Now, Rustin hates this story. It infuriates him every time I tell it (which, admittedly, will only be three times, counting this one). He says I'm insane, though he doesn't dispute the facts - just my interpretation of them. Here we go:
SDCC '03 was my first trip to the fanboy Mecca that is Comic Con International, and also where I first met Rustin. Of course, he was none too pleased with me at first.
See, we both attended the "DC Direct Brainstorming Session" panel on Thursday afternoon (2:30-3:30, Room 19). I asked DCD's Georg Brewer why the figures were so much more expensive than Marvel Legends when ML had so much more to offer. His answer was very honest: he said he didn't know how ToyBiz did it, and wished he did. That's the kind of straight talk I can respect. But it pissed off Rustin, who has a total mad-on for ToyBiz.
Near the end of the panel, they opened up the floor for suggestions. You know, what product people would like to see in the future. I raised my hand and suggested a line of Elseworlds figures; not from one particular story, but from Elseworlds as a whole. I figured it would have more legs than a single, story-specific line. That was bad luck for Rustin, though, who was apparently about to suggest the same thing. D'oh!
It might have been fine, except that the fine DCD folks were giving away a new statue for the best suggestion. They narrowed down their choices to my Elseworlds line, and one other (which, I'm sad to admit, I no longer recall. If whoever made the other suggestion is out there and can set me straight, I'd love to hear from you). They put it to a vote in the room and, by round of applause, I won the statue. For which someone had offered me $600 before I even left the room. And it all could have been Rustin's, if only they'd called on him first.
The statue, as you can see, is the Jim Lee "Hush" statue. It's actually the artist's proof, the hand-painted version that shows off what the final production samples will look like. And if that wasn't rare enough, it's also signed by Jim Lee, who always had impossibly long lines for his signings. Score!
Anyway, as I understand it, Rustin's reaction when I won was something along the lines of "oh, [crap], it's that Marvel Legends guy." He was not pleased. But it all worked out okay in the end, as evidenced by the fact that he is a happy and productive OAFE member today.
The Elseworlds line is up to Series 3, now, with no signs of stopping. And it always gives me a happy little feeling to pretend that it really is my doing...
Like he said - the bare facts are true but the recounting... thats certainly HIS version!
MY recollection is that his question to Brewer was more in the vein of "why should I buy any of your product when Toybiz gives me thrice the articulation, a base and a comic book for half the price, huh?" To which I can only respond - "hey, douche, ever heard of the Mass market concept?" This was still back when DCD was not fully in the specialty market and was moreorless still setting production runs based on orders from Previews, so DCD was making figures in the thousands, Toybiz in the hundreds of thousands - more product moved, more revenue incurred, more money to spend on production (case in point, ML started as a four figure series' and ended up, in some cases, upwards of 6, plus multiple variants, etc.). The point being, me in my high-falutenty thinking that any "real" toy fan should know this, so the question clearly irked me.
And the bastard won MY statue!
And that very night we ended up at what would turn into my favorite SDCC night ever -yo, Mrs. yo, Poe, myself and "LotN"/"Naz" hanging out till 1 or 2 am ranting on toys, Star Trek, the Emperor and all forms of fan-ery. Oooooh the delicious memories!
Oh, now, it was never "why should I buy any of your product." It was more like "why do I have to pay so much?" Because I am, at heart, a cheap bastard. And production numbers only account for so much; this was when ML still cost $5.99. To my mind, DCD either needed to A) charge less for what they were already giving us, or 2) give us more for what they were already charging us. Not both...
I loves me some statue
And P.S.: that photo up above is the very one I took in my room at the hotel that night. You can see all the stuff I bought and my con ID badge laying on the shelf behind him.
roflmao, that's a GREAT story 😛