1904261_10202380903755570_72663654_nWe are about two weeks away from JoeLanta, the toy convention devoted to the original action figure, the 12″ GI Joe. I am honored to be invited back as a panelist this year, and I’m even more excited that the convention has spread to two days and is sharing space with The Great Atlanta Toy Convention.

1186978_10151573367716433_173351616_nBoth shows come together on March 14 – 16, with them being open to the general public on Saturday and Sunday, March 15 and 16 at The Marriott Century Center, 2000 Century Blvd. NE, Atlanta. ¬†Admission is only six bucks a day, or ten for the weekend. That gets you into both shows. Toys of ALL SORTS will be available for purchase and/or oogling. That is if you aren’t springing for a “Commander’s Package” (which gets you all kinds of bonuses and perks, including a limited edition action figure and early access to the dealer rooms). Either way, it’s a bargain. This is going to be a toy collector’s nirvana.

There will also be panels on a variety of topics. Wrestling legends Scott Hall and Larry Zbyszko will talk about their careers. C. Martin Croker, the voice of Zorak on “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” will be on hand. Gi Joe writer/artist Larry Hama will be back. You can see the full line-up of guests on the website.

A very limited edition "Defender of Bulletman" will be sold at JoeLanta by Cotswold Collectibles

A very limited edition “Defender of Bulletman” will be sold at JoeLanta by Cotswold Collectibles

Last year was my first trip to JoeLanta, and was actually my first trip to a real GI Joe convention of any kind. After years of being unable to travel due to family commitments, I finally made arrangements to travel down South for the show and it was an absolute thrill.

There was an instant sense of family as I finally got to meet dozens of friends who had previously just been online buddies. The panels were great and the toys for sale were just phenomenal. The show was mostly devoted to the original GI Joe, but dealers also had a healthy assortment of the smaller guys from the 1980s, plus Transformers, space toys, GI Joe’s British “cousin,” Action Man, Johnny West and other “squee” inducing toys.

Short films starring GI Joe are one of the highlights of JoeLanta

Short films starring GI Joe are one of the highlights of JoeLanta. I’m really looking forward to Tim Weedn’s.

Last year I brought you video of the “State of the Hobby” panel as well as a twenty-minute-plus recap. This year we plan to bring you more of the panels, which will cover broader topics due to the Great Atlanta Toy Convention being with us. I also plan to film the parachute drop (it’s lovely staying at a hotel with a fifteen-floor lobby atrium and very indulgent management), the dioramas, the dealers tables and more.

Radio Cult

Radio Cult

I’m also hoping to capture some footage of Radio Cult for use on Radio Free Charleston and The RFC MINI SHOW. The idea is that we’ll have a ton of cool footage, presented in more easily-watched bite-sized segments.

Then I’ll blog about it all here until you have GI Joe coming out your ears!

Melanie and I are heading South a little early to take in a tour of one of the locations used in The Walking Dead, and you can be sure that we’re going to document that and bring it to you here in PopCult as well.

It is a real honor to be invited back, and I want to thank Buddy Finethy, David Lane, the rest of the JoeLanta gang and the Cody Lane Foundation for extending the invitation again.

If you are interested in making the trip, it’s not too late. You can check out the websites for JoeLanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention for directions and details on hotel discounts, and with any luck, maybe you’ll see us there. Meanwhile, check out our coverage of last year’s show…