It took quite a bit of time and effort, but I present to you, the readers, an exclusive interview with Shocker Toys! This interview took place at Shocker Toys HQ with the head of the company, Geoff Beckett. To say a few words on this endeavor is my companion for the journey, and best friend, Pat:
Well, what are you waiting for? Hit the jump already!
Tomopop: So, let's get the obvious question out of the way: What are your Comic-Con exclusives going to be?
Shocker Toys: If we told you that, that means you guys would get the first to know, right? While I can't tell you exactly who will be released at Comic-Con, I can tell you what the characters are from. We will have one character from the Tick so instead of getting a different version of the same character like last year with black and white Dick Tracy. We will also have another character from Dick Tracy and we'll have the Blue Beetle there.
Tomopop: We were actually curious about that, we know that Dan Garret came from Charlton Comics when DC bought them. Is that how you are able to do Blue Beetle?
Shocker Toys: Dan Garret, being as old as he is, is public domain and so it kinda fell through a loophole. We've already had DC tell us they were fine with the version we are doing, just don't do anything else.
Tomopop: How do you manage the licensing for multiple different companies?
Shocker Toys: Basically, we go through the creators themselves. If you know Legendary Comic Book Heroes, they did it by company. We pick from creators only. It's hard to talk to artists. Like with our Dethklok license, we couldn't talk with Brendon Small, we had to go through the company. I didn't like to do that. I like to talk to the creators.
Tomopop: Go Hastings was your first major retailer. Why is that?
Shocker Toys: We've had such a problem with Diamond and the comic book shops buying from Diamond, but we tackled New York because we were close to New York and everyone knew us. So, with our local shops we were able to sell our stuff. There are places that sell out stuff once they found out Diamond is not selling our stuff.
Tomopop: Why is ToysRUs taking so long to get your stuff in?
Shocker Toys: I think the whole problem was getting our stuff in stock and there's a ton of paperwork to fill out but the order's in and it should ship out next week. We will have a list up on the site of what stores are carrying them. So, that Indie Spotlight 1 can sell out instantly and we can get wave 2 in.
Tomopop: You have the license for Hack/Slash -- what are you going to do with it?
Shocker Toys: We are going to make figures of Cassie and Vlad. They will be in most likely Wave 4 of Indie Spotlight.
Tomopop: Who does the pricing on the figures: you? Or the toy store?
Shocker Toys: We set the manufacturer's retail price, but you can see them priced anywhere from $9 to $25. Big Bad Toy store carried the original Shockinis back in the day. He was the only one from Indie Spotlight at first. We got a big air shipment, which we sent first to the preorder customers and the rest to Big Bad Toy Store.
Tomopop: These mallows look cool (they were on his desk)!
Shocker Toys: These are the new mallows -- no one has seen them yet. The new models come with the gun, the little sword and two small accessories to make the arms longer. Also, you can take off the feet pieces to make them short. You can also attach the gun on to the arm.
Tomopop: With the anime licenses, are they just for the Mallows, or is there going to be an anime spotlight?
Shocker Toys: Yes, we are doing six inch figures. We are working with another company to do Mallows. We are working with Funimation, and Toei approached us to do some stuff too. We would be the first (outside of Japan) to make 6 inch figures. It's going to be more like the Indie Spotlight line.
Tomopop: What other lines are you going to be doing?
Shocker Toys: We have Indie Spotlight, Golden Age series 1 which will come out this year (and that might be a store exclusive). We are also going to be doing monster spotlight, like werewolves. We are going to have four new bodies for figures: skinny, medium, large, and extra large bodies (like the Maxx). We also talked to Dale Keown with the Pitt and he said he liked our stuff, so we could see another Pitt. I am not against doing stuff other companies have done -- like, we are going to do the "classic" madman.
Tomopop: This is going to be one of those weird questions: do you give the creators a free toy?
Shocker Toys: Of course , they have to get free samples. We try to work as closely as we can with creators.
Tomopop: Are you guys going to have more store exclusives, like for your own store on your website?
Shocker Toys: A lot of toys that came late for cons that became Shocker Toys Exclusive. We did sell black and white Dick Tracy figures after San Diego Comic-Con. We don't have exclusives only sold at SDCC. I think that if we have extra exclusives and people want them, we should sell them.
Tomopop: What series would you really want to do, regardless of what licenses you currently have?
Tomopop: What's the status of the the mail-away Mr. Gone?
Shocker Toys: That's with series two stuff and will ship it out either before San Diego Comic-Con or afterwards. We also have the Gone and Maxx Mallow which will be at the Philly show.
Tomopop: Is it true that every wave 2 figure will have a Tick Accessory?
Shocker Toys: Yes, like the Isz from the first wave, it's something that comes with every figure. The Tick himself comes with a stop sign and his alternate evil head. Everyone else comes with every other accessory which is the spoon, the viewfinder, the purse and the tie, then you send them all in and you get Arthur the sidekick. It's more of an incentive to buy them. The comic book shops didn't understand that because like when we go to what we were talking about earlier with diamond. They didn't promote it properly, they didn't talk about the mail aways, they messed up the listing twice so we don't sell with them.
Tomopop: Do you use two-ups for your figures? How exactly are they made?
Shocker Toys: We don't use two-ups because unlike Hasbro or Mattel we don't have any sculptors lent to us. We do it all in 3D. To me, I think 3D is the best, because when you use a two up and go down sometimes when you re-sculpt you lose some of the details, and it just looks different. We change what we need to change in 3D and the parts are already there, but we don't need to make models anymore since we have a guy with a 3d printer in San Fransisco who is linked to our sculptor. He does everything in 3-D and is printing our parts out now.
Tomopop: What exactly does the Funimation Mallow license give you?
Shocker Toys: One Piece, Full Metal Alchemist, Dragonball Z and Soul Eater. There is some other stuff like Sgt. Frog. We are trying to get all the anime stuff we can into Mallows.
Tomopop: Can you talk about the "Vinyl" aspect of the mallows?
Shocker Toys: You can't really group vinyl with Mallows because they aren't vinyl since they are made of ABS. They are a designer figure, but they are a different designer figure, a new type of one. We are doing an artist line, it won't be a blind box, it will be a chance box. You basically know what artist you're getting but you don't know which design. It will have a good version and an evil version and you don't know which you are getting, but you do know the artist so that you can get the artists you want. We are going to have seven artists, fourteen designs, fourteen mallows per case and the artists will get two designs each.
Tomopop: Thanks so much for your time guys -- we look forward to seeing you at SDCC!
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