Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Angry Joe Day Photo Contest Winners!

Well, it's the moment you've all been waiting for, the winners of the Angry Joe Day photo contest! As I said, this was just heck to judge, and many worthy entries were cut in the selection.

There were simply so many good entries, that I had to make some kind of major cut, so my first determination was theme. Did it address the themes of the contest: the loss of GI Joe, wondering what happened to cause his retirement, wondering what has happened to him since, and how he might return? That was a nasty cut, as it made me throw out some simply wonderful pictures, technically great photography, wonderful customs, and some pretty good humor. But ultimately, this had to be about theme for the contest to be meaningful, so some nice stuff went out the door.

Next, I determined to spread the prizes around as much as possible. That meant one prize per customer. There were several people with multiple entries who might otherwise have been in the running for prizes more than once. But as soon as I found one entry by a person I liked more than the others, out went the rest.

That still didn't trim things down enough, so I had to make some tough calls. Did I make the right choices? Heck, I don't know. Probably not, but somebody had to win!

Finally, I had some help on judging with the donated prizes. Sean Huxter picked the winner for his Target Talking Sailor, and Murray Corrigan provided a list of his favorites (with far more than two selections). I compared Murray's list with mine and applied his prizes to one choice that was totally different than mine (but that I still liked) and two one of two others that were close-calls on my list. I had two that I liked equally well, and Murray liked only one of them, so it was all good! My prize went to one, and Murray's to the other.

So, with no further delay, let's get onto the winners!

First, the "It isn't a photo and he didn't draw it but I darned-well like it anyway award" goes to OmarS for "GI Joe Saves the Leopard."

As you'll recall, Omar did this with an on-line applet for creating game characters called HeroMachine V.2.0. Think of it as virtual kitbashing. Before judging, I went over and spent some time playing with this thing,k and decided that never in a hundred years would I have come up with this perfect little piece of Adventure Team art.

This could have come from a "lost" Adventure Team comic ad back in the 70s. It's easy to imagine the set and its contents. One wonders what the strange lines radiating from Joe's head are? My speculation: The Adventure Team had a chrome-plated super-hero and an Atomic Man. Why not cash in on the other 70s craze, psychic powers? Maybe telepathic Joe could talk to the animals. A hidden mechanism in Joe's chest would emit an echoing growl to indicate when he was communicating with the beasts.

Ah, the things that could have been!

For his creativity, Omar wins a signed copy of my novel, Mechwarrior, Fortress of Lies. Thanks for entering, Omar!

Though it wasn't my intent, it's just inevitable that some Sigma 6 guys were going to have to take it on the chin in some of the entries. The irony of course is that, in order for these people to bash Sigma 6, they first had to buy Sigma 6! Keep in mind that the spirit of this contest is all in fun. I wish Hasbro well with the Sigma 6 line. I just want my classic GI Joe as well!

Well, as I said, we got some, and they were pretty funny. This one just sucked me right in. We now present the first ever "Barbarian Owie Award" goes to John Romano for this toasty little item:

John is the winner of a signed set of my "Age of Conan" trilogy, "Anok, Heretic of Stygia." Thanks for the laugh, Joe. It's the "I love my job!" that makes it.

By the way, looking at this again, I wonder if John actually bought a Sigma 6 Duke, or if he just took a piece of clip-art and Photoshopped it in? John, you sneaky devil!

As I said, theme was a very important consideration in my choices, and it shows up strongly here. The first every (and maybe only ever) "He's Dead Jim," award goes SailorDude for Joe's Funeral!

What do I like about this one? Oh, start a list. There's the wonderful visual pun of the "Coffin Box." There's the fact that the Joe in the box actually is one of the last one's released, and probably the most iconic of that last bunch. There's the crowd of onlookers, representing 1/6th figures from many manufacturers. There's the horrified reaction from Dragon Natalie, and the maniacal grin of Construction Jack (I still think he did it!). It's sad, it's funny, it's fun, it works on lots of levels, even if it's not the most intricate or kitbashed of the entries. I just like it.

SailorDude is the winner of a Valor vs. Venom Wild Bill, one of my favorite figures from this under-appreciated line. Thanks for entering!

Here's another winner that plays straight to theme, and straight to my funny-bone. What's poor Joe doing now that he's out of work and down on his luck? Several entries had interesting ideas, but I think this was one of the best. The "Pardon Me Mister, But Can You Spare A Dog-tag Award" goes to Justin O'Hogan for his "homeless Joe" series.

Justin wins a 10th Mountain Division GI Joe, whose backpack, canteen, knife and stocking cap will doubtless prove useful down at the hobo camp down by the railroad tracks. Thanks for entering, Justin!

Ah, poor Sigma 6, thy spirit of production-excellence seems to have failed you in this next entry. Once again, one of the new guys is in trouble, but this time, it seems certain somebody bought him just to loot his gear and throw him to the lions. Okay, not lions in this case. The first Corrigan Holster Award goes to Daniel Edwards for "Feedin' Time!"

Daniel wins a pair of fabulous Corrigan Holsters, made to order, sent directly from the master himself! Congrats, Daniel!

Next, our second Corrigan award goes to a winner that shouldn't be a huge surprise. You might suppose that Murray would have a special weakness for something with a western theme! Actually, it's plays well to my themes as well, so lets hear it for Blaine Jacobs" and his entry, "Old Joe Rides Away!"

You know what they say, if you have to go out, go out with style. Riding off into the sunset certainly is a classic. Blaine will be able to fix his riders up with a couple of custom-made holsters courtesy of Corrigan Holsters! Thanks, Blaine, and a huge thanks out to Murray for his excellent contributions.

Next up, another special guest award, this one presented by that most-excellent Joe, Sean Huxter. For his winner, Sean has chosen ScottE's "Angry Joe."

Keep in mind that this is an animated GIF file, which I can't directly host here, so you'll have to follow this link over to Joe World Online to see it in its full animated glory!

Scott is the winner of a Target-exclusive Talking Sailor sent directly from Sean. (Note to puny, Hasbro lawyers: all in good fun! Just a joke! Ha-ha! Aaaarrrrr!) Thanks for your entries, Scott, and a big thanks out to Sean Huxter for digging into his stash for the Talking Sailor.

Well, it's time for our final prize. This one was an early favorite of mine, and while many wonderful entries have arrived since, I just kept coming back to this one. It's about the theme. It's about the clever and original kitbashing. It's the great dialogue, and that goofy expression that sells it at the end. The "Ya Can Blow Me Down But Ya Can't Keep Me Down" award goes to David Eden for "Heah'’s whut the baoys down to th daock waz asayin."

David is, appropriately enough, the winner of a GI Joe Navy Dolphin Handler, pried from my reluctant fingers by your overwhelming response to the contest!

My apologies to all the great photos and contributors that didn't make the prize list. You're all winners o me. I'm trying to come up with some consolation prizes for the rest of you, so don't give up on your mailbox quite yet. I'll see what I can do for you.

Thanks to everyone who entered and made this the best Angry Joe Day ever! (Okay, so it's only the second one, but it's better than that other one by a mile!) Happy Angry Joe Day to you all!

Afterword: My apologies to John Romano. I've fixed it, but when I initially posted this, I had his name as "Joe Romano." Now, I know better than that, but as John said in his email pointing out my mistake, I probably had Joe on the brain while I was typing this post.

Of course it could also have been that I was thinking of a big car dealer in Eugene, Oregon, where I used to live, named Joe Romania. When I think of his name, I'm reminded of the annual "Tour of Homes" they had there.

Every year there were tours of high-end houses that had just been built. We'd go and admire the nice ones, but some of them we felt were ugly, poorly designed, and poorly built, made for people with more money than common sense. When we saw houses like this, we never failed to heckle, much to the builder's displeasure.

One year the biggest and most expensive house was one we didn't like much. The cabinetry cut-corners on the details, it was too big for the lot, had no privacy, and it was badly laid out. (There was a second-floor balcony overlooking the bed in the master bedroom! What they heck were they thinking with that one?).

So we laughed when we heard that Joe Romania had bought the house, and made jokes at his expense now and then. It kinda seemed like the kind of house a car-dealer with too-much-money should buy. So we remembered it the next year when some houses on the tour were on the street right behind the Joe Romania house. We ended up parking back there, and walking along his tall, back fence. Again, we joked about the house as we walked, and a turned to the fence and loudly said "hi, Joe Romania!"

From directly behind the fence a confused voice said, "hi."

My friends and I scrambled like spooked rabbits.

And that is my Joe Romania story.

Thanks, John. You're still a good Joe, whatever your name is.

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