Q. What happens when an irrelevant and decaying website sticks their neck out on social media with a tone-deaf message?
A. A lot of laughs!
Recently the Yo Joe! facebook group decided to make a comment in regards to how they think that mean old Black Major is causing collectors to have just an awful fit because by jove they can’t tell if the bright green and blue Snake Eyes is actually from the 1980s or not!
Now there’s a few things about that, that really causes my hair to hurt.
The first is the timing of this. The Black Major has been making these for a dozen years, you think that maybe this comment should’ve come out in perhaps 2009? Why now?
Another issue in regards to this, is the fact that Yo Joe! is theoretically an archive website, dedicated to information on G.I. Joe from the 80s, 90s and beyond! If they’re so concerned about the well being of collectors, perhaps they should’ve archived Black Major (as well as Red Laser, Letal, and those Early Factory Customs!). It could’ve been in a separate section in the “Collectibles Archive” or what not. Each page could’ve had enough basic information on how to discern the differences between the Factory Customs and Official Releases. To actually protect collectors they could’ve had a link to the appropriate Factory Custom’s page on the Vintage figure’s page. Much the same way they did International variants.
Honestly a small blurb saying “In 2016 enterprising collectors offered a similar figure to 1987 Starduster, however there are some differences etc.” and a link. Honestly Yo Joe! had set a precedent for that kind of thing when they did a heads up on the Hooded COBRA Commander page to let people know the figure was available for 10 years, and wasn’t rare. This is the type of thing that, would’ve allowed Yo Joe! to remain much more visible, and relevant in the days of collector’s books and google.
In actuality the “repros vs. originals” was a cleverly worded way to distract from the fact it appeared to be more of a personal beef between certain members of the G.I. Joe fanbase, whom have a lot invested in being the G.I. Joe country club, and The Black Major.
G.I. Joe fandumb, has often placed members of the community on pedestals, for handing out crumbs of information about the background or production aspects of G.I. Joe. This is a thing that has led to a lot of knowledge not being commonly shared throughout the community, as well some of it being Stalinized, so that we’re at a point in which nobody has access to some of it, and goddamnit if you share it, there’s a pox on your house.
This type of behaviour is actually the type of thing that makes the existence of Yo Joe! so endearing to me, as it wouldn’t have gotten off the ground even as early as 2001. I’m sure we all have vague memories of failed attempts at doing another archive, like “The Joe Index” or the fact HISS TANK of all websites couldn’t get one set up, when they tried and that’s when they RAN the community.
The Black Major (who I will readily admit, I like the guy personally), is a threat to these types of collectors. TBM doesn’t really kowtow to pressure, as he for the most part makes either what he wants or what will sell. While the dude has made numerous figures that clearly aren’t 1984 Storm Shadows, but are the same design in white, it does some damage to the secondary market value of the high ticket vintage figures. There are people in the G.I. Joe community who are sitting on TONS of vintage figures they purchased cheaply in the last 20+ years. So when someone like the Black Major, who they can’t control, exists, you have collectors pearl clutching their Investments, because the ability to make 70 dollars on a Zap is a bubble that could burst.
What also isn’t really being verbalized in some of the community backlash to Yo Joe!’s attempt at pushing this opinion (Most of which was deleted from their Facebook post, because nobody can disagree), is the fact that there’s other Factory Custom producers, who did some stuff that was far more egregious in terms of the possibilities for being passed off as “originals”. A little nail polish remover and you’ve got a 1983 Snake Eyes v 1.5 waist.
The thing I found most embarrassing and unfortunate about the whole thing, was these people’s willingness to slit the throat of the only thing that’s not moving at a glacial pace, and the only thing that’s actually traditional G.I. Joe construction, in the G.I. Joe community. Yo Joe! tagged Hasbro in their Facebook blast, with the suggestion that Hasbro “Looks into preventing these items from being brought in from China”.
This is a very concerning action, to me. This is a thing that not only is trying to strangle a producer, this is a thing that could potentially put the average collector, that Yo Joe is seemingly so concerned about, into a bind, because if this threat was to come true, how are people that have pre-ordered things, supposed to get their money back?