Codename: Iowa Minimalist Prints - Series 3

For Sale: Codename Iowa Goodsmiths Store

Details: These posters are minimalist designed based on the action figures that where found on store shelves in 1984. Each poster is 12.25" x 18.25" printed on 100 lb. cover weight, acid-free paper. This set of 19 posters comes sealed in a clear bag with a display card showing all the characters on the back. Only 30 sets have been made and ever will be made in this format."

We are also having a special "Con Bundle" that will only be available at this year's JoeCon in Indianapolis, IN. The bundle includes all three poster sets (82,83 &84) and all three button sets for $180. That's a $90 savings for over 50 posters & 50 buttons. We are down to our last few sets in the 82-83 so the bundle will be limited. If interested, you can reserve your bundle by emailing us at "hq@codenameiowa" subject bundle. This offer is only available to those attending this year's JoeCon and will be pick up at the Con only. Shipping is not available for this offer.

I think it's quite possible that 1984 was the greatest year human existence has ever known. Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop, The Terminator, and Karate Kid all hit theaters... Transformers was released by Hasbro in the United States. And the entire mythology of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero was more or less defined in this one year of release.

1984 featured character stalwarts like Duke, Roadblock, The Baroness, Storm Shadow, Firefly, and Zartan, and that's just the tip of the iceberg! Characters important enough to build an entire Hollywood franchise around. Cobra especially really started developing their identity in this year, breaking out into some more unique and outlandish characters, each with very nicely defined personalities thanks to Larry Hama's comic book work. Even the most minor characters in this year like Recondo, Wild Weasel, or Cutter have developed immense fan following and exude personality.

That's partly why I was so fascinated to see what Codename: Iowa would do with their third series of minimalist prints. The first two years in G.I. Joe history are fantastic, don't get me wrong, but I can see how it would be fairly simple to boil those down to basic themes running throughout a series of great minimalist posters. 1984? That seemed like a whole different animal.

Yet Brian and Steve tackled the project with gusto, and just like with 1982 - 1983 they did a fantastic job. I was absolutely amazed at just how effectively they translated even the most elaborate designs into the basic core components, using only a few colors and some impressive design aesthetics. Artwork like this is truly a challenge...more challenging than I think a lot of folks might understand, but the guys from Codename: Iowa seem to effortlessly translate the essence of each character into fantastic poster board beauty. I found it increasingly difficult to separate out a favorite.

It certainly helps that so many of the characters here are timeless favorites as it is, but even if that weren't the case, there are plenty of things to love about each.

Blowtorch and Mutt have never been figures I had a special affinity for, but their minimalist look is truly impressive. I love the way the guys are incorporating accessories here. In my mind, Mutt is much more well defined as a dude with a moustache than a dude with a muzzle, but the muzzle works to absolute perfection here. Duke is simply some guy in a blonde crewcut, but the flat tan background immediately makes him recognizable.

Recondo remains one of my all time favorite figures, and his simple upturned moustache totally defines the character, even without the trademark camouflage in the background. Both Ripcord and Roadblock have their camouflage, and they are perfectly applied. Both characters have totally different camouflage patterns, and both match their respective figures in color and splotch pattern. Spirit, meanwhile has that simple baby blue background.

Trying to be a bit blunt here, the four characters above are all ones that I really couldn't care less about, yet the guys from Codename: Iowa infuse the perfect amount of character and flair to make them appealing. Thunder's goggles, Cutter's hat, and Deep Six in his enclosed dome are all excellently done.

Finally we get to the real meat of 1984...the Cobra characters. Baroness is absolutely perfect. The slightest sweep of her hair, those trademark round librarian glasses. Even the collar pattern. Firefly, completely obscured by his urban camouflage, with just a hint of reflection around the edge of his head? Scrap Iron has the trademark helmet logo and those scars creasing his face. Excellent.

Storm Shadow's stark flesh colored face peeks out amongst the snowy white background and works very nicely, as does the Stinger Driver. I'm amazed at how monochrome the Copperhead and Wild Weasel are, with backgrounds almost exactly matching their helmet colors, yet the added detail brings out those trademark patterns that immediately identify the characters.

I captured Copperhead and Wild Weasel here, too, but also, the epitome of minimalist design... Zartan. That simple round face with the barely visible hood is fantastic. Trademark eye makeup. Even folks who aren't diehard G.I. Joe fans would immediately recognize that face. As an added bonus... color change variant!

Even as Hasbro has scaled back G.I. Joe promotion and production a little bit over the past few years, the one thing they cannot scale back is fan involvement and fan projects. I absolutely love seeing the fans getting more involved in the brand with conventions and regional get togethers, as well as fan-based artistic projects like this. It seems only too fitting that on the eve of JoeCon, we are exploring such a great fan-made project which has obvious artistic talent infused with a love of the brand.

Truly a cool project, and folks who are fans of art should absolutely consider picking these up. Information about these sets are as follows:

"These posters are minimalist designed based on the action figures that where found on store shelves in 1984. Each poster is 12.25" x 18.25" printed on 100 lb. cover weight, acid-free paper. This set of 19 posters comes sealed in a clear bag with a display card showing all the characters on the back. Only 30 sets have been made and ever will be made in this format."

We are also having a special "Con Bundle" that will only be available at this year's JoeCon in Indianapolis, IN. The bundle includes all three poster sets (82,83 &84) and all three button sets for $180. That's a $90 savings for over 50 posters & 50 buttons. We are down to our last few sets in the 82-83 so the bundle will be limited. If interested, you can reserve your bundle by emailing us at "hq@codenameiowa" subject bundle. This offer is only available to those attending this year's JoeCon and will be pick up at the Con only. Shipping is not available for this offer.

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