Just a couple of months ago I stumbled across the website for the Augusta Toy and Comic Show.
I was planning a trip to Wilmington, North Carolina to see my family and just happened to notice something about this convention on Facebook. I thought “Hmmm, June” and then I thought “Oh – Augusta” and checked the dates just to see if anything lined up. Sure enough, this show takes place the weekend we were going to be leaving for Wilmington. And Augusta, if you don’t know, is in between Atlanta and Wilmington.
Years ago we would incorporate Heroes Con into our Wilmington trips even though Charlotte is significantly less in between Atlanta and Wilmington. It added a fun little family interlude into a larger vacation. It’s like getting two vacations in one – one with family and one with fun dork stuff.
We got a little burned out on Heroes last time and have skipped the past couple of years, but a toy and comic show – partnered with a GI Joe show, no less – seems like just the thing to add on to this year’s trip.
This con boasts a unique collection of guests alongside the kinds of vendors, sellers, and creators you just won’t find at your local antique mall. If you’ve got that figure collecting itch, the Augusta Toy and Comic Show seems like the place to scratch it.
For years I have been casually looking to fill holes in my various vintage toy collections – Inhumanoids, Hasbro WWF, 2002 Masters of the Universe, Battle Beasts – but it’s rare to find dealers that have good selections of such things. As more and more cons become dominated by Funko’s Pops, it gets harder and harder to find stuff that’s actually cool and worth getting excited about.
Note: Seriously. What the heck is up with these people bringing Pops to conventions? I can buy those literally anywhere on the planet. I think my doctor’s office sells Pops now.
While I’m sure there will be a healthy supply of Pops on hand in Augusta, all signs point to this being a singularly good toy market. I’ve got my lists ready and my funds set aside in my R2-D2 bank.
With over fifty-five vendors – including Outer Rim Toys, ROMA Collectibles, 80s Toys of Princeton, The Toy Department (as seen on Zack and Curt Figure it Out!), Nok’d Up Customs, Retroville Collectibles, our friends from Toylanta, and many more – this show has a massive variety of people available to take your hard-earned money. I just started following Nok’d Up Customs on IG and I’m already dying to get one of their pieces.
As we all know, it simply wouldn’t be a con without cosplayers on hand and there will be plenty hanging out in Augusta this weekend. In addition to our pals in The Finest, there will be representatives from Joe Colton Cosplay, the Star Trek Costume Club, and Darth Cleavage.
Don’t let Nok’d Up Customs get too close to Darth Cleavage.
With more than ten different cosplay groups on site there should be plenty of wild characters populating the DoubleTree Hotel.
All of that on its own would probably give me enough of an excuse to stop in Augusta for a day or so, but here’s where this show transformed from a cool diversion into a must-see attraction: the guests. This show has a guest list that reads like my dream journal. Creators from every corner of the toy industry – specifically a number of people who contributed to GI Joe over the years – will be there to interact with lunatics like you and me.
For the full Guest List go to the website, but I’m going to run down the talent that made my jaw drop here:
Tom Feister – While Feister is a staple of cons around the Southeast, the first prints I ever bought were of his GI Joe work. I love his style and he’s always been a really nice guy. To me he is one of the seminal modern Joe artists.
Larry Hama – The father of A Real American Hero. I’ve met him many times and have actually been on several panels with him at Dragon Con, but I will never take the opportunity to see this man for granted. He is one of the fathers of my dorkery.
Check out Mr. Hama on the Needless Things Podcast Episode 127!
Mr. Hama is part of a comic book panel at 2 PM on Saturday.
Sgt. Slaughter – This man is a hero and a legend and was one of the first celebrities I had one-on-one interaction with. More on that in the future. Sarge is awesome and I can’t wait to see him again. I’m bringing wrestling and Joe figures to get signed and I hear he’s going to have a very special exclusive available, as well!
Keone Young – It would be enough that Young voiced Storm Shadow in the original Sunbow GI Joe series. But he has also been a part of Star Wars, Star Trek, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men, Golden Girls, Diff’rent Strokes, and was also Wu on HBO’s Deadwood!
Needless Things would like to remind our readers that Augusta Toy and Comic Show is a family event and to watch your c***s***ing language when asking Mr. Young to sign.
Hank Garrett – Another multitalented legend, Garrett appeared in countless programs in the golden age of television, from Car 54 Where Are You? to Airwolf to The Dukes of Hazzard. The biggest deal to me, though, is that Garrett voiced Dial-Tone on GI Joe: A Real American Hero.
Believe it or not there’s even more to Hank Garrett than all of that, so hopefully he’ll get his own panel to share his stories.
Marty Jannetty – One half of the legendary tag team the Rockers, part of the most recognized tag team split in professional wrestling history, and multi-time champion in various federations. Jannetty is known for his athleticism and fire.
Kirk Bozigian – He may not be a household name, but he belongs in the pop culture Hall of Fame. This man was the product manager that created the GI Joe: A Real American Hero toy line.
Mr. Bozigian has panels at 10 AM and 3:45 PM on Saturday.
Ron A. Rudat – DUSTY TADUR!
Ron Rudat was the first person I was aware of that had a GI Joe character named after him. I don’t remember if I discovered that in the pages of Toy Fare or perhaps earlier in the GI Joe fan club magazine, but it blew my mind at the time to find out that Dusty’s name – Ronald Tadur – was an anagram for Ron Rudat.
Mr. Rudat designed every single GI Joe character from 1981 to 1986, meaning that most of my favorite Joes were a product of his vision and Larry Hama’s imagination. He has a panel at 3:00 on Saturday.
Bobby Vala – Vala worked on several different properties at Hasbro, including GI Joe and Marvel Legends and Cinematic Universe. He’s starting his own toy company now and will be sharing previews at the show. Check out his website for more info!
This promises to be an exciting weekend of toy nirvana for me and Phantom, Jr. I can’t say I’ve ever been to a convention quite like this one and it looks like the folks behind the Augusta Toy and Comic Show and Joefest have taken a lot of care to cater to hardcore fans and collectors. I’m more excited for this than I have been for an event in quite some time.
For the most current information check out the website, the Facebook page, and Instagram.
If you see me at the show, be sure to say hello! And tell me where the Battle Beasts are.
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