The Club's panel always seems to be the highlight of the convention. Highlights are given, secrets are revealed. I settled in for a long session of panels on Saturday, starting with the Kindle Worlds panel, moving through Kirk's two panels, and finally the Club's panel.
A panel from Friday, involving the Club and the production of the comics and Club magazine, revealed an interesting bit of knowledge that a few Joe fans probably don't consider. GI Joe is Hasbro's property; they own it and they have a tight grip on it, regardless of the current retail status of the brand.
Everything that the Club does with GI Joe has to be approved by Hasbro. The choices and directions they take in the comics and their selection of characters for all of the figures that they release. Sometimes, Hasbro offers input as to which character or characters to build. So the Club isn't just haphazardly making stuff up as they go along.
Additionally, the Club also has to deal with limitations imposed by what molds are available at the factories making the figures. That's another whole world that the average collector doesn't even consider.
For all of the shit that gets directed at the Club by alleged collectors and fans, I think they do a helluva' job on what they've produced over the past dozen plus years.
So here's a few highlights from the Club's presentation given by Brian Savage, Lanny Lathem, and David Lane.
The guys went over some of the pre-production work behind this year's Con set. They didn't have any of the original artwork to work with, although Derryl DePriest, current Hasbro executive, later remarked that he's got the original artwork. The had to do the best they could with some of the examples of original art from packages.
Six new head sculpts were need for the set - Avalanche, Blaster, Blocker, Dee-Jay, Dodger, and the BAT (only used nine times!).
Pretty cool to see the digital mock-ups for the head sculpts!
One of the deco sheets that the Club showed to highlight all of the colors and paint apps needed for the figures. I love this sort of behind the scenes information.
Nice to see the original Dodger next to the new Dodger. The Club did a damn fine job with BF2000, especially Dodger.
A teaser about an exclusive figure for later this year...
Female Drednok mechanic Heartwrencher to come with a "ground assault 4-WD". I don't recall where Heartwrencher originated, but she sounds interesting. I'm wondering what the Club has in store for the vehicle. The Ninja Combat Cruiser? Maybe.
Maybe the last Club Membership figure?
Based on version 2 of Rock n Roll! Hell yeah! New head sculpt planned or will they use the head sculpt from the unreleased "vault" figure from Hasbro?
So what else does the Club have in store for us?
Since the Club is introducing the Night Stalker leader in FSS 6.0, it makes sense that she needs some troops to lead. The Club will most likely use the same basic figure that they created for their 3-pack of female Cobra troopers and mold their uniforms in black, which is fine with me. A little ethnic diversity as well, since one of them will have brown skin.
So not only will there be an FSS 7.0, the plan is for FSS 8.0 to follow up right behind 7.0. With FSS 6.0 on the way, two more FSS sets sounds like a great way for the Club to wrap things up with their association with Hasbro.
They did a damn fine job with Raptor; I'm looking forward to see what they can do with this guy. There are plans for a brand new head sculpt.
Tomax in a suit will join his brother from FSS 5.0. Since Tomax is the mirror image of Xamot, he'll need a new head sculpt. The plan initially was for Tomax to come out in FSS 6.0, but factory issues had to push him back to FSS 7.0.
Apparently, Fairbanks is the running joke at the Club panel.
Okay... "Pardon me boy..." as the clue? Some people couldn't figure it out? Seriously?
The last GI Joe Convention will be in Chattanooga, TN! Not too far for me to even commute like I did from Ormond Beach to Orlando. It's actually a few less miles. My wife is on board for us going next year. Hotels should be much cheaper than Orlando, so it would be cool to stay onsite!
One last GI Joe blast for the Club! I'll be there! Will you?