Hascon is coming September 8 – 10, 2017

Hascon 2017 has been officially announced!

Hascon

It’s been rumored.  It’s been speculated.  Now it’s been announced.  Hascon, Hasbro’s combined property entertainment event, is coming to Providence Rhode, Island from September 8 – 10, 2017!

Described as a one-of-a-kind event, Hascon is slated to feature “live interactive experiences, exclusive products, talent appearances, panels” and much more.  The event, which will be held at the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin Donuts Center promises to bring the company’s core brands together for an event that is targeted to both fans and families.  This includes Transformers, My Little Pony, Nerf, Magic the Gathering, Play-Doh, Monopoly, and G.I. Joe all featured under one single roof.

I’ll be honest– I’ve no idea how Hascon is going to play out.  It could be a fantastic event that proves to be more mass-audience friendly than some of the more focused individual property conventions.  It could be more wallet-friendly as Hasbro seeks to draw in both fans and families and not just cater to the top-tiers of the adult collector market.  In some ways, it could almost serve as a mini-Comic Con for Hasbro located right in their backyard as the company continues to try to expand its brand presence in the entertainment worth with the development of the Hasbro Cinematic Universe. (Are Play-Doh fans really going to travel for an event?  Are there actually Play-Doh fans?)

Right now there’s not much on the official Hascon website other than a sign-up form and a press release link but I expect that to change in the coming months.  Regardless, it’s nice to see G.I. Joe included in the list of properties being featured as the brand has become far more of a niche property over the past few years.

What do you think of this announcement?  Are you onboard for a combined-properties event?

i can haz hascon Continue reading

Newsarama talks IDW Transformers vs G.I. Joe Conclusion

IDW Publishing’s Transformers vs G.I. Joe series is drawing to a close and Newsarama sits down with Tom Scioli to discuss the “end of days.”

IDW G.I. Joe vs Transformers #13

If nothing else, IDW’s Transformers vs. G.I. Joe series has certainly sparked a great deal of discussion both within the respective fandoms and without.  Terms like “non-traditional”, “Kirby-esque”, and “whacked out” have all been used to describe the over-the-top exploits of two of Hasbro’s most successful in-house properties in a series that focused more on the visuals rather than on the depth of the story.

Writer/artist Tom Scioli sat down with Newsarama to discuss the series’ swan-song issue which drops on shelves this week.  He also discusses the possibility of another potential follow-up story hitting shelves next year.  It’s an interesting discussion that covers topics from story influences to evolving casts to the creative process.   Even if you’re not a fan of his particular take on this shared universe, it’s still worth a read if for nothing more than to understand the creative influences on the book.

Check out the interview over at Newsarama.com!

G.I. Joe vs. Transformers #13 hits shelves this week.

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!

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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!

Happy Holidays from JBL!

Christmas holiday g.i. joe Renegades

Happy Holidays from JBL!

2014 certainly has  been an “interesting” year for G.I. Joe.  It was the year of the 50th Anniversary which celebrated more with whimper than with a bang.  There was the Toys R Us exclusive 50th Anniversary line, and the Hallmark ornament but otherwise Joe received precious little attention from Hasbro to celebrate his half century of inspiring kids around the world. Even this year’s G.I. Joe convention was a more muted affair with Hasbro not in attendance.  Even the Kre-O line seemed to fade this holiday, with Toys R Us slashing prices just before the holidays.

However, the year is soon to draw to a close.  With that, comes a brand new year with brand new possibilities.  After all, the G.I. Joe brand has been nothing if not adaptable in its 50 years on toy shelves. When Joe returns, and I’m certain it will return, it may not be as the Adventure Team, Super Joe, Sgt. Savage, Renegades, Extreme, Sigma 6, or even the celebrated A Real American Hero but that’s the beauty of the brand.  It has evolved over time and adapted to play patterns of the children of its time.

Thanks for visiting JBL in 2014.  We may not be the biggest, most talked about or frequently updated, or flashiest site on the web, but as long as there are fans of G.I. Joe out there, we’ll keep the lights on and the forums open, just in case anyone wants to stop on by, crack open a frosty Yo Joe cola, and talk about G.I Joe– regardless of scale, size or format.

Again, thanks for the stopping by and Happy Holidays!  Here’s to a brighter 2015!

Happy Holidays from JoeBattlelines.com

Sir Patrick Stewart takes G.I. Joe quiz on NPR

Patrick Stewart
Sir Patrick Stewart.  G.I. Joe.  Two entities that have never had much in the way of interaction… until now!

This past weekend Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, NPR’s weekly news panel game show, featured an interview with the celebrated actor and former captain of the USS Enterprise.  There were the usual Star Trek and theater questions and then host Peter Sagal invited Sir Patrick to play a game entitled “G.I. Joe – Fighting Man from Head to Toe” in which he challenged the actor to answer three questions about our favorite 50 year old toy line.

How did he do?  Check out the transcript below:

SAGAL: I think it would have been hilarious. Well, obviously we could talk to you all day, but we can’t because we must move on to play our game with you. Sir Patrick Stewart, we have invited you here to play a game we’re calling…

BILL KURTIS, BYLINE: G.I. Joe, G.I. Joe, Fighting Man from Head to Toe.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That was the first jingle ever for G.I. Joe, first introduced by the Hasbro company 50 years ago this month. So in honor of that anniversary, we’re going to ask you three questions about the poseable action figure. Answer two correctly, you’ll win our prize for our listener, the poseable Carl Kasell on their voicemail. Bill, who is Sir Patrick Stewart playing for?

KURTIS: Dawn Schellenberg of Seattle, Washington.

SAGAL: All right. Are you ready, Sir Patrick?

STEWART: I am. I’m apprehensive but I’m ready.

SAGAL: Here we go. Now G.I. Joe – I’m sure you’ve been in the United States long enough to know what these are. These are these eight inch dolls that look like soldiers, G.I. Joes, yes?

STEWART: Yeah, yeah, I know what they are.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I’m sorry. I need to shrivel now for a bit.

STEWART: No I didn’t mean that to be patronizing.

SAGAL: Too late.

STEWART: I do know what they are and I even know what G.I. stands for.

SAGAL: Oh, OK. Very good. G.I. Joe was developed and brought to market 50 years ago in reaction to an interesting discovery. Was that discovery? A, that watching kids play with war toys made adults more likely to support actual wars; B, that children all over America were snapping off their army man’s legs trying to bend them; or C, that little boys were playing with their sister’s Barbie dolls in secret?

STEWART: I think I would go with C because I think that’s the one that I would like it to be.

SAGAL: Well, your will has made it so. It is in fact true.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Barbie dolls had come out in the late ’50s, and what people found is that boys were playing with their sister’s Barbie dolls. So Hasbro said we’ll make them a doll the same size and they can play with that. All right. Second question – as the Vietnam War went on and became less popular with the American public, G.I. Joe needed to change. So Hasbro, the company that made G.I. Joe did what? A, gave him a beard just like those hippie peaceniks; B, introduced a new doll to the line, Conscientious Objector Joe; or C, introduced a line of Viet Cong dolls called, quote, “Joe’s noble but misguided enemy.”

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: I think I’m going to go for the beard one. It’s kind of weird sounding but I think I have a memory of seeing a doll like that with a beard. So I’ll go for A.

SAGAL: You are right, you did see a doll like that with the beard…

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: …Because G.I. Joe – they started making with a beard. Real soldiers don’t have beards, they’re not allowed to. G.I. Joe does get in trouble sometimes. Like when which of these happened? A, at a TSA checkpoint in 2011, agents confiscated one G.I. Joe doll’s tiny plastic rifle just in case; B, his patented Kung Fu grip caused protests by Chinese-Americans back in the ’70s who said that to be authentic, it should be called Wushu grip; or C, a packaging error resulted in G.I. Joes being shipped in packages for Ken dolls, leading many to believe that Barbie was stepping out.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: I think I will go with A with the first one.

SAGAL: You are correct again, Sir Patrick.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: The TSA took the tiny rifle from the G.I. Joe because it was a, quote, “replica of an actual weapon.” A little, little replica. So Bill, how did Sir Patrick Stewart do on our show?

KURTIS: Congratulations Sir Patrick, you got them all right. You’re a winner.

SAGAL: Sir Patrick Stewart is the star of the new movie “Match” out in theaters January 14. Sir Patrick Stewart, what a pleasure to talk to you sir. What an honor. Thank you so much for joining us.

(APPLAUSE)

STEWART: Thank you very much.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

The full transcript of his interview may be found HERE.  You can listen to Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! each weekend on your local NPR station.

Zimbio Quiz: Which G.I. Joe Character Are You?

zimbio g.i. joe character quiz

If you’ve spent any time on a social network lately you’re most likely familiar with the “Which character are you?” Zimbio quiz.  These “highly scientific” and “carefully formulated” exercises are designed to give an accurate assessment of the quiz-taker’s personality– helping them to gain true insight into who they really are.

Or, they could just be a lot of fun.  I’ve taken it twice and have ended up with Joes both times although many of my Facebook friends are coming up “Zartan.”  Still no Gung-Ho, however…

Regardless, if you’ve got a few minutes to kill this morning and are curious– check out Zimbio’s “Which G.I. Joe Are You?” quiz and toss up your results over on the JBL Facebook page!

C’mon… it’s a Zimbio quiz.  You know you want to…

Hasbro May Announce G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Plans on February 15

 

gi joe movable fighting man

This year marks an important milestone in the history of the G.I. Joe brand– 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the G.I. Joe brand.  For months, the internet has wondered what this milestone year will have in store for the brand that began with “America’s Movable Fighting Man”.  This year at the International Toy Fair it seems that the fandom just might get its answer.  Hasbro’s annual Entertainment Brand Preview Event will be held on February 15th at the International Toy Fair in New York.  At that point, fans will know what, if anything, Hasbro plans to do for the G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary.

G.I. Joe was the first action figure.  Not just the first in a series but the first of an entire genre.  Without G.I. Joe there might not be a concept of the “action figure”.  With such a legacy behind the brand, fans began to speculate just what Hasbro, the brand’s manufacturer, might have in store for this half-century anniversary.  First there was Pixel Dan’s interview with long-time G.I. Joe fan and V.P. of Global Brand Development Derryl DePriest.  It was short on specifics but hinted that the folks in Pawtucket had some surprises in store for fans. (Video courtesy of Toy News International.)

The holidays, however, were not kind to the current movie-themed incarnation of G.I. Joe.  Beginning in Q3 2013, product became scarce at retail with the line being dropped from major retailers such as Target and Walmart.  Even former retail giant Kmart ceased carrying new Joes which left Toys R Us as the sole mass market outlet for the product.  Restocks became few and far between and the last wave of product became near-impossible to find.  The fandom began, quite naturally, to worry that perhaps the future for the 50th didn’t look quite so rosy.

Next came the announcement from long-time G.I. Joe retailers SmallJoes.com in a newsletter that:

 “We are not expecting any new GI JOE 3 3/4″ product at retail in 2014.”

Naturally, this sent fans scrambling for answers.  Joe fans were crying foul and going so far as to declare that “Hasbro lied to us.”   My good friend Justin “General Hawk” Bell penned an excellent piece on The State of the Hobby 2014 in which he encouraged patience in the fandom.  No news doesn’t necessarily mean bad news, after all.  It just means that nothing has been made official.  Always a voice of reason, Justin suggested that fans merely wait and see what, if anything, is revealed by Hasbro at the annual International Toy Fair to be held in New York in a few weeks.

This morning a brand new news article has been making the rounds on the AP Newswire.  Penned by Chris Carola the piece entitled “G.I. Joe, ‘World’s First Action Figure’, Turns 50” once again swings the pendulum of fandom speculation in the opposite direction.  In the article, which focuses on the fact that this is the 50th anniversary of the 12” G.I. Joe figures, offers the following quote:

“Hasbro said it intends to announce details of its 50th anniversary plans during this year’s fair in New York on Feb. 16-19.”

This is the first semi-official mention of any sort of announcement from Hasbro that it will acknowledge the brand’s 50th anniversary.  Light on details but that is to be expected in the world of brand advertising.  However, the fact that the AP is running a story on G.I. Joe is a hopeful sign.  It means that there is still interest in the brand outside of the niche fandom that G.I. Joe has found itself enjoying these past few years.

So, why all of the conflict?  Why all of the back-and-forth and the “will they/won’t they” that seem to have hit the fan community these past few months?  Quite honestly, G.I. Joe isn’t the power house brand that is once was—dominating retail shelves in the 80’s in a way that has seldom been seen since in the toy industry.  The G.I. Joe Retaliation line, while producing some of the most amazing sculpts and design innovations seen in the 1:18 scale line, was not a break away hit.  It was plagued by dubious retailer perceptions after the debacle that was the Rise of Cobra over-merchandising and let’s not forget the 9 month delay due to the 3D conversion of the film.  In addition, 2014 isn’t just a banner year for G.I. Joe– it’s the 30th anniversary of another flagship brand from the 80’s: Transformers. Let’s also not forget that Transformers has a brand new film hitting theatres this summer.   Additionally, Marvel has multiple movie lines to promote this year– Captain America: Winter Soldier, Amazing Spider-man 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy.  In other words, the focus won’t be solely on G.I. Joe.  In fact, with the current perceptions of G.I. Joe as a more movie-based line the presence at the event could be limited to an acknowledgement of the milestone fifty years.

As I’ve stated before on JBL, this is NOT the anniversary of the “Real American Hero” brand of G.I. Joe that this site and many others focus on.  2014 marks 50 years since the release of the original 12” G.I. Joe—“America’s Movable Fighting Man”.    Rightly so, any product that highlights this anniversary should be themed toward the 12” brand—honoring the innovation and the legacy of those early trail-blazing days when “dolls were for girls.”  Hasbro took a bit risk back in 1964 and it paid off spectacularly for the Pawtucket, RI toy manufacturer but it very easily could have gone the other way and G.I. Joe could have gone the way of many other failed merchandising attempts.

On February 15, 2014, Hasbro is hosting their annual Entertainment Brand Preview Event as a prelude to Toy Fair in NYC.  The annual showcase, which is open to members of the media by invitation, showcases the company’s plans for their key brands in 2014 including Marvel, Star Wars, My Little Pony and Transformers.  This year’s invitation also indicated that it will spotlight its G.I. Joe brand.  I’ve no doubt that by the evening of the 15th, fans will have SOME idea as to how Hasbro intends to celebrate the anniversary of the debut of the original 12” action a half-century before.

Until that time, fans can only wait and wonder.  However, there is a quote from another favorite property of mine that also had a 50th anniversary this past November that seems terribly applicable at this point in time:

“Never believe what is said… only what you know.”

The Doctor, Doctor Who: Trial of a Time Lord – The Mysterious Planet

The media event is a little over a week away at which point the fandom will have some sort of answer to all of the nervous speculation.  JBL will have someone on-site to provide coverage of the event and we’ll be posting the information just as fast as well have it.  At that point, we’ll know and G.I. Joe fans are certainly familiar with a quote that pertains to knowing.

No matter what—2014 will be a year to remember.  Yo Joe!

 

Artist Ian Fell produces AMAZING G.I. Joe poster

I’m a sucker for good G.I. Joe artwork.  As such, you can imagine my reaction when I saw the following poster on Larry Hama’s Facebook page a few days ago.

G.I. Joe poster by Ian Fell

This image is literally a “who’s who” of the Joes that I grew up with.  From Gung-Ho to Clutch to Keel Haul, it’s a complete roster of my favorite era of Joes.  (1982 – 1987)  This was the era of Sunbow and the time frame in which my attention was FIRMLY focused on the world of A Real American Heroes.  It’s also the most “military” era of the 1:18 franchise IMHO.

Here’s what the artist has to say about this project– which was originally intended as gift to a few individuals at the 2013 G.I. Joe Collector’s Convention:

I wanted to create something as a Thank You for all the work that has gone into G.I. Joe, an inspiration for me since I was a kid. This composition was inspired by Michael Golden’s G.I. Joe Yearbook #1 cover, Joes included are from 1982-1987. I handed a few of these out at the convention, and I hope the recipients enjoyed them. Thanks to everyone who keeps the Joes going!

My wife calls this piece “Where’s Wal-Joe?” Can you spot the Joes that are missing? (I’m hoping to add them in an updated revision. I ran out of time!) Click the image to see a larger version.

Normally, if I want a copy of an image like this I have to find the highest quality version I can online and settle for it serving as my desktop wallpaper for a few weeks.  However, the artist doesn’t seem content to leave my walls bare.  He’s currently offering copies of this amazing image online– FOR COST!  That’s right– for the cost of materials and shipping, a quality semi-gloss stock 11″ x 17″ copy of this image can adorn your wall– for a whopping $5.00.  That’s less than the cost of an extra-value meal at your favorite fast food joint.   Even better– Ian’s indicated that a Cobra version might be on the way.

To your order copy, visit IanFell.com and add this beauty to your wall!

2013 JoeCon: Sunday voice actor panel with Bill Ratner and Mary McDonald-Lewis

Wow– one of the single greatest events of JoeCon 2013?  That would be the Sunday voice actor panel with two of the greatest stars of the Sunbow G.I. Joe animated series– Bill Ratner and Mary McDonald-Lewis.  That’s right, the voices of the original Flint and Lady Jaye were on stage together and they didn’t disappoint!

dscf3654

To open the Sunday panel, Bill and Mary took the stage and performed an impromptu script reading with a little help of Fun Publication’s own Pete Sinclair.  The story was entitled “Flint & Lady Jaye Have a Baby” and detailed the events of a G.I. Joe mission in which Lady Jaye reveals that she’s expecting.  After foiling the efforts of Cobra and returning to headquarters, they decide upon a name for their daughter– Marissa.  It was a nice homage to both the Sunbow G.I. Joe and Transformers animated series and marked the first time that the two had performed their respective signature characters since production on the original series ended.  Honestly– it was a fan written script performed at a convention and it still caused me to grin from ear-to-ear when two of my favorite animated characters seemingly returned to life in an auditorium in Indianapolis.  In many ways, it was like being a kid again and rushing home from school to catch the animated adventures of Flint and Lady Jaye each weekday afternoon.

Following the performance, the two took audience questions and related a number of anecdotes about the production of the original Sunbow series.  (Who knew Michael Bell carried a “man purse” or that Chris Latta was always late coming back from lunch?) Mary Mac and Bill both discussed the differences between voice acting and stage acting as well as their fondness for the days of radio performances.  In the end, the hour went by far too quickly  and the audience gave these two a standing ovation.  2013 marks the first ever JoeCon appearance for either of them and it would be fantastic to see their return in the future.

To catch-up on what these two talented voice actors are working on currently, visiting the following links:

Check out a few images from the panel below: