Today is JoeBattlelines.com’s 11th anniversary of going online!
It was 11 years ago today that the domain “JoeBattlelines” was registered with Network Solutions and that Sgt.Savage.com officially changed hands. Who knew that a simple offer of help with a website would result in over a decade of being a website admin? In internet terms, eleven years makes both me and this site practically a fossil!
It was back in 2003 that I reached out to Brian “Savage” Peterson, owner of SgtSavage.com to ask if he could use any help with the website. The reply I got back wasn’t at all what I expected– he apparently was familiar with my work at the now-defunct RingofCollectors.com and told me that I had 24 hours to come up with a domain name because he was turning the keys of the site over to me. What followed was a hasty brainstorming session with my friend Thad and the result was “JoeBattlelines.com”. To this day I don’t remember who came up with the name or why– I just remember that this was the best option we had. (Back in the day you couldn’t use “G.I. Joe” or any Hasbro copyrighted term in your site name w/o express permission.)
It was a real learning curve experience for me. I’d only helped create content for websites before but any experience that I had in managing the “behind the scenes” technical aspects of a site was entirely self-taught. Heck, JBL’s oldest archived design was created by Brian Savage Peterson!
I won’t lie to you– the site isn’t nearly as prominent as it once was. Part of this is due to the shifting patterns of the fandom, first toward newer website and then to Facebook groups. There was also a period of burnout that hit this particular site admin starting around November of 2008 which lasted for a few years. In that time, the site languished as only a ship without a rudder can. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I decided to blow the cobwebs off and re-stoke the boilers to build up some steam around here.
If you’re reading this, thanks for sticking with the site. Thanks for following the topics in the forums, the event coverage, and the rambling reviews of a guy who discovered G.I. Joe back in 1982 and who never lost that love of those Real American Heroes. Thanks for putting up with an update schedule that can only be described as “inconsistent” at best. JBL has never been the biggest site, nor has it been the most talked about, or the most promoted, but it’s been here for far longer than I’d ever envisioned and it’ll be around as long as I’m able to keep the lights on.
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.
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.