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Tuesday, June 18 2013 12:51

SDCC 13: G.I. JOE and the TRANSFORMERS from HASBRO... plus a thrill that kids today will never know...

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HASBRO's G.I. JOE and TRANSFORMERS lines are legendary. For a kid like me (I'm 36), the combined punch of the original animated series' and the seemingly never-ending stream of new toys made a major impact. Throw in a third factor - the monthly comic books published by MARVEL - and the adventure was truly a transmedia experience before "transmedia" was even a word. With no VOD, DVD, BD or even VHS (for us), the troops of COBRA and 'JOE would find their battles fought regularly via imagination, with our backyard swingset (the old "T" shaped variety) standing in for G.I. JOE headquarters and Cobra's TERROR DROME. Occasionally, there would be crossovers... with representatives of the Autobots and Decepticons joining the skirmish (with an occasional STAR WARS figure, too).

tflithoIt took about 20 years, but eventually a sanctioned crossover between the two lines and four factions would take place. Hanging high above me in my Central Command Center office here at Rock Father HQ is a 2003 lithograph by Pat Lee that depicts the forces of COBRA and the Decepticons, united as one as they march toward Global Domination. 

Now, a full decade later... Hasbro is reuniting the mighty robots and their military counterparts once more, for the third (and final) installment of their G.I. JOE MEETS TRANSFORMERS collection of exclusive toys for the San Diego Comic-Con International. These SDCC 2013 Special Editions will be available at Booth #3329 when Comic-Con takes place from July 17-21. The big draw for me? The G.I. JOE SKYSTRIKER as Autobot JETFIRE.

Skystriker as Jetfire!

Allow me to explain the significance...

skystrikervintageI had the Skystriker Jet as a kid. In fact, I'd occasionally take it over to this kid Dennis' house to play, as he was the only kid I knew that actually had the MAMMOTH, 7ft+ U.S.S. FLAGG playset. It needed a full fleet of jets, and I was happy to help contribute. Great memories for sure, but still not the key to this tale...

The real gem here is JETFIRE - a heroic Autobot that led me to an experience that kids today will just never know. The anticipation brought on by actually having to wait for something that you really want.

jetfirevintageI don't remember how much JETFIRE cost at the time (probably $40-$50 I'd imagine), but it seemed like a lot. I was about nine when he came out, and I had to save my money from special occasions and allowance to add him to my collection. When I had enough, we made the trek to SERVICE MERCHANDISE in Homewood, Illinois (the long-gone Washington Square Mall) to place an order. Yep, these were the days when the best toys came from a catalog, and JETFIRE was no exception. A week or two later, we went back to Service Merchandise and stood there waiting in the pick-up department as JETFIRE made his way down a long conveyor belt and up to the counter, neatly wrapped in brown paper. Kids today will never know that experience, and while online ordering and the urge to "have it now" is the norm, I think the anticipation made it even more worthwhile. And JETFIRE was built like a tank - he was heavy metal before I listened to heavy metal, and I still remember clipping in his silver, diecast landing gear. I think that toy was also my favorite because I earned it. A JETFIRE recently popped up on an episode of TOY HUNTER, and is worth a small fortune. Sadly, mine has probably been circulating on the secondary market for the past 20+ years.

So how about these SDCC exclusives? Truly TOYS THAT ROCK...

G.I. JOE meets TRANSFORMERS 2013:

GI JOE meets TRANSFORMERS 2013G.I. JOE SKYSTRIKER VEHICLE WITH JETFIRE DECO AND V.A.M.P. WITH AUTOBOT HOUND DECO AND 3.75-Inch SNAKE EYES & BARONESS & DECEPTICON BLUDGEON Special Edition Pack
(Approximate Retail Price: $99.99; Ages: 4 & up; Available through HasbroToyShop.com, Booth #3329 at Comic-Con International in San Diego). 

The third and final installment of G.I. JOE meets the TRANSFORMERS 2013 SDCC special edition toys! The fan-favorite line goes out in grand style, with two iconic G.I. JOE vehicles—the SKYSTRIKER Jet and the V.A.M.P. Ground Transport—given AUTOBOT decos as the heroic JETFIRE and AUTOBOT HOUND! The set also comes with a 3.75-inch BARONESS action figure with a special edition RAVAGE robotic panther, a 3.75-inch SNAKE EYES figure with special edition AUTOBOT deco and a 3.75-inch figure based on DECEPTICON BLUDGEON. Additionally, the set includes a small boom box with three cassette tapes—better known to TRANSFORMERS fans as the classic alt-mode of AUTOBOT BLASTER along with his AUTOBOT CASSETTES.

Figures and vehicles do not convert. Following the convention, a limited number will be available on HasbroToyShop.com. Yo, Joe AND Roll Out!

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Anyone headed to SDCC this year? If so, is this on your shopping list? And... will you be playing with these with your kids?

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James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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