SDCC 2016: Micronauts return in exclusive set!

As we get closer to the full launch of the Hasbro Cinematic Universe, we’re hearing more and more mentions of the properties involved.  Case in point: the Micronauts are returning to SDCC 2016!

SDCC 2016 MICRONAUTS CLASSIC COLLECTION Set

As first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, this year’s Hasbro San Diego Comic Con exclusives will include a special reissue set consisting of three classic figures from the original 1976 – 1980 toyline that was released in the US by Mego.  The original Micronauts line itself was based on the Takara Microman line that was sold in Japan beginning in 1974.

The Micronauts set will be available at the Hasbro booth at SDCC 2016 from July 21 – 24 and with limited stock available after the show at HasbroToyShop.com.  They’ll also be making an appearance at Fan Expo Canada from Sept. 1-4 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.

The SDCC 2016 Micronauts set includes modern reissues of three original line characters including:

While I would never considered myself a life-long Micronauts fan I’m just old enough to have had a few figures from the line as a kid– including Pharoid.  Granted, I was probably too young to truly appreciate him (which explains why he’s missing ALL of his accessories now) but seeing him included in the set tugs on the nostaligic heartstrings in such a way that I’m going to do my darndest to try and acquire one of these SDCC 2016 Micronauts sets when they drop on HTS post-show.  I still have enough vague memories of the old Micronauts commercials from TV to get excited about their inclusion in the Hasbro Cinematic Universe!

Joe Con 2016: Hasbro’s G.I. Joe 2016 lineup announced!

Hasbro unveiled their G.I. Joe 2016 plans and YoJoe.com was LIVE from Joe Con 2016 with a Facebook LIVE session directly from the  panel!  We’ve got the embedded video below after the notes.

Hasbro G.I. Joe 2016

We’ve got some hastily transcribed notes below.  Expect a cleaner article with some commentary later tonight as part of the Saturday Armchair Coverage round-up!

Hasbro Writer’s Room:

  • Combination of television/movie/comic book writers. Hasbro is very proud of the talent they have amassed.
  • Creation of a shared universe combining their intellectual properties. Officially dubbed “Hasbro Cinematic Universe”—separate from IDW.  Intended as multi-film story arc.  Goal is to start to develop shared and combined stories.  Derryl was able to spend two weeks with the writers and get to work with them on shaping this shared universe.

Joe vs Transformers SDCC set:

  • Deco is decal-based. Includes Joe, Cobra, Autobot decals. This way the toys can be whatever you want them to be in your own collection.
  • Soundwave is the 5th most-popular Decepticon but hard to justify now as a cassette tape. (Same with Megatron.)

Hasbro Pulse Crossword Puzzle includes all characters listed below:

  • Stiletto
  • Scarlett
  • Zartan

Derryl – Joe is in quieter year.  Harder to get resources to produce more figures during those years. In those years, previously tooled harder-to-find figures are ideal for re-release.  100% of tooling budget is used for NEW figures.

Toys R Us G.I. Joe 2016 line-up: (November 2016)

  • Focus on figures vs vehicle sets which were slow sellers
  • Two packs will be in a 10 pack case—ALL EVENLY PACKED!

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The Hasbro Cinematic Universe is getting closer!

For months, we’ve been hearing discussion of a Hasbro Cinematic Universe and fans have been curious as to what direction this will take.  Will storylines and familiar characters from properties like MASK, G.I. Joe, Visionaries, the Micronauts, and even ROM: The Spaceknight really be merged?  Or will they all merely occupy the same narrative space, much like the comic book teams of the Avengers and the X-Men did up through the early 2000’s?

Well, yesterday, we got not one but TWO news drops that shed some really light on the future of the Hasbro Shared Universe concept!

IDW Publishing’s Revolution:

idw revolution event

Entertainment Weekly published an interview with IDW Publishing Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall yesterday that discussed a five-issue biweekly series that will launch in September entitled “Revolution”.  The premise– a story that brings together ALL of the company’s Hasbro-licensed properties into a single storyline.  That’s right: G.I. Joe, the Transformers, the Micronauts, ROM, Action Man, and MASK will all be featured in this unifying story event.

Even more telling is the fact that after Revolution, all of these series will see new number one issues and a new status quo, according to Ryall, who also insists that this isn’t a reboot. Continue reading

HASCON: Is Hasbro planning their own brand convention?

United States Patent & Trademark Office

HASCON is coming?

There’s been a lot of speculation over the fate of the annual Joe Con after it was revealed that Hasbro was ending its relationship with Fun Publications, the company that licensed the annual Botcon (Transformers) and Joe Con (G.I. Joe ) events.  Many fans wondered if there would even continue to be annual Hasbro-authorized events. Over the past weekend, Hasbro filed a trademark with the US Patent Office that might shed some light on the future of these brand events.

Thanks to the intrepid newshounds over at TFwiki, it was revealed that Hasbro officially filed for the trademark on “HASCON”.  The purpose of this trademark, according to the trademark office filing is:

Organizing and conducting conventions, exhibitions, fan clubs and gatherings for entertainment purposes and in the fields of toys, animation, comic books, fantasy, gaming, popular culture, science fiction, television and film.

It’s not a lot of information but it shows that Hasbro is at least intending to move forward in some fashion with a continuation of conventions.  What’s more interesting, at least to this Joe fan, is that this appears to be the only trademark filed.  There’s nothing for any derivation of “Joe Con”, “Bot Con” or even “Pony Con”.  (Say what you will– but the Pony fandom is HUGE.)

With only one seemingly comprehensive trademark filed is Hasbro testing the waters at having events that showcase all of their brands in one place?  Or is this merely a preemptive measure designed to secure a copyright before anyone else files for it?  Right now, we have very little information to go on.  However, it’s also way too soon to jump to any detailed conclusions.  Joe Con 2016 is scheduled for the end of June and I doubt any formal announcement would be made before that even has concluded.

What do you think of this development?  Would you be in favor of more unified Hasbro brand events?  Would you rather have your conventions separated by product line?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.

i can haz hascon

Can a Hasbro Cinematic Universe work?

Hasbro Cinematic Universe

A Hasbro Cinematic Universe is on the way, but can it actually work?

Earlier this week, the Hollywood Reporter dropped an exclusive bombshell on the G.I. Joe fan community– the announcement that Hasbro’s Allspark Studios and Paramount pictures were creating a “Hasbro Cinematic Universe” centered around five 1980’s brands.  This endeavor would blend the universes of G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., the Micronauts, Visionaries, and ROM: the Spaceknight into one cohesive entity similar to what Marvel Studios has been doing for the past several years.

There’s only one small detail about this new shared universe— most of these properties have very little relation to each other.  Even worse, aside from G.I. Joe, most of these have been absent from toy shelves and popular culture since at least 1990.  Outside of some die-hard fan circles, the general public is generally now completely unfamiliar with most of these brands, as evidenced by this installment of Nerdist News hosted by Jessica Chobot:

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Hasbro shifts digital content to Vimeo

Vimeo logo

Hasbro animated series are coming to Vimeo!

As reported yesterday by Wired.com, Hasbro Inc announced yesterday that they were partnering with video sharing site Vimeo to be the exclusive online host for many of the toy-maker’s animated series.   Currently available are Transformers (Generation 1) and Jem & the Holograms with other series including G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and My Little Pony to follow later this year.

Per the announcement, episodes of the Hasbro series will be $.99 to rent for 24 hours or $1.99 to purchase individually.  Entire series may be purchased for $40.00.

Is this a good move for the Pawtucket-based Hasbro, Inc?  By the numbers, it means that Hasbro’s animated properties will be delivered to a significantly smaller audience.  As of Q1 2015, subscription-based Netflix had an audience of just over 60 million global subscribers. As of December 2013, Vimeo was sitting at 22 million subscribers.  It’s not a strict apples-to-apples comparison as far as the dates go but it indicates that Vimeo doesn’t quite have the reach that content posted on Netflix does.

There’s also the issue of the the pricing model.  Increasingly, more and more digital content has gone “pay-to-play” requiring viewers to either rent or purchase episodes on a platform-to-platform basis.  Vimeo follows that model meaning that fans will have to pay around $40 to own a full season of their favorite nostalgic series.  This puts it on par with the cost of owning the content on DVD and Blu-Ray from retailers such as Amazon.com but it leaves casual fans a bit out-of-the-loop.  Rather than being able to randomly browse through a few episodes of a series before getting hooked, viewers will be have to pay to rent or view episodes on an series-by-series basis.  This could limit the Hasbro content’s overall reach when it comes to new viewers rather than diehard fans who most likely already own the content in tangible form anyway.

What do you think?  Is the move to Vimeo better for Hasbro?  Will is help grow the audiences for their animated properties?  Will you be making the jump to the new video-sharing service in order to follow the adventures of your favorite characters?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Joe Con 2015: Hasbro retail two-packs unveiled!

Wow– there’s a lot to report for Joe Con 2015!

The Hasbro panel was yesterday and Derryl DePriest and Mark Weber revealed a whole new slate of products that will be exclusive to both Toys R Us and BigBadToyStore.com.  The line is essentially a continuation of the 50th anniversary series and will be available on August 1, 2015. Eagle-eyed fans will recognize some of these figures from previous concept case displays.

Swamp Steam

  • Croc Master & Blowtorch
  • the two announced-but-not-released figures at last

Swamp Steam 2pk
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Joe Con 2015: Hasbro three packs revealed!

The Hasbro panel was yesterday at Joe Con 2015 and Derryl DePriest and Mark Weber revealed a whole new slate of products that will be exclusive to both Toys R Us and BigBadToyStore.com.  The line is essentially a continuation of the 50th anniversary series and will be available on August 1, 2015.  As with previous offerings, it’s a mix of existing parts and pieces that have only been glimpsed in concept cases of previous shows.

Chase for the MASS Device

  • Cobra Commander, Cobra CLAWS Trooper, Duke
  • revisits figures from the elusive final 25th Anniversary DVD pack

Chase for the MASS Device 3pk

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Mark Weber is new G.I. Joe Brand Manager

Meet Mark Weber, the new brand manager for G.I. Joe.

Meet Mark Weber, the new brand manager for G.I. Joe.

It’s a new year and Mark Weber is the new brand manager of G.I. Joe!

The latest G.I. Joe Collector’s Club newsletter is hitting mailboxes now and inside is a short one-page interview with the newest G.I. Joe brand manager.  Eagle-eyed fans will recall the rumors in late 2013/early 2014 that the then-current Joe team at Hasbro had been reassigned to other projects, leaving the brand in a stage of limbo.  Speculation was rampant as to what the future would hold for the brand that helped put Hasbro on the map as a leader in boys toys since 1964.  Now, it seems that our favorite brand might be getting back on track.

Weber, head of the Transformers brand since February 2012, is no stranger to the toy industry with over seven years experience at Todd McFarlane Productions.  However, for the past nearly three years he’s overseen the development of Construct-bots and Transformers Generations.

The newsletter should be arriving any day now to Collector’s Club members but this quote was reprinted over at HISSTank.com which first broke the story:

“For the most part, our biggest plans will be centered around future entertainment – the kind of stuff I can’t talk about just yet. We are finalizing our 2015 plans and expect to deliver a lineup constructively similar to 2014 – with popular characters and vehicles, as well as a few NEW Surprises. If things go as planned, we will have an update to reveal at JoeCon in Springfield.”

We want to have stronger, more consistent dialogue with the collectors and fans. We want collectors to have NEW vehicles and playsets to energize the brand to a new generation of kids and a fantastic new feature film that is faithful to the soul of the brand (action, fun, weapons, vehicles). Two things I want to prioritize right away – I want to enable and simplify army building for Collectors, and I want the file cards to be brilliant for our characters.”

New vehicles? New playsets?  Any form of playset?  More importantly – FILE CARDS that are BRILLIANT?!!  Sign me up!  This just made the Springfield G.I. Joe Collector’s Convention that much more interesting!

Here at JBL we’d like to extend Mark a warm welcome to the G.I. Joe community and hope that his tenure on the brand brings with it a new era of a revitalized Joe!

G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary – Derryl DePriest talks with Bloomberg

Derryl DePriest on Bloomberg

The G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary has received a fair amount of coverage at Toy Fair 2014 by the mainstream media.  Derryl DePriest, Vice President of Boys Marketing for Hasbro and life-long G.I. Joe fan, sits down with Stephanie Ruhle of Bloomberg Television as part of their “Market Makers” series.

(If the embedded video is not working you may view the original interview HERE.)

I have to say that Derryl handled himself well in the face of some pretty direct and pointed questions.  Yes, the “military” question came up but so did some interesting insights in terms of innovation going forward.  (3D printing?  YES!)  So did the question of whether or not G.I. Joe is a good role model today.  While the interviewer tries to take things in a political direction multiple times, Derryl keeps the focus on the strengths of the G.I. Joe brand. and touches on the brand’s origins, the transition to the Adventure Team, and  the focus on Kre-O as a source of innovation.

It’s always a pleasure to listen to Derryl discuss G.I. Joe.  His personal passion for and commitment to the brand is obvious in every word.  It’s good to know that our favorite “Man of Action” has such an able ambassador!