Review and photos by Phillip Donnelly
With 2012's San Diego Comic Con International behind us, I figured I'd take a moment and consolidate the news from the show. It was a busy four days, and if you had to endure the HasbroToyShop line, it probably felt like forever! But there's lots to report on, so let's get to it!
As usual, the Hasbro booth was the nexus for all things G.I. Joe at the convention. We had the usual cases of upcoming product on display, though nothing different from what was shown at the G.I. Joe convention. This is hardly surprising, though, as the conventions were only separated by 10 days! To make up for it, we got to see the actual movie props of Firefly's motorcycle and Cobra Commander's helmet from G.I. Joe: Retaliation on display. Also making a return appearance from JoeCon was the three-part diorama, with a cliffside battle scene, an urban battle scene, and a Cobra headquarters scene. The dioramas were slightly changed up for this convention, with the Cobra HQ scene noticeably adding in some of the SDCC exclusives that I'll get to later in the article. One last thing about that diorama setup - how did I not notice it used last year's Flagg diorama for the base? You can still see the blue "ocean" board sticking out underneath!
These were not the only things Joe here at the Hasbro booth, no! Some G.I. Joe elements managed to inflitrate the nearby Marvel Universe diorama, too! I only linked to one picture here, but it's not the only instance - take a look around the gallery and see if you can find them all! On Friday morning, I got to talk to Hasbro's Vice President of Global Brand Management, Derryl DePriest, for a few minutes about the Joe line. You can read all about it here! And on Saturday, Hasbro even had a signing with Larry Hama, longtime G.I. Joe comics scribe. If you managed to score a ticket in the morning, he would sign three things for you, free of charge! Me, I had him sign the ticket, but that's only because Larry had a booth in the Artist's Alley where he was signing comics all weekend! Incidentally, his booth was five feet from Herb Trimpe's.
For most G.I. Joe fans, though, I suspect the biggest reason to be at the convention was at Hasbro's sister booth across the aisle: HasbroToyShop. This year, we had two variations for
Jinx Kim Arashikage: a primary deco and variant deco. The primary deco is an update of her first figure, though the gi seems to cling to the curves a little more this time around! This isn't a complaint, mind you, just an observation! As for the variant deco, it takes inspiration from some of her early appearances in the Marvel Comics, specifically issue 59. It's not a faithful translation, though - Hasbro brightened the figure up with some tactical applications of red paint, and added an Asian dragon motif on her left arm and right thigh. However, there is one thing about these figures that bug me - the figure is named "Kim Arashikage." Why then, does her filecard list her file name as "Classified?" Sometimes, fealty to the source material produces wacky results!
But those two figures are only part of the exclusives equation! We got a new H.I.S.S. tank! But not just any run of the mill H.I.S.S. tank, it's a Transformer! Okay, so it doesn't really transform, but it's still supposed to be that one-eyed, one-handed, purple-hued Decepticon Shockwave! Yes, the robot that caused a codename change for one of my favorite Joes is now available in the G.I. Joe line! An interesting redeco of the Retaliation H.I.S.S., this tank also comes with a new gun barrel to complete the illusion. And he comes with a bright green B.A.T.! Oh, and also Destro, Soundwave, and some Mini-Con Cassettes, but.... bright green B.A.T.! In Constructicon colors! What's not to love? If only I could figure out a way to connect six of them together.... Oh, and there's one final bonus to braving the line and making a purchase at the HasbroToyShop booth - a really big bag featuring Snake Eyes!
But let's move away from the busiest section of the convention's Exhibit Hall and check out some places that are less crowded, hmm? I know - Sideshow Collectibles, they always have something fun! And this year did not disappoint. On top of the convention-exclusive and rather impressive Falcon figure, we got not one, but two new reveals! Their take on Major Bludd is spot-on. Taking inspiration from Bludd's original toy, we get a modern update that sidesteps the awkward and still unexplained mechanical arm. (Seriously, it's been nearly 30 years, and we still don't know what that was about??) Best of all, it highlights one of my favorite, if not normally mentioned, quirks of that first toy: the multiple dog tags, likely culled from Bludd's unfortunate victims. And the other figure revealed is none other than Cobra's best looking agent in tight black leather, Baroness! The figure is, without a doubt, gorgeous, and a great update to her iconic figure. I cannot wait until she comes out, though my wallet is cringing already!
Hit up the IDW booth not so far away, and you can pick up their convention-exclusive variant of A Real American Hero #180, a comic that is itself set at Comic Con! How very meta. There's also a postcard worth grabbing, if you're into the more esoteric G.I. Joe collectibles like I am. Incidentally, IDW had a panel on their Hasbro-licensed comics on the first day of the convention, which I covered here. There's nothing too Earth-shattering about the announcements, but it is a nice primer on what to expect from them later this year.
Man, I'm not finished talking about this after seven paragraphs? There was more going on here than I thought! At the convention, Mimoco debuted their new G.I. Joe Mimobots! These cute little USB flash drives featured Cobra Commander, Snake Eyes, or Storm Shadow designs, and also offered some Joe themed software to retheme your computer. If you're into the Mimobots, check out their catalog and see what other designs they offer. And if you wander over to Shout! Factory's booth, you'll see them offering the Complete First Series set for sale.
If you were brave enough to leave the convention hall and wander into downtown San Diego, there was one last place to go - the Broken Yolk Cafe on 6th Avenue. Travel Channel fans will recognize this restaurant as the place where Adam Richman conquered a huge omelet challenge! But for this weekend only, it was known by another name - "Hub Headquarters!" The Hub network completely rethemed the restaurant, putting up big balloons, standees, table covers, menus, and signs advertising their network and shows. They even changed the labels on the ketchup bottles! But as extensive as the changes were, there was a glaring omission for fans like us - G.I. Joe: Renegades was nowhere to be seen. Well that's not entirely true, the show was mentioned in one place - a standee for their Huboom! programming block. It's rather sad to see a once-promising cartoon reduced to a mere footnote, honestly.
So that's the wrap-up! Be sure to check out our San Diego Comic Con gallery to see lots more pics, and if you're into other brands besides Joes, well, we've got you covered there, too.
HasbroToyShop Bag (2012)
Hub Headquarters Standee (2012)
IDW Postcard (2012)
Kim Arashikage (v1a)
Kim Arashikage (v1b)
Larry Hama Autograph Ticket (2012)
Mimoco Catalog (2012)
Shockwave H.I.S.S. Tank
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Images from the collection of: Phillip Donnelly