Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth Be With You!

Happy Star Wars Day!

Snake Eyes Darth Maul Star Wars

A long time ago in a childhood now far far away… this particular admin discovered Star Wars.  It happened well a full 6 years before G.I. Joe was ever part of my life when a good friend of mine showed up at pre-school with two brand-new Kenner action figures.  As we clustered around him on the playground, my friends and I were treated to our first look at tiny plastic representations of a towering brown ape-like creature and a chrome-domed trash can with legs.  It was love at first sight!

Growing up in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Star Wars was everywhere.  I was fortunate enough to be part of the generation of fans who experienced everything Star Wars for the first time– from the films to the merchandising! I can still remember standing at a local Kmart store looking at the new figures from Empire Strikes Back and wondering who all of these new characters were.

For some people, the big question of the entertainment world was “Who shot J.R. Ewing?”  For me and my friends it was “Is Darth Vader Luke’s father?”  Growing up I slept on Star Wars bed sheets and was woken each and every day by my Star Wars talking alarm clock.  (The sounds of R2 and 3PO can still immediately rouse me from a deep sleep due to years of “conditioning”…)

My folks weren’t necessarily Star Wars fans growing up and yet somehow I managed to see all three of the original trilogy in the theaters.  (Just in an altered order due to re-releases.)  In fact, Return of the Jedi was our “Sunday after church family outing” for that week.  Even my Mom, who never understood my fascination with science fiction, warmed to the Ewoks by the time the film was over.

Star Wars is a cultural phenomenon that has transcended genre status and has become a part of our cultural zeitgeist.  It’s stories and themes have shaped the attitudes of generations.  So find a friend or coworker today and tell them: “May the fourth be with you!”

Happy Star Wars Day all!

Holy 50th Birthday Batman ’66!

Batman 1966 Adam West Burt Ward

The Batman ’66 TV series premiered 50 years ago today!

BAM!  POW!  ZAP!!!

These words first appeared on television screens across the United States on January 12, 1966 as renowned comedian Frank Gorshin menaced Gotham City as “The Riddler“.  Advertised as “in color”, this campy take on the superhero genre was chock-full of pop culture references, celebrity cameos, and social commentary.  The result was a series that became an overnight pop culture sensation leading to the phrase that the top pop culture influences of the 1960’s were “the Beatles, Bond, and Batman.”

The series even spawned a 1966 feature film that pitted the Caped Crusaders against FOUR of their greatest foes!  (Sadly, Julie Newmar was unavailable due to filming commitments and so Lee Meriwether took over the role of Catwoman.)

The series also put forth some of the most memorable super villain performances in genre history.  From the aforementioned Frank Gorshin as the Riddler to Burgess Meredith as the DEFINITIVE Penguin to Caesar Romero’s laughing “Crown Prince of Crime” version of the Joker the series had no shortage of “criminal charisma.”

While many fans today might decry the show as “goofy” or “cheesy” there is an artistic brilliance to the series that cannot be denied.  From its vibrant use of color (in 1968 only 25% of US households owned a color TV), it’s pop culture sensibilities, and the calibre of the celebrity guest villains, Batman was unlike anything that had hit the screens before and it made overnight sensations out of its leading duo Adam West and Burt Ward. Airing two nights a week with each story divided by a cliffhanger, audiences were powerless to resist the power of the Dynamic Duo. Continue reading

Merry Christmas from JBL!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from JoeBattlelines.com!

I’d like to thank everyone who still visits this site for stopping by throughout the year and hope that you all have a wonderful day with family and friends. May the Grinch be kept at bay, may Shipwreck not hit the egg nog too hard, and may you have a blessed holiday.

JBL christmas 2015

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:

Continue reading

Thank a Vet on Veteran’s Day

Veteran's Day

Today is the 77th observance of Veteran’s Day.

First proclaimed a holiday by then-President Woodrow Wilson on November 11, 1919 the date was officially made a holiday by an act of Congress on May 13, 1938.

Please, take a moment today and thank a veteran for his or her service.  The brave men and women of our Armed Forces have sacrificed their time, energy, and even their very lives to ensure that people across the world may live in freedom.  We owe them our thanks and our respect.

They are the real American heroes.  Honor their service this Veteran’s Day.

Sam Smith Unveils Spectre Theme Song

James Bond 24 Spectre

British artist Sam Smith has unveiled the theme song to the next James Bond film Spectre.  The track is titled “Writing’s on the Wall.”

Yes, I realize that this has no direct connection to the world of G.I. Joe.  However, one of the privileges of owning your own website is that you get to talk about the topics that you find interesting and I’m a HUGE James Bond fan!

On this morning’s episode of NPR’s Morning Edition, Smith previewed “Writing’s on the Wall” and discussed his inspiration for the theme to the 24th installment in the world’s longest running franchise.

“I tried to put myself in the shoes of Bond,” Smith explains. “My music is a diary and it’s a recap of my life, and I wanted to bring that kind of honesty. In the lyrics — “How do I live, how do I breathe? / When you’re not here I’m suffocating” — I wanted a touch of vulnerability from Bond, where you see into his heart a little bit.”

The theme song came together in a whirlwhind demo session that lasted under thirty minutes.  In fact, the vocals in the final song were recorded during that initial session!  The song itself harkens back to some of the older ballads that have been a hallmark of the series with a powerful brassy intro and a soulful performance

You can preview the track using the embed below:

Spectre opens on October 26, 2015 in the United Kingdom and will debut in theaters worldwide on November 6.  For more information visit 007.com!

Toy Soldiers War Chest drops on August 11

Toy Soldiers War Chest

Toy Soldiers War Chest is almost here!

Remember a few weeks ago when a certain video dropped for Toy Soldiers War Chest?  You know the one I’m referring to– the one that suddenly dropped He-Man and G.I. Joe characters firmly into the middle of the pixel carnage of video game combat?  Remember the anticipation that was experienced by video game fans everywhere at the thought of being able to take your favorite toy lines and pit them against each other?

The wait is nearly over.  Toy Soldiers War Chest hits Xbox, Playstation, and PC on August 11, 2015!

Continue reading

Girls of the Finest 2016 Calendar project is at 87%

GoF2

The Girls of the Finest 2016 Calendar project is now 87% funded!

That’s a fantastic total and one that the online community should be proud of.  These lovely ladies have so far raised $7,380 of their $8,500 goal to help support the USO.  However, their not resting on their laurels just yet– the Girls of the Finest 2016 calendar project still has 13% of their goal to go!

If you’re on the fence about supporting this project, this is the time to step forward!  A simple contribution of $25 secures one printed copy of the 2016 calendar, as well as a unique postcard and trading card from the photo shoots!  Sure, you could go out and buy any old calendar for the office or the Joe room for next year but wouldn’t you much rather show your support for the USO by backing the Girl’s of the Finest 2016 calendar?

However, don’t take my word for it– here are some words of encouragement from members of the finest themselves!

To show your support, visit the Girls of the Finest 2016 Calendar project on IndieGoGo today!  With your help, this project can succeed!

Happy Birthday MadMac41!

We interrupt this G.I. Joe website for some late-breaking news!  Long-time JBL staffer Scott “Madmac41” McAllister has turned another year older today.  I know that, given his “advanced age” many of you reading this didn’t think that was possible but stranger things have happened!

Madmac41 birthday

Feel free to click on the image above and throw some birthday wishes up on his Facbook page!

For those of you who don’t know Madmac41 he’s a long-time G.I. Joe fan who I’ve known for FAR too long!  When I stepped away from JBL for a time back in 2008 on a self-imposed sabbatical, he kept the fires stoked around this dusty site.  In addition, he’s an amazing customizer with an incredible eye for parts as well as a true friend.

Again, feel free to drop him some birthday wishes in the comments below or head on over to his Facebook wall and fill it with pictures of Outback!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled G.I. Joe website.

Girls of the Finest Calendar Drive Hits 70%

Girls of the Finest

The 2016 Girls of the Finest Calendar drive is now 70% funded with just 12 days to go!

What a project!  As we discussed previously here at JBL, the lovely ladies of the Girls of the Finest calendar from 2015 are back and are once again asking for your help in raising funds to support a worthy cause.  Even better, they’re offering an amazingly high-quality 2016 calendar as an incentive for folks to donate to the project– with the proceeds going to benefit the United Service Organizations.

Continue reading