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These Draxhall Jump G.I. Joe vs. Cobra Concepts are an early Christmas Present

Being a G.I. Joe fan during the 2002 – 2005 era was an exercise in enthusiasm, excitement, and on occasion bitter disappointment. Those formative years of the new era of G.I. Joe were surrounded by an extremely vibrant fandom who latched onto G.I. Joe’s new retail presence and celebrated through Devils’ Due comics, the G.I. Joe convention, which now catered more to the 3 3/4″ fans, and a lot of folks embracing the excitement and wacky nature of G.I. Joe for the first time since the 80’s.

From a conceptual standpoint, Hasbro was developing an impressive resume of characters from the old days as well as new characters, establishing almost a perfect formula of vintage and modern. The only problem was, back then, the toy design process was a bit hit or miss, and the actual product wasn’t measuring up to the concepts. Seems we’re at an opposite place now, where we have this process to develop fantastic figures, but conceptually there seems to be a struggle. If only we could get the JvC enthusiasm and marketing muscle with the modern design technology…

But I digress.

Over at their new podcast, Nerdrahtio, Sam Sears and Tom Mathias spent some time speaking with Sam Wells, formerly of Devils’ Due Publications, who shares some magnificent concept art from the Joe Vs. Cobra, Spy Troops, Valor Vs. Venom, and even DTC days. Back then, Draxhall Jump was doing amazing work building these terrific character designs, which unfortunately ended up somewhat limited in execution. But looking back at these spectacular concepts, it can’t help but make G.I. Joe fans wish for “what might have been”. Not only that, but there is a wealth of unreleased characters featured in the artwork as well. Amazing looking stuff, truly.

Still, kudos to both Sams and Tom for sharing the information. I’ve mirrored a couple of images below, but you should check out for the rest. You will NOT regret it. While you’re there, listen to that first episode as well, a great interview with Mr. Wells along with discussion about the concept art shown.

It’s the story, stupid – how I learned to love the new sculpt era again

It started with an interesting website article that was posted by a friend of mine a short while ago.  An opinion piece from Toy News Online which mentioned the need for narrative stories in children’s toys today.  I know us collectors don’t like to think of what we buy as “children’s toys” but at the core of our consciousness, I think we all understand that’s where this journey began.

Over the past few years, Hasbro has been producing some of the best toys they have made in a very, very long time…if not ever.  Using amazing inspiration from past G.I. Joe toys, other 80’s influences, and lots of great modern military equipment, the G.I. Joe team of 2010 – 2013 is an amazing collection of fantastically articulated, amazingly produced toys.

There’s only one problem…  who are these guys?  Who are they fighting?  Why are they fighting?  Why is Destro, who typically is a behind-the-scenes guy, strapping on a thick armored body suit and jumping into the action with a chain gun?  Why is Cobra Commander now wearing a skull mask and metal chest plate?  Does this story take place after the Rise of Cobra, or have we spun out into yet another universe.  I’ve been somewhat surprised to see that other collectors don’t seem to be curious about these things.  Sure, I might get flak for not having enough “imagination” but at some point I think a narrative voice is necessary to breath life into these characters.  If not necessary, it sure as hell helps.

Click the Read the Rest of the Story link below for the full article.


From rock star to obscurity and back again – the history of Roadblock

For G.I. Joe fans who have been following the property for only a few short years, this may come as a surprise, but believe it or not, there was a time, not very long ago, where Roadblock wasn’t a household name.  In fact, he wasn’t even on Hasbro’s radar.  A victim of lost trademarks, it seemed inevitable that Roadblock would simply fade from the consciousness of the G.I. Joe faithful and no longer be a major part of ongoing canon.

Sure didn’t turn out that way, huh?

I must give credit to long time Joe buddy Todd of Magnum 6 Delta for prompting me to put this post together, and considering the G.I. Joe: Retaliation motion picture on the horizon, and the potential for redefining the core characters of the Real American Hero brand, the timing couldn’t be better.  Click the “Read the Rest of this Story” link below to check out the full article.


Latest update on the upcoming G.I. Joe: RAHC guide

It seems like it’s been a long time coming, but G.I. Joe fan James M. Kavanagh, Jr. has continued his very hard work on the upcoming R.A.H.C. guide featuring profiles of those infamous years post 1994 where G.I. Joe leaped back into toy aisles and back into many collector’s hearts.
He has painstakingly crafted an excellent guidebook with images, text, and some really nice details that any G.I. Joe fan would love.  Some images that James sent along a little while ago are mirrored below.

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James also sent along another press release, just to provide an update, and you can read it below.

“Hello and welcome to another update on the R.A.H.C. Guide.
To anyone who’s dealt with the nasty weather, I hope they are starting to thaw out. To the rest of you, be glad you were sitting pretty. The Weather Dominator tried to knock out Dayton, OH’s power to no avail. The R.A.H.C. Guide is even closer to bringing you a reference guide to one of the most intricate eras of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Much like the “A Real American Hero” genre, the R.A.H.C. Guide has combined a team of experts in their fields. Every action figure, accessory and vehicle/play-set was photographed by Nick O’Donnell of 808 Studios, a premier wedding photographer and much, much more. Nick’s images are simply phenomenal, I wish I could make the guide about twice as big as it is, the detail and quality are indescribable!
While working on the guts of the guide, the guy at my then job Scott DM Simmons came strolling in only to casually inform me he had worked for Kenner and Hasbro as a photographer. He was all too familiar with my project; he shote them the first time! His vast knowledge of action figure photography stemmed from [his] step-father’s work on all the vintage Star Wars product shots! This father/son duo made for the perfect team to produce the spectacular front and back (yes, I did say back cover) you’ve been teased with.
And how could such a dynamic package be wrapped up, or should I say introduced? Why none other than a foreword from super fan Justin Bell! While these action figures evolved throughout the late 90’s to early 21st century, Justin was there reviewing, promoting, customizing, and creating such dynamic dio-stories. Justin’s hard work and dedication never ceases to amaze me and I was truly ecstatic when he agreed to [write the] foreword.
So that only leaves two questions remaining: when and how much? Well in the tradition of G.I. Joe updates I am going to say that I now understand why the major questions can’t always be answered and to rest assured that I am in the process of finding a printer that will tackle the level of quality and detail this project deserves at a price that’s fair for this specialized material. I will say that you should be receiving a third update very soon. That’s all, now let’s go back to discussing Toy Fair!!
James M. Kavanagh Jr.