Collector's Marketplace Hosting G.I. Joe-Themed Art Show in Central Phoenix
Danny Neumann Sarge & Fridge and the USS Midway
During their heyday of the 1980s, the forces of G.I. Joe tirelessly traveled around the globe defeating the evil world-conquering schemes of terrorist organization Cobra both in the animated episodes of their epic cartoon and Marvel comic book.
This Saturday, however, these Real American Heroes embark on a different sort of mission altogether -- starring in their own art show. Local toy geek Grey Rogers, who operates the niche shop G.I. Joe vs. Transformers inside CenPho nerd haven Arizona Collectors Marketplace, is putting on the exhibition, which celebrates the long-running toy line, animated show, and comic.
The 32-year-old, a onetime army brat who religiously watched the '80s cartoon and collected its multitude of militaristic action figures and vehicles, told Jackalope Ranch that his lifelong love of all things G.I. Joe related -- as well as Hasbo's Transformers (hence the name of his shop) -- is what prompted him to hold the event.
It's also loosely tied into the next weekend's premiere of the latest live action movie from the franchise G.I. Joe: Retaliation starring Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
"We grew up with this stuff and it obviously made such an impression with people from that era that it lives on and they keep revamping it for new generations," Rogers says. "That was my impetus for doing the store. And I've wanted to do sort of cultural event like this for a awhile now."
Although G.I. Joe dates back to the early 1960, when Hasbro marketed the original 12-inch-tall "movable fighting man" dolls to boys, the art show will largely focus on the vastly popular "Real American Hero" toy line and its various media and ephemera.
Courtesy of Grey Rogers A depiction of Destro by local illustrator Matthew Molleur
Rogers enlisted several Valley artists who create works featuring the heroes G.I. Joe and the vile villains of Cobra for the exhibition, including "everything from photography to paintings," as well as some rare ephemera from Joe history.
One of the highlights, Rogers says, are the pictures created by lensman and graphic designer Danny Neumann, a writer for the website Action Figure Insider whose series of shots depicting plastic toys and dolls in comedic and meaningful poses was featured at eye lounge last fall.
"His forte is photographing toys in interesting locations and poses," Rogers says. "So he did a series with G.I. Joe figures on location doing what they should be doing in a witty way, you could say."
Illustrator and painters like Matthew Molleur (who frequently conjures up works starring characters from G.I. Joe and other '80s childhood favorites like Optimus Prime) and James Hiralez, and Ellison Keomaka (whose fantastic mural of retro movie icons adorns the Collectors Marketplace) will also show of original works and sell prints.