Tag Archives: Brian Savage

G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Struggling to Keep Up With Overwhelming Fan Demand For JoeCon 2018’s Exclusive Figures and (Affordable) Hotel Rooms

A Victim of Their Own Success?

Word of mouth among GIjOE fandom alluding to the fact that this year’s JoeCon in Chattanooga, TN could very well be the LAST such “national” club convention has many fans (members and non-members alike) scrambling for nearby (affordable) hotel rooms and a chance to purchase (again, what may be) one of the LAST exclusive figure sets ever produced by the GIjOE Collector’s Club.

In addition, with Hasbro largely sitting on its hands concerning all things GIjOE, collectors of all scales are seeing this year’s JoeCon as “the one” that they “must attend,” leading to an unexpectedly early sell-out for the small figure exclusive sets and an ongoing shortage of downtown hotel rooms that are priced at the club’s more affordable “discounted block rate.”

The latest confirmation of these alarming facts comes to us today “hot over the wires” and from the GIJCC’s head honcho himself, Brian Savage, who revealed the following intel about a shortage of 3 3/4″ exclusives (and provided suggestions on what be believes can be done about it):

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Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector’s Club (Photo: GIJCC)

 

“The 2018 GIjOECon Convention 3 3/4″ sets are SOLD OUT! Currently, we BELIEVE that we will be able to increase the production run for both 3 3/4” boxed and loose sets (attending and non-attending). HOWEVER, our contacts in China have now shut down for Chinese New Year. We have requested that they increase our production run (which won’t happen for another couple of months).  

It will take a few weeks until we have confirmation back from them concerning our request. Chinese New Year runs through the first week in March. Each factory has a different schedule as to when they return to work. In the meantime, if you are interested in an 3 3/4″ attending, non-attending or a loose set, please let us know by putting yourself on the wait list by sending an email to: Waitlist@funpubinc.com.  

Please DO NOT CALL about the list. We will notify you about processing your request when the additional quantities are available. You will receive a confirmation email that you are on the list. If you have already contacted us and were told that we have placed you on the waitlist, you do not need to email us. Please don’t get on the list 2x. The list will be worked in the order it was received.

Please place in the title of the email one of the following: American Hero waitlist, Homefront Hero waitlist, Attending loose set waitlist, Non-attending loose set waitlist. In the body of the email please provide your full name and phone number. Being on the waitlist does NOT guarantee that you will get what you requested, as we may exhaust the additional quantities ordered.

Do not order a 12″ attending set and hope that we will swap it for the 3 3/4″ set. We will not swap sets.”

Fortunately for attendees and non-attending collectors of the 12-inch GIjOE exclusive sets, some better news was forthcoming from Savage, who reassuringly stated:

“The 12″ attending and non-attending sets are still available.”

Finally, regarding the shortage of affordable hotel rooms, Savage offered this hopeful update:

“The Staybridge Hotel block is now sold out. We are investigating a THIRD hotel in the area, so please watch for future emails.” 

Bottom Line: Phew! This is getting exciting (and frustrating for some). It looks like we should expect this convention to be a BIG one, crowd-wise. If you plan to attend, we recommend you go ahead and reserve a hotel room SOMEWHERE nearby the Chattanooga Convention Center at ANY rate you can afford—NOW. There’s always plenty of time for you to cancel or (hopefully) get a different room at the club’s cheaper block rate—later. That is, of course, IF… Señor Savage can convince that mysterious, unnamed “third hotel” to cooperate. Good luck to us all! Go, JOE!

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Bummer!———It’s Official: The G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Is “Not Taking Any New Memberships”

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Where will fans go in 2017? GIJCC founder Brian Savage meets with collector’s during last year’s JoeCon 2015 in Springfield, IL. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Well, this is a sad day. According to an official post from the GIjOE Collector’s Club on Facebook:

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“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!

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Savage Reissues Cryptic Statement Many Believe Foretells the End of Fun Publications’ Operation of Official G.I. Joe Collector’s Club, Stating, “All Memberships Will End December 31, 2016”


cryp·tic

adjective, 1. having a meaning that is mysterious or obscure.


In an official statement received from the GIjOE Collector’s Club today, Brian Savage concluded a rather routine update of the registration progress at JoeCon 2016 with the following statement:

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Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector’s Club (Photo: GIJCC)

“Please note the following:  March 16 is the last day you can join the GI Joe Collectors’ Club.  If you are interested in receiving the discounts for GIJoeCon, the 2016 FREE figure(s) or in FSS 5.0 you will need to be an active member as of March 16.  All memberships will end December 31, 2016.

We appreciate your support over the last 20 years.” —Brian Savage

Bottom Line: Yes, we’ve reported on the rather unclear phrasing of Brian’s press releases before (see HERE), but with the addition of this new “We appreciate your support” line, it’s beginning to look more and more like this be the final year for the GIjOE Collector’s Club; at least in its current form as operated by Savage and Fun Publications. At the moment, we’re not sure when (or if) Brian will issue a clarification, but we promise to keep a sharp eye on the situation and pass along any updates ASAP. Stay tuned!

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This Just In!———G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Reveals First Pic of 12″ Exclusive Set for JoeCon 2016

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Look out, Joe! This is the first photo released by the GIjOE Collector’s Club revealing the box cover art for an upcoming 2016 convention 12″ figure exclusive. Absolutely TOO COOL! (Photo: GIJCC)

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The Embassy Suites in Loveland, CO, site of JoeCon 2016. (Photo: Embassy Suites) Click to enlarge.

Despite rumors running rampant regarding the national GIjOE club’s somewhat questionable future (see article HERE), Brian Savage and his dedicated and talented staff clearly intend to move forward with their plans to host JoeCon 2016 this coming June, and to produce a new convention exclusive boxed set for fans and collectors of 12-inch figures. Yesterday (Friday), the club released an online version of JoeCon 2016’s official information brochure (see that HERE) and news for 12″ collectors appears to be quite good.

Here’s what the brochure revealed:

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“The Adventures Of G.I. Joe Underwater Diver featuring The Eight Ropes of Danger and Dive into Darkness—This set commemorates the very short run of the 1969 ‘Adventures Of’ series and features a 12” G.I. Joe Aquanaut in a reproduction of a ‘red-top’ long box along with his ‘pork pie’ cap and pants, sweater, dog tag, Label revolver, brown shoulder holster, and black boots.

He also comes with a reproduction Eight Ropes of Danger diving accessory set and a new Dive into Darkness stealth version of the same diving accessory set. All of these items will be packaged together in a display box featuring art from the ‘Adventures Of’ era.”

Bottom Line: This new convention exclusive would be a worthwhile addition to any fan’s 12″ collection. However, as usual, such high-end “swag” from the GIJCC doesn’t come cheap. This set will cost club members $350 and non-members will have to fork out a whopping $440. So…we suppose whether or not you’re interested will (as always) depend on the “depths” you’re willing to take your credit card debt. Of course, we’re nuts for this stuff, so we say…“Dive! Dive! Dive!”

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Is it Over? 9-Word Sentence in the G.I. Joe Club’s Official Magazine Sparks Concern & Confusion

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Burying the Headline— A short, 9-word sentence in the January 2016 issue of the GIjOE Collectors’ Club official magazine has set off “alarm bells” among the ranks of its membership. Take a close look at the paragraph above that begins with “Please note.” Many believe that the second sentence not-so-subtly announces an impending death-knell for the club. What do YOU think? (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Whether he meant to or not, the GIjOE Collectors’ Club (GIJCC) President and Editor-in-Chief of Fun Publications (FP), Brian Savage, has created a mini-firestorm of concern and confusion among the faithful members of the GIJCC. If this is still news to your eyes and ears, dear reader, then here is the “alarming” sentence many believe has declared the foreseeable end of the mighty GIJCC:

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Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector’s Club (Photo: GIJCC)

“All memberships will end with the December 2016 issue.” —Brian Savage

Whoa. That’s not good news. At first reading, the meaning of the sentence seems clear enough, perhaps even ominous—but is it really? Could it simply be a misunderstanding? Or semantics? Perhaps it’s merely an example of a how a hastily worded sentence can lead to unintended confusion or misinterpretation. Of course, only Savage and FP know the answer(s) for sure, but they’re not talking. So, while we wait for further clarification on the issue, let’s consider the following two possibilities:

#1: The Club is Merely “Resetting” Its Membership Calendar.

If everything’s still fine and dandy at the GIJCC and FP, Savage’s sentence may merely mean the magazine is resetting its signup date, and thus the calendric policy that it utilizes for processing annual memberships. It’s possible they’re moving to a single signup month, one wherein all members must enroll and pay their dues (i.e. the month of January?). Establishing such a system may help provide the club with a more predictable budget and revenue-stream for its wide variety of club events, exclusives, etc. This may be a naive supposition on our part, but the only other alternative appears to be…

#2: It’s OVER. Savage and Fun Publications are Getting Out of the Toy Fan “Biz”

Yes, sadly, the many doomsayers out there in Joeland may be correct. The end of the GIJCC may now be in sight. However, at the moment, Savage and his club are refusing further comment. And rather than circling their wagons financially, the GIJCC continues to steam full-speed ahead with plans for JoeCon 2016 in Colorado this upcoming June.

Then there’s licensing. Hasbro isn’t a cheap partner, to be sure. Keeping their officially sanctioned status may be becoming too costly a burden for the club to bear. And don’t forget, Savage and FP also run a similar club organization for fans of Transformers, hosting annual conventions known as “BotCons.” Apparently, those fans (and customers of FP) are now facing a similarly depressing “end of times” scenario. According to one renowned expert…

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Chicago GIjOE Club members, Kevin Bolger (left) and Tave Lamperez (right), at a previous Joe Show in Algonquin, IL. Bolger weighs in on the current “sentence” controversy below. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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“It looks like this may be the end for the national GIJCC. Brian hasn’t confirmed anything so far, but he’s also not denying that all memberships will END in December 2016. And it appears this is the end of Brian Savage and Fun Publications helming the Transformers’ Club as well (see Allspark article HERE).

I’m not sure if the end of licensing with Hasbro was Brian’s choice or Hasbro’s. I remember a number of years hearing what the cost of the franchise was, but it was some real high $ amount. There has been some folks wishing that someone else would take it all on, but I doubt there will be any takers.

We’ll see what happens, but the conversations on the GIJCC Forum asking about the future seemed to be unanswered from the Club. Why would all memberships end on December 2016 unless this was the end? I’m not sure that anyone would really want to take on the big franchise cost to do an official Hasbro-sanctioned club, or want to do it as a business.

It’s really too bad, as the national Club did bring together folks together, especially in the early days of the internet. It gave incentive to those of us who would run into a fellow Joehead at a flea market or in the aisles of Toys R Us in the early ’90s, to actually get together at a large show devoted to our hobby.

I helped to start one of the local Chapters (the Chicago Division of the GIjOE Collectors’ Club) which had a good run. Hopefully, Joelanta and smaller Regional shows will continue to help fill the in-person void. And places like the Trenches provide something more frequently.” —Kevin Bolger, Chicago, IL

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The only official club reply to repeated fan requests for clarification reads as follows:

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“In regard to GIJCC memberships, the only information we have at this time is what is posted online. Thanks and have a Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!” —GIjOE Collectors’ Club

Bottom Line: If Savage’s 9-word sentence was unintentionally misleading and simply led to confusion based on ambiguous or overly succinct wording, then we hope he clarifies the situation quickly, stilling the racing hearts of thousands of anxious fans. If, however (and sadly), he meant what he said in the first place… then you’d better take a closer look at your own local club divisions and help prepare them to “fly solo” sometime in the near future. Stand by for updates!
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Brian Savage Becomes De Facto Leader of 12-Inch G.I. Joe Production For the Foreseeable Future

Leading the Way— GIjOE Club Founder and President, Brian Savage, currently has more years under his belt as a producer of 12-inch GIjOE action figures than practically anyone. With Hasbro turning its back on the 12-inch line, Savage now finds himself the leading coordinator and producer of official 1:6 scale GIjOE figures. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Leading the Way for 12-Inch Fans— With Hasbro abandoning 12-inch GIjOEs, GIjOE Collector’s Club Founder and CEO, Brian Savage, has become the main producer of officially-licensed 1:6 scale GIjOEs, with 4 new figures (3 announced at JoeCon) slated for a 2015-16 release. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

joecon2015logoAs Hasbro Bows Out, Longtime Leader of the GIjOE Collector’s Club Announces Production of (at Least) 4 More Officially Licensed 12-Inch GIjOE Action Figures

With multiple IDs dangling from his back pocket and an ever-present walkie-talkie clipped to his famous blue jean shorts, the GIjOE Collector’s Club (GIJCC) founder and leader, Brian Savage, looked every bit the “Field Commander” of GIjOE fandom he’d become. At this particular moment during 2015’s JoeCon (a hugely successful GIjOE convention Savage recently orchestrated in Springfield, IL), he found himself in a hallway, encircled by about a dozen 12-inch fans who were peppering him with all sorts of GIjOE and club-related questions.

Although Savage had just completed an hour-long GIJCC panel discussion in the main ballroom, these fans had remained behind with the realization that they were being given a rare opportunity to speak directly to the man who helms the longtime Ft. Worth, TX-based business that will oversee production of new 12-inch (1:6 scale) GIjOEs into the foreseeable future. Fortunately, Brian’s answers were plainspoken and specific. After almost 30 minutes of the energetic back-n-forth, his rapt audience thanked him for “all that he’s done for the hobby” and Savage thanked them in return for their continued support of the club’s efforts. Below are some quotes from that hallway Q&A:

Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector's Club (Photo: GIJCC)

Brian Savage, CEO and EIC, Fun Publications, Inc. (Photo: GIJCC)

On the Club’s 2 New Upcoming (12-inch) GIjOE Lost Talkers:

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“On the 12-inch side…we had started this ‘Lost Talker’ series a few years ago. We did the Talking Action Soldier and the Talking Marine…in the old days, when these were made…around ’67, they only had 8 talking phrases. We found out that in the archive, there were actually 10 recorded by the original voice actors that were not included. What we did with these figures was, we went back…and were able to add all 10 phrases. So not only were they reproduction Talkers as they had been, but they had 2 phrases that had never been heard, not newly recorded phrases, but original, vintage ’60s recorded phrases that were—LOST.”

Talking Sailor GIjOE (Photo: Vectis)

Talking GIjOE Sailor (Photo: Vectis)

“We’re going to continue this series…they may hit late this year (2015), depending on production. We’re going to do a Lost Talker Action Sailor…and then we’ll round out this whole series by doing the Lost Talker Action Pilot; which will have 10 phrases rather than 8; 2 that have never been heard before.”

Talking GIjOE Pilot (Photo: Vectis)

Talking GIjOE Pilot (Photo: Vectis)

“We go in and add additional art to the insert to show what the new phrases are. It’s kind of a nice reproduction item with a little bit of a ‘plus’ to it. 

So, even if you already have these as vintage items in your collection, you’ll get something that you didn’t have before. And then that will round out our ‘Lost Talker’ series.”

On the Return of Mike Power, the Atomic Man, as the Club’s 12″ Exclusive for 2016:

So Far Away! Sorry about this grainy pic, but we were  seated pretty far back in the crowd during this presentation. Regardless, we hope you can make out the fact that Mike now has TWO atomic legs, and an all-new

(Mock-up photo: GIJCC)

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“He’s going to be a good lookin’ dude. We’re not reusing his old namby-pamby head. We’re doing a totally new sculpt. We didn’t like the unnamed, ‘other company’s’ male pseudo-fashion figure that Mike Power always seemed to look a little bit like (That would be Barbie’s Ken, ed.). And we’re actually going to put an LED into his eye, which will work with the dog-tag when you pull it. Please don’t point this at any aircraft. Federal authorities will come visit you. We showed a photo of a mock-up and a sketch of the all-new headsculpt we’re having done in the panel discussion. There’ll also be a uniform set called ‘Field Mission Alpha’ that you’ll be able to purchase separately.

A sketch of an all-new head sculpt for the GIjOE Collector's Club upcoming recreation of the Mike Power GIjOE action figure. (Photo: Jerry Gonzalas)

Here’s Looking at YOU, Mike Power #2— Savage revealed a sketch of an all-new headsculpt currently being created for the GIjOE Collector’s Club 2016 12-inch membership action figure—with working LED light-up eye. An optional uniform set will also be produced and sold separately. (Photo: Jerry Gonzales)

A new photo of the GIjCC's upcoming 12

GIjCC’s 2015 12″ membership figure, “Dr. Isotope” will be the first-ever, glow-in-the-dark GIjOE. Imagine Mike Power’s LED atomic eye shooting at Doc—in the dark! (Photo: GIjCC)

The optional uniform set for Doctor Isotope is practically a

The optional uniform set for Doctor Isotope is practically a “must-have” for fans. (Photo: GIJCC) Click to enlarge.

On the Upcoming and Unusual “Dr. Isotope,” the First EVER Glow-in-the-Dark GIjOE: 

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‘The 12″ membership figure for 2015 will be Doctor Isotope: The Nuclear Menace. He’ll be the first-ever 12″ GIjOE action figure that will glow-in-the-dark. He’s a new foe for the Adventure Team to fight and as always, you can purchase a unique uniform and accessory set for him separately.”

For over 18 years now, GIjOE fans and collectors have watched Savage and the GIJCC grow to fill a role of ever-increasing importance and leadership among both the 1:6 and 1:18 scale GIjOE collecting communities. Indeed, without his/their tireless efforts, many wonderful GIjOE figures (of both scales) that fans now take for granted would never have been produced in the first place. Take a look at your own collection. It’s likely you own at least one of Savage’s superb creations, perhaps more. And as the years have passed, their desirability and collectibility have only increased. That’s easy to understand. Here are just a few examples:

An AWESOME Legacy—When Brian Savage finally retires, he'll leave behind a trail of excellence and achievement. We looked around the office this morning and piled up what we could find of his work. Of course, he and his team of experts at the GIJCC have produced many more official GIjOE products, in both 1:6 and 1:18 scales. Imagine owning them all! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

An AWESOME Legacy—When Brian Savage finally retires, he’ll leave behind a mountain of GIjOE achievement. We looked around our office this morning and piled up what we could find of his work. This is only a fraction. Imagine owning everything! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge (and drool).

Indeed, as Hasbro continues to step farther away from the possibility of producing 12-inch GIjOEs EVER again, Savage has begun to be recognized for his new role: that of being the sole remaining producer of officially licensed 12″ GIjOE action figures. Sideshow and others may dip a toe into the GIjOE waters now and then, but nothing with the regularity of Savage and the GIJCC.

Local fan club divisions too, occasionally produce their own exclusive figures (predominantly the Atlanta and DFW divisions), but when it comes to manufacturing hundreds of authentic GIjOE action figures in factory-made coffin boxes, there’s really only one place collectors can still turn to: Brian Savage and the GIJCC. Here’s some more Q&A from Savage at JoeCon 2015:

JoeCon 2015 was held in Springfield, IL. Why? According to Savage, it was because for the first time, the community responded to their requests for facility and hotel availability. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

JoeCon 2015 was held this year in Springfield, IL. But why? According to Savage, there were a variety of reasons. For the FIRST time, Illinois’ capital city had responded to the GIjCC’s inquiries re: facility and hotel availability, thus helping its chances. And as the old lottery saying goes, “You have to be in it—to WIN it!” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

On How JoeCon Locations Around the U.S. Are Chosen:

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“When I started this 18 years ago, my original thought was I would find an East Coast, Center of the Country, and West Coast location. I would then alternate between them. But that reflected my naivety as an event planner, because I wasn’t experienced as an event planner.

What’s happened is, we’ve continued to grow…We’re not in that facility ‘footprint’ size anymore. There are a lot of facilities out there with 12,000 sq. ft. ballrooms. However, they do NOT have another 8,000 sq. ft. ballroom sitting next to it where we can do break-outs (i.e. panel discussions, film festivals, etc.) or dinners.

For JoeCon, we’re now at 25,000 square feet (gesturing to the dealer room upstairs). To do BotCon, I need 35,000. There are very few facilities out there that have that size space. And oftentimes, you can’t get into a place you’ve already been because they don’t have your dates. Costs, rates and availability are always changing.

I also try to move it around it the country because I always hear people say, ‘It was never near me before. But this year I could drive to it and had such a great time; I’m going to go WHEREVER you are next year!’ For all these reasons, choosing a location for JoeCon is often a lot more magic—than it is science.”

Sometimes the surprise

SURPRISE! Sometimes the free convention “extras” given out to attendees are GREAT and sometimes they’re not. This year, at JoeCon 2015, 12-inch fans received a STUNNING Adventure Team pilot’s helmet (its logo is painted on, not a cheap sticker) along with a matching yellow parachute box (including straps but no ‘chute). These FREE gifts were very much appreciated. Thanks, Brian! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Many fans also received  FREE JoeCon 2015 jackets for their Fantastic Freefall figures. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Many 12″ fans also received FREE JoeCon 2015 jackets for their Fantastic Freefall figures. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

On Working With Hasbro and the State of the GIjOE Brand in 2015:

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“The Joe people, because it (GIjOE) hasn’t been in the retail stores, they pretty much let us run amok (in picking sets, teams and themes) for a lot of it now…They do work with us. There’s nothing heavy-handed…They’ve been trying as a company, for the last 4 months, to integrate us better on both sides. The GIjOE brand just isn’t there, because they (Joes at retail) are in such an anemic state right now. And you know, you couldn’t ask for two better people to work with than Derryl (DePriest) and Mark (Weber).” (He goes on to explain that there is just not enough demand or resource for both sizes.)” 

The Man of Action accessory set, while uninspired, will offer fans the chance to dress their new membership figure, as well as house him in a nice repro box. Actually, the box is the most appealing part of this entire set. (Photo: GIJCC)

The GIjOE club’s reproduction Man of Action figure, box and accessory set were the closest Hasbro would get to an “official” 12″ commemorative of the brand’s 50th anniversary. (Photo: GIJCC)

“In my opinion, they blew a whole opportunity to artificially (because of the 50th Anniversary) recreate GIjOE and drag it (the 12″ GIjOE brand) up from the depths again. But the company decided not to emphasize the anniversary. If WE (the GIjOE Club) were supposed to head up the 50th anniversary celebration, then that’s kind’a sad (as there is no way they could do with the brand what Hasbro can).”
GIjOE Brand Manager Mark Weber (l) and Hasbro Global Brand Manager Derryl DePriest (c) took time at JoeCon 2015 to patiently reply to  questions from fans and the media. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

GIjOE Brand Manager Mark Weber (l) and Hasbro Global Brand Manager Derryl DePriest (c) repeatedly took time during JoeCon 2015 to patiently answer questions from fans and members of the media. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“It’s all strange and wondrous (the last 18 years)… I don’t even remember the names of all of the people we’ve worked with there (at Hasbro). I’ve been working with them for 18 years. I’ve got more time on the brand than anybody that’s there at Hasbro, except maybe Derryl (DePriest)…There’s a lot more phone calls and stuff now that he and Mark are on the brand.

Above: The parachute drop at the 2009 JoeCon in Kansas City, MO, was one of the last truly big “media event” drops hosted by the GIjOE Collector’s Club. Sadly, since that time, the activity seems to have lost its focus, forcing the club to shelve future drops while reconsidering its purpose.

On the Evolution and Disappearance of the Parachute Drop at JoeCon 2015:

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“The parachute drop (has) become something totally different than what it was designed to do in the beginning. It was designed to #1: Stop 12-inch collectors from throwing parachute figures off the building at night. And #2: So that we could have an event for the media, to get on TV.

We used to sell the extra figures to cover the costs of the free ones we were throwing off the building. But now, the parachute jump has kind of devolved into this ‘extra collector thing I have to have.’ So we need to go back and rethink what we’re doing, because it’s not serving its original (media event) purpose anymore.”

On the Day-to-Day Difficulties of Dealing With Dissatisfied Club Members: 

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“What we find on the web is that people often go to non-related forums or contact Hasbro to ask a question or complain without ever contacting us. If you have a question or concern, you can email or call our office. We want to help you get the correct answer.”
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Just Joking (Sort Of)— In the post-Con Questionnaire that attendees fill out and return to the club’s information booth, we made sure to indicate our preference for super-articulated 12-inch club figures with KFG (YES!). And then we jokingly named Hasbro as our “favorite GIjOE enemy.” HA! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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“I answer almost every email, and if not, we’ll put something out that has the information on it. That’s why we put out a newsletter and a website. Sometimes I get so many emails from the same people. I don’t mind answering one or two, but when you’re sending me one every three or four days, it becomes overwhelming. If I have 3,000 people in each club (GIjOEs and Transformers), sending this many emails we won’t do anything except answer emails.”

Finally, in a previous interview over on joecustoms.com (HERE), Savage cleared up the differences between Fun Publications, the Master Collector and the GIjOE Collector’s Club, saying:

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“Fun Publications, Inc. is our company. Master Collector is one of our websites and was the classified ad publication for trading toys. We ceased publication of the print version of MC a year ago. The G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club and the Transformers Collectors’ Clubs are officially licensed by Hasbro and are business units of our company. That means every figure or accessory we produce are officially in the cannon of G.I. Joe.”

After thanking Savage again for his years of hard work, the hallway O&A group slowly began to disperse; but before they did, Brian politely and thoughtfully thanked them in return, saying:

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 “I sure appreciate y’all coming, and taking the time to listen, and the feedback—and all that stuff!”

Savage has grown increasingly popular with fans of 1:6 GIjOEs, as they have begun to realize he is now the

Savage Faces the Fans— Brian has grown increasingly popular among GIjOE collectors, especially fans of 1:6 scale figures, as they have begun to realize that Savage’s business (Fun Publications, Inc.) provides the best chance for the creation and continuation of new, officially licensed (12-inch) GIjOE-brand action figures. Here, Savage answers an additional 30 minutes of questions from fans of 1:6 scale Joes during an unscheduled “Hallway Q&A” at JoeCon 2015. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

GIjOE Collector's Club logo

GIjOE Collector’s Club logo

Bottom Line: Savage and his GIjOE Collector’s Club have certainly earned their place at the top of the GIjOE collecting pantheon. There’s an undeniable “sense of historic occasion” to each of Savage’s JoeCons; and while they may not all be successes, when they do “hit,” they typically hit on all cylinders, providing 3 days of fun and opportunity for thousands of fortunate fans. After all, many collectors remain GIjOE brand purists, demanding only Hasbro-stamped butt cheeks and Hasbro-branded coffin boxes. For them, nothing else but official Hasbro-licensed GIjOE products will do. And for them, Brian Savage remains solidly in business. He and the GIJCC are probably the last, BEST hope for such products in the future. Remember: Only GIjOE—is GIjOE!

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JoeCon 2015 Captured in Widescreen HD Video

Bottom Line: In this, the first of THREE articles we have planned covering JoeCon 2015, we thought we’d surprise you. Rather than penning paragraph after paragraph of descriptive text, we chose instead to produce a documentary video of the show. That way, you’ll get to see and HEAR highlights captured during its actual events. And if you weren’t able to attend in person, then this should provide a “You Are There” experience for what you missed. Finally, to assure you receive the finest coverage available, our Joe Report film crew shot the entire production in FULL high-definition (HD) widescreen. So, sit back, enlarge the picture to fill your screen—and ENJOY!

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Goodbye, G.I. Joes———National Club Continues to “Thin Down” Its Supply of 12-Inch G.I. Joes That Have Been Out of Production for Many Years

Where have YOU been, Scuba Joe? When was the last time you saw this "Perilous Rescue" set in stores or for sale over at the club's website? Thought so. It's sudden appearance today, still NMIB is a real eye-opener for fans and collectors who thought the only place left to find such 1:6 treasure was ebay or from other fans at conventions. As of today, this sharp-dressed sailor was ready for a new owner. Initerested? Simply visit the club's online store and pick him up! (Photo: GIJCC)

Where have YOU been, Scuba Joe? When was the last time you saw this “Perilous Rescue” set in stores or for sale over on the club’s website? We thought so. Well, its sudden appearance TODAY, still NMIB and available, is just one of many eye-openers for fans who thought the only place left to find such 1:6 treasure was on ebay or at collector conventions. But as of today, this sharp-dressed sailor is still waiting for a new owner. Interested? Visit the club’s online store HERE and pick him up before he’s “thinned” out! (Photo: GIJCC)

CLUBlogo_blkIs the GIjOE Collectors’ Club getting out of the 12-inch market altogether?

Or…is what’s happening now down in Dallas simply a matter of routine house-keeping for the good people at Fun Publications, Inc.? In what’s being described as an attempt to “thin down some of the archives,” the nation’s largest club for GIjOE fans has been sending out regular messages to its membership announcing its sale of an ever-growing numbers of 12-inch figures, uniforms and accessories, many of which haven’t been seen outside of an ebay auction for many, MANY years. And while not specifically a “sale” per se (there are no discounted prices), this recent push by the club reveals a concerted effort to clear out the remainder of NMIB 12-inch merchandise that few knew were still in stock—anywhere. In fact, according to a message sent out today by GIjCC President, Brian Savage:

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Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector's Club (Photo: GIJCC)

Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector’s Club President (Photo: GIJCC)

“More items have been added to the Archive Sale! We have one more upload next week and that will be the end of the items in the Archive Sale for a while (until we do a physical inventory of what is left – there may be (also maybe not) some more items not listed correctly on the logs).”

Sure sounds like inventory “house-cleaning” to us. As to WHY the club has begun this intriguing (non-sale) sale, Savage states:

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“We are running out of room in the warehouse and we have decided to ‘thin’ down some of the archives. We have been keeping too many of each product for future use/reference and now it is time to reclaim the space! We have been at this for about 20 years, so there is quite a lot of different items to choose from… some retail… some sold out exclusives and convention items! However… we don’t have many of any of these products! Some are the only one left!”

We snapped this photo of our new Coastie Harbor Security Guard, guarding the reference books on in our office with his deck-mounted .50 cal. What a great figure! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

You better step off, dude! We snapped this photo of our new Coastie Harbor Security Guard guarding the reference books in our office with his deck-mounted .50 cal. Thanks, GIjCC! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Can you imagine being on this “cleaning detail?” What fun! Wouldn’t you like to open unmarked boxes and discover long-lost GIjOE treasure? (Psst! Hey, Brian! Need some free labor? Where do we sign up?) Savage continues:

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“We will be putting up a batch of products each week for a few more weeks.  This is a very slow process as we have to go through each storage box and verify what is really there. So, to make this even more fun we are including with each of these products, the below Certificate of Authenticity which if you look closely, has the embossed 1926 Corporate Seal of Hassenfeld Bros. Inc. Providence, RI. We came across this one of a kind item from a collector. We thought you would enjoy having a commemorative imprint from it. This is the FIRST corporate seal that was created when they incorporated in 1926! Check out the items now! Don’t wait… these items will go quickly~ Thanks for your support! —Brian”

Bottom Line: We’re not exactly sure what this latest sale of 12-inch vintage swag truly portends, some believe it means the club is about to abandon 1:6 scale for good. But we’ve already hurried over and relieved Brian of some of his 12-inch “burden,” picking up a SWEET 10th Mountain Division Snow Trooper and a NMIB Coast Guard Harbor Security figure, complete with .50 cal. deck gun and mount. The club’s COA was, to put it mildly, unimpressive, but the Hassenfeld stamp was intriguing. Of course, we freed our new recruits from their cardboard prisons immediately and put them to duty in our office. Isn’t it a thrill to be the one who gets to de-box and pose a new Joe for the first time—EVER? Of course it is! HOOah! Go, Joe! Thanks, Brian!

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That’s a Wrap! 4-Day “JoeCon 2013” Closes in Indianapolis To Mixed Reaction and Reviews

GIjOE collector and fan, Scott Turnbull, poses next to his 1:6 scale Apollo 11 diorama at “JoeCon 2013″ held recently in Indianapolis, IN. In an event that was clearly skewed towards fans of 3.75” figures, Turnbull’s larger-sized entry into the show’s diorama competition was a rare, 1:6 scale exception. A proud (and defiant) Turnbull later declared, “Please include my photo in your article on The Joe Report to show that 12″ figures STILL have their place at JoeCon.” Our pleasure, Scott! We especially admire Turnbull’s innovative combination of a 2-D photographic backdrop with his scratch-built 3-D LEM landing leg. VERY clever. It makes his diorama both stand UP and stand OUT! (Photo: Scott Turnbull)

Oh, my aching HEAD!” This closeup of the strangely tired-looking, haggard, and baggy-eyed headsculpt of “Hangover Joe,” one of the exclusive figures at JoeCon 2013, seems to mirror the mood and attitudes of many of the shows attendees. Dealers and fans of BOTH scales openly stated their belief that 1:6 scalers are now being “sidelined” by the national club. (Photo: M. Otnes)

After a year’s worth of build-up and hoopla…

JoeCon 2013, held this past weekend in Indianapolis, IN, is now officially, “a wrap.” And for all of the lucky(?) GIjOE fans who were able to attend, memories of this year’s 4-day event will undoubtedly be mixed, divided and somewhat conflicted. While it is always enjoyable to catch up with old friends and make new ones, the way fans of 1:6 scale figures will celebrate their love of the GIjOE hobby is clearly undergoing a change at the “national show” level. This year, attendees familiar with past national cons were struck by THIS show’s two undeniable and distinct developments:

1) There was LESS…of EVERYTHING.
Blame it on the economy. Blame it on “the Sequester.” Or simply accept it as an aberration unique to this year’s show. But there’s no denying it. This show was SMALL(er). While we’re not privy to official attendance figures, even the most casual observers were heard to be commenting openly how few fans, dealers, exhibitors, customizers, and “general public” visitors there were at the event. Only on Saturday, when the dealer room opened to the public, did anything resembling a “crowd of people” seem to gather.

Event workers, hotel security and volunteers all seemed to have less to do. Lines were extremely short (oohrah!) and the number of tables and quantity of merchandise for sale was clearly less than in previous years. By contrast, the more 12-inch friendly “Joelanta” show, held just 3 weeks prior in Atlanta, GA, is currently enjoying an explosion of growth in attendance and popularity. Interesting!

In a pleasant surprise, the evil “Sebastian Gorman” headsculpt turned out to be much better than expected, featuring stronger “scowl-lines” and more clearly defined facial features than those shown in early prototype photos. He could still use a little moustache trim, however. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

2) 12-inch fans are being SIDELINED at the national level.
Whether done intentionally or not, the national-level GIjOE Collector’s Club (GIJCC) seemed to be doing very little (if anything) at this year’s Con to dispel the growing belief among ALL fans that its version of a “national convention” is now predominantly planned around and targeted to the needs and desires of fans of 3.75″ RAH figures. According to GIJCC leader, Brian Savage, any “blame” for this development boils down to simple economics. During one of the JoeCon seminars (also held to sparse attendance), Savage defended the club’s decisions this way:

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“Over the years, a lot of different GIjOE shows have come and gone. They were run by a lot of different groups with a lot of different ideas and ways of doing things. But they’re mostly all gone now, and we’re still here. I think that’s because we (the GIJCC) haven’t forgotten, first and foremost—that this is a BUSINESS.” —Brian Savage, GIjCC

“Where’s GIjOE?” Historically, package artwork has been an integral part of GIjOE’s appeal. While this is box is nice, many fans wondered why creators of the “Secret Mission to Dragon Island” set had eschewed the usual outstanding artwork of Classic Collection artist, Larry Selman, in favor of a smaller box and a simpler AT logo/dragons motif. Was it simply a cost-cutting decision, or as many fans believed, yet another indicator of dwindling club support for the 12″ line? (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Cosplayers were in attendance as usual, happy and eager to pose for photos with fans in their amazing handmade costumes. Look at the superb detail of this “Cobra Snowtrooper” w/harness and parachute pack. WOW! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Where will things go from here?

No one can argue with the GIJCC’s successful record while at the helm of GIjOE fandom. However, its recent decisions have undeniably diminished the importance previously accorded to 12-inch fans. Such moves leave many observers (including us here at The Joe Report) scratching their pith-helmeted heads. What’s going on?

Think about it… Most “1:6 scalers” are now only in their 40s or 50s. Their retirement years will be coming up in another decade or so. That means more disposable income and TIME to spend on hobbies. To turn away such a lucrative fan/consumer base, with so many collecting and convention-attending years still ahead of them, seems shortsighted from anyone’s “business” standpoint.

Yes, there was a “Secret Mission to Dragon Island” figure set produced for this year’s JoeCon and collectors of 12″ figures. But the quantity produced by the club was reduced to only 200. Was the club THAT worried about selling them all? If so, their fears quickly proved unfounded, as all of the sets are now “accounted for” and in the hands of happy collectors.

Where things will go from here remains to be seen. We may be witnessing the beginning or end of a consumer cycle, it’s hard to say. Fans come into and go out of hobbies all the time. Judging by 2013’s booming attendance at Joelanta, and a disappointing national con in Indy, its unclear whether such shows are in for a period of growth or decline. George Gray, one of the few 1:6 dealers at this year’s JoeCon, views the current conflicted situation this way:

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“I don’t think the national GIjOE club reaches out to 12-inch collectors anymore. They think we’re a ‘dying breed.’ Regardless, I still sell at their shows because I loved GIjOE so much as a kid. And while I’m doing alright sales-wise, at these national cons, the days when you would see a lot of 12-inch collectors show up appears to be over. In recent years, fewer and fewer 12″ fans are coming to this show, and you start to wonder—who’s going to BUY this stuff in the future?” —George Gray

Fans of the little Joes were probably content, though not overwhelmed, by the number of quality dealers offering products in their 1:18 scale. For example, “Avac’s Lab” was selling row upon row of custom heads, helmets, hats and accessories. When we asked how he created his masterpieces at such a tiny size, the owner revealed, “I use a BIG magnifying glass and a lot of light!” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This closeup of some products from “Avac’s Lab” reveals how far some Joeheads are starting to go in 1:18 scale. Just look at the level of detail in that Spartan helmet. WOW! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Sharp eyes could find some stunning vintage Joe gear at the show. If we have to tell you how RARE these two sets are, you should just move on. The construction set even still has its ORIGINAL 1960's price tag!

Collectors of 1:6 could find some amazing vintage Joe gear for sale at the show. If we have to tell you how rare these two items are, then you should just move on to My Little Pony. HA (Seriously.) Both sets were 100% original and the construction one even retained its ORIGINAL 1960’s price tag (only .66 cents at JCPenneys). We quickly whipped out a dollar, but unfortunately, the dealer told us he wanted a “tad bit more” for it now. Hmph! Wasn’t that false advertising? (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Our favorite 12" custom figure by FAR, with real metal helmet, axe and accessories. (Photos: Mark Otnes)

Our favorite 12″ custom figure at JoeCon 2013 was this amazing piece featuring a real metal scratch-built helmet, fire axe and uniform accessories. Too cool! (Photos: Mark Otnes)

What a MASTERPIECE! Our favorite 1:18 scale diorama was this balloon-centered, Steampunk extravaganza. Superb craftsmanship in every piece. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

What a MASTERPIECE! Our favorite 1:18 scale diorama was this balloon-centered, Steampunk extravaganza. Superb craftsmanship in every piece. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

ARRR!!! Take a look at this  VERY creative custom of the Intruder, reimagined by customizing and custom painting a Hulk figure. But what really caught our eye was the all-steel cage and scale-correct padlock. PERFECT! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

ARRRGH!!! Take a look at this creative custom Intruder figure, reimagined by customizing an Incredible Hulk figure. But what really caught our eye was its all-steel cage and scale-correct padlock. PERFECT! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This unique 180-degree “panorama” image of the dealer showroom of JoeCon 2013, shows the convention at its peak attendance. However, the picture does not clearly show how few dealers there were. While quality of goods was high, quantity was LOW. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: We don’t pretend to have a crystal ball, or the answers to all the questions currently raining down in the fan forums across the internet, but this year’s JoeCon in Indianapolis was clearly a “wake-up call” for fans who prefer the 1:6 scale, 12-inch version of GIjOE. On the other hand, if you’re an advocate of the “little Joes,” you can rest easy. The GIjOE Club’s got’cher back!

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