Not Your Average 'Joe'

How a boyhood obsession became an adult passion

Carson with Joes_for web.jpg
Carson Mataxis poses with some members of his vast G.I. Joe collection. He uploads photos and information on the figures to his website, 3DJoes.com. Photo courtesy of Carson Mataxis.

"Any time I went to a toy store as a kid, it was diabolical the way G.I. Joes were everywhere," said Carson Mataxis, a senior visual media producer with the Office of News and Communications and University Development. "Cartoons, comics, toys - if you grew up in the mid-80s, G.I. Joe was at the center of the world for children of that era."

Turns out not much has changed for Mataxis as an adult.

When he's not producing videos at Duke, Mataxis curates a website with his encyclopedic knowledge of G.I. Joes, which spans back to owning his first action figure in 1986 - communications officer Dial-Tone. At 3DJoes.com, Mataxis catalogs three-dimensional images of G.I. Joe action figures along with their packaging to provide a space where fans from all over the world can learn about figures made from 1982 to 1994. His collection includes nearly 500 figures, for which he can rattle off every name and details created for each character.

"For example, Quick Kick was a barefooted martial artist whose file card advised that `if you had an extremely fortified compound that needed infiltration, you wouldn't send a whole team, you'd send in Quick Kick,' " Mataxis recited from memory. "He was a stunt man in commercials for 'Frozen Fudgee Bars' when the Joes recruited him. In the comic book series, he once was wounded while on a mission to Borovia with Outback and Stalker, two other Joes."

In addition to spending 10 to 12 hours a week building his website, Mataxis spends upward of 10 hours sharing information with other G.I. Joe fans around the world on message boards or podcasts. Mataxis has been a guest on two prominent podcasts, "Flag Points" and "What's on Joe Mind?"

"It's great because of outreach through my website and on Facebook and Twitter, I engage with people all the time who see me as an expert on collecting the figures," Mataxis said. "You never know where a hobby can take you."