G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Dr. Venom Figure Review

G.I. Joe Collector's Club Dr. Venom


Dr. Venom– the original Cobra evil scientist.

Long before Dr. Mindbender stripped off his shirt and donned his monocle to create Serpentor, Dr. Venom was the scientific brains behind Cobra.  His Brainwave Scanner, first introduced before the Marvel series completed its first year, has long since remained a key tool for interrogation.  However, it wasn’t until 2010 that this fan-favorite was finally given the action figure treatment he so long deserved?

Did that figure live up to the decades-long wait?  Find out the opinions of two Venom fans as Gary Godsoe of What’s On Joe Mind and I take a look at this evil action figure.

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

G.I. Joe Collector’s Convention Starts Tonight

2014 G.I. Joe Convention Joe Colton

Tonight’s the night– the Golden Ticket pick-up for the G.I. Joe Collector’s Convention!  That’s the time where the fans with premium passes get early access to the 2014 Zombie Initiative and Codename: G.I. Joe convention sets!

JBL will not be onsite this year due to some “real world” issues however good friend of the site Mike Breaux of TheBreauxShow.com is attending this weekend and will be posting several updates throughout the next few days.  You can follow him directly on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/thebreauxshow.  JBL will also repost news here on the front page as it is reported.

Also, be sure to check out the coverage over at YoJoe.com and GeneralsJoes.com as Justin “General Hawk” Bell is on scene for the 50th Anniversary celebration of “America’s Movable Fighting Man”!

To all who are attending– have a great weekend!

For more information on this year’s convention, visit GIJoeCon.com!

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!

G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Article from the BBC

BBC News logo

It would seem that the G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary is “kind of a big deal” in the toy world– especially when coverage of the event stretches all the way across the Atlantic to the U.K.

Kim Gittleston, a business reporter for the BBC who is currently covering the New York Toy Fair, published an excellent piece yesterday entitled “How Did G.I. Joe Become the World’s Most Successful Boys’ Toy?”  It’s an excellent piece that covers the entire history of the brand, from its early beginnings to its most current state and includes quotes from noted Joe personalities like Derryl DePriestKirk Bozigian, and even friend of JBL and GeneralsJoes.com admin Justin Bell.  (Honestly, it’s a much better and less biased piece than the earlier AP article that ran a week ago.)

It’s good to see the G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary getting coverage both domestically and internationally. This shows that not only does the brand have reach but that there’s still life in old Joe yet!

(Thanks to Adrian Faulkner for the heads-up and congrats to Justin Bell on the quotation!)

This Week in Geektastic History – G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary

Geektastic History

Depending upon which source you use, this week marks the birthday of my favorite franchise of all time.  To commemorate the G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary, the folks at The Breaux Show have put together a short video tribute as part of their “Geektastic History” series.  Short and to the point, it’s a nice look back at 5 decades of “America’s Movable Fighting Man”!

Check back on Saturday Evening as the host of The Breaux Show will be traveling to New York City for Hasbro’s special Pre-Toy Fair Media event!  This event showcases Hasbro’s entertainment brands and their products for 2014 from Transformers to Marvel to a spotlight on the G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary!

G.I. Joe Convention Joe Colton Revealed!

2014 G.I. Joe Convention Joe Colton

Sometimes the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club pulls off a surprise in their G.I. Joe Convention reveals.  Today, rather than release an image from the “Zombie Initiative” set, they’ve instead given fans a look at a figure that will be available as part of the 12″ set– the “original Joe” General Joe Colton!

It’s an interesting idea– and based very much on his appearance in Marvel Comics G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vol 1 #86 in which he was identified as “just a guy named Joe”.  Working with “Jane”, his former nurse and now an astrophysicist, they managed the operations for a Strategic Defense Initiative station located in the Chrysler Buidling in New York City!

In terms of parts, this is pretty much the SDCC Rise of Cobra Destro body with one of the 1:18 Club Exclusive Adventure Team heads on top.  It’s a good look for General Joe and one that directly captures his comic appearance.

As previously announced by the Club, Joe Colton will be available as part of the 12″ set loose and sold carded separately.

For more information on this year’s G.I. Joe Convention in Dallas, TX visit GIJoeCon.com.

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!


G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary – what can fans expect in 2014?

gi joe movable fighting man

2014 marks a very special occasion for the ENTIRE G.I. Joe fandom.  Next year will mark the 50th Anniversary of G.I. Joe – the ORIGINAL action figure!  However, the question on many fans’ minds right now is how exactly will that milestone anniversary be acknowledged and which facets of G.I. Joe will it encompass?  After all, the G.I. Joe brand has evolved quite a bit over the past 50 years.

A quick timeline of G.I. Joe through the years:

  • America’s Movable Fighting Man: 1964 – 1969
  • The Adventure Team: 1970 – 1976
  • Super Joe: 1977 – 1978
  • A Real American Hero: 1982 – 1994
  • Sgt. Savage & His Screaming Eagles: 1994 – 1995
  • G.I. Joe Extreme: 1995 – 1997
  • G.I. Joe vs. Cobra: 2002 – 2005
  • G.I. Joe – Sigma 6: 2005 – 2007
  • G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary Collection: 2007 – 2009
  • The Movie Era (Rise/Pursuit of Cobra & Retaliation): 2009 – 2013

Now clearly, the bulk of the G.I. Joe timeline was heavily influenced by the A Real American Hero cast of characters and yet the anniversary is technically that of the original “Movable Fighting Man”.  Those initial five years were dominated by realistic representations of servicemen before Joe transitioned into the adventurer role that defined the Adventure Team years.  However, it seems that the 12″ market has transitioned from mass market to high-end with companies like Sideshow and Hot Toys taking over the market that once belonged to G.I. Joe.  Could Hasbro still celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Movable Fighting Man without the 1:6 scale?

The precedent is there– in 1994 Hasbro released a “30th Anniversary” line commemorating the original G.I. Joe offerings.  However, these figures weren’t just released in a 12″ format but instead were rendered in the then-current 3.75″ o-ring construction used for the soon-to-be completed “A Real American Hero” line.  (A 12″ anniversary line did also exist.)  Available both in action sets and in a fantastic boxed set, this line-within-a-line paid proper tribute to the past while still embracing the current reality of the market and retailer expectations.

The 1994 30th Anniversary line included:

Could such a nod to the first action figure happen again only in 1:18 generation 3 construction?  Will there be another limited release of 12″ figures as happened with the Adventure Team reissues from Walmart and Hot Topic of close to a decade ago?  No one knows at this point.  Right now, fans will just have to wait until February and the 2014 Toy Fair held in New York.  However, thanks to Pixel-Dan and ToyNewsInternational, this interview with Derryl DePriest offers a few tidbits about what is to come.

UPDATE: As we get close to the 2014 International Toy Fair there might be some news on the horizon regarding the G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary!

UPDATE: Hasbro’s official efforts have been covered in the G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Review Index!

Today is Skyfall day!!!

James Bond 007 Skyfall

Skyfall is here!

This isn’t entirely related to G.I. Joe but I just had to point out that the 50th anniversary installment in the James Bond franchise drops on DVD and Blu-Ray today.  Why is this important to fans of America’s first action figure?  Simple– the Bond franchise is the longest-running film series in history and has set the bar for so many elements of modern action cinema!  From the use of practical effects and world record-breaking stunts to exotic locations and dynamic villains, the Bond films have entertained millions for the past 5 decades!  Plus, the 007 series has had more than a “passing influence” on many aspects of G.I. Joe.

Years ago, a  young Joe fan who happens to be writing this article was introduced to the world of 007 by his father, thanks to ABC’s frequent airing of the films on Sunday nights.  As a kid, I was floored by the similarities between the early appearances of Cobra in both the Marvel Comics and the first Sunbow mini-series and the use of SPECTRE in the Sean Connery films.  From the incredible lairs that evoked memories of the design of Ken Adams to the elaborate plots to disrupt the western world, Cobra was the kid-friendly version of a Bond villain.  Heck, look at the Sears exclusive Missile Command Headquarters and you’ll see an homage to the volcano base in You Only Live Twice.  

Even the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club is utilizing a Bond vibe in this year’s AMAZING 12″ Joe Con set Secret Mission to Dragon Island.   One has only to look at the villain Sebastian Gorman in the set to see the uniform worn by Ernst Stavro Blofeld in two of his three cinematic performances.  (I don’t count the beginning of For Your Eyes Only.)  Plus, many of the sets applicable to the Man of Action are right out of James Bond films.

Regardless, the Bond films left a strong impression upon me and really have shaped my view of what makes for a good spy/action movie.  It’ll be this bar that will be measured against when I watch G.I. Joe Retaliation in just a few weeks.  Yes, the Bond movies have evolved over time– from the secret organizations of the 60’s, the near-parody of the 70’s, and all the way to the grim realism of the new Daniel Craig era.  Like G.I. Joe, Bond is a product of his time reflecting the realities of the world in which he finds himself.  He just happens to do it with style and flair.  This past Christmas, my father surprised me with what has become my favorite gift in years – the Bond 50 Blu-Ray set.  For days afterwards, I poured over the special features and the films like a relapsed dieter at the last Twinkie warehouse.  The marketing department behind the set was clever, however.  They left one empty tray in the box for the latest film in the franchise– a spot that will finally be filled tonight!

So, if you’re so inclined, run out today and snag a copy of Skyfall.  Sit back in your favorite chair, pop in the disc and be prepared to watch 007 prove that “nobody does it better.”  It’s a great way to relax and prepare for the arrival of G.I. Joe: Retaliation in just a few short weeks.

I’ll step off my soap box now and let you resume your regularly schedule G.I. Joe website.   However, if you’re so inclined, here’s the trailer for Skyfall followed by the “mother of all Bond compilations” to watch.  Enjoy!

 50 Years of James Bond: The Movie

Amazing “vintage” Adventure Team commercial– featuring 1:18 Joes!

G. I. Joe Adventure Team

It’s time to place blame where blame is due.  The G.I. Joe Collector’s Club is turning me into an Adventure Team fan.  Those nefarious scoundrels in their evil headquarters on Cattle Baron Drive in Texas have managed to take my initial impression of the fuzz-headed Joes as “those older dolls” and turn them into full blown Jonny Quest-styled heroes.  Part James Bond, part Indiana Jones– the Adventure Team has come to life in the form of the monthly Adventure Team Chronicles comics in the Collector’s Club newsletter.  In fact, and here’s the frightening portion of this confession, I read the AT comic BEFORE I read the A Real American Hero strip.

So, imagine my newly-found AT giddiness when the Club posted the following video up on their Facebook page.  Posted by YouTube user “vidmystery”, the commercial showcases the modern 1:18 AT figures in the style of a classic 1960’s commercial.  Seriously– that’s just too much awesome for one short video!  (This seems to be the Club’s official YouTube page– so my hat’s off to the video’s actual creator!)

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