One of the familiar highlights of the last decade have been Julius Marx's toy industry panels. This year was another strong lineup featuring: Jesse Falcon, Jason Lenzi, Scott Neitlich, Mike Schultz, David Vonner, Chuck Terceira and Jean St.Jean. As always the topics were limited but the discussion entertaining and mildly insightful.
- Jesse Falcon will be expanding the "WHAT THE...?" style animation and humor at/with Marvel, and partnerships with 7-11, Toyota and one other I can't recall.
- Bif Bang Pow is breaking into 3¾" with Venture Brothers, not officially offered to retailers, but fan support is strong
- Neitlich got to go to Green Lantern set, premiere and met Ryan Reynolds (who was pretty enthusiastic about his toys). Mini-Comics = based on the original plotline from the '80s first mini-comic.
- The Ozark shark guy is doing a foot long shark with visible mechanics. All sharks are hand made by Schultz's home team. NTT shark is 37" long and sold out whole first run. Next up is a "bust" with visible mechanics.
- Vonner is a huge Thor fan and it was great for him to have worked on that movie.
- Chuck is most proud of the in-house line, to see kids playing with stuff that's straight from DST's mind and style.
- Jean's year has been split between random old retro stuff and modern comic heroes, like DCD's mini-busts but also DST's Munsters and Femme Fatales. Jean really likes working on Mezco's giant Thundercats figures, whose style is purposefully under-detailed to look as much like the cartoon as possible.
- "How do you deal with getting 'called out' personally?" Vonner says take it all with a grain of salt, but Jesse talks about getting really upset about really mean posts (but it was actually Vonner who wrote the post). Falcon also talks about how it comes from a source of passion and everyone has such a personal connection to the characters. Jason (BBP) said it's hard not to take it personally - no matter how hard you try some people just won't be happy, so you have to find the humor of it. For Jean its harder because they go after both the person and their art/work. "Yeah you can punch on that as much as you want, I still got a crap load of money for it." Neitlich talks about the modern tech is so immediate that people expect changes to happen just as quickly, but it takes months to effect those changes for production.
- "What's the best way for fans to get you feedback, what's best for you?" Jason talks about getting shredded to bits for his article against a Tron review. Question skirted.
- Jesse has seen Marvel's movie "dance card" through 2018 and there is lots more coming. He's also been working with Lego all year for product launch in 2012. Lego's biggest lines are Star Wars, Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean, two of which don't do to well as toys but do great as construction sets.
- Ozark doesn't have marketing, etc, like everyone else on the panel, so he gets hype from website and mainly word of mouth. Plus it only takes 4-5 weeks to get a finished product once some one completes their payment.
- Neitlich implies they cut or changed the ending to Green Lantern.
- Neitlich really wants to do BTTF figures but the problem is each figure will need a lot (if not all) unique tooling which is too expensive.
Closing out, Julius Marx dedicates to the panel to Eddie Wires - a presence we all dearly miss from the con and especially from these panels.