Over at BSCkids I put up a brief news item about the G.I. JOE Collectors’ Club membership figures for next year. Since the only G.I. JOE I acknowledge is 3 ¾ molds from the A Real American Hero Line (and O-ring only, baby), I don’t have much to look forward to anymore as Hasbro has been focusing on their new molds (the ones you see in your stores now), which I have absolutely no beef with and hope the best for, but are not at all a personal interest of mine. In some sense it’s a positive as I’m able to be comprehensive (if I choose to be) in my pick-ups each year due to the limited options/supply. I am not an expert on the Collector’s Club. I have a ton of the product they’ve put out, and while I’ve certainly heard the back-and-forth and pros and cons on the club (and Master Collector) on several online message boards, I can only really talk about the product from the perspective of JOE fan, who also isn’t a toymaker or an aspiring one.
They tend to be hit or miss for me, but the great thing about the figures and vehicles I’ve bought (all on the secondary market) is that they are pretty transparent pre-purchases. Every time I’ve seen something online that I wanted and bought, I was pleased with it. Usually when the club fails, it does so from the initial premise and concept. I see a promo image of some wack clear/see-through figure, I don’t have to buy and examine the figure to verify that I won’t dig it. What this means, is that (related to my preferences) they either hit a home run or fails in epic proportions, and the latter is actually a benefit because rarely have I seen a figure (or vehicle) from them that initiated a debate within in me to get–it has always been clear cut. One look at their Snow Serpent Commander and Ice Viper package (aka the M.O.T.H Arctic Theater) I know I have to have it. Just like it only takes one look at one of the ridiculous con Dreadnok figures/set or Nullifiers and I know it’s not even worth considering. The worst thing I can really say about them is that their website is a piece of shit to navigate (when the point of it is to make purchases), lots of links that are dead, and just looks real outdated in general. Oddly enough, this is the case for many G.I. Joe related sites in general (some of which are still excellent resources like yojoe.com). Sure, you’d love to just be in love with everything – the more the merrier – but in the absence of that, clarity via extreme polar opposites on the Tomio preference meter is the next best thing. One of next year’s offerings is firmly in the must-have category.
As much as you’ll see a lot of people my age (including me) now knock the animated G.I. Joe Movie (’87) for tons of terrific and completely rational reasons; when it came out, it was most definitely my joint. A lot of my cartoon watching was a bit outdated because I was overseas so this movie actually caught me up to current cartoon ‘canon’. I had not seen Vipers on TV yet (still blueshirts), nor Serpentor’s ascension to the leadership of Cobra, so the film was really introducing me to a ton of concepts I may have only seen in the comic (which was completely different – and in my opinion “better” – from the cartoon canon that the movie was continuing). Among the new faces we saw were the Rawhides, the nickname (given by Beachhead) of a group of new recruits of the JOE team made up of Lt. Falcon, Jinx, Tunnel Rat, Chuckles (who is awesome in the current IDW continuity), Law & Order, and Big Lob. Check out a clip:
Oddly, every single one of them were made into figures by Hasbro in the same year except one. Next year we finally get our Big Lob! It’s choice that doesn’t seem to be getting universal praise, but I love it anytime they offer an existing (human) character we’ve never had a figure of. It doesn’t happen often, and for me it remained a glaring omission that the Collector’s Club is correcting. I’m even more happy that he’s not going to be part of some $300+ boxed set filled with other figures I don’t want.