Both Christopher and Carson went above and beyond documenting the experience in video and image form, and have a lot better detail there than I’m providing below. This is just my own take on the experience.
On paper, it looked like kind of a crazy idea. The coordination, the early mornings, the blood, sweat, and tears.
Oh, I’m not talking about HasCon itself. I’m talking about my plans for HasCon weekend. Deciding to forego the VIP treatment this year (going by some peer reactions, this was a significant lack of judgement on my part) I elected instead to make HasCon a day trip. Grab a ticket, cruise down to Rhode Island for the day, have some fun.
Then they decided to bring James White from the New England Patriots, and my daughter caught wind of it, and those plans went out the window. She had to see him on Sunday, and I had to see my friends on Saturday, so I decided on back-to-back road trips of nearly 3 hours each way.
I don’t regret one second of it. If anything, I regret not bringing my second daughter along for the ride.
As we near the end of Fun Publication’s license for the G.I. Joe Convention (with Botcon already come and gone) Hasbro had elected to take over some of the convention reigns themselves, putting together a combination con involving all of their various brands. HasCon as it was dubbed was immediately greeted by mixed reactions (my own included). But as more and more of my friends expressed their interest in attending, I decided I’d go along for the ride.
While I missed Friday, from everything I heard, the G.I. Joe panels were informative, interesting, and fun, a deep, introspective dive into the history of the world’s first action figure. Certainly a lot of the discussion focused on the Real American Hero side of things, Hasbro pulled out all of the stops with actually recreating some of the old prototype vehicles and restoring many items for display. Alan Hassenfeld himself was on site during the dinner to give a rousing speech, with the always present and always enthusiastic Derryl DePriest carrying the torch as well. By all accounts they were both fantastic. If you missed Friday like I did, you absolutely must go check The Full Force on Facebook, as the stalwart Chris McLeod managed to capture the majority of it on video.
I showed up on Saturday, shortly before noon, and the place was slamming. It was wall-to-wall people waiting in line for autographs by David Ortiz, or playing along with a DJ, having a blast in the HasCade, or enjoying the G.I. Joe history lesson courtesy of Dan Klingensmith and an entire cadre of design legends from the hallowed halls of Hasbro. I gravitated towards the G.I. Joe display of course and ran into some great friends there from 3D Joes and the Flag Points podcast, Dan K. himself, as well as members of the G.I. Joe Discussion Group on Facebook. Less than thirty minutes into my arrival and it was like old homes day, especially for this old man who had missed the past two JoeCons in a row.
After chatting the guys up for a few minutes, I was swept into the main exhibit hall which was simply astounding. Every single Hasbro brand was represented there from Transformers to Nerf to My Little Pony and Magic: The Gathering. Disney Princesses, Star Wars, the whole ball of wax.
Well, except for G.I. Joe, which maintained its position on guard outside the front door. If anything, though its placement gave it more visibility, not less.
Each section of boys toys goodness was crammed with new and old toys, fantastic, elaborate diorama displays and a bunch of great Hasbro designers to talk with. I was able to play catch up with John Warden (though I kept missing Bobby Vala in the Marvel booth) and the enthusiasm with which they talked about their craft and the product lines they work on was infectious. Moving from booth to booth (dodging the 15 foot tall Bumblebee dancing around) was an experience in glorious sensory overload. HasCon is like JoeCon + Botcon x 10 squared. It was really amazing.
But the audience was manageable. It was large, but not TOO LARGE if you get my meaning. Things rarely got to San Diego ComicCon shoulder-to-shoulder level, but on Saturday there was a constant stream and presence of people, but it never quite reached overwhelming status.
As a collector, though, once you pulled yourself away from the Boys Toys alley, things got even cooler, especially for those of us parents in the room. Sprawling out throughout the rest of the exhibit hall was booths upon booths of fun, colorful, interactive demonstrations of Hasbro’s core brands. Stuff like My Little Pony (full make up stations), Littlest Pet Shop (you could customize your own pet, or win free pets by spinning a hamster wheel), Baby Alive (changing stations, feeding stations, the whole nine yards), Nerf (shooting ranges and Dude Perfect trick shots), and even a Troll section where you could get your hair done up like one of those crazy plastic dolls that actually have names and a mythology now.
I’m so old.
There were kids and families. Everywhere. Just as it should be. Boys and girls of all ages being exposed to Hasbro brands, discovering just how cool the various Nerf weapons or the latest Beyblades were. Getting smacked in the face with a whipped cream pie or sprayed by a toilet (don’t ask)… it was a tradeshow, a family fun day, and a full blown fan convention all wrapped up in a single package.
And it all worked.
Upon my return trip on Sunday, with my 12 year old in tow (who was thrilled to meet and get her picture taken with James White) the crowds were smaller and more scattered, making the floor more manageable. She was able to play at the various game stations and although she was ‘way too old, dad’ for Baby Alive or My Little Pony, she eagerly traveled the floor with her little passport to collect all the stamps and get her free water bottle. She customized her own Littlest Pet Shop and won a couple of free ones to bring home to her sister. All that plus enough free Play-Doh to choke a stable of horses.
Sure, there were hiccups as there always are the first year around, but overall the experience was exceptionally smooth. Busy, but not packed. Lots to do and see, but not sensory overload. Just enough great stuff happening at regular intervals, but not so much that you felt like you were going to miss something.
I’m not sure HasCon will become a regular thing, I can’t even imagine the coordination it took to bring it all together. But I hope it does. And if it does, I’ll be there next year. I may even bring the whole family.
Dan, Derryl, the G.I. Joe legends, and everyone involved deserves some serious props for what it took to pull this off. Yes, the best part (as always) was seeing all my friends and hanging with great people, but the Convention itself was a blast, and something I can see myself attending every year, and even better, something I can bring the family to as well.
First and foremost, a HUGE thanks to Josh over at YoJoe who has been doing spectacular work with their comic archive, tying the IDW Universe together, even as G.I. Joe has been criss-crossing continuity with other Hasbro properties. He’s managed to make it easy to follow and make sense, and with the latest reveal of Marissa Fairborne, he goes above and beyond! He’s written a terrific guest post for GeneralsJoes.com which you can read below. Again, big props to his loyal and devoted following to the ongoing IDW continuity and how this all ties back to history. Some really great stuff!
Big News in the GI Joe and Transformers world has just happened in the IDW comic Optimus Prime #3!
An event literally 30 years in making has finally been confirmed (In continuity).
Summaries of all of the different series can be read at YoJoe.com, so you can follow the stories.
Yes, its official, Marissa Faireborn of The Transformers Earth Defense Command is the daughter of GI Joe’s Flint. And they actually sit down together in a coffee shop and talk.
For 20 years it was only rumored that Marissa was related to Dashiell and the mother was a mystery. Outside of a DVD commentary, no cartoon, comic or other media has ever confirmed their relationship.
Now for the first time ever and within the IDW continuity, the Joe and Transformers worlds have been combined allowing a long time meeting between Flint and Marissa to happen.
Both GI Joe (not ARAH which is written by Larry Hama) and the Transformers along with Action Man, MASK, ROM and Micronauts are all included in the IDW continuity. The mini-series Revolution recently tied all of the Hasbro properties together into one universe.
But one mystery that has never been solved officially in any cannon is who is Marissa Faireborn’s mother?
Let’s dive into some Transformers and GI Joe history that got us to this huge reveal.
First, in 1985 Series Four of GI Joe A Real American Hero toys, a character named Flint aka Dashiell Faireborn was released. He actually premiered in GI Joe: the Revenge of Cobra cartoon episode #1 “In Cobra’s Pit” on Sept 10th 1984, he is voiced by actor Bill Ratner. Flint has been a leader of the Joe since his first arrival in toys, comics or cartoons. And in both the comics and cartoons his love interest is fellow GI Joe Lady Jaye aka Alison Hart-Burnett, who also was released in Series Four. Flint’s in continuity cartoon stories took place in the 1980s.
On September 16th, 1986 a new character named Marissa arrived in the second episode of the third season of the cartoon The Transformers. The title of the episode was called the “Five Faces of Darkness, Part 2”. Marissa Faireborn was part of the Earth Defense Command (EDC) that was helping and fighting the Transformers on Earth. In the timeline of the Transformers series continuity, Captain Faireborn was living in 2005.
At the time of Marissa’s premiere on the cartoon, GI Joe and Transformers had no official connection between the toy lines. This was the first hint of many crossovers to come in the 30 year history of Hasbro toys and the Faireborn family.
In The Transformers cartoon episode called “The Killing Jar” with had an airdate of Sept 29th, 1986. Disguised as a shuttle, the Transformers Quintesson ship docks with an EDC space station, and Marissa Faireborn is lured on board by an illusion of her father. Although not officially called Flint, this character is voiced by the same actor Bill Ratner who performed Flint in the regular GI Joe cartoon. “Flint’s” appearance in this episode has him with grey hair in his 60s, still active with the military and in good if not distant relations with Marissa, at least well enough for the projection to fool her.
Happening in another part of the Hasbro universe, released in January 1987 in Marvel comics, was a completely different kind of crossover between GI Joe and the Autobots. Writer Michael Higgins wrote an official in the ARAH continuity 4 issue mini-series called GI Joe and The Transformers. Now this mini-series does not contain nor reference Flint, Marissa or even the Earth Defense Command. But forever became official A Real American Hero cannon, whether the fans liked it or not.
Over in the United Kingdom, on August 8th, 1987 issue #125 of Marvel’s UK The Transformers is released with an original crossover story called Ancient Relics Part One. The rest of this story also appears in the Marvel UK Action Force comic #24 titled Ancient Relics Part Two, #25 is Part Three, #26 Part Four, #27 is Part Five. Flint is the leader of Action Force in the UK, when in the London underground a Transformer is discovered and it’s Megatron. Autobots Wheeljack, Grimlock and Blades all fight with Flint and his Action Force team against Megatron. Additionally, the Ancient Relics storyline was reprinted in 5 parts in the UK’s Action Force Monthly (Issues #1-6) in 1988 which in America is called European Missions (Issues #1-6) as in 1988. It has always been debatable whether European Mission is officially part of the ARAH continuity. But either way it is still an original story that crosses over Flint with The Transformers, presumably before Marissa was even born.
6 years later in 1993, The Transformers appear within the GI Joe A Real American Hero comic starting with issue #139 until #142. Now this is officially within the ARAH continuity. Megatron shows up and partners with Cobra Commander and of course the Joes fight them. At the conclusion of #142, Marvel’s The Transformers Generation 2 becomes a spin off comic book series starting with #1. The GI Joe’s only appear in 3 issues of the series and Flint appears in Transformers Generation 2 #6.
Since GI Joe and Transformers first official crossed over they have since crossed over in comics numerous times with several different publishers since 1993. Generally, each of these is their own continuity and the publisher’s were Devil’s Due Publishing, Dreamwave and IDW. The Dreamwave Transformers GI Joe series has the Joes fighting in World War II against The Transformers. This series introduces Nathaniel Faireborn who is Flint’s father and Marissa’s grandfather. In the Devil’s Due crossover series Flint actually goes to Cybertron. In Dreamwave’s G1 Transformers series Marissa now holding the rank of Commander, rather than Captain, portrayed as a member of the EDC, which in the Dreamwave continuity clandestinely handles terrestrial/extraterrestrial encounters. Following the Transformers’ return to activity on Earth early 21st century, The Transformers plans were stopped, but Marissa’s superior officer did not share her fondness for the Transformers. Dreamwave’s bankruptcy and subsequent closure left remaining stories of Marissa Faireborn untold.
Marissa was a key character in US the Transformers cartoon series but never appeared in a Marvel comic in the 1980s. In the 1990s in a comic in Japanese, Manga style, that was never released in America and connected to a radio series, this is called KISS Players. Marissa as a child in the 1990s, lived in New York, where she met and became friends with Shaoshao Li, who developed an extremely strong attachment to her. The young Marissa resented her military father, so when one of his missions went awry and she and her father had to be rescued by Optimus Prime, she quickly came to view the Autobot leader as a surrogate father figure… and perhaps a little bit more.
Ok, so that covers comics and cartoon references between Flint and the Joes and Marissa and the Transformers. In recent years the toys have started to crossover Joes and Transformers and the Transformers and GI Joe Collector’s Club in 2015 released a Marissa Faireborn toy, see the GeneralsJoes toy review.
But who is Marissa’s mother.
Fans speculated for two decades that the character Marissa Faireborn in Transformers is his daughter, since they both share the same last name. The writers of both shows remained coy whether Marissa Faireborn was actually Flint and Lady Jaye’s daughter or not. However, cast notes for “The Killing Jar” refer to Marissa’s father as being “a 60-year-old Flint”. The mystery was finally solved on November 7, 2006, with the 20th anniversary DVD release of The Transformers: The Movie. On an interview on the DVD, Flint Dille, story editor for Transformers, confirmed that Marissa Faireborn is indeed Flint and Lady Jaye’s daughter. This would subsequently make Marissa a distant relative of Destro as well. However, in an interview with G. I. Joe fansite Joe Headquarters, Dille added the caveat that “I’ve always thought of Flint as being too young to have a daughter that old.”
And now you know and knowing is half the battle. But we don’t know who Marissa’s mother is within the IDW continuity. Stay tuned.
Revolution #1 has been released and a couple of the excellent variant covers have been produced by Adam Riches, who is well known to G.I. Joe fans as one of the artists of the Figure Subscription Service cardbacks.
He has done a couple of fantastic variant covers, and he has listed some of his original art on eBay. One of the auctions is the Optimus Prime/Scarlett action figure cover and it looks really great.
Any G.I. Joe or Transformers fan should check out his listings on eBay now and get these great pieces while the getting is good.
Do we really and truly live in a world where we have a modern update for Skymate? Is that even possible? That crazy dude with the pink knife on his wrist and bright yellow webgear? The dude wearing a baseball hat with a freaking kangaroo on it? That guy?
Yes. That guy.
The vintage version of Skymate was one of my favorite 90s figures in spite of the fact that he liked wearing pink and yellow. I loved that his bow and arrow plugged into his chest, I loved that crazy knife sheath on the back of his wrist, the translucent visor. Everything. He was the 90s personified and a character I really latched onto. I enjoyed the Air Commandos so much in fact, that I worked them into my Kindle Worlds Whisper novella (and did so enthusiastically).
For obvious reasons the updated Skymate can’t quite include all of the nuances of the classic. There really isn’t any tooling that can approximate the knife sheath or chest-mounted compound bow, but the formula they went with for the figure is eminently successful regardless of these facts.
We got a great new head sculpt with Skymate featuring his trademark baseball cap and closely shaven beard along with a nicely different combination of parts including nicely detailed pieces from the Pursuit of COBRA era. Most recognizable are the Recondo arms, which I imagine were chosen to at least somewhat approximate the look of added weaponry on the forearms, even if they don’t exactly resemble the knife from the vintage days.
His colors are well done, a nice balance of green and black underneath the crazy yellow and pink, but the colors are understated enough where an enterprising collector who doesn’t like bright colors could easily swap out web gear and not even worry about the eye-searing yellow. Not much to do about the pink hat, however.
Skymate comes with an interesting allotment of accessories including a newly tooled boomerang! That’s a really fun touch, and of course, since he’s Australian and as we all know, everyone in Australia walks around with boomerangs. If they don’t they damn well should. He also comes with a bow and arrow (the same one initially seen with Shadow Tracker I believe) as well as the removable machete and pistol.
Along with all of these, he also comes equipped with his own huge ass glider! It’s funny to sit back and see all of the different new sculpt era components that make up this set, and while these gliders are not nearly as aesthetically pleasing as the jetpacks or wingsuits of some of the other figures, they do fit the Air Commando aesthetic quite nicely. The deco pattern of this glider is matched with Skymate’s vintage version, and it comes equipped with the handlebar and two missiles. Skymate can fit on it really well, and hold the handles firmly, and while this glider isn’t necessarily my favorite vehicle made in the past 10 years…oh crap… maybe closer to 12 years… I can see how the match was made to the Air Commandos here.
Skymate is such a fun character and this is a really fun representation of that character. G.I. Joe is always at its best when it doesn’t take itself too super-seriously, and that’s why I’ve loved sets like this one and the Eco Warriors from a couple years back. They embrace their color brightness and their near-ludicrous sub teams and yet manage to work it into a modernized, slightly more realistic format in a fun and well-executed way.
Another entry from the “Best of the 90s”! While he lacks just a little of the ingrained uniqueness of the vintage Skymate, this updated version packs plenty of fun into a modern format package. Great parts selection, a new head sculpt and some great accessories all come together to provide an exciting update to some old school G.I. Joe greatness.
Can I just say how happy I am to see 1990 being so fully explored through the G.I. Joe Collectors Club over the past year? Sure, we got SAW Viper, Night Creeper and Metalhead a few years back, but for the first time, we’re getting a real strong focus on the G.I. Joe side of things during that last decade of A Real American Hero, and I love it.
Bullhorn and Pathfinder hit in the Figure Subscription Service 4.0 and were, by and large, successful interpretations of their vintage counterparts. Now, in a pretty unexpected move, the Collectors Club has dropped Freefall among their Sky Patrol convention exclusives (which in and of itself, is a 1990 product). But would Freefall end up being as successful as Bullhorn and Pathfinder?
Oh yes. Much more so, in fact.
Freefall is made from existing parts all around, but the parts combination is pretty terrific. His articulation and range of motion work really well, and the later generation parts make for a very nice baggy flight suit that still retains excellent movement. He can hold his weapon exceptionally well and has nearly flawless balance. To date he is probably my favorite 1990 update that we’ve gotten yet.
All of these great parts are only further amplified by his spectacular paint scheme, a very nicely applied camouflage pattern in great variations of brown and green, looking quite vintage in their pallet, but with the intricacies that more modern tools can deliver. He’s the perfect balance of pleasing vintage aesthetics with a modernized take. Freefall looks really spectacular.
As one would expect, Freefall comes with great accessories to enhance his specialty as a paratrooper. The terrific rubber parachute pack fits him nicely and he comes with the great, large parachute the Club has utilized over the past few years. He has 25th Anniversary Blowtorch’s helmet and facemask which make for a great paratrooper mask, along with a sub-machine gun and knife. Every accessory he comes with makes sense and only increases the coolness of the figure.
Freefall is an excellent update to the 1990 original. He fits in with Bullhorn and Pathfinder perfectly, as well as being an awesome compliment to the growing roster of HALO specialists and paratroopers throughout the modern era. Great job on this one!
Another modernized update of a 1990 classic, Freefall does everything right. Great modern parts, a very clean paint job, and some really great accessories give us an awesome collectible update and a just plain fun action figure to boot.