In which Mike finds a way to annoy both G.I. Joe and Final Faction fans with a single sentence.

§ September 6th, 2023 § Filed under cartoons, misfit toys § 11 Comments

Okay, a couple of things: I did mistype the address for Pal Nat’s site in Monday’s post, so let me tell you all here that you can see all the wonderful comics-and-other items he’s published over at About Comics.

And so long as I’m talkin’ about Nat, in the comments to that post he did address the obvious question that I should have answered but didn’t: yes, the Disney comics distributed through the Dollar Tree stores are, indeed, a mere $1.25 of your American dollars.

Also in the comments, Matthew Murray mentions

“…Interestingly, they also published an issue of ‘Final Faction,’ which is based on a line of GI-Joe-style action figures & YouTube cartoons made by Dollar Tree.”

I did know about this comic, again thanks to Pal Nat. And this time the distribution gods that control Dollar Tree’s stock managed to place a stack of Final Faction: First Strike #1 at the location directly across the street from my shop.

And I do mean a stack…this isn’t like the Disney books, secreted amongst the coloring books for you to sniff out and dig up like truffles. There was no missing these, when I went to pick up a copy or three a few months ago, what with a thick wad of these bagged books stuffed into the shelving:

Why was it in the bag? No idea, other than to make it stick out. But I can assure you, it was still only $1.25! Here’s what it looks like out of the bag:

The comic is 24 pages including the covers, which, unlike the Disney books, are the same stock as the interior pages. Speaking of which, here’s an interior page from the comic:

Haven’t done more than flip through the book, so I can’t speak as to the quality of the writing, but it all looks perfectly fine for the toy tie-in that it is. Lots of action showing off the characters, which you can conveniently find for sale in your local Dollar Tree stores as per this detail from ad on the inside front cover:

The only other ad is for an issue #2 on the back cover, and I don’t know if that exists or not. There’s also some gag fake ads on the inside back cover, and I always enjoy that sort of thing.

Of note in the credits (printed at the bottom of the aforementioned back cover) is artist Chris Marrinan, who’s worked for Marvel and DC and drew Champions and Flare for Heroic, among other things.

Now Matthew also mentions that there are Final Faction cartoons on YouTube, and if you thought I wasn’t going to post one here…friend, you thought wrong:

This particular installment is only nine minutes, two of which are credits…including some for folks from Dollar Tree. And is it all CGI? Sure shootin’ it is. As far as I can tell, there are only three episodes, the last of which was about a year ago.

Anyway, I like the idea that a discount store put out their own series of G.I. Joe knockoffs along with animated adverti–er, adventures. No idea if you can still find the toys in stores…I mean, in any sort of quantity, I’m sure there’s a figure or two warming a peg at assorted locations. I’ll have to check in my local store and see if I can pick up a Shift. She seems pretty cool for being a reskinned Lady Jaye or Baroness or whatever, I don’t know, they’re basically the same, right?

11 Responses to “In which Mike finds a way to annoy both G.I. Joe and Final Faction fans with a single sentence.”

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    How is the $1.25 price point possible? I mean, 24 pages is less than the standard comic, but with only two house ads, you’re still getting the same amount of story pages. And the art from the page you posted, while not to my taste, doesn’t appear any lower quality than your typical comic.

    Are regular comics that overpriced? Or is artist Chris Marrinan providing voluntary/slave labor for his work here?

  • DK says:

    Dollar Tree has enormous market penetration, even towns that are far too podunk for a Walmart have a Dollar Tree.

    As the old joke says, they probably make it up in bulk. If you are selling the latest issue of Ms. Marvel it’s basically just going to Direct Market stores and maybe a couple of the the handful of newsstands still in existence. Far fewer markets.

    Dollar Tree has 8,000 U.S. stores. My best googling says Diamond ships to somewhere in the range of 3,000 stores.

    They have almost 3x the number of retail opportunities, so if you can get the printing and creation costs down to rock bottom you can move a lot of product because there are LOTS of places to sell it.

    I will of course defer to the wisdom of our host with real subject matter expertise on the topic but from the outside it looks a lot like Dollar Tree is a possible solution to the “where can we sell funnybooks that every kid can have access to it” problem.

    Recall everyone getting excited when Walmart had their DC created books on the shelves. Dollar Tree has far more stores. There are 4,600 U.S. Walmarts.

    Anyway, HOW DARE YOU confuse Lady Jaye with the Baroness, in this TED talk I will cover…

  • Matthew Murray says:

    Dollar Tree apparently opened their 15,000 store in 2018. Send 25 copies to each store and that’s 375,000 total. That Final Faction comic probably outsold the majority of comics published last year.

  • Daniel T says:

    Using the term “bande dessinée” on the bag suggests these are being sold in Canada also.

  • Daniel T says:

    And a quick Google check I should have done before posting shows those 15,000 stores Matthew mentions (15,288 in 2/2020) includes the Canada locations.

  • Steven Gauthier says:

    And they’re not limited to a month or two shelf space either. There’s still a couple really beat up #2 Mickey Mouse books on the shelf in my local branch.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Why isn’t DC reprinting all ages content comics from the past 80 or so years of inventory on newsprint and selling them at Dollar Tree stores? Or even reprints and/or new issues of both the Scooby Doo and the Batman/Scooby Doo team up books? Or coming up with all new content stories, marketed towards kids, of DC Comics Presents — featuring Superman and a rotating cast of superheroes; Brave & the Bold –featuring Batman and a rotating cast of superheroes; and Sensation Comics–featuring Wonder Woman and a rotating cast of superheroes? It seems like it would be easy money.

  • Snark Shark says:

    That looks like an EXACT combination of 50% GI JOE and 50% TRANSFORMERS.

    “How is the $1.25 price point possible?”

    I imagine it’s a “Loss Leader” that promotes the toys and cartoon, which will (they hope) make the real profit.

  • Joe Gualtieri says:

    I picked up a copy around a year or so ago. Larry Hama’s GI Joe it ain’t, even compared to the early issues before it really got going. Still, it’s a perfectly cromulent comic that I probably would have read to pieces way back when.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “DC reprinting all ages content comics from the past 80 or so years of inventory on newsprint and selling them at Dollar Tree stores?”

    I doubt they care enough to bother. The big money is in the movies!

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Larry Hama’s GI Joe it ain’t, even compared to the early issues before it really got going.”

    the #30/40/50/60’s GI Joes really WERE much better than would ever have been expected.