Are you going to Retro Con 2018 on October 13 – 14, 2018 in Oaks, PA? Well, here are two more reasons you should consider going: Sgt. Slaughter & BJ Ward!
What is Retro Con?
Simply put: Retro Con is a celebration of all things 80’s and 90’s! It’s a celebration of nostalgia of the greatest era of popular culture. From television and films to cartoons and video games, Retro Con is THE family-friendly con for anyone who grew up in the last 30 years!
This year, however, Retro Con holds a special significance to G.I. Joe fans! Two legendary performers from the classic G.I. Joe cartoon series produced by Marvel Productions and Sunbow will be on hand! (Yes, one of them was also present in the DiC era but, let’s be honest, we don’t really like to talk about that series.) Hold on to your hats as both Sgt. Slaughter and veteran voice actress BJ Ward (Scarlett, Princess Alura, Wonder Woman) are coming to this amazing two day event!
While Melendy Britt (She-Ra) is no longer able to attend the organizers of the event have stepped in a big way with Ms. Ward as the latest added guest!
Even better– these two legends of G.I. Joe animation history will be joining Greg Berger (Spirit, Grimlock, Odie) and Garry Chalk (Optimus Primal, Man-at-Arms, Metal-Head) in greeting guests, signing autographs, and being onsite for an amazing weekend. Plus, if you’re looking to get a further Sunbow fix, Samantha Newark (Jem, Ariel) will be on site as well. Plus, Larry Kenney (Lion-O) is also going to be there! It’s a chance to meet the voices and personas that dominated your cartoon viewing time as a kid! (And, if you’re like me, as an adult today!)
If that’s not enough, there’s even a special concert by the famed Cybertronic Spree on Saturday night!
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 →
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!
The cover of the latest issue of the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club magazine has revealed the next membership incentive figure: 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 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!
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!
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!
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.
Happy 50th Anniversary Jonny Quest! That’s right– it was 50 years ago today in 1964 that animated action/action series from Hanna Barbera made its debut on ABC and sparked a cult following that lasts to this day.
With its combination of action and science fiction, Jonny Quest took audiences by storm in the 1964 – 1965 Fall season. The series featured grim action, frequent character deaths, and a much more realistic tone and visual style than anything previous developed by Hanna Barbera – a studio better known for series such as The Flintstones and eventually Scooby Doo. It was comic artist Doug Wildey that gave the series its distinctive style. The artist took inspiration from then-cutting edge technology featured in magazines like Popular Science and Popular Mechanics as well the comic series Terry and the Pirates and even the first film in the James Bond franchise Dr. No. Villains and menaces were presented in a realistic fashion and the action was far more cinematic than other animation at the time. While there were a few exceptions, the series treated its subjects and its stories as seriously as possible and avoided many of the cartoon cliches that were often played for laughs.
Jonny Quest balanced action and humor through the use of its multi-generational and multi-ethnic cast. While Jonny may have been the title character, the focus of the series was divided up between this genius scientist father, quasi-mystical childhood friend Hadji, and coolest bodyguard ever Race Bannon! When the series called for dark action, the focus shifted to Dr. Quest and Race while Jonny and Hadji were stars of the more lighthearted adventure sequences. Last, but not least– there was Bandit, Jonny’s trusty dog whose bark was always more prevalent than his bite.
The “Quest team” faced menaces from lost species to sinister secret organizations to an extra-dimensional energy creature that evoked memories of the classic film Forbidden Planet! Mummies, Nazi criminals, and even a pterosaur were all menaces that were overcome by this fearsome foursome and their trusty dog!
It wasn’t just the visual style that made Jonny Quest unique. One has only to watch a few minutes of the series before the distinctive musical style of Hoyt Curtin finds you tapping your fingers to the cool beats of the jazz orchestra. Rather than the bombastic marches of the Hollywood series, the Adventures of Jonny Quest had a decidedly cool and modern feel that sets the series aside from its peers to this day. Sadly, an official soundtrack album to this series has never been released, although a solid bootleg album of Curtin’s music can be found through “other means.”
Wait a minute– what does Jonny Quest have to do with G.I. Joe? One has only to look at the 1970 launch of the G.I. Joe Adventure Team to see the connections. A daring team of ex-soldiers and scientists turned adventurers and explorers travel the world to avert natural disasters, confront nefarious villains, and even save the occasional endangered species. Sound familiar? The G.I. Joe Collector’s Club must think so; the next time you call up their office just listen carefully to the hold music. (Not to mention several mentions in the Adventure Team newsletter comic and bios.)
The series lasted for only one season on ABC but it returned to the airwaves a few years later on CBS and then a few more years later on NBC making it one of the only series ever to air on all three major networks. It has served as an inspiration for countless television, comic and movie series over the intervening decades and is still shown on sporadically on Cartoon Network. Not bad for a half-century old series. Sure, there were a few follow-up movies and an attempt to modernize the series in the late 90’s but none of these captured the same spark and flair of the original 1960’s series. Now if only we could get some decent 1:18 scale figures of these characters!
Why was Jonny Quest so popular? Why has it endured for a half century? I think it’s the fact that Jonny Quest embraces so many genres in one convenient package. It’s horror, science fiction, spy thriller, and adventure series all rolled into one package. The stories combined so many elements from 60’s super-science to pulp era villains that its almost hard to drop JQ into one single category. If you took James Bond, Indiana Jones, Reed Richards, Jack Armstrong, Nathan Drake, and MacGyver and threw them all into a centrifuge the resulting combination would be Jonny Quest!
Happy anniversary, Jonny Quest! You’ve been often copied but never equaled!
Autographs or posed photos will be available for $20 with a discount being available for both. So grab your vintage Sgt. Slaughter file cards and make plans to head to Oaks, PA!
Long-known to fans of G.I. Joe from his appearances in the second season of Sunbow’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series, Sgt. Slaughter joined WWE (then WWF) in the early 80’s and quickly achieved celebrity status. Brandishing his signature move “the Cobra Clutch”, he delighted wrestling fans each week with his hard-nosed drill sergeant persona. Yet it may be his appearance in the animated G.I. Joe: The Movie that permanently endeared him to Joe fans around the world with his leadership of the Renegades and his “itty bitty ditty bag.”
Retro Con 2014 will run from September 27 – 28 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA. To keep up with the latest on Retro Con 2014, keep your eyes peeled to JBL and follow them online on Twitter at @Retrocons and at www.RetroCons.com.
Retro Con 2014, the annual celebration of all things 80’s, has just announced that Zack Hoffman, the voice of Zartan in the Sunbow animated series G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, will be appearing at the two day event!
We’re happy to announce the addition of Zack Hoffman to our guest list! Zack is best known for giving voice to master of disguise ‘Zartan’ on the original 1980′s GI Joe cartoon created by Marvel Sunbow Productions!
Zack has also recorded hundreds of commercials throughout a career spanning over 30 years in the industry. In addition you may recognize him as the movie director in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, when Pee Wee reclaims his bike after briefly impersonating a nun!
Most recently Zack has created his own One Man Show call Tuxedo Man, with another entitled The Last DJ coming soon! Check out his website to follow all his works past and present!
Zack will be on hand all weekend to sign autographs free of charge. We only request you limit your items signed to 2 or 3. We thank Zack immensely for agreeing to come out for the show!!
He joins fan-favorite author Mark Bellomo, renowned voice actor Larry Kenney (Lion-O, Thundercats), and internet movie host Mr. Lobo on the guest list. For its third convention, Retro Con will expand to a full two days to September 27 – 28 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA. Last year’s guests including Sunbow voice actor Neil Ross and the “godfather of G.I. Joe” Larry Hama!
Looking for something to do this weekend in the Philadelphia area? Check out Retro Con 2013 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA!
Chock full of 80’s goodness, Retro Con has grown even larger in its second year! Featuring a plethora of exciting guests, over 150 dealer tables, classic “star cars” (weather permitting), and even a special screening of Back to the Future on the big screen it’s bound to make fans of G.I. Joe, Transformers, Thundercats, classic video games, etc feel like a kid again.
Organized by uber-fans Tony and Rosemary (Ward) Tuski and featuring a door ticket price of only $14.00, it’s an affordable and fun way to indulge your inner nostalgia child!
Just check out this guest list:
Larry Hama – writer,artist for G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel, IDW, Devil’s Due) and writer for Hasbro’s file cards
Bob Budiansky – writer for Transformers (Marvel Comics) as well as author of Hasbro’s Tech Spec cards
Neil Ross – voice actor for G.I. Joe, Transformers, Voltron, InHumanoids and more! (Shipwreck, Dusty, Slag, Springer, Keith, Pidge, etc)
In addition there will be door prizes, a costume contest, and a chance to have your picture taken with such “star cars” as K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand), Black Beauty, a Jurassic Park jeep, a full-size TARDIS, the Delorean from Back to the Future, and more!
Seriously, this is the kind of event that makes me wish I wasn’t living in Central Illinois. It promises to be a fun-filled day for all. Plus, while you’re there, stop by and say hello to the cast of The Breaux Show, a weekly internet radio show covering genre news, movie reviews, and Deer Park Water. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
I make no bones about the fact that I loved G.I. Joe Retaliation. The film dropped in theatres a few days before my “milestone” birthday and complete washed away the bad taste that was left by G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. This was how a G.I. Joe SHOULD have been done and it succeeded in spite of the fact that it had to acknowledge the missteps of its predecessor. Months later, my review of Retaliation still stands and I cannot wait to snag the film when it hits Blu-Ray and DVD later this month.
I’ve also made it known that when it comes to G.I. Joe animation I’m a fan of Sunbow over DiC. (As is MOST of the fandom.) However, sometimes in life you stumble across a combination that is so different that it just works. Much like the whole “you got your peanut butter on my chocolate…” ads from years ago, I saw this on Facebook earlier today and thought “Hey, you got your DiC on my Retaliation!” Yet, the combination really really works. So, while you’re waiting for Retaliation end up legally in your video collection in just 18 days, check out this awesome video mash-up!
G.I. Joe Retaliation hits stores on July 30, 2013!