One of the reasons I went to JoeLanta this year was that I was asked to be part of a roundtable discussion on the future of the 1/6 scale action figure hobby. Rather than try to explain it, why don’t you just watch it in its entirety?

In the above clip you will see JoeLanta organizers, David Lane, Buddy Finethy and Marten Jallad, plus Scott and Charlotte Beckmann, the moderators of The Trenches, one of the top GI Joe discussion forums on the web, and Pop Culture reporters Jon Waterhouse and Anthony Taylor. Joining in also were Greg Brown from Cotswold Collectibles, the hobby’s leading supplier, super fans Steve Charlton and E.J. “King of Swapapalooza.” They even let some guy named Rudy Panucci blather on a bit. There were also questions from the audience, including some from Dave Matteson and Alan Dawson.

It’s not until you see a four hundred foot tall peach that you realize how much they really look like a butt, and then you’re too intimidated to say anything about it.

My first GI Joe convention was just loads of fun. Even the drive down was pleasant. We stopped in Gaffney, South Carolina for lunch at a restaurant called “FATZ” (the food was great, but they needed an “R” in the middle of their name), and were somewhat startled by an enormous peach. I’m pretty sure it tried to follow us as we left.

Friday evening we settled in and I got to meet friends in person that I’ve known for a long time online. It was so cool to get to be in the same room with Scott Norris, Dave Matteson, Mark Otnes, and my fellow panelists. I literally met dozens of people who had only been names on my computer screen before.

Of course, I was so wired that I forgot to take photos with anybody. I think we were halfway back before I realized that. Now I really need to go back next year.

Just in case the panel isn’t your thing, here’s a JoeLanta dance video by Bambi, from Radio Cult.

I am working on a full-blown PopCult video report, but we shot so much stuff that it’ll be this weekend before I can get it edited and posted. In the meantime, here’s another short photo essay to hold you until then.

Another view of the hotle lobby. This will matter when the video is done.

Okay, I admit it. I was so wired that many of my photos came out blurry. But heck, I was in the presence of Bulletman AND Bulletbro!

It’s the Kenner Alien sodomizing Calisto, from the Major Matt Mason line. You don’t see that every day.

Custom figure of Bob Ross (photo by Melanie Larch)

You will read more about this in PopCult soon.

This is Larry Hama, the legendary writer of GI Joe comics, drawing Wulf The Barbarian for Lee Harrah, who did me the favor of picking up my mail while I was out of town. Larry and Melanie had fun talking about his role in Sondheim’s “Pacific Overtures” on Broadway.

This and the remaining photos are scenes from one of the dealers rooms. You may need a drool cup.

This dealer’s selection went for about fifteen feet in each direction beyond this picture.