I just got back from the 2013 International G.I. Joe Convention and it’s time to give you folks a review! Having never been to one before I thought I’d write a little something up to give my impressions as a total G.I. Joe Con newb.
My very first impressions of the International G.I. Joe Con weren’t exactly positive. Upon walking into the convention I was struck at how small the thing was. I expect small, but not this small. Judging by the size of the convention, you’d almost guess that there’s not that many G.I. Joe fans at all. After awhile though, I began to appreciate the fact that 99% of the stuff was G.I. Joe related (bear with me here). Usually when I go to a con I’m searching high and low for G.I. Joe stuff and not finding a whole lot. It was like practically anything I wanted to see or buy was available all in one place that I never see anywhere else. That was pretty awesome.
The International G.I. Joe Con is run by the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club. In order to get in I purchased a the “A Real American Hero Package” for the con. Basically you pay to get a box set of exclusive figures along with some peripheral things and a pass to get in. The cost of this package is pretty outrageous, 300 bucks. Currently the figures are selling for about 40 a pop on eBay, so even if I decide to keep some I’ll make my money back if those prices hold out. Still, I’m not the type of person to easily drop a couple hundred in a shot and feel comfortable about the decision.
Oh and in order to get the “A Real American Hero Package” I also joined the club, so that’s an added expense. I’ve been a member of the club before and you get a “free” figure for the membership and some newsletters, so that wasn’t a bad deal in my opinion.
There’s a general admission to the International G.I. Joe Con too, but you don’t get any of the exclusive stuff included. You also don’t get a lanyard and a badge with your name on it, you’re treated like cattle and get a stamp on your hand. Plebeians!
There was a lot of neat custom stuff on display and I’ll be posting that in the near future. The most impressive to me was the life size wearable SNAKE Armor that was made by Jon Cremeans. I guess he makes all kinds of cool armor and such if you want to make your own G.I. Joe costume. I’d link to his site, but it doesn’t appear to be online, even though its on his business card. Mysterious!
There were a nice selection of panels, many that I was interested in, though I only attended one. It was a look into the world of the UK incarnation of what became G.I. Joe, Action Force. It was very informative and entertaining.
Perhaps the biggest reason to go to the G.I. Joe con is to meet other G.I. Joe fans that you might know from the interwebs. I met about six or seven folks that I regularly converse with on Twitter and they were all really cool folks. I’d give them all shout outs here, but I’m too lazy and you don’t care.
I also should have gone to the con in costume. I missed out on not wearing my “Billy in Storm Shadow outfit”, but with cons you usually need a “handler” to hold your bag when people want to take pics and since I thought I was going to be alone most of the time I nixed the idea. Maybe next time!
I was excited to pick up a 3D Joes poster on day one, which I’ll hopefully write more about in the future.
The most disappointing part of the trip was that I wanted to get a comic signed by Larry Hama (father of G.I. Joe characterizations and back story) and voice actors from the Sunbow G.I. Joe cartoon, Bill Ratner (Flint) and Mary McDonald-Lewis (Lady Jaye). While I got their autographs on Friday, I forgot the comic at the hotel Saturday, so I missed out on Larry Hama’s autograph. Ugh! Hopefully we will cross paths in the future someday. Oh and Ratner and McDonald-Lewis are some of the most affable people I’ve ever met.
I think a big problem for me is that I only really attended the con show room and didn’t go to any extra events like the movie screening of Retaliation or the “Casino Night.” I had to go home after the showroom closed in order to do homework.
In essence, the con for me was mostly a giant store full of many things I want but couldn’t afford. That’s still awesome, but not as awesome as it could have been.
If you’re a G.I. Joe fan, I’d recommend going to an International G.I. Joe Convention especially if you live in driving distance of one. If you’re a more casual fan, you might not be worth a flight.
Score: 2 out of 3 Thumbs
Bonus Review: In order to maximize savings I stayed at an Econo Lodge near the airport. The WiFi was broken and the Ice Machine was also broken the whole weekend. Combine that with drunks running around the halls yelling at 1 am on Saturday night, I’m not going to be a repeat customer.
Score: 0 out of 3 Thumbs