This past July, I drove down to San Diego from the Bay Area for Comic-Con 2011. It was hell on my lower back but great for my trunk. Of course what I mean is that while my body experienced pain, the boot of my Honda Civic was filled to capacity with awesomeness. Last year, after SDCC 2010, I got so busy that I wasn’t able to post my coverage until October. (That post was called Comic-Con 2010: The Faces That Launched A Thousand Toys.) I was determined not to let that happen again, so I gathered as much lumbar support as I could and penned through the pain. I wrote individual posts about artists, companies and events from SDCC 2011 and tagged them “SDCC 2011“. That felt good, but I missed the handy linkability of a single pictorial recap. So here it is. I tend to think it’s best to read the entire original post as written, but then again, I’m the writer. Click the links between the green bars if you want more info; otherwise scroll away and enjoy the (over)view.
If I was going to give an award for biggest heart(s) in the designer toy (store) scene, the trophy would go to Joanne and Ray Suavillo of Sacramento’s Dragatomi. Over a handful of years the (literally) mom-and-pop toy shop has gone from online to brick-and-mortar, and they’ve amassed a toyfam legion that rivals ThreeA’s. This year, Dragatomi even snagged some prime Cultyard real estate at Comic-Con. Their booth had debut vinyls, customs galore, original resins and the first view of a clay prototype. This post offers a look back at just some of what happened therein.
Click here for 30+ pictures involving Joanne & Ray plus Dril One, Leecifer, Betso, Chauskoskis, Brandt Peters, Kathie Olivas, Brent Nolasco, J*RYU, Jeremiah Ketner, Jay222, Mikie Graham, Blamo Toys, Bob Conge, Travis Lampe, Ardabus Rubber, Ryan the Wheelbarrow and a tattoo on my hairy, hairy arm.
Andrew Bell was signing sashimis at the Dumbrella booth. SDCC 2011 marked the debut of Bell’s limited edition Bluefin O-No Sashimi. Because of the scarcity of its 250 piece allotment, these suckers immediately popped up on eBay at 3X the Comic-Con price of $40. With a lucky blip of wi-fi, I intercepted a request from my French friend Jean-Luc and was able to procure him his fish at fair market value.
See more sashimi and more here.
Skinner is like the anti-hipster who all the hipsters wish they could be. If he paints a unicorn, it’s not out of some irony-induced need to feel, but because he wants to fucking paint a unicorn. He keeps it real (real wizardy) from his home base in the distinctly uncool California state capital of Sacramento. I picked up shirts and Lurkers, and saw the first (awesomely) hand-painted vinyl Ultrus Bogs.
Click here to get trippy with it.
Sucklord was everywhere at Comic-Con, and although I’m not always sure what he’s doing, I’m usually interested to go see. Case in point: While Brent Nolasco and J*RYU were innocently sketching and signing next door at Dragatomi, masks, money and flesh were in full effect a few feet away. The unmasked young lady on the left gave me her business card and asked that I email her if these photos ended up online. Um yeah like I was going to risk walking around with that card in my pocket! So if you see her around, you know, tell her she’s on DTA-nominated Jeremyriad.com.
Click here for a few more photos and a famous couple of fans.
DUDE THERE IS SO MUCH MORE!
The Brothers Washburn of Color Ink Book acclaim are always so nice. Is it because they color a lot? Because they make plushes and hang out with Skinner? Are there drugs involved? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do have pictures of their Comic-Con booth.
Click here to see them.
Speaking of cool collaborations and bromance (oh were we?), Comic-Con saw the debut of Brent Nolasco and J*RYU‘s epic My Drifting Heart resin art multiple. The beginnings of the 14-inch figure can be seen in 2D in this painting by Nolasco. J*RYU did the sculpting, Dodgrr commenced with the casting and Nolasco hand-painted the edition of ten pieces. As the story goes, My Drifting Heart is said to be the sum of NINETEEN separately cast and assembled parts. Nineteen parts, huh? I’m leaning toward the conclusion that this figure may qualify for the coveted (and complimentary) OCD Art tag! (Though true obsessive compulsives would likely round it out to twenty parts…)
Check out all the details here.
In an interesting move, everyone’s favorite art toy-makers/villains, MINDstyle, has purchased licensing rights to The Bombay Company, that bamboo beacon of 1990s mall culture. As you can see above, they even mindstyled their SDCC 2011 booth as a respectful and peaceful oasis among all the craziness. “How just like their business practices!” shouted no artist who has ever worked with the formerly LA-based company.
Everyone loves a good villain.
The only company whose setup made even less sense than MINDstyle’s presence at Comic-Con was Toy2R‘s sad little metal rack of a shared booth. I’ve seen peoples’ garages on TLC’sExtreme Couponing look better than this display. This was too bad since Toy2R got me started in collecting. I’ve seen some sparks of hope in the months since Comic-Con, but if you want to read what I said and saw in July…
Click here to get real.
Camilla D’Errico brought out her new Kuro vinyls en masse for Comic-Con. The Canadian comic and fine artist could be found daily hand-painting away in her booth. For just fifty bucks, D’Errico would paint entire DIY Kuros, taking into consideration the commissioners’ requests. I asked for glasses and green, natch.
Click here to see my completed Kuro and read an exclusive secret…
Ferg and Scott Wilkowski‘s new collaborative BudBats were rad, and make a perfect companion for last year’s BudCats. Whereas the BudCats were resin throughout, the new BudBats have resin heads and use the ABS plastic bodies and limbs of production Buds. The internal skeletal structures are incredibly realistic.
Click here for more photos and information on the BudBats.
Nice guy Dan Goodsell was repping a window into the world of Mr. Toast at Comic-Con, and this year marked the debut of Frankentoast. The 7-inch plush monster is part of an edition of 1000, and it’s available online here.
Click here to get up close with Frankentoast.
Toynami‘s Canmans window display has evolved since last SDCC, but, at least in this blogger’s opinion, it feels a little…dated? Spray can stash boxes? Yawn. That said, the roster, which includes Dabs & Myla, REVOK and RISK, at least gives a few big names in graffiti culture their first 3D toys.
Another view of the Canman’s, but not another view ON the Canmans can be found here.
It’s good to see UNKL still in the game. Their SDCC 2011 window included an exclusive 6-inch Hazmapo and an UNKL-ized version of Spongebob Squarepants. The Spongebob figure is, naturally, “pending licensor approval”. But why should KAWS get to have all the Bikini Bottom fun? I think this is kind of cute. Something tells me we’ll be seeing this at like Comic-Con 2015 though…
Check out the rest here.
Rotofugi may have been my single most expensive stop at Comic-Con, and with good reason: The Chicago toy shop and gallery had the final edition of Ferg and Brandt Peters‘ DTA-winning Trouble Boy, a pair of green Lake Monsters by Chris Ryniak and Joey Potts, some cute almost-edibles by 64Colors and the promising debut of Jeremy Tinders‘ Tindertoys.
Click here for photos of all the greatness.
In one of my trips outside the Cultyard, I came across a banner for Cliff Chiang. I know Chiang’s illustration style from his mash-ups of 80s superheroes and comic superheroes.
Read the rest here.
Waaaay down at the far end of the exhibition hall (where I’m told there are massage tables, fyi for next year), I found what I initially thought were cute superhero and monster thermoses. Closer investigation showed these to be Kookycans by Mixo.
Find out more about Kookycans here.
Although I missed Nathan Hamill‘s signing for his Radioactive Bellicose Bunny, I ran into him right after, and so I promptly whipped out my Art Hustle card. Nerd alert!
Click here for Hamill’s Hustle and Flow.
Gargamel always gets a big crowd from the moment they start unloading vinyl on Previews Night. I tend to dig the collaborations they do with western artists like the new pocket figures of Arbito‘s Seeker, Martin Ontiveros‘ Ojo Rojo and Le Merde‘s Hujili’s Ghost. Gargamel’s range of offerings revolved throughout the convention.
Click here for a bit of what was available.
Like last year, the Grass Hut guys shared space with Gargamel and offered a variety of toys and art. Arbito continues to amaze with his resins and “squishy” science experiments, Bwana Spoons‘ color palette remains instantly recognizable, tall dude Le Merde returned to his Le Miniverse (now in GID) and Martin Ontiveros even unearthed some “vintage” vinyl.
Click here and scroll away for eyeball awesomeness.
Paul Kaiju was everywhere at Comic-Con, but of course, my lens managed to catch him eyes closed at the Global Figure Symposium.
Click here for lots of hand-painted, tiny Bats and Salamanders.
By Friday, Comic-Con was getting packed, and some sort of Warner Brothers situation was hijacking traffic at the far end of the hall. I had only a moment to wave hello and snap this photo of Junko Mizuno during her signing at the Hi-Fructose booth. On Saturday, I swung by the booth and saw that her awesome wood print had sold out. Of course it did. It really looked beautiful.
Click here to see the print.
It’s always fun to visit the jam-packed cases of DKE TOYS Distribution during Comic-Con. Although the merchandise isn’t available to purchase (at least until the annual Sunday Sample Sale), it gives you an exciting glimpse into what toy treats will soon be available at your favorite retailers.
Go window shopping here.
The Uglydolls booth always has a certain magnetism that pulls me in. The toys are colorful, the people are friendly, the booth itself uses a generous swath of green, and it’s not hard to shop there. That last note is pretty key: David Horvath and co eschew the over-complications of lotteries and lines, preferring instead to make affordable merchandise in large enough runs so that everyone can get something.
Click here for lots of color and plush and ugliness and maybe even me-and-some-mascots.
LA’s Munky King showed off some interesting prototypes at Comic-Con, including a figure by Luke Chueh sculpted by Pretty in Plastic and Good Morning Sunshine, a new figure in the works from Joe Ledbetter. SDCC also marked their debut of Ferg and Chris Ryniak‘s Misfortune Cat, Yoskay Yamamoto‘s Screaming for the Sunrise (black edition) and Luke Chueh’s recurring Black in White.
Click here for photos of everything.
San Francisco’s Super7 held court with a vast variety of vinyls from founder Brian Flynn and regular co-conspirators Josh Herbolsheimer, Leecifer, Lamour Supreme, Le Merde and Kathie Olivas & Brandt Peters. Flynn got called back to SF early on in the convention because his wife went into labor. Congrats on your third daughter!
I’ve never moderated a panel discussion before, so I was both flattered and wracked with nerves when The Vinyl Frontier documentary‘s director, Daniel Zana, asked me to get involved. I had recently interviewed Zana, so I knew where he stood on the evolution of the designer toy scene up to, during, and after the making of his film. It was up to me to quiz the panelists.
Check out more photos from the panel, the packed room and the exclusive Sharky toys here.
I found a really nice display of custom Peppers just behind their designer, Ragnar.
Fancy seeing some more Pepper? Go here!
Ferg flew to San Diego from Texas and went straight to a signing at Munky King for the release of his Misfortune Cat. The designer behind Playge and Jamungo also did signings at Rotofugi (Trouble Boy #88 with Brandt Peters; sold out) and DKE (Budbats with Scott Wilkowski; sold out). There were many highlights for Ferg and Ferg fans this year at SDCC. Ferg was honored with two Designer Toy Awards, I got to snap a picture of him holding the issue of Design Bureau in which I wrote a column about him, and then there was the matter of a surprise Skelve…
Click here for more sightings and signings.
The newly-formed Plastic City Toys had a pretty stellar showing at SDCC considering their recent arrival on the designer toy scene. They showed Jermaine Rogers’ Aleppin Sane bust, Paul Frank‘s Julius figure (and of course its now-mandatory DIY white counterpart), Josh Taylor‘s Mary and Birtram, Tristan Eaton‘s B-Bot and MCA‘s chunk of bearded, rainbow-wielding vinyl known as Fleabaine.
Click HERE for pictures of everything mentioned above.
Jermaine Rogers‘ Comic-Con booth contained a single case bearing the remaining Specimen and Squire vinyls produced by STRANGEco in the mid-2000s. Of course, I had to get something defaced, as well as pick up some prints. Rogers’ new Aleppin Sane busts were also on display. The character originated in a gig poster he did a few years back, and now it’s been brought to life as a 3D vinyl bust by Plastic City. Click HERE for more info on Plastic City at Comic-Con.
Click through for much more Mr. Rogers!
Frank Kozik erected a fortress of rabbits and bananas for his booth at SDCC 2011. (Business as usual.) It’s hard to pick a single pièce de résistance out of the exclusives, as diversity is a Kozik trademark. I can tell you that the 10-inch silver King of Rock Smorkin’ Labbit (edition of 100) is a beast.
See the rest of the Kozik bounty here.
Heathrow the Hedgehog was a surprise guest for most Comic-Con attendees, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. The new character by San Francisco-based Frank Kozik was crafted by fellow San Franciscans, MAQET. And I was along for the ride!
All of the SDCC 2011 Heathrows sold out, but click here to read about Comic-Con’s coolest newcomer.
Bromance alert: Here’s Scott Tolleson and Gary Ham. They stocked their stall with a good variety of price-points, platforms and mediums (vinyl, resin, customized toys).
Along with Tolleson’s previous Tricycle Terrors and Doc Von Blocks, he had a new (green) edition of Otis and Otto, the debut of his Noselots plushes (for which his excitement was palpable and possibly contagious), an army of customized Androids, his Uncle Argh 5-inch Qee and two versions of his self-produced Chipster vinyl.
Ham was honored with the Designer Toy Award for Best Self-Produced Toy for Hermees the Bat. Well, Gary is gearing up for another round of self-production. This time, he’s brought on Walter “Chauskoskis” Jacott to do the sculpt. The new character was on display in prototype form. His name is Wooper Looper. A name like that can only mean one thing: it’s animated gif time, holla!
You know you need to click this link to see all of Scott and Gary’s toys and the aforementioned animated gif.
Sort of like Disneyland, San Diego Comic-Con has a series of elaborate underground passageways that spring up into lively marketplaces…if you know the password. This is where I ran into Kathie Olivas, Chris Ryniak and Brandt Peters on Saturday morning. All manner of merchandise is available. It’s kind of like the floating market in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. As you’ll see if you click, like most Circuses (Posteruses), the trio traveled nomadically throughout SDCC. I was most excited about the signing at Super7 for Travis Louie‘s Stan Skelve, Kathie and Brandt’s Boo Skelve and Chris Ryniak’s Unripe Bubblegut.
Click here for lots of photos of the CP crew all over the place at SDCC 2011.
Ron English is an incredibly down-to-earth artist, especially when you consider his level of global acclaim. This moment is probably my big fanboy moment of SDCC 2011. I acquired new Telegrinnies and bantered with Ron English, and I also met film hero and fellow art toy collector, Morgan Spurlock!
Click here for a rainbow of Telegrinnies and a pic of me with Ron and Morgan!
Cherry Vinyl sent out its big announcement smack during SDCC:
Pretty in Plastic & Lulubell Toy Bodega join forces to form “Cherry Vinyl”, an innovative joint creative entity with a focus on artist designed vinyl in a sofubi medium. We intend to take all the best ingredients that exist in the vinyl world today, add a big scoop of innovation, stir in a ton of whimsy and fun, and what we will hand back to the vinyl community will be decadent creations for them to sink their teeth into, savor, and most of all enjoy!
The new company had a few prototypes on display at the DKE Booth. These included the intriguing “Le Chat” by Dutch artist, Femke Heimsta; a new owl by Nathan Jurevicius and “Egglue the Giraffe” by Becky and Frank aka Tiny Kitten Teeth.
Click here to read the original full Cherry Vinyl post with photos galore.
One of the best parts of any counter-culture convention is free: people watching. You never really know who (or what) you might run into. [Like when Darth Vader totally photo-bombed Matt Hisey and Chris Ryniak. What a douche!]
Click through for Invader Vader and a bunch of my other favorite costumes during SDCC 2011. Special bonus celebrity sighting if you make it all the way to the end!
The Designer Toy Awards were an attempt to “celebrate the creativity, innovation and artistic excellence of the Art Toy market”. It was kind of a “hot mess,” but I took a lot of photos.
Click through for pictures of winners and non-winners like Ron English, Ferg, Frank Kozik, The Beast Brothers, Gary Ham, Jermaine Rogers, Brian McCarty, Tara McPherson, The Sucklord, Lamour Supreme, Shawn Smith, Chauskoskis, Andrew Bell, Chris Ryniak, Holly Stanway, Jim Crawford, SpankyStokes, Scott Tolleson, Triclops Studio, Kevin Winnick of Toy2R, Julie B, Matt Hisey, Troy Stith, SuperCooper, Dril One, Jay222, tokidoki, Kirby & Whitney of Rotofugi and many others. Put a face to a name!
That’s all for this year. See you at Comic-Con 2012!