Night Stalkers Commander (2007)
The GI Joe collectors convention. So much to say, so little time. The annual gathering of Joe collectors of all stripes is for me sometimes equal parts fun and frustration. Most of the frustration from being unable to attend each year, as well as the high cost of the exclusive figures and vehicles offered there. The price for admission to the event ranges around $300.00. That also nets you a set of the 15 exclusive box set of figures as well as one attendee only item (usually a small vehicle). Once at the con, the GI Joe Collectors Club also offers up two or three more exclusive figure sets, and one or two vehicles. Each of these usually run from $60 to $80. By the time you’re finished buying the exclusives, you’ve sunk close to $600.00. Add on the price of travel and a hotel stay, and it all adds up to a pretty expensive weekend to spend talking to other grown-ass men about little 4 inch pieces of plastic.
On to the fun. Where else can you spend three days talking to other grown-ass men about little 4 inch pieces of plastic? Well, without the ostracism of all the other normal folk around. Nowhere. The experience of a Joe convention is just great fun. Add to the mix the ability to go to the sales floor and pick up any old Joe items you can think of (and usually for great prices) as well as meeting Hasbro marketing and design team members, artists, writers and other fans, seeing an incredible amount of custom figures. Another nice thing to see is the interest from families, particularly the fathers and sons (and also daughters). As a new father, I would love to be able to share my interest with my son someday.
A big part of the fun for the convention for me is in seeing what the Collectors Club comes up with for the exclusives. There’s always a story and theme around them. In 2007, the theme was “Tanks for the Memories”, and it featured some new versions of old GI Joe team members, as well as some new Cobras. The new Cobra operatives in the set were the Night Stalkers, an all-female unit of hit and run covert operatives. This figure represents the leader of the group. It’s interesting for several reasons. First, female GI Joe characters are a pretty rare thing, and especially Cobras. Second, the amount of newly sculpted parts on the figure. Typically, these convention sets are made up of existing parts, sometimes with new heads or accessories. This figure not only has a new head and helmet, but also an entirely new torso.
Not content to throw female troopers in the mix, the Collectors Club wentone better toward appeasing its adult fan base by giving the troopers a backless uniform. Laced up like a corset no less. If you thought the Baroness had an S & M vibe going, these ladies take it a step further. I suppose such things are possible when your audience are primarily adult male collectors. Although, I don’t know how well this went over for the family collectors: “Dad, why do the lady Cobras uniforms look like that?” “Well son, when they go into battle, they need a way to, uh, stay cool and so they, uh, have the backs of their uniforms open to keep themselves, uh, cool and uh–hey, look over there, a ninja.”