How long have you been the admin of YoJoe.com and how did that come about?
I've been running the show at YoJoe since 2005. And I will tell you that I had some VERY big shoes to fill. Eugene, Corey, Conor, Devon and Jeff all came before me. All were pillars of the 'Joe community and YoJoe would not be where it is today without their tireless work and absolute unabashed passion for all things G.I.Joe.
I came to YoJoe as a volunteer in early 2000, helped with a little project that never got off the ground and I was a member of the YoJoe email community "The PIT" since 1997. In 2005 the parent company of YoJoe needed to add a new administrator, so I volunteered my experience in the Information Tech field and the rest is history as they say.
What would you say has been the toughest aspect of being the admin? The best part?
The hardest part is keeping up with the brand as it deftly navigates the stream of pop-culture. G.I.Joe is one of the few definitive American brands and as such, it keeps pace with the changing times and feelings of both kids and collectors alike. It's very easy for us as passionate collectors to get entrenched in our likes and dislikes, so we work hard to keep an open mind and give equal attention to all the different aspects of G.I.Joe - and when you think about what that means; comics, cartoons, movies, commercials, toys (both 3-3/4" and 12"), sleeping bags, role-play, Nerf, the list just keeps going on and on and on, it is a lot of work.
The best part of YoJoe...there are two things that just light my afterburners.
First, the collectors. When someone discovers something new, learns a bit of history or finds that one precious item from their childhood, it makes everything worthwhile. Their excitement is almost palpable. YoJoe exists to serve the community, first and foremost, as the most definitive archive we can build and when I hear people say they visit YoJoe every day, that instills a great sense of pride in the work we as the YoJoe team put out there.
The other, equally best part, are the volunteers and friends of YoJoe. I am so very honored to work with the best, most passionate minds in the community. It's very humbling. Phillip Donnelly, he's the "Number One" to my Picard. He runs our action figure and vehicle archives and is the vice admin of YoJoe. Every page you see in the big archives for the past five or so years is because of Phillip. Those amazing, brilliant photos in the vehicle archives? You can thank Chad Hucal for those. Variations? Thank Patrick Stewart. Comics? Josh Eggbeen. Conventions and news coverage? Justin Bell. I could list the names for hours but simply said, YoJoe would NOT exist without their work and the work of so many other volunteers. The community owes these guys a debt of immense gratitude. As do I.
Where did the screen name RedClaw come from?
What a kooky question! RedClaw came from the dark ages of the early 1990s when this amazing PC game, Wing Commander, was all the rage on your Intel 386. It's the name of a Kilrathi fighter ace who you get to shoot down. Sure, it's geeky, but it's fun.
What do you think has been the biggest change in the community since you became a part of it?
I'm an old-timer in the community, so I've witnessed so many changes. The biggest is the growth in the number of collectors. I recall a time when there were, at most, 200 or so collectors on the internet and we all knew each other from The PIT mailing list or USENT's alt.toys.gijoe.1980s. Now we have literally tens of thousands of collectors who are active online and many more who lurk. That's a lot of support for 'Joe.
There are so many new collectors who are not in the hobby for nostalgic reasons but because G.I.Joe is the hot, awesome new thing that they're just discovering. So they come into the community with a different, fresh outlook that a lot of us 20+ year collectors just don't have. And that's really cool. It tells me that G.I.Joe is going to be one of those timeless brands.
Have you ever customized a GI Joe figure, even with just a sharpie marker or part swapping?
I have a few customs that I've made. When I was a very early teenager (13 or 14) in the mid-90s, I made a cyborg Alley-Viper from a 1994 Battle Corps Alley-Viper (one of my all-time favorite figures). He had Overkill legs and right-arm. Some sloppy paint applications, a Version 2 (1988) Storm Shadow claw glued on the Overkill arm and an Exo-Squad Jump Trooper jetpack. It was cheesy and such a terrible custom by today's standards, but it was fun.
A good friend, but long lost member of the community, Phillip Powers, made me this just AMAZING Zanya O-ring figure around 2001. That's still one of the best things I've ever had as far as customs go.
What do you do for fun?
Fun? Is...is that a thing? I work a lot.
To unwind, I enjoy my Joes just like any other collector, my Joe comics, I collect Star Wars (modern) and some select Transformers and I am pretty big into PC gaming.
Is there any item you wish Hasbro would finally make?
Yes. A REAL G.I.Joe headquarters. The 1983 version was a parking garage, a jail, and a computer terminal. The U.S.S Flagg, Defiant Complex and Mobile Command Center were more vehicles than bases. And the 1992 HQ...was a really cool watch tower. I want a real headquarters. Briefing room, armory, stockade, vehicle maintenance bay/motor pool, target range...two levels worth of awesomeness. C'mon Hasbro.
What is your beverage of choice?
A good straight Kentucky bourbon or a strong, dark roasted coffee.
What item(s) are you most proud of in your collection?
My almost complete set of carded Takara Joes from Japan (I still need Firefly and Snake Eyes), my signed G.I.Joe Special #1 that was given to me by Larry Hama, and my vintage Cobra De Aco.
Are you at liberty to reveal anything you and the YoJoe staff are working on that the community should look forward to in 2012?
2012 is the 15th anniversary of YoJoe. It's a very special year for us and we hope it will be for the community, too. We have some very big changes coming to the archives and we're on schedule to unveil those this year. We promise the community, YoJoe will be the place to go for everything G.I.Joe for years to come. Other than those vague words? Nope. Nothing I can divulge but just wait and see, we think you're going to like it!