Okay, JT, I realize this is a SW site, you're a SW guy, and this is a thread about SW-related convention questions. But I'm not going to Comic-Con this year, and I would REALLY appreciate someone (maybe someone awesome who sports a Farnsworth avatar?) posing this one to the Joe team. Granted, we don't have all the info, but this looks like one of the biggest clusterloves in a while.

There have been "budget Joes" at dollar stores, Marshalls, etc. They've pretty much always been Valor vs Venom repaints or re-releases on small cards, with a limited number of accessories. They don't get announced at conventions or sold through normal outlets because, well, no one gives a crap about inferior older figures, and it seems like they're more or less a way of making a buck off old molds.

Meanwhile, five easy repaints of existing 25th/ROC/POC/30th-style Joes that people have literally been begging for for years are vintage Snake Eyes IV (which sorta looks like he's wearing a hockey mask, and has four different colors, but looks strangely awesome), vintage Storm Shadow III (a black-and-white outfit he wore during the Ninja Force era, though it debuted slightly earlier), Devil's Due Shipwreck (wearing a ribbed sweater and a beanie--the head exists from the ROC line, and the ribbed sweater torso has been used on multiple figures), vintage Cobra Commander VI (plain-old hooded Cobra Commander, but in solid black), and the basic Cobra Trooper in different color schemes. And Hasbro seems unwilling to make any of them, despite three of them being some of the "we've got to include at least two of these guys in every wave" characters.

The Retaliation figure pics start showing up. I think they look pretty sweet overall, but I appear to be in a minority.

Suddenly, what appears to be a new wave of budget figures, on a new classic-styled small card, show up. Who are they? Snake Eyes IV, Storm Shadow III, Cobra Commander VI, DD Shipwreck, a Cobra Trooper in solid black, and Duke in green fatigues based on the Original 13 (well, ten of them, anyway--not one who was requested, but great for customs, and another of the "have to have two per wave" fellas). No fanfare, no advance notice, just one day a dude finds them in the Philippines, apparently in advance of an American discount store release.

So, what I can't help but wonder: how the hell did five HIGHLY-requested figures who were simple repaints (or minor kitbashes) wind up as budget releases... and appear to be causing far more excitement among collectors than the upcoming Retaliation line? (I'm not saying they were highly-requested just because I wanted them. We're talking the Kithabas and Ben Quadinaroses of the Joe world here. No, I take that back. These are Slave Leias and Smuggler Landos from the time before those figures actually existed, since they're new versions of old standby major characters that we actually want.) Seems like a weird reversal, the regular line being for kids and the budget line for adult collectors, especially since the discount distribution is wonky and uneven, at best.

And, maybe, if they can't or won't answer that, how about the possibility of getting them in a multipack exclusive, or making them available through HTS? (I'll take my chances with any retailer exclusive before trying to get six one-per-case figures at closeout stores, one of whom's an army builder that everyone on Earth, including myself, will want multiples of. Even K-Mart. No joke.)