Comic-Con 2012 Designer Toys Digested
Comic-Con comes but once a year, and collectors of designer toys (and other niche nerds worldwide) prepare for many months in advance. Given all the hard work that goes into putting on an event of this scale, it seems unfair to stop talking about it the moment the last Wookie leaves the building. So in the words of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac comic creator Jhonen Vasquez, let’s look back one last time and “immortalize the moment”. Here are brief snippets of everything I wrote about Comic-Con 2012 over the last two weeks organized into one handy alphabetical post. Hit the “click HERE” link in each summary if something intrigues you, and it’ll open a new browser tab with tons more pictures and the full story.
Have a look back at my digest posts for Comic-Con 2011 and Comic-Con 2010 to see if we’ve gained weight/gone grey and who’s still standing.
Audrey Kawasaki made her first appearance at Comic-Con this year. Her signing session attracted so many fans that SDCC security moved the line, and Hi-Fructose handed out tickets to return to the booth up to four hours afterward.
Click HERE to see Lili and Her Ghosts and more from Audrey Kawasaki’s signing/print release.
For 2012, MINDstyle appears to have ceded their stall to BAIT, an LA-based lifestyle boutique. The BAIT booth featured sneakers and “SDCC-exclusive” designer toys by Gary Baseman, Devilrobots, Michael Lau, Erick Scarecrow and Ron English. While BAIT is holding tight to the partyline that they’re NOT MINDstyle, for now toy collectors are standing with the artists and not buying their story…or their toys.
Click HERE for a look at the new vinyls, and decide for yourself if it’s a bait and switch.
Banksy Bootleg by 2bitHack
The man behind the Banksy action figure revealed himself at Comic-Con, and his name isn’t Robin Gunningham: it’s 2bitHack. Skeptical? Maybe this will interest you: Long Gone John of Necessaries Toy Foundation, Sympathy for the Record Industry and He Who Has a Mark Ryden Original In His Cat’s Bathroom picked up the Smiley Copper shown in the photo above. Nice!
Click HERE for more with 2bitHack and his bootleg toys.
Comic-Con saw the release of fine artist Brendan Monroe‘s first designer toys since 2005’s Sours. Figment was an edition of 100 seated sofubi figures made by Grody Shogun in Japan and produced by DKE Toys. Monroe also appeared with Mars-1 at Cardboard Spaceship.
Click HERE if you like complexity art.
Where are you going??? You’ve barely grazed the surface! Continue onward by clicking the green link below.
Camilla d’Errico debuted her new statue, No Ordinary Love, at her Comic-Con booth. Based on her painting, d’Errico’s explains that the statue is the “visual interpretation and expression of her feelings” for her “one and only”. The 8″ x 5″ bust is an edition of 950 pieces by Dark Horse and Gentle Giant.
Click HERE for a look at her bust (heh) and cute Kuros with mustaches.
David Chung (aka The Chung!!) designed the Cup-o-Noodles-style character and vinyl toy, Shrympee. It glows in the dark.
Click HERE to meet The Chung!! and get shrymped.
Costumes, Candids and Cameos
At the end of the four days, the lasting memories of Comic-Con aren’t about the comics and the designer toys. The memories are about the people: the artists, the fans, the writers, the kids, the kidults, the creative types who dress up in costumes, the dedicated folks who go to the panels and the die-hards who sleep outside overnight on the sidewalks for a glimpse at a TV vampire or some special swag…
Click HERE for various incarnations of Star Wars troopers, a zombie, several princesses AND Andrew Bell, Anna the Red, Buff Monster, Chauskoskis,Chris Ryniak, Color Ink Book, Dragatomi, Dril One, Ferg, Frank Kozik, J*ryu, Jason Limon, Jay222, Joe Ledbetter, Julie B, Kaiju Korner Andy, Leecifer, Luke Rook, Matt Hisey, Nathan Hamill, Ryan the Wheelbarrow, Andria and Doug of Screaming Sky Gallery, Skinner, SpankyStokes,Super Cooper,The Crow, The Sucklord, tokidoki, Van Beater and Velocitron.
It was nice to see so many “beyond toys” artists in the “Toy Cultyard” at Comic-Con this year. Among them was Color Ink Book-sponsored street art duo, DABS MYLA.
Click HERE to see how DABS MYLA work in tandem as they sign the magazine cover.
Has someone ever (earnestly) asked you the question: “What are designer toys?” You could try to explain it in words, or you could simply show them DKE Toys‘ cabinets. DKE acts as a distributor for artists and indie toy brands. They are the vital link between toy designers and designer toy shops. Dov and Sarah Jo are also mega-collectors, and recently, they’ve been producing a few exciting toys, too.
Click HERE for a look at some of their SDCC exclusive toys and lots of pictures of their fantastic, dreamlike sample toy cases.
Ray and Joanne of Dragatomi are two of my favorite toy people in all the land. They always pack a whole lot of toy art into a small space without things looking like a swap meet. Dragatomi’s booth was THE place for custom toys at Comic-Con, with cases full of customs by Dril One, Leecifer, Jay222, Jason Limon and many others.
Click HERE for closeups of those cases full of customs.
I was lucky to be able to get a close-up look at some of the sets, miniature props and upcoming toys from Tim Burton’s stop-motion animated feature, Frankenweenie. Frankenweenie: The Art of Exhibition showcases the movie’s elaborate character and prop design and a host of new toys.
Click HERE for forty photos from Frankenweenie.
Frank the Bunny
Just how happy am I in this picture? I am SO HAPPY that security (fearing something paranormal was occurring) called in Ghostbusters. (You can see them cautiously approaching from behind.)
Click HERE for My Best Fanboy Moment Ever (so far).
Portland’s Grass Hut collective and the Gargamel Japan crew united (as usual, see last year) for Comic-Con with an array of colorful and eclectic sofubi. Their soft vinyl toys included new takes on traditional kaiju characters plus original monsters informed by life in the Pacific Northwest.
Click HERE for the rest of their eyeball-melting exhibit.
Gary Ham, Julie West and Scott Tolleson
Gary Ham, Julie West and Scott Tolleson shared a booth packed with plush, vinyl, Japanese vinyl, custom toys, paper toys and more.
Click HERE to find out what the “more” is.
I like signs, and in particular, protest signs, so naturally I was drawn to the distinctly jaundiced Jesusy signs outside the convention center during Comic-Con. The Bible-belters had sole reign of the sidewalk on Day 1, but by Day 2, Comic-Con’s atheists, pagans, virgins and hedonists had clearly had enough.
Click HERE for the rest of this religious experience.
Kidrobot, Huck Gee and Frank Kozik
Huck Gee dropped by Kidrobot‘s booth on Saturday to sign the “Tuco” edition of his Skullslinger vinyl. Kidrobot’s exclusives also included Futurama Hypnotoad, Homer Simpson Buddha and Frank Kozik x Chuckboy’s Labbit Excelsior edition, with the artists in attendance.
Click HERE for more Kidrobot.
Kuso Vinyl hosted a number of artist signings at Comic-Con 2012, including Jesse Hernandez, Bigfoot, Rotobox, Van Beater and KaNO.
Click HERE to see Kuso’s very green SDCC exclusives and artist signings.
Luke Chueh was all around Comic-Con, with book signings at Giant Robot (above), toy signings at Munky King (below) and fanboy motivations (just like the rest of us).
Click HERE to see where I caught up with him.
Lunchbreak with Anna the Red
I bet we all thought that the story of my face as a ham and cheese sandwich would end with digestion. Wrong! It was just over a year ago when sculptor and food artist, Anna the Red is responsible for me starting a “Food Art” category on my blog, and I’m still enamored with the idea of artistic people putting so much time and care into utterly ephemeral artwork.
How did Anna find me amid the nerd herd circling the exhibition hall floor? Click HERE to find out.
The MakerBot folks were on hand at Comic-Con to demonstrate their newest machine, The MakerBot Replicator, billed as the “ultimate personal 3D printer”. Digital printing aficionado, Dave Bondi, whipped up his Akashi, a custom Omi and designs by Joe Ledbetter and Ron English while fans watched at Munky King’s booth.
A little confused about what you’re looking at? Click HERE for more on MakerBot.
Rotofugi brought out new colorways and characters from Shawnimals, 64Colors, Chris Ryniak, Joey Potts, Ferg, Travis Lampe and Tim Biskup.
Click HERE for Pocket Pork Dumplings, Grim Marshalls and Triple Crown Monsters.
Behold the beauty of Scott Wilkowski‘s toyetic taxidermy! DKE Toys displayed a curio cabinet of Wilkowski’s collaborations, including “Infected” cats, Labbits, Skelves and monsters.
Click HERE to behold them one by one.
Shing Yin Khor
This picture tells you almost everything you need to know about Shing Yin Khor aka Sawdust Bear. As predicted, her “wunderkammer” in Comic-Con’s Small Press Area contained a dazzling array of resin and clay creatures, plus comics, paintings and pins. Naturally, I adopted one of her green Candy Larms.
Click HERE to see the rest of the monstrous merch.
The Sucklord continued to out several historically homoerotic characters in the form of bootleg action figures (as detailed here) during Comic-Con. Licorice Leslie was quick to sell out, no doubt owing to the freckleface being the first overtly lesbian toy in The Sucklord’s Gay Empire arsenal.
Click HERE to find out if a plush in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Super7 brought its vision of Japanese vinyl toys to Comic-Con en masse. Popular Monster Family figures showed up in new colorways and for the first time, I saw Brian Flynn’s “Foster” and “Milton” referred to as “Kandy Kaiju”. There were over 14 soft vinyl figures on hand priced from $25-$95.
Click HERE to see every single one of them.
Speaking of Rotofugi at Comic-Con…The premiere toy made with Roto-a-Matic technology was a highlight for Rotofugi’s founders and fans. Tim Biskup, who recalls enjoying similar toys in his youth, got the honor of designing the machine’s first mass-produced blow-molded polyethylene wax toy.
Click HERE to check out Biskup’s wax Helper Dragon plus records, prints and more.
Uglydolls always make for a happy Comic-Con experience. In addition to bountiful plush, affordable tin toys and new BLOX vinyl figures in the Uglydolls area, there was a small customized Uglydolls show curated by Luke Chueh over at the Giant Robot booth.
Click HERE for a tour of it all with your friendly guides, Leecifer and Jay222.
UNKL x SpongeBob
SpongeBob Squarepants makes me feel stoopid happy. You too? One year ago, at Comic-Con, UNKL displayed their UNKL-ized Spongebob vinyl toy with a “pending licensor approval” note. At the time, I wrote: “Why should KAWS get to have all the fun?” I’m glad UNKL pursued the license.
Click HERE for a close up look at the rest of the awesome Bikini Bottom gang.
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