Tag Archives: Brian Savage

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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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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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.”
In the

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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