G.I. Joe State of the Union SDCC 2016 Edition
For the past ten years or so, San Diego Comic Con has been the beacon and pulse of the pop culture universe. From Movies, TV and Merchandise of all kinds. If you went out to the show, no matter how many times you have went in the past, there was normally several things for you to get excited about. This year not so much, that huge reveal we were waiting for just didn’t show up this time and it’s not all Hasbro’s fault. SDCC 2016 was mediocre at best. This show, more so than any other year suffered from a distinct lack of fresh ideas and felt like the same powerhouse brands were tripping over each other in every booth. Many of the major marketing teams behind those brands also chose to leak out a lot of what would have been new, just one or two weeks before the show. Stack that with a year that also had a very weak exclusive selection overall, and lower attendance inside the convention (due to new fraud protection badges) and you get a very bland event. With Disney throwing D23 Expo 2017 in Anaheim CA one week before SDCC 2017 I can only imagine how fractured things are going to get in the future.
The best new items at SDCC 2016 were the Mondo Skeletor and He-Man. After that I would say it was the Netflix Marvel Legends, and that’s not to say that Marvel Legends was on-fire, from this point forward, from what was shown for 2017… a lot of people are going to be hitting the sidelines and really picking what they want out of those waves. Transformers was solid, and they have a good mix of “collectors and kids synergy” but the hold back of new figures for whatever reason coupled with no toy panel was disappointing. The most consistent company at the show was NECA, with a broad net of offerings and a few fresh ideas. Mezco’s One:12 line is really nice, they need to slow down the amount or “repaints” but overall is a good semi-new design that has appeal. After that a lot of repetitive wall hitting was going on.
One Exception to the Rule Sideshow Collectibles: Their booth is always something to behold. They have some of the best products pop culture merchandise has to offer, but it comes at a premium and you need to have deep pockets to collect those high end items. It’s almost not fair to lump them in with everybody else because of the price you pay to play.
Now onto what we all hang out on HISSTANK.com for…. G.I. Joe! This year has had a ton of ups and downs. Toy Fair 2016 had us thinking the line was going to go dark and take a break until the next movie. In many ways I still think that would have been a smart move on Hasbro’s part, and would have given the core fan base a chance to build up demand and loosen up on the idea that changes are coming a need to be made. However in a last minute reprieve, Toys R Us decided to buy into what we now know will be the limited G.I. Joe 2016 Line. Made up of four new figures and a nice selection of reissues that did demand high prices on eBay before these were announced and were still on buy lists for many people including troop builders. Out of the four new figures the Female Cobra Trooper is the highlight of the 2016 line-up. Say that out loud and look at your G.I. Joe wall and tell me your not just a little sad. Overall if we need to limp into the next movie launch as a fandom, I guess this was the best alternative to just going dark.
There is good news about G.I. Joe and the future of the brand. The fact that Hasbro and Paramount are dedicated to a third movie is awesome. The new focus on bringing the Hasbro Universe together starting with IDW’s Revolution should lay the foundation for the future. We had a chance to read issue #0 that was given away at the IDW SDCC 2016 booth. So far from the very short #0 it looks like we will be getting a solid attempt, with heavy core fan focus for the direction of the book. It’s worth checking out and I hope everybody is down with actually reading these books and giving Hasbro and IDW feedback. It can only make what we want as fans happen quicker if we speak out. As of now I’m excited and hope it comes together for all involved. This could be the start of the best case scenario that will appease many fandoms at once, and create Jump-On points for new and old fans alike.
Speaking of Jump-On points, I personally feel this is one of the major problems that G.I. Joe is facing. If you were a lucky collector that was around for the launch of G.I. Joe Modern Era via 25th Anniversary then you got your foot in the door before the flood gate opened. I can’t even imagine what a daunting task it would be to try and back-fill a complete G.I. Joe Modern Era collection. The time and money it would take would be off the chart and a major reason that turns people off from starting back-up.
There is no doubt G.I. Joe has a huge fanbase, most of which at this point is sitting on the sidelines waiting for a spark or new-line to allow people to start a collection or get back in. With the 3 3/4 Modern Era line already digging at the extreme levels of the bottom – lesser known characters that appeal only to the core, the next movie would be a perfect time for G.I. Joe to get that long over due 6-Inch size class. I know there is a lot of controversy that surrounds starting a new size class. However if you take a look at what size class remains dominant in the current collector market it’s 6-Inch. The fact that the 3 3/4 Modern Era Line could still tread water along side a well produced 6-Inch Marvel Legends – Black Series Style G.I. Joe roster should keep the old school fans happy, and bring in the masses of new fans along with ones that missed out looking for that all important Jump-On point.
One thing is clear, the G.I. Joe we know as A REAL AMERICAN HERO is coming to an end. It won’t be the death of the line, but a rebirth. Some of us are ready for that change and others will remain clinging to the past. Hopefully the transition to the future will be smooth and the powers that be can make it the least painful for everybody who loves the brand. After all, at the end of the day we are all fans of G.I. Joe. I don’t think any of us want to see the brand go away for a long term sleep. Whatever direction the next big “G.I. Joe Thing” takes, I hope we as a fandom come together to celebrate what we love most about the brand and not put as much weight on what we dislike. The last unofficial date for G.I. Joe 3 that is being passed around the rumor mill is 2018 and it can’t get here soon enough!
I hope you enjoyed the network coverage of SDCC 2016. We worked hard to give you fast clean and clear images with up to the minute information from the show room floor. Sound off after the jump and let us know what you think!