of. And I have made my peace with God. —James DeSimone
Bottom Line: This certainly sounds (and looks) like “no-miss” event, especially if you’re within driving distance of southern California. Our sincerest thanks (again) to James DeSimone and his wonderful family for all of their contributions to the vintage toy and GIjOE collecting hobbies. Take care and We wish you all the BEST!
According to the GIjOE Collector Club’s official press release re: this photo…
“This is the reproduction 12-inch 1969 Aquanaut stripped of his long box gear and redressed in ONE of the uniform sets included in the larger outer box that holds the entire 12-inch convention set. “DIVE INTO DARKNESS” is a new spin on the classic DSD look of the vintage 12-inch G.I. JOE. There are things in the hidden darkness of the ocean floor. For his own safety, Joe must ‘blend in’ to avoid the attention of creatures both unseen and unknown.
This second uniform set comes with:
– Black Dive Suit
– Black Gloves
– Silver-tone Diving Helmet
– Oxygen Pump and Hose
– Brass-tone Weighted Belt & Harness
– Brass-tone Weighted Brown Boots
– Treasure Chest
– Treasure Coins
– Dive Knife and Sheath” —GIjOE Collector’s Club
Bottom Line: A picture’s worth a thousand words. (Phew! That saves us a lot of typing!)
Well, this is a sad day. According to an official post from the GIjOE Collector’s Club on Facebook:
“Thank you to each and every one of you that has supported us over the last 20 years. We have a great 2016 planned, with the FSS 4.0 currently shipping and info on FSS 5.0 right around the corner! In regard to memberships, some quick follow ups. If you are a member as of March 16th, 2016 you will be able to purchase the FSS 5.0. If your membership expires during the time period when the 4.0 or 5.0 are shipping, you STILL can pay the installments (if that is the option you selected) and you will receive all your figures as you normally would.
As far as concerns over auto renewals after March 16th. As we have said, we are not taking any new memberships after this date, so there are no auto renewals as there will be no memberships to renew. With less than 3 days left to sign up for the GIJCC though, don’t miss this last opportunity to be part of the Club that has been a part of G.I. Joe for 20 years! You can sign up HERE.
Finally, back to the very first point. Thank you! Thousands upon thousands of you have supported the Club over the years and right now, as of today, the GIJCC is as strong as it ever has been! That is because of all of you, your love for 12 inch G.I. Joe, the Real American Hero line and everything in-between! So many of you truly enjoy what the GIJCC offers and enjoy what we do and none of what we have done would have been possible without you. You are an amazing fan base and thanks to all of you who continue to have an important impact on the hobby! You all are what makes this fun to do!” —The GIjOE Collector’s Club
Bottom Line: We want to thank Brian Savage and all of his wonderful staff for the many years of superb service they’ve provided to fans and collectors of GIjOE and GIjOE-related action figures. Our sincerest and best wishes to all of them in all of their future endeavors. Go, GIjCC!