Posted 20/03/2013 by Axel in Columns

G.I. Joe Special #2: “There is a place called Kokomo”

Welcome to the second episode of our G.I. Joe Special. This is the real starting point. Today we have an interview with Kokomo Toys. Who are they? What do they do? Why are they important? Read all about it in our interview.

Our contacts: the always helpful Amber and Todd Jordan.

Can you tell us about the famous Kokomo Toys?

Kokomo Toys is located at 1244 E. Morgan Street in Kokomo, Indiana or online at www.kokomotoys.com. We have the largest selection of action figures in Indiana and the largest selection of vintage G.I. Joe in the Midwest.

385299_10151619266047907_642347792_nHow long has the shop been in business?

Since 1994 we have been buying and selling toys. We didn’t open as a store front until 2008.

Would you say there is a large G.I. Joe fan base?

I believe G.I.-Joe has one of the largest fan bases out there for toy collectors just behind Star Wars and Transformers.

We did an interview with Mark Bellomo earlier. What has been the influence of his G.I. Joe Toy Guide on sales?

Mark is a great guy, a fellow collector and a wonderful archivist. His guides have been vital to many dealers and collectors alike for 82-94 Joes. For 2nd generation and modern Joes I recommend the guide book written by James Kavanaugh: R.A.H.C. – A Guide to Second Generation O-Ring G.I. Joe Action Figures.

What are the most sought-after G.I. Joe toys? What is the most expensive piece?

A lot of the more high end collectors and those who have most of what has been released are after prototypes and international figures. The average collector always seeks out the big playsets often called the “Holy Grails” such as the USS FlaggMissile Command and the Defiant. There is also a heavy interest in the sub-sets like Night Force or Sky Patrol. I believe most of the expensive pieces fall into the International category. Those are always hard to find in perfect condition.

Can you explain the appeal of G.I. Joe as a franchise?

I’d ask Justin Bell @ generalsjoes.com this question, he is one of the top Joe guys in the world.

(I need to get a hold of Justin Bell then.)


The amount of USS Flags on the picture is impressive. The store still has that many?
We currently have only 4 available including a sealed contents boxed version.

Did the movie bring in new customers or collectors?

Certainly, I believe we will see a massive flood of new fans and people rediscovering their childhood once the new movie comes out.

Where do most of your customers come from? Do you ship abroad to (example) Europe?

We ship worldwide from our website and from our eBay store. We are not only a brick and mortar shop, a large part of our business is online and a large part of our business are the customers overseas.

734277_10151619266502907_1513893462_n(I just have to ask this next question) I was an Action Force fan as a kid. Is it something that can be found at your shop? The owner of a local toy shop in Ghent once told me it no longer had value and bought it from me at a ridiculously low price. But does it have value?

There is a big following for Action Force in the States, since we never got them here. I know lots of collectors seeking them out. They come into the shop ever so often, but they sell fast.

I read Kokomo is a driving force behind the COIL Con convention. How did that idea come about?

Gary Godsoe and myself wanted to make the local COIL Club meets something more than just a bunch of folks getting together.
A short interview perhaps, but one that really gets the ball rolling. Two people need to be contacted: James Kavanaugh and Justin Bell. In later correspondence they ask me if I would like to get a hold of one of the biggest (if not the biggest) G.I. Joe-collectors in the world, Gary “Goggles” Head. Are you kidding me?

I can only recommend all of the readers to check out Kokomo Toys.

So Kokomo Toys is one of the driving forces behind the COIL Con, which is one of those fun G.I. Joe conventions? When I hear about this, I just have to know more. Ever the helpful chaps, they point me in the direction of Gary Godsoe, who is more than willing to tell us about the convention.


Thank you, Gary, for getting back to me. How did this COIL Con come about?

The genesis of the inaugural meet, which became COIL Con I, first came about in 2010.  The owner of Kokomo Toys, myself and a couple of other collectors thought it would be a great idea to have a summer “meet” in Kokomo at the toy shop.  The name COIL Con was really a joke that took root and holds on to this day.

While we were going over the RSVP list, many of the first guests to “COIL Con I” (originally known as the Midwest GI Joe Swap Meet if memory serves me) were members of the local Indiana and Ohio collectors’ group, The COIL.  If I recall correctly, I think it was Mike Irizarry and myself who commented by saying, “Look at all of these COIL guys coming, might as well call it COIL Con!”  Thus, a name was born.

What kind of public does the COIL Con attract? The name doesn’t really scream out G.I. Joe.

The organizers are very blessed with active Joe collectors in the area. Whether they are noted authors, toy historians, skilled customizer, website admins or (in my case) a podcast host, there are many in the general vicinity who know how to get things done and who know how to get the word out.

coilcon-logo_1359909683Cool, now what seperates your event from the other (maybe bigger) conventions?

COIL Con is very organic and grass roots.  It is very much what you see is what you get.  It’s ran by the fans for the fans.  COIL Con is every bit like a larger show, but with a bit more personal touch and less lines.  You get to know more people.  It is more “down home” as they like to say in the USA.  It’s very friendly.  Chances are you know, or know of many of the people in attendance.  The core audience of COIL Con are those G.I. Joe fans who live in close proximity to Indianapolis and the Kokomo area.  Second, we try to encourage those who cannot make a big convention like the Official JoeCon, JoeLanta, Canadian Con or the (UK-based) Roll Out Roll Call to make an effort to attend a more localized event.  Lastly, our goal is to give a positive experience and encourage attendees to travel to larger shows.  The more fans in our area that we can have engaged in the hobby only strengthens the COIL experience for everyone.

In our next episode on friday we talk to mega-collector Gary Head himself…

Visit Kokomo Toys Online

Visit the official COIL Con/COIL Club website





Et alors?