Could The G.I. Joe "Ice Age" Be Closer Than We Think?
Millions of years ago, dinosaurs were the dominant species roaming planet Earth. They were king of the land. Life was good for Mr. T-rex, until one day fate would have a giant meteorite and global ice age that would soon drastically change the fate of the dinosaurs and the landscape of our planet. The planet would never be the same. This transition period in our history is quite the life lesson. What is here today, could very well be gone tomorrow. Like the dinosaurs, G.I. Joe fans may or may not be aware of the signs that times are changing right before their very eyes.
If the 1980's ARAH golden age were to be considered as the "king of the land" era of the franchise, then we might consider the neon colored figures final year of the line in 1994 as the meteorite comet that officially put the nail in the dinosaur coffin that would change the landscape for our beloved franchise. Then, just like 2.6 millions years ago, evolution would fall into place. Gone were the classic O-rings and here were the beginning of the modern anniversary figures of 2007. Similar to what percent of dinosaurs survived post meteorite, G.I. Joe continued to thrive and transition into a landscape that seemed to have a future.
Year after year, countless G.I. Joe fan sites posted daily on boards for years. Fans made sales and trades. They posted fun "who is your favorite G.I. Joe" character and "top 5 figures of fill in the blank year" threads that....gasp....actually got comments. Annual SDCC figures ,Joe Con exclusive reveals, and Hasbro's panel at New York Toy Fair were yearly "Super Bowl" kind of days for the fandom. Let's not forget the annual Hasbro Toy Shop "refreshathon" that came following SDCC weekend for collectors to try and grab that Slaughter Gate Sgt. Slaughter exclusive. Good times...no actually, fantastic times looking back now. I miss the day's when I actually got excited for the SDCC G.I. Joe exclusives. Sgt. Slaughter...Jinx...and Zarana were amazing figures that were high in demand that made me grin with joy as they arrived in the mail. What was last years SDCC G.I. Joe exclusive? Repaint vehicles and Zartan. Yes I actually like the Zartan figure and the repaint vehicles. When your walking through a desert and are dying of thirst, you will drink and appreciate any water that comes your way. That said, you can still taste the difference between some bottle ice cold premium water and some rain drops you collect from a tree leaf.
How about Hasbro's G.I. Joe reveal panel at the annual New York Toy Fair where all the toy companies get there time to show the world what is in store for their consumers? Sadly, G.I. Joe has been a no show for quite some time now. How about Fun Pub's yearly Joe Con and exclusive reveals? That answer may vary depending on who you ask. I for one, love the Club. From FSS to the yearly Joe Con exclusives, I am glad they exist. Sometimes they hit a home run ( Oktober Guard set and Night Force set's come to mind), and sometimes they strike out ( this years Battle Force set), but I am glad we still have someone going to bat for the franchise....for now anyway. It has been no secret that there is something going on behind closed doors with Hasbro and Fun Pub. What we know so far is that Fun Pub no longer has the Transformers license to have a club anymore. We thought the same fate would include our beloved G.I. Joe franchise. Thankfully, Hasbro granted Fun Pub a two year extension while Hasbro continued to move forward with their own Hascon convention plans. What I find interesting about that, is why not give the Transformers Club a two year extension as well? My hope is that Hasbro and Fun Pub are actually using that two year extension as a place holder while a more long term contract is finalized for Fun Pub to continue going to bat for G.I. Joe product post 2018. Then again, we could be looking at a ice age sooner than we fear.
With Hasbro's phone it in retail repaint lines the past few years using cheaper parts that have figures actually breaking as they are opened out of packaging to G.I. Joe 3 pretty much dead in the water, the future of G.I. Joe isn't too bright that we have to wear shades. Add the fact that we haven't had a cartoon series since the 2011 Renegades or the 2009 Resolute series, there frankly isn't any media to gain new interest from todays generation of kids. Sure , there is Hasbro's cinematic universe in the works, but who knows just how much G.I. Joe will play a role in that universe or how much of a success it would be. Between what little selection of modern characters are left to put out via Fun Pub FSS, Con Sets, SDCC exclusives, and whatever repaint 3-packs Hasbro may or may not have lined up for retail, there sadly isn't much left in the tank to give us. We have just about got a modern figure for every character in the G.I. Joe universe.
So what's next?
That is the million dollar question. My guess? 50/50 odds that Hasbro renews Fun Pubs contract with the G.I. Joe brand to continue to give the community figures to look forward to. 50/50 odds that Hasbro truly has something fresh and exciting in store for us. Perhaps a 6 inch ARAH line reboot similar to the success of the 6 inch Star Wars Black Series. Maybe the new upcoming G.I. Joe cinematic universe is a huge hit that brings us more movie line figures and a animated spin off series with their own figure line as well?
Or....maybe it's time to grab plenty of firewood, some hot co-co, blankets and mittens. We could be in store for a long, long, long ice age where G.I. Joe becomes a fossil in our history books.