Hey, Southern California toy collectors! Next week, Sunday May 5th is the 4th SoCal Joe Show and Toy Convention! And this time, we Toy Wizards are going as guests!
We covered the show last season on Toy Wizard’s sister site, PopLurker, and it was a lot of fun then. Between interviews with G.I. Joe comic cover artist Jay Sullivan, G.I. Joe cartoon writer Buzz Dixon, and scoping out all of the toys, there was no shortage of cool stuff to see.
But for this season’s show, the 4 Joe Men are turning the volume up. Along with amazing returning guests, Morgan Lofting (the voice of Baroness in the original G.I. Joe cartoon) will be at the show as a guest, too.
But the highlight of the show for many of us out there are of course, the toys! We got together with showrunner Eben Foster to chat about the show and some of the exclusives the guys have coming. We’ll see you at the SoCal Joe Show and Toy Convention Sunday, May 5th 2019 at Pins N’ Pockets in Lake Elsinore, California!
Hey Eben! Thank you so much for the interview. You know the Toy Wizards are super excited to be guests at this season’s SoCal Joe Show. So, introduce yourself to Toy Wizards readers and tell us a little about the SoCal Joe Show’s history.
My name is Eben Foster and I’m one of the 4 Joe Men. The group started the in June of 2017 and includes Ron Austin, Robert Lemoine, Drew Hagerty, and of course, myself. The reason we started the group was because the G.I. Joe show in Burbank, California dissolved– therefore, we decided (as a group) to start another show. Another group, The Joe Club, was shutting down in 2018, so we specifically wanted to start a show that had it’s own show exclusives. As of now, we do two shows per year, one in December and one in May.
How long have you been offering exclusives at the show? Can you tell us about the last show’s exclusives and who made them?
We have been doing exclusives since day one. We try and do one modern carded figure, and we also do an o-ring figure. We also have exclusive patches, and this show we will have a couple more small exclusive items that will be given to each person that buys a carded figure and a boxed vehicle.
Tell us about this season’s Joe Show. How did you decide on your guests?
This show will be in a new location (much larger) and for the first time, we will have a boxed vehicle exclusive. Also, this show will have nine special guests which includes G.I. Joe voice actors Morgan Lofting, Hank Garrett, and Will Ryan. Famed G.I. Joe cartoon writer Buzz Dixon is returning for the second time. Plus, we will have artist Jay Sullivan, and many more.
We have to know about your toy exclusives! Who is making them?
All the modern figures are custom made by David Miller, and all the art work is done by Scott Kruger. The o-ring figures we get done by RedLasersArmy, and all the artwork also done by Scott Kruger. The vehicles, again our first time doing them as an exclusive, were made by Robert Lemoine with all art work again done by Scott Kruger. This year’s show we had patches and another item made (a surprise piece which will be announced at the show) by War Machine Marketing.
What is your personal history with GI Joe and toy collecting? What items in your collection are most important to you, most expensive or rare, and what grail items are you still after?
I have been collecting G.I. Joe since 1987 and have been going strong ever since! My favorite item I have is my Night Ray– my buddy Danny Solor sold it to me about five years ago and I just love it. As for my most expensive/rare G.I. Joe item…it’s got to be the modern 2011 JoeCon box set. Then, my most expensive/rare o-ring is my 1997 Black Rock n Roll box set.
How did you meet the other Joe Men? Are you all toy collectors?
It all comes down to the hobby– we are all toy collectors that mainly go after G.I. Joe. I first met Drew in 2009 when he lived in San Diego and bought some figures from him. Around the same time, I met Robert randomly in an online group meetup. But we didn’t become good friends until around 2013 at the JoeCon. Ron I met through eBay, of all places. I was selling a G.I. Joe item and he was in Temecula, super close, so we met up and have been friends ever sense. That was around 2011 when Ron and I met. Ron collects both 12″ Joe figures and the 3 3/4 inch Joe’s, while the rest of us mainly collect the 3 3/4 inch line.
What is your expected attendance for this show? What have you done to make sure the show grows?
The last shows we have done have generated 150 paying attendees, in addition to 40+ vendors and helpers, and 50+ kids (Remember, 10 and younger are free!). Our former venue was 2100 square feet, and held about 150 people so therefore, we ran out of room. The size was definitely a limitation, so we’re expanding the show to a larger space that can ensure we can continue our growth. Now, we can support double the amount of exhibitors and vendors, plus an expanded number of guests. Also this location, Pins N’ Pockets, has a pool, bowling, laser tag, arcade, food and bar. My goal is to get a group for after the show and all do a Joe vs. Cobra laser tag.
What is your future vision for SoCal Joe Show?
The future of the show could see some exciting changes, but that will be announced in the coming months before the next show, which takes place December 1st, 2019. We plan to keep the current location, and we plan to book more special guests!
If you could have any dream guest there, who would it be?
I would love to get Sgt. Slaughter to the show! He is a great guest and has done JoeCon before and San Diego Comic Con. He is seriously always fantastic–he’s very easy to talk to and great with kids. Another guest I would want is Charlie Adler, who voiced my favorite G.I. Joe character, Low-Light.
If you could ask or tell the powers at Hasbro one thing about GI Joe one thing, what would it be?
I would tell Hasbro to please sell the license and have someone make the toys, for the love of god. Or, have Hasbro just start making G.I. Joe toys again, but I doubt that will happen. With no G.I. Joe Club and nothing at retail, this is an enthusiastic fandom and collecting community we have no new toys. I am hoping maybe at San Diego Comic Con we get a surprise, but at this point I am not too confident we will get anything.
SoCal Joe Show Exclusives and Guests Image Gallery:
4th SoCal Joe Show & Toy Convention
Location: Pins ‘n Pockets 32250 Mission Trl, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530
Times: 8am – 10am early bird / 10am – 3pm general admission
Attendee Prices: Early bird: $10 / General Admission: $5 (Children 10 younger Free)
SoCal Joe Show Guest Gallery: