I know it's been somewhat doom and gloom in the G.I. Joe realm over the past few months, even with the releases of 50th Anniversary product and continued rumors of the third G.I. Joe film, but hey, you know what? Things aren't all bad.
As 2015 gets kicked off, it's important to think back on recent history, and look forward on what's to come. And when you really look at it, the future has some brightness for G.I. Joe fans.
I believe that Kickstarter will play a huge role in the lives of Joefans this year with product like the Marauder Task Force and Vitruvian HACKS being released, but also the upcoming Eagle Force, and items that I'm sure are in the pipeline that we're not even aware of yet.
The only reason I'm putting Kickstarter this far back on the list, is because I want to devote this list to G.I. Joe specifically, and while these Kickstarter projects are fantastic and can tie into the G.I. Joe fandom, looking forward I want focus on G.I. Joe specifically.
09: Fan-Driven content
As Hasbro pulled back somewhat from their pushing of the brand mainstream, the fans have picked up the ball and run with it. From Coil Con to Codename: Iowa's Assembly Required, plus the New Jersey Collectors Convention and JoeLanta among others. Fans have pulled together, not just with conventions and regional group meetings, but also with Facebook groups like G.I. Joe Discussion and BattleForce New England. We have fans actively working on books and reference guides, costuming, dioramas, customs, and everything in between. Even without a huge active retail presence, there is still a relatively massive fan presence, which helps keep people interested, even in the lean years.
Heck, anyone who has been a part of G.I. Joe Discussion on Facebook knows that fans recently put on a massive Q & A project with G.I. Joe legends Kirk Bozigian, Larry Hama, Ron Rudat, and Guy Cassiday. This was all done by fans, for fans.
It's still early, but Hasbro's relationship with Shapeways might bear some fruit for G.I. Joe fans in the coming year. Many talented sculptors and customizers are eying the resources within Shapeways and drooling over the possibilities, and anything that they can come up with will certainly be a boon for the rest of us.
7: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero from IDW Publishing
Even as mass media storytelling has been somewhat sparse or lagging, the Marvel continuation being published by IDW has continued to click on all cylinders. Larry Hama and SL Gallant have created a formula that is near perfect in its execution from month-to-month, and I see no reason to doubt that going forward. Add to this, the revelation of a potentially universe-shaking event in 2015 (which I won't mention the details of to avoid spoilers) we could be in for some exciting stuff from Hama and Gallant this coming year.
6: G.I. Joe Convention 2015
Sure there have been some jokes about the JoeCon location this year in Springfield, IL, but the fact remains that no matter where JoeCon is, it's one of the best weekends of the year to be a JoeFan. From convention reveals to new product announcements, and a chance just to get together and hang with fellow fans, I'm sure there will be a whole lot of fun to be had this year just like previous years, and I am so excited to be a part of it again.
Slated for April, 2015, we gotta believe that convention reveals will be happening soon and things are going to pick up steam over the next few months... it'll be a thrilling start to 2015!
Official G.I. Joe Collectors Convention - GIJoeCon.com
5: Mike Costa returns to the G.I. Joe universe
Many of us were devastated to hear that the IDW Publishing Cobra monthly title was coming to an end, mostly out of devotion to Mike Costa and the folks who brought that fantastic story to us every month.
Well, within the next couple of months, Mike Costa will be returning to IDW's G.I. Joe universe with a Snake Eyes: Agent of Cobra comic that looks to turn things sideways for the G.I. Joe team. I will admit I'm a bit questionable of the premise, but I have the utmost faith in Costa, and will certainly give the title the benefit of the doubt. If we use Cobra as a barometer, I'll likely not be disappointed.
This group of devoted and knowledgeable G.I. Joe collectors was unfairly left off my "Best Stories of 2014" list, especially when it comes to some exciting revelations they've uncovered about the very foundation of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. The landmark news that our beloved 1982 line didn't happen the way most of us knew it did over the past 30+ years was an amazing and ground-breaking story. By all accounts, there is more of that still to come.
JoeDeClassified and their fantastic newsletter continue to dig into the buried treasure of G.I. Joe's history and we're all the better for it. If you haven't already, you need to bookmark JoeDeClassified.com, check their forums and Facebook page, and also check the G.I. Joe Discussion group on Facebook, where many of them make themselves available to converse.
3: Figure Subscription Service 3.0
It's been so long since we saw the FSS 3.0 reveals that it seems to have floated from many fans' minds, but it looks to be an exceptionally strong line up this time around. Repeater, Hit & Run, Psyche Out, Vypra, Muskrat, Bombstrike, and more fill out a really great looking 12 figure lineup, not to mention the secret 13th figure that the Collectors Club promises will be a dramatic step beyond what we've seen previously.
No matter what happens with the retail release, we can depend on at least 13 exciting figures to come this year, and I'm looking forward to it.
2: A new public face for the G.I. Joe brand
It's been a couple of years since we even had a person at Hasbro to think about when talking about G.I. Joe as a brand, and that piece looks to no longer be a concern. Without that human face many fans assumed that Hasbro was not actively working on the Joe brand at all, but that is not the case now that Mark Weber has been announced as the new Brand Manager.
Nearly two years ago at JoeCon in Indianapolis we saw both John Warden and Derryl DePriest speak on behalf of the Joe brand, but with no Hasbro appearance at JoeCon last year and no real idea what the brand's direction was, it was impossible for fans to find some sliver of hope to latch on to. It's amazing what a single interview will accomplish. When the Collectors Club revealed Mark Weber's placement in G.I. Joe it opened a door to possibilities that seemed impossible only a week ago. Granted, it is very early, and there can be no promises with this sort of thing, but this is at least a big step in the right direction, and as one might expect, he started off saying all the right things. He comes from a position in global brand management with Transformers, so he has a pedigree in Hasbro, and hopefully he can bring that to our favorite brand as we move towards a third film.
1: G.I. Joe 3 News Should be Picking Up Steam
...and speaking of the third film.
There are mixed opinions for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, but I think everyone can agree that when movie news is coming, it's a much more exciting time to be a fan. Seeing our favorite brand connected to personalities like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is a very cool thing, and getting the name in the public consciousness again can never be a bad thing.
I know I will be sitting right on top of Social Media and the Hollywood hype machine as we grind closer to production of G.I. Joe 3, and it should make the upcoming year pretty fun. The movie is slated for release in 2016, which means production will be going hot and heavy this year, and that means news. Character reveals, plot point leaks, names, pictures... it all adds up to an awesome calvacade of G.I. Joe news and information, which makes being a fan so much more fun.
Looking at this list, there are a lot of reasons to continue to feel excited about the G.I. Joe brand in 2015. Yes, some of this is dependent on how Hasbro and/or Paramount handle things on their end, but there's plenty of fan based stuff to look forward to as well, regardless of what happens mainstream. For that reason alone, it's still very exciting to be a part of the online G.I. Joe community, and I for one, continue to look forward to seeing what's in store.