Cobra Sentinel Automaton project coming to Kickstarter

Coming soon to Kickstarter: the Cobra Sentinel Automaton project!

G.I. Joe Cobra Sentinel from the Palace of Doom

Let’s face it– for many fans the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero animated series is THE version of Joe.  Debuting as a pair of syndicated mini-series, these cartoon adventures greeted countless school children as they rushed home from school each day to catch the next installment in the serial.  The cartoons showcased the vehicles and characters that were soon to dominate store shelves and children’s imaginations in the coming months.  However, as diverse as the roster of figures and vehicles was there some were moments in the story where the writers and animators introduced their own concepts.  One such moment occurred in the third episode of the “Revenge of Cobra” mini-series in episode cheekily-named “The Palace of Doom“:

Remember the Cobra Sentinel?  The giant snake-themed robot that went mano-et-mano with the giant temple guardian?  The mechanized monster just blew me away.  As a kid, I had to have one but sadly it was not meant to be.  The automaton that towered over Major Bludd existed only in the cartoon and was never produced in action figure form.  However, that is about to change. Continue reading

Hasbro Studios titles back on Vimeo!

The Hasbro Studios library of titles is now back on Vimeo!

hasbro studios on vimeo

It was just a week ago that the staff at JBL HQ noticed that the Hasbro library of titles had been removed from online streaming site Vimeo.  This was roughly a year and a half after the Pawtucket-based toymaker announced that the online video site would be the exclusive host for their digital content, both streaming and downloadable.

Thankfully, as of yesterday, it would appear that all of the previously available titles are back.  Fans of Transformers G1, Transformers Prime, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, G.I. Joe Renegades, and even Jem, are able to purchase or rent individual episodes and seasons.  The titles are available for direct download or streaming via the website or mobile app.

Whew!  I won’t lie– this admin is happy to see the content back again.  Over the past few months, we’ve discovered that Sunbow G.I. Joe is one of the few things that calms my future nephew when he’s cranky!  At 10 months, he’s already shown a clear penchant for Cobra Commander!

So, there’s no time like the present to snag your favorite Hasbro titles on Vimeo.  C’mon– portable Sunbow G.I. Joe is AWESOME!

Hasbro Studios titles quietly depart Vimeo

As of this week, all Hasbro titles are no longer available on Vimeo for purchase or rental.

Vimeo logoNearly a year-and-a-half ago, online video content site Vimeo became the exclusive digital home for the Hasbro Studios animation library.  Titles such as the classic 1980’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, Transformers (Generation 1), and Jem were available for both rental or purchase.  They were joined by other series like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, G.I. Joe: Renegades, and Transformers Prime.  Accessible via website or mobile app, the Vimeo deal was a bold new step for Hasbro which had only previously hosted digital content on Netflix.

hasbro studios vimeoAs of Monday this week, the Hasbro Studios page on Vimeo told a very different story.  All content appears to have removed from the site, for either purchase or rental.  Users who had previously purchased animated episodes or series may still access them, but will also see a disclaimer attached.

g.i. joe gone vimeoFor those who have purchased Hasbro Studio titles, the question remains: how long will users continue to be able to access that content?  Vimeo titles may be downloaded DRM-free but, given the file size of both the Sunbow G.I. Joe and Transformers G1 series, this is not a simple task.  We’ve reached out to both Hasbro PR and Vimeo but have yet to receive an answer back at this time.

With a new Transformers movie hitting theaters this summer, is Hasbro seeking a new digital partner for their content?  Or is the Pawtucket toy maker seeking to develop its own online portal for content access going forward?  As of now, all we know is that the Vimeo run was nice while it lasted.  (My fiance’s nephew loves to watch animated Sunbow G.I. Joe on my phone.)  We’ll post more information as we have it but, for now, it seems that Hasbro’s partnership with Vimeo has come to an end.

Big Lob is the 2017 Collector’s Club Incentive figure!

The cover of the latest issue of the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club magazine has revealed the next membership incentive figure: BIG LOB!

G.I. Joe Collector's CLub Big Lob

Big Lob Revealed – Image courtesy of Michael Taylor

I’ll admit it– I’m both surprised and pleased by this! Who’d have imagined Big Lob as this next year’s figure?

For those of you who don’t remember, Big Lob was one of the Rawhides, a group of new recruits introduced in the Sunbow-produced 1987 film G.I. Joe: The Movie.  Along with Jinx, Tunnel Rat, Chuckles, and Law & Order, Big Lob was part of the next generation of Joes who were put through their paces and evaluated by Beach Head.  (Spoiler alert: they all passed– much to Beach Head’s chagrin!)  Despite this introduction, Big Lob never saw release as an action figure until 2010 when the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club released an o-ring version as the annual membership incentive figure.

G.I. Joe Collector's Club Big Lob

G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Magazine reveal of Big Lob – courtesy of Doug Monroe

Now, after seven years history repeats itself again and the Rawhides are on their way once more to being complete– this time in generation 3 construction.  I’m seeing a lot of the first build of Roadblock from G.I. Joe Retaliation in this figure which gives Big Lob the height he needs, although more bulk than I’d have expected.  However, the new head is MILES AHEAD of the previously released version. Rather than a reused Mercer sculpt, he gets his own unique noggin!  (I’m digging the lopsided haircut!)

As always, to receive your Big Lob figure you’ll have to be a member in good standing of the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club by March 2016.  To learn more about the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club and to ensure your chance to own this sports-themed Joe, visit GIJoeClub.com!

The Most Dangerous Man in the World now on Kindle

Buzz Dixon’s long-lost Sunbow-inspired story “The Most Dangerous Man in the World” is now available as a G.I. Joe Kindle Worlds tale!

Most Dangerous Man in the World

Flash backwards in time for a moment.  It’s 1986 and the pre-production for the second season of the classic Sunbow G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero tv series is in full swing.  Story editor Buzz Dixon pitches an idea to Hasbro– a story called “the Most Dangerous Man in the World” that delves into the mysterious origins of Cobra.  Hasbro approved the story and things looked rosy for it to be developed into an episode  Suddenly the folks in Pawtucket threw the animation team a curve ball in the form of Serpentor.  His very existence causes this story to be rendered null and void.  Reluctantly, Buzz scraps the idea for the story and ultimately, that should have been the end for “the Most Dangerous Man in the World.”   Or was it…

Flash forward to June 9, 2014, when the announcement of G.I. Joe on Kindle Worlds caused Buzz to consider something — the resurrection of this now lost episode of G.I. Joe!

most-dangerous-3

The wait is over!  The classic Sunbow-inspired lost G.I. Joe story “The Most Dangerous Man in the World” is now available on Kindle Worlds for a whopping $3.99.  Rather than read as a continuation of a cartoon episode this is a novella inspired by the Sunbow series.  There are some tonal differences but there are also a myriad of references to classic episodes and bits of G.I. Joe lore.  It’s a rolicking read that will take Joe fans on a roller coaster ride of thrills and chills as they attempt to discover the identity of a man whose very existence can shake the foundation of Cobra to its serpetine core.

What are you waiting for– a written invitation?   Go check out “The Most Dangerous Man in the World” for yourself today!

Transformers the Movie 30th Anniversary Blu-Ray is coming!

Shout Factory will release a Transformers 30th Anniversary Blu-ray and DVD on September 13, 2016!

Transformers 30th anniversary blu-ray

Transformers: The Movie debuted on August 8, 1986 and changed the franchise forever.  In addition to thrusting the timeline forward from the 1980’s to 2005, it was the film that (spoiler alert) killed off the franchise’s core heroic character Optimus Prime!

Featuring a star-studded cast that included Judd Nelson, Eric Idle, Leonard Nimoy, and Orson Welles in his final role as the planet-eating titan Unicron, Transformers: The Movie was to be the first of a series of Hasbro/Sunbow films to hit theatres around the world.  However, poor box office receipts of this and the My Little Pony film, caused Hasbro to shift the release of G.I. Joe: The Movie to home video instead.

In the intervening years, the film has garnered true cult status and has become a favorite of Hasbro, Transformers, and Sunbow fans around the globe!  Plus, who can forget the soundtrack which featured song’s like Stan Bush’s “You’ve Got the Touch” and Weird Al Yankovic’s “Dare to be Stupid”?

This marks the first new region 1 release of the film since 2006’s 20th Anniversary edition and the first time the film has ever been offered on Blu-Ray. This also marks the first time that the film will be available in digital format. No word on what additional special features will be included at this time.

The new 30th Anniversary editions are currently up for pre-order at Amazon.com:

You can check out the official listing for Transformers: The Movie on ShoutFactory.com.

G.I. Joe Club Old Snake & Stealth BATS in stock!

Old Snake & Stealth BATS

The G.I. Joe/Transformers “Old Snake & Stealth BATs” set is now IN STOCK at the G.I.Joe Collector’s Club store!

The past few years have seen more G.I. Joe/Transformers crossovers than I would have thoguht possible including three SDCC exclusives from Hasbro.  This year Fun Publications, the company behind both the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club and the Transformers Collectors Club, announced two different crossover sets– one featuring Marissa Faireborne, the daughter of Flint and Lady Jaye, and a second featuring a beloved character from the Transformers episode “Only Human.”  In this episode, the villain Drath approached an indvidual named “Old Snake” for his synthoid technology, something that Cobra had used numerous times in the G.I. Joe cartoon.  Old Snake, as most fans will immediately recognize, was intended to be the future version of Cobra Commander! Continue reading

Arctic Dr. Mindbender Review

arctic dr. mindbender

I never thought I’d own an Arctic Dr. Mindbender figure.  More importantly, I never thought I’d want to own an Arctic Dr. Mindbender figure.

When this figure was announced at the 2014 G.I. Joe Collector’s Club, my reaction was less than enthusiastic.  After all, who would want a figure based on a character’s appearance in just a few short scenes in the animated G.I. Joe: the Movie?  Plus, hadn’t Mindbender already been released back in 2009?  Was there really a need to update him?  Apparently, there was and the result is surprisingly… well, you’ll have to read the review to find out this Joe fan’s opinion!

Check out the Arctic Dr. Mindbender review in the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Review Index!

Sunbow G.I. Joe is now live on Vimeo!

Vimeo logo

95 episodes of G.I. Joe are now LIVE on Vimeo!

Today’s the day, Joe Fans!  The entire Sunbow animated G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series is available on the internet video-sharing service.  As we reported previously, Vimeo will apply following rates to content:

  • 24 hour episode rental – 99 cents
  • Single episode purchase – $1.99
  • Complete series purchase – $40.00

To paraphrase Roadblock: “If you’re hankering for some Sunbow G.I.Joe, head on over to Vimeo!”  And now you know…

RIP John Stephenson – voice of Hawk, Dr. Quest, and more

George Stephenson

Rest in peace, John Stephenson.

General Hawk, General Franks, Dr. Benton Quest, Doggy Daddy, Mr. Slate– these are all characters that were brought to life by the incredibly talented John Stephenson.  The voice actor passed away on Friday May 15, 2015 at the age of 91.

His career spanned an impressive 57 years in the entertainment industry with his first credited role listed in 1953 and his last in 2010.  Before his move to voice acting he was a prolific character actor in the early days of television with appearances on notable series such as The Lone Ranger, F Troop, The Beverly Hillbillies, Get Smart, Perry Mason, and even Hogan’s Heroes. He was also the voice that announced the verdicts at the end of episodes of the popular series Dragnet.

Later, he moved to voice acting and was possibly the most-used talent at Hanna-Barbera Studios providing voices for Fred Flintstone’s boss Mr. Slate, Doggy Daddy, and was the original voice for Dr. Benton Quest on Jonny Quest before the role was assumed by the late Don Messick.  His IMDB page lists over 230 acting credits.

Eventually John Stephenson went to work on many of the Sunbow animated series that fans of JBL are familiar with– providing the voices for such characters as General Hawk (substitute in “The Spy Who Rooked Me”), General Franks, General Flagg, Dr. Lucifer, Granak, Kup, Thundercracker, and Huffer for G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, Inhumanoids, and The Transformers.

In his final years he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and had been living in a retirement home.

Rest in peace, John.  Thank you for all the hours of entertainment you’ve given us. Your talents will be missed.