Unfortunately for us in the fandom, we are entering the deep, miserable, sweltering desert of our own discontent. No new product for years now has hit retail shelves, with none on the horizon. We have promises of a film that will presumably be both supported by a toy line and include a much-needed reboot as part of the launch of a new cinematic "Hasbroverse". However, plans may change as they often do, yet that apparently hasn't stopped Hasbro from finding reason to discontinue the license of the GI Joe Collector's club from producing the handful of exclusive figures a year, mostly pulling material from the obscure parts of Joe lore that would never cross paths with what Hasbro is likely to do with the property.
-By the way, I'm calling it now: the film will be delayed, cancelled or GI Joe will be a very small part of it, making way for more marketable things. In the end there would have been no valid reason for Hasbro to discontinue its relationship with the GIJCC, and many of the fans who currently disparage the Club will eventually mourn its loss. While in the grand scope of things this will hardly be a case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory given these figures appeal mostly to a dwindling number of gen X'ers, I still don't see how there is absolutely any reason why the Club has to become attrition in Hasbro's attempt to revitalize the brand, even if the new film becomes a resounding success.
So that is the bad news. The good news is that there are those who are trying to keep interest and enjoyment in GI Joe alive, and right now there is no one so committed and successful in this than the guys over at GI Joburg.
Based out of South Africa, of all curious places; Steve, Rob, and Paul are the local talent assisted by an American known as 'Kujo'. They don't put out tons of content and commit themselves to an irregular schedule, but what they do put out is highly original and fun to watch. Steve is the face of the channel. He puts his cheery and goofy enthusiasm to great effect conducting reviews of the various odds and ends of Joedom. This in fact seems to be their specialty: the less loved and appreciated toys that came out later in the line. The guys of GI Joeburg are apparently part of the late ARAH and post-ARAH wave of fans who grew up during the age of neon.
As for their "reviews", they are very unconventional. Rather than have a static boilerplate complete with typical product shots and a grade at the end, they take the toy out into the wild and play the heck out of it, all the while musing about its good points, bad points, and where the character or vehicle fits into it all in the grand scheme of things, all in a reasonably well produced Youtube video. It is very thought provoking and has taught me a lot about how to do reviews (IE: If you are doing reviews joylessly, then you are doing them wrong).
Please go to their channel and watch this and you'll see what I mean.
I'm pretty certain this thing rot hopelessly on shelves, but Joburg managed to launch this up the desirability scale. Steve, Rob, Paul, and Mr. Kujo are, like, the ultimate peg-warmer salesmen. This video, I might add, is very timely for us in the northern hemisphere. We are shown pools and ocean beaches on a warm, sunny summer day in Africa, while we have to look on jealously here in the bitter cold (its been hovering around 0°F to -18°C here in the upper Midwest these last few days).
Anyway, enjoy their channel for an experience in very nostalgia rich content and escape from a dreary winter.
GI Joburg has made a goal of coming to what may be the last Joeconn in Chattanooga, Tennessee later in 2018. I'm sure if they get there they'll find a way to entertain us with their unique style of programming. They have a GO-FUND-ME page located here if you would care to donate.
GI JOBURG GO FUNDME