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The Gijoe Collectors Convention

Author Frank Patz

The Gijoe Collectors Convention

If you know me, you know I have been a toy Collector all my life. My all time favorite toy line is the "GiJoe A real American hero" line that came out in 1982. I can even remember the day my mother took me to "Woolworths" and I saw my first 3/34 inch GiJoe figure. Since that day, I have always been a GiJoe fan. I had many of the toys of the late 70's and early 80's, like the 12 inch "Adventure Team" GiJoe, Mego's, Big Jim, Stretch Armstrong, etc, but nothing captured my attention like my 3/34 GiJoe figures.

I have heard of the GiJoe Conventions for a few years now, but for some reason never had a chance to attend one of them. This year I heard they were going to be in Atlanta where my best friend and Eternal Collector Board Moderator Gary (Salacious Cray) lives, so I decided to take the trek and check it out.

Let me tell you one thing... If you are a GiJoe fan, this IS the Convention to go to.

The Official GiJoe Convention has been going on for about 15 years now. It is sponsored by Hasbro and run by long time GIJoe fan Brian Savage. The Convention is not huge, like the San Diego Comic Con, but what makes this Convention special is the fans.

Everyone here LOVES GiJoe!

Whether it be the classic 12 inch line, the Real American Hero line, the Sigma Six line or even fans of military toys in general, everyone has something in common here. That really is the magic of this Con. You see, at most conventions you have a lot of different things going on: you have your movie section, Action figure section, Comic Book section, Movie Actor section, Pin-Up Girl section, etc... Here, everything is GiJoe!! Thats it!! And you know what, we love it that way!

The Convention was held at the beautiful Marriott Marquis Hotel in Downtown Atlanta. This contemporary Atlanta, GA hotel is steps from the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, and few blocks from the CNN Center, Georgia World Congress Center, Philips Arena, and Georgia Dome. The Convention itself was very well run, with no long waits or annoying crowds. While it did get pretty packed on Saturday, everyone was friendly and respected one another.

The part of the convention I was most looking forward to was the "Parachute drop". This has become an annual tradition at the GiJoe Con. It is where the convention attendees get a bunch of GiJoe figures equipped with parachutes, and drop them from the roof of the hotel. The Atlanta Marriott Marquis is a Huge 50-story Convention Hotel with a 500 ft high Atrium, so it really was the ideal place to hold the "Drop". I literally went from the airport to the convention in order to see this and it was amazing! Over 300 figures were released and traveled more than 47 floors to the bottom of the Hotel. Trust me, the pictures and video do not do this justice. It is something you have to see in person. It was truly amazing to see and I am glad I made it in time.

There were also a lot of different events going on: For instance, you had all types of interesting panels going on at different times during the day. There were panels on customizing, panels on the history of the GiJoe toys, panels on the future of the GiJoe property (with Hasbro employees participating). There was a GIJoe film festival where fans bring their homemade gijoe movies.

You had the Diorama room, which was awesome! There were many great submissions from some very talented GiJoe fans. My favorite was the "Return to the Boiling Lagoon"! Hasbro had a huge presence there showing off the latest additions to their "25th Anniversary Real American Hero" line. There was also, which I thought was great, a room for children with free GiJoe toys to play with and a room with radio controlled vehicles and an obstacle course!

They had Professional Wrestling Legend, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper signing autographs and even had a Convention exclusive figure made up for him. They also had, one of the biggest influences on the GiJoe Real American Hero line, Larry Hama signing autographs as well.

Then there was the vendor room, which was FULL of all different kinds of GiJoe toys (new and vintage). And Parts!! If you needed any kind of part for any kind of GIJoe figure or vehicle you could sure find it here. That was one of my favorite parts of this Convention; the vendors know their stuff. Just ask any of them for a certain boot or gun or article of clothing from any figure and they will have an answer for you. For example, I have always wanted a 12 inch GiJoe deep sea Diver. I found one vendor that sold the suit, then I checked around and found another who had the helmet, then another had the belt, boots, and octopus. All the pieces were relatively inexpensive and it was fun searching around looking for the parts! There is also a TON of cool things to spend your money on. Parts, accessories, anything you can imagine! I spent A LOT more than I planned, but don't we always?

It really is a great Convention and I will certainly be going to the next one. Seeing grown men walking around with their sons and introducing them to something that is a huge part of their childhood was great to see. I had a great time and we here at Eternal Collector HIGHLY recommend the GiJoe Convention! You can see more photos here: http://www.mastercollector.com/neat/gijoe/atlanta/index.cfm

I will certainly talk to the Hasbro employees about bringing one of these cons here to NY.

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by Frank