Canadian G.I. Joe Convention: Decommissioned

Last week sad news was released in regards to G.I. Joe (especially for Canadians): the Canadian G.I. Joe Convention is officially retired. After 10 years, it is done.

2012 Canadian GI Joe Convention

2014 is a big year for G.I. Joe.  The franchise celebrates its 50th anniversary.  The first G.I. Joe figure appeared on store shelves in 1964 and was the toy that put Hasbro toys on the map.  During its 50 year history it has gone through many changes and incarnations.  It started off being a “war” toy, which changed size and shape in the 70’s and became an adventure toy.  Finally in the 80’s it was relaunched into it’s most popular version (and the version us from the last couple generations are more familiar with) the 3-3/4″ “fully poseable modern army figure”.

But last week sad news was released in regards to G.I. Joe (especially for Canadians): the Canadian G.I. Joe Convention is officially retired.  After 10 years, it is done.

Larry Hama and Ed Campbell Canadian GI Joe Convention
I met Larry Hama in 2010 at CanJoeCon

The last Canadian G.I. Joe Convention (CanJoeCon) was held in 2012.  Unfortunately there were some factors working against CanJoeCon which prevented it from being held in 2013.  The “Convention Exclusive Toy Set” helps fund the show.  The sets pay for the venue, advertising, special guests and other things that help put on the convention.  At one time Hasbro was able to help out CanJoeCon with supplying product to make the Con Sets, but in 2013 with the mismanagement of G.I. Joe Retaliation (and its eventual delay) there just wasn’t any figures available for CanJoeCon.

And according to Canadian JoeCon’s Facebook post (link above), it looks like Hasbro is unable/unwilling to help out CanJoeCon this year, which was one of the final nails in the coffin for the convention.

Canadian GI Joe Convention Robert Atkins
Artist Robert Atkins from CanJoeCon 2012

CanJoeCon began in 2002 in the basement of Bounty Hunter Toys in Hamilton and was an intimate gathering of G.I. Joe fans.  Over its 10 year history it grew into a full-fledged convention and moved from Hamilton to Toronto, and gained international notoriety.  The convention special guests have been some of the most influential people in the history of G.I. Joe.  Larry Hama (comics writer), Ron Rudat (Hasbro toy designer), Valentine DeLandro (artist),  Robert Atkins (artist), Zach Hoffman (voice actor), and Mark Bellomo were some of the guests to attend the show during its history.

2012 Canadian GI Joe Convention (4)

For me, CanJoeCon was my favourite convention.  I have loved G.I. Joe for most of my life.  There was something amazing about attending a show where everyone else there loved G.I. Joe just as much as I did.  I had so much fun talking to people about their collections, or what was their favourite toy from the line.  Since G.I. Joe has changed so many times over its 50 year history, everybody liked something different.  Some people only collected the toys from 1982 to 1987, other people liked the “Neon Mega Marines” from the mid 90’s.  Their stories and their passion made CanJoeCon an event I haven’t experienced at another show since.

I used the word “Decommissioned” in the title for this column, and I think that is the best term to describe what has happened to CanJoeCon.  Sure CanJoeCon is done, but someday in the future, when the time is right I can see it coming back.  I know the organizers love the show, and it pains them to decommission it, but if it does come back someday it will bigger and better than ever.

And I will be there.  Yo Joe!

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Ed Campbell
Ed Campbell is a collector of comics and action figures, primarily G.I. Joe. He is also a Cosplayer with Thor and Captain America as just a few of the characters in his arsenal. When not fulfilling his Comic Book Daily duties, he's "working for a living", volunteering his time for his local Fall Fair, and spending as much time with his family as possible. Use the links below to get in contact with him.
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3 Comments

  1. “it looks like Hasbro is unable/unwilling to help out CanJoeCon this year”. Shocking…sometimes I think Hasbro just wants to be done with this line.

  2. I think everybody reading this knows I am a huge G.I. Joe fan. It is one of my life passions, but even I am getting to the point that I just want Hasbro to do something with it. Either go full out and make the toy/movies/comics/whatever or just pull the plug and let it die.

    With the 50th anniversary this year, you’d think we’d hear something about a celebration for it. But nothing. Granted I haven’t done any investigative reporting on this, but you’d think we’d hear something on one competing websites. Nothing… besides a rumour that something may be announced at Toy Fair. But that is just rumour.

    It’s sad that G.I. Joe has gotten to this point. And this isn’t even the first time I’ve seen the line suffer and die off. I was a collector in the 90’s and I saw the line disappear back then. I was excited when it made a comeback with the 3-3/4″ 15th anniversary toys in 1997, then it’s “Hall of Fame” edition in the early 2000’s. But from there, there were highs and lows and the toy line never had focus until 2007 when the 25th anniversary figures came out. The 25th, and later 30th anniversary figures were beautifully sculpted and were amazing. The movies have disrupted the flow of amazing figures for G.I. Joe, and with that disruption I have no idea if the toys will ever get back on track again.

    It is a real shame.

  3. The people who ran the con, especially Mike, were total jerks. They were weird elitists and not friendly. They originally ran the con out of Hamilton where the rent for the hall was less than in Toronto. When they made the move to Toronto the final year, they didnt make enough money to support their costs. Way to blame Hasbro for their failure. At first, they used to put the entire exclusive box sets together as one item. Then, in Toronto the split some of the vehicles off so that you would have to attend a Thursday night dinner to get part of it and then you still had to wait in line at 5am to get the main boxed set. That means you would have to get a hotel instead of just driving in for the day. They took your ID and wrote it own when buying the boxed sets like you were some criminal, and maintained banned lists. They gave out wristbands for the con sets which made it so that the people who got there the earliest had to wait the longest in another line later to get their sets. They acted like total a holes on their website forum. No wonder the con wasnt continued. Hasbro is still helping Funpub with their con and New Jersey and other cons still run. Those folks pay for the cost of the figures they make instead of asking for Hasbro to give them free stuff. Canadian TFCon pays Hasbro to make limited runs of Transformers too. Really, dont believe everything these morons tell you.

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