It’s Over—Final “JoeCon” Fades Into Joe-History as Fans Reveal Their Plans for an Uncertain Future Without Hasbro or G.I. Joe’s Biggest Annual Show

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Shock ‘n Aw-Ful— Longtime GIjOE fan, collector and dealer, Dean Morrison, reacts when told that this year’s JoeCon will be the LAST one EVER on the planet Earth. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

As JoeCons go, this was a pretty good one. Everyone understood that it was to be the last, and therefore attendance was strong and fan spirits were high. Longtime friends gathered again, some for the last time, while new friends were easily made and mutual memories shared. Despite the loss of future JoeCons, “America’s Moveable Fighting Man”—or “Real American Hero” (depending on your age)—has clearly made a lasting impact upon a great number of people and they wanted to say a final THANK YOU to Hasbro, Fun Publications, Brian Savage and the GIjOE Collector’s Club.

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Holy Halls of Fandom!— The cathedralesque main hall of the Chattanooga Convention Center was perfectly-sized for the BIG events of JoeCon 2018. Here, fans are shown milling about, taking acquisitions up to their rooms, visiting the dealer room, touring the diorama exhibits, stopping off at the snack tables, snapping photos in front of cosplay backdrops or walking towards the panel discussion rooms. They were busy, busy, BUSY! Can you find yourself? Or Waldo? (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

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25 GIjOE Collectors SPEAK OUT Regarding the
25th (and Final) 
Hasbro-Sponsored “JoeCon”

Fortunately, the future of GIjOE shows seems assured. To commemorate the end of Hasbro-sponsored GIjOE conventions, we asked 25 die-hard fans attending the last-ever JoeCon to reveal to us their most inner thoughts and feelings regarding the loss of the club and its annual JoeCon shows. We also wanted to know their personal plans for GIjOE collecting and fandom going forward from this point, sans the club and any official Hasbro support. Some were optimistic about the future, others—not so much. Regardless of all the emotions and uncertainties involved, here’s what they had to say—transcribed from EXCLUSIVE Joe Report recordings made at JoeCon 2018:

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Fred Meyer, GIjOE fan, collector, website administrator and podcaster (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“It’s the end of the ‘official’ JoeCon era, but I think you’ll see fan gatherings pop up and grow over the next couple of years. And honestly, this is less about the toys for a lot of folks, it’s more like a high-school reunion with people you actually want to see! So, I think that spirit will continue. For example, I’m the administrator of JoeBattlelines.com (see HERE) and I’m still going to keep doing reviews. And I’m also on a bi-weekly podcast and we’re going to keep that going as long as people want to listen. GIjOE has evolved over time and it’ll keep evolving.” —Fred Meyer, Pekin, IL

 

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Erik Naville, GIjOE fan, collector and cosplayer w/”The Finest” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“It’s really bittersweet for me. I’ve been coming to JoeCons for 11 years. I’ve met a lot of great people and everybody’s like family. Coil Con is in Ohio and the Kentucky GIjOE show is coming up in July, so there’s definitely some variety of shows still out there. I’ve gotten really into the cosplay aspect of Joe fandom lately. ‘The Finest’ is a costuming group I’m in and we help raise money for different military charities. Right now, we’re raising money for K-9s for Warriors, which takes dogs out of shelters and trains them up to be support animals to help veterans with brain injuries.” —Erik Naville, Floyds Knobs, IN

 

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Chet Peters, GIjOE fan and collector

“You hate to see anything end. There’s a lot of camaraderie with a lot of guys here. But the good thing is that there’s still other shows throughout the country and there’s still opportunities for guys to get together and celebrate each other and what we love to do with toys and stuff. I’ll continue to work on my collection. I typically collect vintage 12-inch. Everybody has a different way of collecting. I try to just center on what I had as a kid.” —Chet Peters, Falmouth, KY

 

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Steve Stovall, GIjOE fan, collector, dealer and KY show organizer. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I hate to see it go. It’s been fun. I’ve met a lot of good people here and had a lot of fun at these shows. This was the last show that was officially endorsed by Hasbro with Brian Savage and his crew and the great job they’ve done. But I think the Joe-spirit will live on in shows like Joelanta and the upcoming Louisville, Harrisburg and Dallas shows. So while it’s the end of one show, it’s not the end of the hobby or tradition. I run the Louisville show—so we’ll be doing that every year. As a dealer, we’ve been setting up at Joelanta for quite some time, so we’ll always do that and enjoy that. We’re also going to try out the Harrisburg show this year, which is the first time for it. So I think there’s a nice calendar of Joe shows from March throughout the Summer. We’ll be covered!” Steve Stovall, Louisville, KY

 

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Lifelong GIjOE fan and collector, Ralph Gaudiuso, “turns his back” on the idea that somehow, without future JoeCons, GIjOE fandom will cease to exist. Hmmph. PrePOSTEROUS! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“It’s a little sad, because of all the conventions, this one (JoeCon) was connected to Hasbro more than any of the others. But most of the people I see here I’ll also see at Joelanta, sorry, it’s called ‘Toylanta’ now, and at other local shows like the Dallas/Ft. Worth show and the Kentucky show. As far as what else I’ll be doing with my JoeCon ‘show dollars’ from this point on, since there hasn’t been a lot of Hasbro 12-inch going on, so I’ve begun doing ‘my own thing.’ For example, it’s currently the 50th anniversary of the ‘Outer Space Men.’ They were a set of 7 aliens created by Colorforms in the late 1960s and they’re now being produced in 12-inch. I’ve also been collecting certain types of Joe bodies, head-swapping them and dealing a lot with customizers. God knows I don’t have the talent to make custom figures myself, so I have what I want MADE by someone who can!” —Ralph Gaudiuso, Yardley, PA

 

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Chuck Pierce, GIjOE fan, collector and cosplayer w/”The Finest” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I’m a little disappointed that this is the last one, but I have a good feeling that it’ll come back. They’ll keep it alive—somehow. It probably won’t be branded “JoeCon,” but THIS (gesturing to the crowd around him) will never die. Hasbro sees the money. I mean just LOOK at this place! I think it would clearly benefit them (financially) to keep it going. I’m a cosplayer too, and I’ll absolutely keep doing this (aspect of Joe fandom). I’m in a group now called ‘The Finest,’ the GIjOE costuming group, and we have ‘garrisons’ all over the world. So that part is never going to go away. It’s too much fun. Meeting people, getting in touch with their kids… when I was growing up, I had the 12-inch GIjOEs that I played with and it’s so nice to see parents bringing their kids to these shows, getting them into it, too. It’s all just a lotta fun!” —Chuck Pierce, Atlanta, GA

 

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Randy Bloom, GIjOE collector (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“Yeah, I’m a little sad. I’ll miss the people I see each year. It’s been 21 years that I’ve been doing the JoeCons, and it’s bittersweet that this is going to be the last one.

As to the future, I’ll still collect. I’ll still meet my friends. I’ll see them at other different conventions and I’ll find them on the internet. The club can stay strong and GIjOE is still going good.” —Randy Bloom, Boca Raton, FL

 

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Burt Montague, GIjOE fan and collector from Lawton, OK (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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“While I think this is the last GIjOE show that’s sponsored by Hasbro, I also think that it’ll still go on. GIjOE is a toy that will live on through collectors and the people who play with it. When we’re gone, we still have our kids. My son is 33 and he collects 3.75″ figures. We’ve also got a real solid 12-inch collection hobby out there. We’ve got the Dragon, Cotswold and Sideshow lines, plus all the Star Wars 12-inch collectibles. You’re always going to have the Comic-Cons, toy shows and other things. The only thing you WON’T have is Hasbro’s official backing. My buddies and I will continue to do this (gestures around). It gives us a chance to keep in contact with each other and meet old friends. We’re kind of a tight-knit community and we’ve been doing these conventions since 1994. We’ll keep doing this. It’s a good way to make friends too, and it’s good, clean, happy fun.”Burt Montague, Lawton, OK

 

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Rudy Panucci, GIjOE fan, collector, blogger and broadcaster (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I’m actually a little tired and overwhelmed. This is my first official JoeCon EVER. I used to get the (convention exclusive) sets when I was working for the club, but I was never able to travel. This is the first time they’ve been close enough for me to attend. I’m also surprised at all the 3.75” stuff. I’m a 12-inch guy, you know? It’s sad. I’d like to see some way for JoeCon and the club to continue, but I can understand Brian (Savage) being a little tired after all the time he’s put into this. As for the future, Mego’s being revived this year. Captain Action has the new uniforms coming out. There’s all kinds of new Marx stuff coming out. Captain Cosmos from France and Felipe Monaco from Brazil are both doing incredible work. There’s the Falcon resurgence down there, too. There’s plenty of new stuff to collect—so I’m fairly optimistic about the future. I think that it’s entirely possible that in the next few years we’re going to see a massive GIjOE resurgence when the kids who collected the Classic Collection and Ultimate Soldier figures become old enough to start having nostalgic feelings (and the disposable income) to reclaim THEIR childhood toys.” —Rudy Panucci, Charleston, WV

 

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Ace Allgood, GIjOE fan, collector, dealer, historian, and film and video restorer (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I have mixed emotions about all this. I’m really sad. I can’t believe this is the last one. This is something I’ve been doing on and off since 1994. My friend Burt Montague and I have been playing with Joes since we were 4 years old, so this is REALLY disappointing. There’s no ‘somewhat’ about it. But I understand—I understand where Brian’s at personally. He’s not old enough to retire, but I understand that there also comes a time in life when you can’t keep doing everything, you know? And Brian’s done these shows since 1997, I believe. That’s a long time. Burt and I went to the first one in 1994, that was pretty fun. And boy, how they’ve changed over the years—they really have changed. It’s certainly a 3.75″ focused show now, but there’s still 12-inch guys that love it and there’s always new guys getting in. It’s fun to see the excitement on kids faces, too. I don’t think the hobby’s dead. I think the hobby’s just starting. I think that we’re going to get into a ‘golden age’ of vintage GIjOE. I think for the next 20 years it’s going to be awesome. 

What’s happening is you’ve got guys whose kids are going off to college and they’ve got grandkids and they’ve got a lot of spare time. They’ve got a lot of boxed Joe stuff in their basement that they’re going to start going through and playing with again. I’m not kidding you. I’ve noticed a trend in the last 2 or 3 years that there were more guys starting to get into it (the GIjOE hobby) again. I think that there is a GREAT future for 12-inch GIjOE. I think that—as always—there are people trying to get in—and out—of their collections. What’s interesting to me is that the ‘common’ stuff is still common, but the ‘rare’ stuff STILL tends to drive a really high price. Watch ebay. See what tends to go for crazy money. It tends to be the harder-to-find. And rare—is still rare.

As for my own future, I’m looking at the next stage of my life as more of a GIjOE-focused time. I think there is still a market out there for toy shows. I think Joelanta is an amazing experience. I’m still maintaining my own collection. My collection is not going anywhere. I’m actively buying and selling. I feel that there’s still a very positive market in the collector marketplace and I am excited about the future. I think that we’ve got a bunch of guys that are going to be retiring and they’ll have a lot of free time and this what they’ll do. You know, someone put this out there—the great thing about GIjOE collecting is that it brings you back to when you were 9 years-old and the happiest time in your life. And when you’re 70 years-old, what are you going to do? You’re going to go back to the happiest time in your life and that’s when you were playing with your GIjOEs.

I gotta tell ya—every show—EVERY show—I’ve got a handful of people who come up to me and say, ‘You know, I’ve been collecting 3.75″ for a long time and I’ve got everything. I want to get the ‘Dad’ of GIjOE.’ That’s what they think of 12-inch GIjOE. It’s kinda like me and 3.75″, you know? You start getting a couple, you go to shows, some guy hands you one, you get another one, your kid picks up one, and the next thing you know you go, ‘Hey, those things are pretty damn cool! Those aren’t as bad as I thought when I was 25, you know?’ And at the same time too, you understand that we are ALL collectors and that we all have that desire—and that hunt—and as soon as you fill up with what you got, you start looking for what you don’t have and what else is out there.” —Ace Allgood, Minneapolis, MN

 

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Christopher Tucci, GIjOE fan and collector, Oak Lawn, IL (Photo: Mark Otnes)

 “This is kind of bittersweet for me. I went to three JoeCon conventions already, and this one is—by far—it’s kind of sad, because you’ll never see it again. I’m enjoying everything and I’m a 12-inch collector, but the 3.75” guys look like they’re having a GREAT time. They OWN this show. And that’s fine. It’s good enjoyment for the family, kids are enjoying themselves, everybody’s having a great time. I’m gunna miss it, because it’s not going to be around anymore. But who knows? Someone else might pick this up and we’ll just go from there. I’m going to focus more on local venues. There’s Kane County, Illinois, we do a lot of Joe-hunting there. The Kentucky Expo is also a great show, I’ve been there. It’s not a far drive for me, so that’s a fun venue to go to. Steve Stovall puts on a great show. He has some great people and great vendors. It’s gunna be a great time.” —Christopher Tucci, Oak Lawn, IL

 

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Billy Reynolds, GIJOE fan and collector, Signal Mountain, TN (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“This is my first JoeCon and my feelings are that while I’m so excited to be here, I’m also so sad that it’s going to be the last one. I’m sad because I’ve been collecting on and off since ’94 when people starting collecting again. But I’m excited too, that at this show I’ve seen a little bit more of the 12-inch figures than I expected. It’s really bittersweet though. This is a sad situation. We’re now FORCED to start going to local, self-promoted shows. It’s our only choice. They’re forcing us to do that. I’m going to start going to Joelanta. I’m more focused on original Hasbro-only stuff. I’m not into custom stuff, but I’ll support it because it helps keep the hobby alive.” —Billy Reynolds, Signal Mountain, TN

 

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James Heinen, GIjOE fan, collector and dealer (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I’m excited but also disappointed that all this ‘big stuff’ is coming to an end. But that opens up new doors, too. I’m looking forward to seeing who’s going to step up and take over and take charge and ‘steam forward’ with this stuff! As for me, I’m going to continue to refine my own collection with what I need and want, while getting rid of other frivolous stuff. I’m into those oversized ‘Men of Honor’ figures now. I love ’em! That is definitely going in my direction. For example, I made a giant ‘Smoke Jumper’ box (see photo). I like making custom boxes for them. That’s where I’m going now. Turning Men of Honor figures into giant Adventure Team members!” — James Heinen, Middleton, NY

 

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Ethan Bancala, GIjOE fan, collector and dealer (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I guess I have mixed feelings. It’s a little sad, because we’ve kind of made this our family vacation for the last four years. It’s going to be sad to see JoeCons go. You won’t be able to hang out with other dealers and people you’ve become friends with, you know? I’ve never really been to any of the other shows and Joelanta is too far for us. It’s a pretty big trip from Massachusetts down to Atlanta. We have to rent a trailer. As for what I’ll do in the future, I pretty much collect all the 3.75″ stuff from 1982 up to the present. I brought a list of parts that I’m missing for vehicles and figures and was hoping to have some more time to get out there on the floor and look for them, but it’s been such a huge convention with so many people flowing in that I haven’t had much of a chance to do that. I’m a dealer, so I have to stay here in my booth most of the time.” —Ethan Bancala, Holden, MA

 

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Greg Brown, GIjOE fan, collector, Cotswold Collectibles dealer (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“It’s 20 years ago now that I did my first JoeCon in San Antonio. I was hooked after that. Got to meet a lot of great guys. In fact, a lot of people I met at the 1998 show I’m still good friends with today. It’s kind of sad to see the collector’s club and JoeCons go, but they helped spawn smaller shows from other members. So Joe fandom will carry on in different incarnations around the United States. We’re pretty happy about that. As for my own future in GIjOE collecting, I’m about 95% done with my Adventure Team and so now I’m slowly going backwards into the ‘Adventures of’ figures from 1969. I just bought my first four ‘Super Joe’ sets, so Steve Stovall and I will be pretty good buddies from now on. (HA) We’re already good friends. I also went to England a few years ago, so now I’m hooked on Action Man. I LOVE Action Man! They kept on going where Hasbro stopped and made some REALLY beautiful stuff.” —Greg Brown, Ennis, TX

 

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Matt Stevenson, Dallas, TX, GIjOE fan, collector and dealer extraordinaire (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I hate to see JoeCon end. But hopefully something will rise from its ashes and we’ll have something new or better in a year or two. We’ll see. As a collector, there’s still plenty of opportunities at local and regional shows like Kentuckiana, Joelanta and the DF/W GIjOE Action Figure Show. As a collector, there’s still going to be lots of outlets. As a dealer, there’s probably not going to be as many. But it’ll all be fine. There’ll still be places to show our wares to GIjOE collectors.” —Matt Stevenson, Dallas, TX

 

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Larry Selman, artist/illustrator (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“My feelings about the end of JoeCon and the club are mixed. Mostly I’m happy that we’ve had a lot of years of experience doing these shows. It’s also sad because I’ve made a lot of friends here and it’ll be very hard to see them at other shows. This is a BIG show. I’ve enjoyed Brian’s shows a lot. I’ve enjoyed the smaller shows too, but you know, everyone’s different and some guys won’t travel that far. So it’s tough. I might do a couple more shows, not just because this one’s going away, but because it’s nice to get out and see people and friends. I like talking to people. It’s also nice when they haven’t seen your art before and they get excited. That’s kinda cool. For me, I’m sort of at a personal crossroads because I’m a little older and you start thinking, ‘Okay, what’s next?’ I started out doing paperbacks. But I went to art school to do record covers. Now I have to decide whether to keep on painting soldiers or slide into something else. I’m kind of at that ‘last edge.’ I don’t want to be a very old man and not able to paint anymore or frustrated that I didn’t paint something that I should’ve.”
Larry Selman, Waynesboro, PA

 

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Bob Stram, GIjOE fan and collector from Belleville, Illinois (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“This is my first JoeCon. I’m really a Joelanta guy. I wish I would’a come to more. Especially the one in Springfield (Illinois). To be fair, I don’t discriminate. I love ALL GIjOEs. I’ve had a good time at this JoeCon. I wish that I’d come for more than just one day, but we gotta get back home. From my perspective, Toylanta will be the show we go to now, and a lot of the regional shows like the Toy Man Toy Show. I’m also seeing a lot of people getting together on Facebook and groups like that. When a ‘Hascon’ comes out, I might look into it because like I said, I like all GIjOEs and I also like Transformers. The thing that scares me is that GIjOE might get drawn out by the Transformers. I think that’s a bigger property.” —Bob Stram, Belleville, IL

 

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Steve “the guy with all the IDs” Pennington, GIjOE fan and collector (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“This is the last JoeCon ever and I’m not happy about it—AT ALL! I’ve just gone 25 years and I want to go at least for the Golden Anniversary at 50! I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. It’s been great. I appreciate Brian and the crew. I’ve made some fantastic friends. They’re people I’ll remember the rest of my life. They call me ‘the guy with all the IDs’ and I’m gunna just keep on goin’. I guess now I’ll have to find new places to buy the stuff. That’s it. Short ‘n sweet!” —Steve Pennington, Raymore, MO

 

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Brad Curry, GIjOE collector (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I’m sorry to see it all come to an end. I’ve been coming to JoeCons since 1994—not all of them—but quite a few, so it’s kind of sad. I’ve always enjoyed getting together with other GIjOE collectors and just talking about Joe and reminiscing about Joe and of course buying and getting new things for my own collection. I’m kind of going to go into more ‘oddball’ stuff now; unique things that I’m interested in like some of the GIjOE knock-off stuff from the ’60s and ’70s that were just as nice quality as Hasbro. Some of it is pretty hard to find. I’m definitely always on the lookout for that sort’a stuff. In fact, the TOP-quality knock-offs are actually harder to find in many cases than the real Hasbro Joe stuff, so it’s kind of unique to search for, nowadays.” —Brad Curry, Monticello, IL

 

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Dale Harris, GIjOE collector (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“This is the final JoeCon, and actually, I think it’s about time! I think a lot of us 12-inch Joe collectors have come to an end—and I think we’re going to have to be happy with what we’ve got. I don’t believe they’re going to make anymore. And I don’t think there’s going to be anymore conventions. Having said that, my daughter has two boys and I’ve sent them some GIjOEs and they love them! (Leans in and whispers) I believe they (the grandsons) are going to end up with my collection. And my collection includes over 300 GijOE figures!” —Dale Harris, Peru, IL

 

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“Stormin’ Norman” Harris, GIjOE fan, collector and diorama maker (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“JoeCon’s were great. While this last one is still going on, I’m going to take full advantage of it and enjoy it. Afterwards, I’m going to continue making my own dioramas and having fun with my own GIjOEs. Personally, I would like to see the Central Illinois GIjOE Collector’s Club perk up a little more (gives Mark a little ‘skunk eye’). How about a little more action there? Hmm? I have a Joe Room. It’s small, but I do have one and I plan on making even more dioramas in the future.” —“Stormin’ Norman” Harris, Princeton, IL 

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Louis Simmons, GIjOE fan, collector and dealer (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“It’s been great. It’s been fun. It’s been packed. I’ve been talking toys all weekend, as I have for almost the last 20 years, and it’s starting to set in that THIS—is IT. But I try to look on the bright side. I’m very depressed. It’ll be a long drive back to Texas because this is it and there’ll never be another Con like this—EVER. People may have had problems with Brian and Fun Pub, but I’ve never had ANY issues with them because they’ve brought so much enjoyment and collectibles to the hobby. The way most conventions go now, they’re such ‘money grabs.’ You’re paying $300 for celebrity autographs. You’re paying $100 to get in. THIS show, buying the boxed set, which no other con is going to have, you get the dinner, the casino, the panels, everything that they pack in. I’ve heard people complain about the price, but you get EXCLUSIVE figures you can’t get ANYWHERE else, plus access to everything at the Con. And they move it around. What other Con is going to tour the country and actually make it viable to do things other than the Con? They had the tours—I personally never did the tours—but I loved that they offered them. You know? And for families it’s perfect. My wife and I did our own tours. We still went to Ruby Falls, yesterday. At Disneyworld, we went to Universal Studios.

But this is bad. It’s REAL bad. It’s so unfortunate that this is, at least probably for me, the most attended Con I’ve ever been to—and it’s the last one. Obviously, the brand still has fans. It’s still viable. As far as what I’ll do from this point forward, I’ll still collect. But I hope there’s something TO collect. I hope Hasbro gets something on the pegs. I hope the movie in 2020 revitalizes the brand. That’s the hope. Maybe they can get a cartoon? Something definitely has to happen, and I don’t know what it is. I mean, you have plenty of ideas of what you want the movie to be, or if they do the ‘shared universe,’ but just be successful. You gotta have FUN with it. I personally loved the first two live-action GIjOE movies, but they both have problems. A LOT of problems. If it was easy, it’d be an easy solution. But you have to hit that tone of what Marvel seems to do so well. You stay true to the characters. You stay true to the history. But you have fun. It just has to be fun. So, we’ll see.” —Louis Simmons, Bedford, TX

 

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Jack Hall, GIjOE fan, collector and Michigan Wolverines booster. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“This is the last JoeCon, so yeah, it’s a little sad. I went to all of them from ’94 to ’04, when—to be honest with you—they got a little too expensive for me and I had to stop going. Since ’04, this is only the second one I’ve been to. I went to the Indy one because it was drivable. I came here because Dean Morrison asked me to help out at his booth—and I’m so glad I came—I’ve seen people I haven’t seen in YEARS. I’ll tell you, this one is more packed than the last couple of JoeCons I went to. I don’t know if that’s because it’s the last one and everyone wants to make sure they’re here, or what. I kept hoping that somewhere along the line they’d get a reprieve and stuff, but that isn’t going to happen. It would’ve happened by now if it was. I’m still trying to finish my vintage Adventure Team collection, either with stuff I can’t find or stuff I can’t afford. But at every convention and every show I find at least one piece I can add. After that, I’ve been branching off, because the ’60s stuff—that was before my time. When I was a kid, I started with the Adventure Team, so that’s kinda what I collect. Now I go to estate sales and buy other toys that I had when I was a kid—Hot Wheels, board games, whatever I had as a kid. That way, when I’m old and decrepit, I can sit in the toy room and just relive my own childhood. —Jack Hall, Wyandotte, MI

 

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Dean Morrison, GIjOE fan, collector and all-around great guy!  (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I’m sad to see it end. I saw Brian last night and I thanked him for all he did over the years. Some people complain and moan, but even if you didn’t like what he did, without him, there wouldn’t have been ‘continuing Joes.’ I missed the last couple of Cons, but I’m really, really glad I’m here. I sold my entire personal collection at the Norfolk JoeCon in ’02, but I’ve since built up a bunch more and actually, while packing for this show, I got that vintage ‘itch’ back. I was putting together some Cadets, a German and a Brit, and I was going, ‘Oh, I do like these a LOT.'”
Dean Morrison, Chardon, OH

 

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Together for the last time? A somber crowd attended what was the last-ever panel discussion—at the last-ever JoeCon— June 24th, 2018, in Chattanooga, TN. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

 

TWO BONUS QUOTES FROM JOECON 2018:

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Kirk Bozigian. (Photo: GIJCC)

“Yesterday, I said that Larry Hama gave GIjOE his soul. Today I want to say Brian Savage has given him his heart. Thank you Brian for giving me an opportunity to keep in touch with GIjOE—And I want to thank all the fans. Because without YOU, this all wouldn’t have happened—This is just going to morph into something different next year, so I’m looking forward to seeing ALL of you ‘downrange’ someday.” —Kirk Bozigian, Providence, RI

 

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Brian Savage (Photo: GIJCC)

“If you’ve ever had any fun in the last 20 some years or so of doing this—it’s all my fault. We’re really gonna miss all you guys, because again without you, there is no GIjOE. It’s truly amazing what y’all do with this. We have to thank God for what he’s given to us. There’s a saying, ‘Do what you love and the money will follow.’ Here you go. And Todd mentioned this awhile ago, ‘We came for the toys and we stayed for the friends.’ So it’s as if we all collect the friends. It’s not the plastic out there. It really is all of you guys (gesturing to crowd).

The other people I want to thank are the FBI. You didn’t know this, but there’s people who’ve been undercover at this show. We’ve had extra local law enforcement. There’s been all kinds of things that have happened, because of things that happened online. One thing I want to ask people—is to be NICE. Okay? You don’t know who you’re talking to—online—you don’t know who you’re dealing with—If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything. Just be silent.—The one thing I will say in closing is—So the GIJOE 3.75″ saying is, ‘Knowing is half the battle.’ So what’s the other half? (Crowd: ‘Doing!’) Doing.—It’s not the knowing that’s important. It’s the doing. So go out, do good things, help other people and along the way, continue to collect GIjOE. Yo, Joe!” —Brian Savage, Ft. Worth, TX

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Goodbye Joe Fans— After the show had ended and the fans had departed, we snapped this one final photograph from the 16th floor of the adjacent Marriot hotel. Without the hustle and bustle of JoeCon, downtown Chattanooga became quiet and still. The parking lots—previously packed with visitor’s vehicles packed with GIjOEs and other toys—were now empty. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: This was one for the history books—but now that page has been turned. On June 20-24, 2018, the last, official “JoeCon” convention was held, hosted and summarily ended by the (also soon-to-be-defunct) GIjOE Collector’s Club within the vast (yet welcoming) halls of the Chattanooga Convention Center in Chattanooga, TN. As it was before the club’s existence, and as it will be after the club’s demise, GIjOE fans once again find themselves—on their own. If you want to gather fans together for a GIjOE club meeting or host a Joe-related show or event, you’re more than welcome to do so. But from this point on, it can only be done without an official endorsement from Hasbro. Our sincerest thanks to all of the participants who made the content of this article possible and our best and sincerest wishes to Brian Savage and his talented, hardworking crew at Fun Publications for all of the pleasure they’ve given—to so many—for so long. Go (and Yo), JOE!

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All We Are Saying—is—Give Wayne Faucher a BIG Hand—His “Early ’70s John Lennon” Custom Figure Could be His Greatest 1:6 Scale Creation—EVER!

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IMAGINE— having the talents required to be able to create custom figures as wonderful as this. So GREAT! Wayne Faucher’s “Early ’70s John Lennon” is an absolute SPOT-ON 1:6 masterpiece. Isn’t it great when all the individual parts of a project COME TOGETHER(Photo: WEF) Click to enlarge.

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Stunned. Shocked. THRILLED Those are but a handful of the emotions that are undoubtedly racing through your mind—right now—as you gaze upon—in awe and wonder—this astonishing 1:6 scale “tribute figure” to one of our planet’s greatest-ever singer-songwriters—Mr. John Lennon. The miniature masterpiece in question is the latest handiwork of Marvel Comics’ inking maestro (and custom 1:6 scale figure creator extraordinaire), Wayne Faucher, of Rhode Island, USA.

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Rockin’ Out in Central Park— If you think this is a photo of the REAL John Lennon, then look again. Faucher’s custom figure is SO realistic that it easily “fools the eye.” (Photo: WEF) Click to enlarge.

Wayne’s world of wonderful works has been well-documented here within the pages of The Joe Report, and we never tire of sharing his masterful creations with YOU—our beloved readers. This particular figure stands out among all of Faucher’s other amazing customs because it represents NOT a fanciful superhero, NOR a science-fiction character from some other world, but rather a REAL human being from right here on good ol’ planet Earth. And when a custom figure is made this well, it instantly becomes elevated from the nomenclature of an ordinary “action figure” to the honor of a starry realm reserved solely for handcrafted artwork known as “TRIBUTE” figures. And what a tribute this figure is! Wayne describes his stunning, one-of-a-kind creation thusly:

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Wayne Faucher (Photo: WFT)

“I got tired of waiting for the Molecule 8 figure (HERE), so I just went ahead and did one myself, for about 1/3 of the price. I didn’t want to do a specific event or photo of John, I just wanted a general early 70’s version. So… I chose a couple of iconic period pieces; the fatigue shirt he wore at his 1972 NYC concert (and on the Dick Cavett show), as well as the ‘New York City’ t-shirt from his famous rooftop photo session. The fatigue patches were all provided by Patches of Pride (HERE), and are a dead-on match!”
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Lennon on CavettJohn Lennon on The Dick Cavett Show, September 11, 1971. (Photo: ABC-TV)

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ROCK ON! Wayne Faucher’s custom “Early ’70s John Lennon” sports OD fatigues adorned with custom 1:6 scale patches from Patches of Pride. OOH-yeah! (Photo: WEF) Click to enlarge.

“For the t-shirt, I got a plain white shirt from Cotswold Collectibles (HERE) and designed my own heat transfer for the type. The head is a stunning sculpt from Kumik (HERE), with a few alterations to the hair. The glasses came with the head, but are totally resized and reworked with a Dremel. I also added the tinted lenses.”
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Details DO Make the Difference— Tweaks to the hair, eyeglasses, t-shirt, custom PoP patches—it all adds up to 1:6 scale PERFECTION. WOW! (Photo: WEF) Click to enlarge.

“The guitar came from Ebay. Like most professional guitar players, John had a LOT of guitars. His tastes evolved over the years, so I really don’t associate him with a particular model (unlike Paul McCartney’s famous Hofner bass). Anyway, I couldn’t have done this custom figure (at least not as effectively) without PoP’s fine patches. Thanks again, Mark!” —Wayne Faucher
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On the FLIP SIDE— As this closeup of the other sleeve reveals, Faucher did a superb job installing the custom patches from Patches of Pride. This is a mini-masterpiece! (Photo: WEF) Click to enlarge.

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Make Art, Not Crap—Just IMAGINE all of the fantastic photos you could take with custom figures like this. We can almost hear Lennon’s music playing, too! (Photo: WEF) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Regardless of what you thought of Lennon’s music, politics, or the man himself personally, you have to admit that Faucher’s custom tribute figure is an amazing artistic achievement. Mr. Faucher is a multi-talented individual who continues to surprise and impress legions of comic book fans as well as all of the diverse individuals who populate the 1:6 scale collecting universe. I think it is safe to say that we are ALL blown away by the quality of your work, sir! And—once again—you have clearly “raised the bar” of figure customizing beyond any levels we could have imagined. (Our sincerest thanks to Wayne for all of his help in the creation in this article.) 

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JoeCon 2018 Dealer Room “Walk-Through” (Video)

Bottom Line: For some fans, this is about as close as they’ll ever get to witnessing the “earliest hours” of the JoeCon 2018 dealer room—ESPECIALLY now that JoeCons themselves are forever HISTORY. Gone. Poof. They’re EXTINCT. This video was shot very casually and was originally aired LIVE on Facebook, so the footage is nothing special. It’s bumpy, and I had no particular goals in mind other than to shoot some “raw footage” of the event. At various points, the narrator (me) speaks to people off-camera who were viewing online, so those moments will not make sense to those of you NOT watching it live. I was actually about to delete this, but then I realized that it is now sort of a “time capsule” of precious Joe-moments gone by. This was the last JoeCon EVER and I felt it deserved to be remembered (as well as it could be). This video is but a short segment of those 4 days-o-fun, but I think you’ll get a small kick out of it, nonetheless. Were you there? If so, look carefully—you may see yourself somewhere in the background. Enjoy!

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Action Man is “BACK IN BUSINESS” in the UK! (Video)

Bottom Line: When all hope seems to be lost, a forlorn Action Man jumps on his vintage motorcycle and rides off on a search to discover exactly WHY he and his mates appear to have been “abandoned.” Thankfully, instead of finding answers of misery, he discovers HOPE—hope that UK Action Man fans are not ready to give up on their indomitable childhood hero. Quite the contrary. This wonderful video contains a superb storyline, professional stop-action animation and surprisingly convincing voice characterizations from UK’s Rob Charles. Out-STANDING. Enjoy!

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Rob Charles— Radio and Voice Talent Actor, UK

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Official “Welcome to Marwen” Trailer Released

Bottom Line: They say “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Well, a day after we “complained” here on The Joe Report about the lack of any studio trailer or promotional materials for Universal Picture’s upcoming 1:6 scale film, “Welcome to Marwen,” wouldn’t you know it—an official trailer was almost immediately posted over on YouTube—and it looks simply AMAZING. Of course we’ll analyze it frame-by-frame and in super slow-mo for any signs of the aforementioned Patches of Pride products, but until we’ve had sufficient time to do that, take a look yourself—and ENJOY!


UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take us long. After reviewing the trailer, only 2 scenes appears to clearly shows PoP’s patches. All of the rest of the closeup shots were CGI (i.e. special effects) renderings. It appears the filmmakers used PoP’s patches for some of the “live-action” scenes and also utilized them as “models” for the CGI’d versions as well. Still…all in all, VERY cool!

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Tiny patches on a BIG SCREEN— Two of the tiny patches on the pilot figure’s bomber jacket were created by 1:6 scale patch creator Mark Otnes of Patches of Pride. The nametag appears to be hand-lettered and is not a PoP product. (Screenshot: Universal Pictures) Click to enlarge.

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PoP’s Patches— This closeup reveals a great look at the 1:6 scale “Flying Tigers” patch created for Universal’s costumers by Patches of Pride. The studio’s costumers were VERY specific about this patch, requesting that it be created to an EXACT size so that it would fit within a tiny leather circle (as shown in the photo). What a PERFECT FIT! (Photo: Universal Pictures) Click to enlarge.

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One Last Time— Final Gathering of Members of the “Official G.I. Joe Collector’s Club” Set For This Weekend at JoeCon 2018 in Chattanooga, Tennessee

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The Chattanooga Marriot Downtown is physically connected to the Chattanooga Convention Center making it a convenient place to stay while attending JoeCon 2018. Unfortunately, rooms in this hotel were quickly sold out and “overflow fans” have been asked to book rooms in two other nearby establishments, both within easy walking distance. Have YOU booked your room yet? (Photo: Google Earth)

Mixed Emotions Expected As Club Members Gather Together for Final Time

Have you purchased your plane tickets yet? Packed your bags? Loaded your trusty SUV with “extra” Joes and toys to trade or sell? Reserved a hotel room? Preordered a convention exclusive set? The list of JoeCon 2018 preparatory questions goes on and on, and the time to “get ‘er done” is definitely growing short. Today (and tomorrow), JoeCon 2018 commences its “soft opening” by hosting a series of pre-convention tours, including trips to nearby battlefields, museums and other area attractions. These local tourist activities are always wonderful alternatives for those fans who have family members in tow—and who may NOT be fans of GIjOE. (What the..?)

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This convention will be the LAST of the so-called “official” GIjOE shows, at least for the foreseeable future. And while “unofficial” GIjOE-centric events such as Toylanta will continue to be held, no longer will dues-paying members of the GIjOE Collector’s Club be able to gather together beneath the unifying banner of a Hasbro-endorsed GIjOE fan organization (feeling old, yet?). Emotions are sure to be running high and tears may be shed as goodbyes and thanks are shared between the club’s organizers and its thousands of members, some of whom have known each other and celebrated the “Spirit of Joe” together now for over two and a half DECADES.

Bottom Line: If you can attend—even for just ONE day—a trip to JoeCon 2018 should be well worth your time. The bulk of convention attendees are expected to arrive in Chattanooga by Friday evening, and JoeCon’s indoor-agenda begins in earnest soon thereafter. At that time, attendee packets are handed out to those who’ve preregistered, friends meet up and plan various event rendezvous, and dealers from across the country prep for the frenzied action to come. Go, JOE!

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Hollywood’s Name Change Game— “Untitled Robert Zemeckis Film Project” Titled “Women of Marwen” Retitled Again to “Welcome to Marwen”

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Actress Eiza González prepares to film a scene during 2017’s shooting of the recently retitled “Welcome to Marwen;” scheduled to debut in theaters November 2018. (Photo: Universal Pictures) Click to enlarge.

Security is still tight around the tiny town of Marwen.

What’s the hold-up? Universal Pictures has yet to release an official video trailer or ANY official press photos promoting its upcoming film, “Welcome to Marwen.” Indeed, intel is SO scarce that the ONLY nugget of additional information we’ve been able to gather is that the title of the movie had been changed—again. Mark Otnes, owner of Patches of Pride and supplier of 1:6 miniatures to the film project, confirmed that security has always been extremely tight, stating:

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“While we were working on the orders we’d received from the film’s costumers for miniature patches, armbands, etc., they repeatedly referred to the film only as ‘The Untitled Robert Zemeckis Project. ‘Nothing else. Then, a couple of months later, the working title of ‘Women of Marwen’ was widely spread across the internet. We thought that was that. But just recently (in June 2018), the film was retitled—this time to ‘Welcome to Marwen.’ I don’t know the reasons for all of that subtle wordplay, but I expect it was due to some sort of Hollywood focus group testing, perhaps influenced by ‘brilliant’ participant responses such as, ‘I like the word WELCOME. It seems very friendly.’ But who knows? Nobody’s talking!”

So what else do we know? Not much. In fact, only the scantest of details about the film project can be found (as of today) over on Wikipedia HERE:

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“On April 28, 2017, it was announced that Robert Zemeckis would next direct an untitled fantasy-drama film that would star Steve Carell. On May 19, 2017, it was announced that Leslie Mann and Janelle Monae had joined the cast. On May 23, 2017, Eiza Gonzalez joined the cast. In June 2017, it was reported that Diane Kruger had joined the cast to portray the villain while Gwendoline Christie also joined the cast. In July 2017, Merritt Wever and Neil Jackson joined the cast of the film. On August 6, 2017, the studio hired a German actor Falk Hentschel to play the role of a villain, as Hauptsturmsfuhrer Ludwig Topf, a Nazi captain to a squad of SS Storm Troopers who terrify the people of Belgium. On August 21, 2017, the director’s wife Leslie Zemeckis was cast in the film for an unspecified role. Principal photography on the film began in Vancouver, Canada on August 14, 2017. The filming was completed around October 19, 2017. In June 2018, the film was officially titled Welcome to Marwen.”

Bottom Line: Let’s hope the good folks in the PR department at Universal Pictures are hard at work on promotional materials for this VERY promising movie featuring 1:6 scale action figures, vehicles and other such miniature products. We’ll continue to keep an eye out for any further information and promise to pass it on to you HERE on The Joe Report as soon as it becomes available.

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13th Dimension’s Dan Greenfield Reports CA Enterprises to Display Prototype of All-New Captain Action Uniform Set at SDCC in July

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(Captain Action Enterprises)

Bottom Line: The popular “13th Dimension” website announced today that Captain Action Enterprises is considering producing an all-new “Attack on Mars” uniform set for the 12-inch Captain Action figure. Here’s a direct link to that exciting article. Enjoy!

https://13thdimension.com/exclusive-captain-action-returns-with-space-outfits-and-more/

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Hands Off!—In Unusually Blunt Email, President of G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Urges Attendees of JoeCon 2018 to be “Respectful of the Cosplayers” and Not Touch or Harrass Them “in Any Way”

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Do I need to tell y’all to take a “Time Out?”— GIjOE Club Founder and President, Brian Savage, found himself in an unexpected disciplinary role today, having to preemptively respond to online fan “banter” by reminding his own club’s members to (essentially) keep their hands to themselves and exercise “common courtesy” when encountering cosplayers at JoeCon 2018. Member reactions to Savage’s email plea/request/order(?) have ranged from bemused to bewildered. Is such a reminder REALLY necessary for the typically (VERY) well-mannered JoeCon attendees? Possibly. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Today’s GIjOE club email was quite the surprise. Normally, club members receive ordinary “reminder” emails about sending in their dues or checking the club’s online store for “specials” and clearance sale items. But THIS time, members were being told not to touch or harass cosplayers. To exercise “common courtesy.” And to adhere to “family values.” What the..? Does such unseemly behavior ever go on at JoeCons? Not that we’ve ever seen. But according to Savage:

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SHOCKING!— One of the coolest vintage GIjOE cosplayers we’ve ever seen was this superb “High Voltage Escape” costume created and worn by a creative young fan at the 2012 JoeCon. Dig that mask and the the mesh suit. WOW. (Photo: GIJCC)

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“Hello GIJoeCon Attendees, We will be seeing you guys and gals in just a few days. It has come to our attention that through banter on the internet that some folks are not sensitive to what is going on in our society today. Please be RESPECTFUL of the CosPlayers at the show. They are not to be touched or harassed in anyway. Common courtesy dictates that you should ask to take their picture before you do so. In addition, remember that this is a family event and all costumes should be in accordance with family values. If you have a question about your outfit, the answer would be, find a different one. In addition, please remember that there are no prop weapons allowed. Thanks for being smart and thinking before you cause yourself and someone else embarrassment. See you soon!” —Brian Savage, GIJCC

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Hubba-Hubba-Hands OFF— Cosplayers, Scarlett Conn (l) and Sara Detrick (r), were more than happy to pose for our cameras at the 2015 JoeCon in Springfield, IL. They’d worked hard on their costumes, were proud of them, and rightly so. They were also volunteering their time as hostesses at the event. After we’d complimented them on their outfits and thanked them for adding to the FUN of JoeCon, we asked “Can we take your pictures, please?” The answer was “yes” and this is the shot. Good manners RULE! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Untold Hours of Hard Work— Building costumes such as this robot require hours and hours of hard work. If you have small children, please make sure they don’t jump on or pull on the parts of a cosplayer’s costume. The costumes may be fragile or break easily. It looks as if the dapperly dressed “Destro” was also working as “security” during JoeCon 2012— possibly for that cosplayer in the robot costume. Outstanding “teamwork,” you guys! (Photo: GIJCC)

Bottom Line: The fans we’ve seen and met at JoeCons, Joelantas, and other such Joe-related shows and events have always been some of the nicest, politest and most THOUGHTFUL individuals you’d ever HOPE to meet. Cosplayers too, are a talented, creative and DEDICATED segment of GIjOE fandom and deserve as much respect as anyone else at JoeCon. The sad news that some attendees may have been planning to exhibit less-than-courteous behavior towards ANYONE comes as somewhat of a shock. If you plan on attending JoeCon this year—we have an EASY assignment for you—if you see ANY of the sort of improper behaviors Brian has warned against above, PLEASE help the show’s organizers by notifying Brian, a JoeCon employee. or hotel security personnel. Even if this is the LAST-ever JoeCon, it’s important that fans continue to safeguard such shows for the reputation of all other FUTURE Joe-shows, their dealers and attendees. Remember, good manners are good for Joe-business—and thats GREAT for Joe fans!

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Clint Walker, Television & Film Star, Dead at 90

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“The Big Man”— Actor Clint Walker as he appeared in The Dirty Dozen (1967) (Photo: MGM)

At Ease, Private Posey— For fans of GIjOEs, vintage ’50s-’60s TV cowboys, and the WWII action movie genre, the recent announcement of the death of Hollywood’s “Big Man,” actor Clint Walker, was truly sad news. According to his obituary in yesterday’s New York Times (edited for length):malecomment

“Clint Walker died on Monday in Grass Valley, CA. He was 90. His death, at a hospital, was confirmed by his daughter, Valerie Walker, who said the cause was congestive heart failure. Mr. Walker appeared in the ‘The Dirty Dozen’ and other movies, but he was best known for ‘Cheyenne,’ seen on ABC from 1955 to 1963.

‘Cheyenne’ was among the first television series produced by Warner Bros., and it had the lavish look of a big-screen movie. As shooting of the show’s first season began, Mr. Walker confessed to the crew that he did not have a great deal of experience on horseback. He later recalled the response: ‘You’ll either be a good rider, or a dead one.’ ‘There were a few times I wondered which one it was going to be,’ he said.

Many episodes of ‘Cheyenne’ called for Walker to be shirtless, revealing a bodybuilder’s 48-inch chest and a 32-inch waist in onscreen moments that, while maybe not essential to the plot, helped make the handsome, blue-eyed Mr. Walker a star. At 6 feet 6 inches, he was tall not only in the saddle; one reporter joked that ‘he has snow on his shoulders six months of the year.’ 

His size forced him to restrict his movements to stay within camera range, which could be a challenge during onscreen fistfights. But he pressed for more of those. ‘I feel action is what I owe the public,’ he once told an interviewer. ‘When I see a hero yak-yak-yakkin’ I lose all interest.’

He was appearing on ‘Cheyenne’ when he began making films, including ‘Fort Dobbs’ (1958), with Virginia Mayo. Howard Thompson, reviewing that movie for The New York Times, called him ‘about the biggest, finest-looking western hero ever to sag a horse, with a pair of shoulders rivaling King Kong’s.’

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In ‘The Dirty Dozen,’ released in 1967, he played the meek Samson Posey alongside a crew of hardened military convicts — played by Jim Brown, Charles Bronson, Donald Sutherland and others — who were recruited for an assassination mission behind German lines during World War II. His last film was Joe Dante’s ‘Small Soldiers’ (1998), about high-tech toy soldiers that go on a rampage, in which he had a voice role along with some of his ‘Dirty Dozen’ co-stars. 

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Don’t Push Me!— Walker’s tense face-off with tough-guy Lee Marvin in this scene from The Dirty Dozen was one of the most memorable moments in the film. As Marvin continued to push and taunt the gentle giant, Clint’s mounting rage was palpable. He had a knife. Marvin was unarmed. What would happen next? Audiences were transfixed. This was EXCITING STUFF! (Photo: MGM)

Mr. Walker came close to dying in a freak accident on a ski trip in 1973 when he stumbled and a ski pole pierced his heart. He survived and recovered quickly. He worked as a port security guard and a nightclub bouncer, and then as a deputy sheriff providing security at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. It was there that the actor Van Johnson suggested that he explore acting. Mr. Walker would later recall thinking: ‘I’m not going to get that far carrying a gun and a badge. It doesn’t pay that well. If you make movies, you make some pretty good money — plus, the bullets aren’t real!'”

Bottom Line: Rest in Peace, Mr. Walker. Happy Trails, Cheyenne. We will miss you!

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