Geoff Beckett of GBJR Toys Wants You to Save Indie Spotlight – Should You?

An old proverb suggests that “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” Geoff Beckett of GBJR Toys has certainly taken that to heart. He’s now on his third effort to utilize crowd funding to bring toys to the market. The current campaign to “Save Indie Spotlight” is on GoFundMe with a target of $20K, to be used to “produce a new run of the Series2 Indie Spotlight action figure line.” If the campaign hits $30K, Beckett says he will produce an exclusive online campaign version of the Maxx as one of the campaign rewards. The campaign has been open for over 3 weeks, and in that time it’s managed to raise over $700.

The current line-up for Indie Spotlight Series 2 consists of two versions of Dick Tracy, the Tick, Ignacia from Wildguard, and King Zombie from Deadworld. It omits Jack Staff, who was originally shown in with this line-up back in 2009. The Weird World of Jack Staff Facebook page, which has creator Paul Grist as the contact, claims that the GBJR / Shocker Toys license for Jack Staff expired a few years ago.

Beckett’s two previous crowd funding campaigns from earlier this year did not meet their funding goals. The first campaign was for a line extension of DIY Plush Mallows. It was promoted on Kickstarter this past September, but missed its $9,850 target, raising only $583. The second campaign was taken down prematurely by Indiegogo. GBJR Toys claimed on its Facebook page that it was a victim of malicious lies from multiple sites, including TheFwoosh.com (full disclosure: I am part of the staff at the Fwoosh).

Well everyone, thanks to the internet Trolls who breed on Fwoosh, Bleedingcool and other Bias sites our campaign has been frozen. They falsely reported us to Indiegogo in effect ending our campaign and ruining our momentum we had for Series2 and Indie Spotlight in general. What happened to collecting toys and having a great time doing it? When did malicious, devious and downright nasty behavior become part of it? We hope to get this situation resolved and get our campaign back on track and we hope to see the collecting community come together as a whole and support us in a show of our love for toys and collecting without the low down dirty tactics of people out to get their own kicks. We thank all those that contributed or were going to contribute. [GBJR Toys on Facebook]

I did find a post on the Fwoosh that did claim writing an email to Indiegogo. The Fwoosher, Wedge74, also admits to being biased and to holding a grudge, so I suppose the only thing I can be offended by in GBJR’s comment is the assertion that the Fwoosh supports a community conducive to breeding internet trolls. :D

It’s probably best for you to read the post in its entirety to see if it deserves being labeled the ranting of a troll, but I’ll include here the opening of the email to Indiegogo.

The indiegogo campaign for GBJR Toys *http://www.indiegogo.com/indiespotlight?a=1633085 [Note: link is no longer active as the campaign was taken down] *is headed by Geoff Beckett, the former self-proclaimed CEO of Shocker Toys.

Shocker Toys (Geoff Beckett) is infamous in the action figure community for taking pre-order money for action figures and then not delivering. Several message boards have warnings to potential victims/customers.

Even editing his own Wikipedia page can’t make him seem legit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shocker_Toys

Most recently, he was notorious for selling exclusives for 2010 San Diego Comic Con and not delivering. To get the figures, you had to pay ahead of time, and once the convention arrived, there were no figures. He promised they were on their way but the boat was delayed, but to this day they have never materialized.

He has no intention of making these figures, and if you look into his past at all you find that he has said on more than one occasion that they were already produced, and were in shipping, only to later claim ridiculous excuses as to why they didn’t make it. Some of the more famous/infamous excuses have been that the ship sank, customs destroyed them all, pirates stole them, the factory stoles them, “rogue agents” in China ran off with the die molds. The list goes on and on. [Wedge74 on TheFwoosh.com]

The economic climate, with oil prices and the cost of Chinese labor rising, has made it very tough for small and independent toy makers to succeed. I’ve even heard from product folks from both Mattel and Hasbro that it’s affecting their business. So when opportunities like the Save Indie Spotlight campaign surface, I’m predisposed to lend support to the little guys out there.

Original product line-up for Indie Spotlight Series 2 (Credit: Shocker Toys website)

However, there are some questionable aspects to this campaign:

  • Beckett has distanced himself from his former position as CEO of Shocker Toys. For example, the disclaimer at the bottom of the current campaign says “*Disclaimer* (This campaign, Geoff Beckett Jr. and GBJR Toys are not affiliated with Shocker Toys LLP)”. However, GBJR Toys chose to assume the Shocker Toys Fan Page on Facebook instead of establishing its own, and the GBJR Toys website still links to multiple pages on the Shocker Toys domain.
  • On top of this, many of GBJR Toys’ statements about its relationship to Shocker Toys are somewhat misleading. These statements, like the one in the current campaign description, refer to Shocker as a nameless company – “Geoff Beckett Jr. of GBJR Toys was fortunate enough to obtain the rights, domains and ever popular toyline Indie Spotlight from another company who grew the line and with that deal has created an action figure body system that will improve and make action figure production faster and full of more choices per series.” Although I have not seen him claim a title with GBJR, I would guess Beckett is CEO, just like he was CEO of Shocker.
  • Many people have claimed to have not received action figures they had pre-ordered from Shocker Toys. I know a few personally from the Fwoosh, but I have also seen several comments on the GBJR / Shocker Facebook timeline.
  • Unlike Kickstarter, where campaigns must reach their funding target in order for pledges to be transferred, Indiegogo and GoFundMe have options for the funds to be transferred regardless of whether the campaign succeeds. What will happen to the folks who pre-ordered Indie Spotlight series 2, if GBJR doesn’t get enough money to fund the production run?

I reached out to Geoff Beckett for comment. Here’s what he had to say:

I am no longer with Shocker Toys. Gbjr Toys had agreed as explained on all sites to fulfill the open orders with Shocker and there isn’t many of them just a handful. This campaign was raised due to the cost incurred by taking over the lines, domains, etc. Gbjr Toys will raise the funds through the campaign and other means to get fans the toys they want and continue the Indie Spotlight line the way it should have been released without the sabotage from certain websites and people. Our first campaign was shut down due to a person lying about Gbjr Toys and they tried again to shut down our second campaign. Fans have spoken on Facebook and more where the bullies can’t silence them stating they want this line to flourish.

I then asked Beckett about the transition from Shocker to GBJR, since some people find his statements about buying the toy lines from Shocker confusing – some people equate Shocker with Beckett, and to them it sounds like he’s saying he bought the toy lines from himself.

I was not the only person at Shocker which no one seemed to understand no matter how many times it was re added to the highly skued [sic] wiki page. I was the person in charge of production and dealing with the factory. We also had full staff at panels at the comic shows but yet I was the only person viewed as Shocker because I spoke on the forums. I resigned from Shocker and did not sell it. Shocker is owned by one of the original partners and I did buy the lines I invented and the domains. Again as many times as it was explained that Shocker was ripped off by an agent for everything they had no one wanted to write about it and certain people buried those facts and removed them from wiki. Basically they skies [sic] everything to say Shocker was crooks and frauds and they never released anything which we both know is untrue. They have the wiki stating the company did limited exclusives instead of toys which is ridiculous since the figures were sold in Toys R Us and Hastings.

I do not know why people had it out for Shocker and people always asked them but they never had an answer. At Shocker I invented 3 toylines and despite the constant negative hammering they were liked by toy fans. After the agent problem I discussed leaving and taking back the lines I put together. Once I left and started Gbjr toys I felt responsible for the handful of orders still open through Shocker so I stated I would fill them. Gbjr Toys plans to release what Shocker could not by raising funds through the campaign and other avenues. The toyline was a great idea I mean look Marvel toys copied the idea after we premiered it. So it will live on and I think fans have said they want to see more.

When I asked about getting in touch with his former partners at Shocker Toys, Beckett said that he has not heard from them in over a year, and that emails to them just bounce.

The Save Indie Spotlight campaign (click for more info or to pledge) continues to collect donations, albeit slowly – the total has grown by $45 since I first found it late last week. Beckett remains optimistic, telling a fan on the GBJR Toys Facebook fan page that “funding will be reached.” Do you think that the third time’s the charm, and that the Save Indie Spotlight campaign will succeed? Let us know in the comments section below.

23 comments
Pissed Off Dad
Pissed Off Dad

Still waiting on that action figure for my kid.  He was five when I paid for it and now he's ten...  Geoff Beckett is a damn rip-off scumbag and deserves to die a horrible, agonizing death.

Geoff Beg It
Geoff Beg It

WOW that Mr Gone figure looks like Mr Ass and don't be fooled by his donation promises. For a donation of $25 or $30 you get a picture of a figure promised to you ($10 shipping of course). If you send $115 he sends a made up reason why you wont be getting your figures with a bonus picture of Mr Gone ($40 shipping). $500 or more you don't hear from him ever again.

Mr Gone
Mr Gone

I just saw on his donation site that he is giving away Mr. Gone with a $25 donation. He hasnt even filled the back orders for this figure to the people that he owes it to! Biggest scumbag in the world!

ereiter74
ereiter74

Geoff,Could you please detail what part of that letter I wrote to IndieGoGo was lies? My letter, and their response is all out in the public, in this very article for everyone to see. If I lied to them, what were the lies that I told? And why did their fraud investigation department just take my word for it, not investigate, and shut you down?Please, fill me in on what exactly I wrote that was untrue.Thank you.

ereiter74
ereiter74

If there were other responsible parties at Shocker Toys that is public information and sharing their names is in no way problematic for Geoff Beckett. The reason he won't do it is because there was only ever silent partners. Sure other people were employed by the company, but that doesn't make them officers, or even full partners. An investment partner is not liable for anything beyond his investment. So if there was somebody else at Shocker Toys who was a responsible party, that is public information. He won't name them, because they don't exist.

Geoff Beg It
Geoff Beg It

I preordered miracle production vehicle voltron earlier this year. The dealer i ordered it through got a letter from miracle production stating they are having issues with the product. Guess what i got right away...thats right my money back and if they ever bring it back i will preorder again. See its that simple. I sent miracle production an email saying thanks for not Becketting me with my order.

choanata
choanata

Even if you discount the fraud allegations, you just have to look at the quality and figure choices he's made. I remember when they first announced the first wave. I was pretty stoked to get a Scud figure. It was a LONG time before anything Scud ever saw the light of day, and at first all I ever saw were dumb translucent yellow variants. Then all I saw were black variants. You know what I never saw in stores or at cons? The actual Scud figure. Sad that the translucent yellow variant ends up being produced more than the actual figure.

 

The Maxx was another one I was interested in, because it was supposed to be a build a figure. A giant Maxx would have been great (but no Julie to be found...), but a build a figure was not to be. Instead a regular size sadness Maxx was made and sold separately. I think it cost more, too. And instead of getting a BAF piece, you now got an Isz, which made no sense whatsoever.

 

But the figures themselves looked bad. Like maybe a notch above figures made of Bible characters. You have to ask yourself is it worth having a crummy version of a figure over no version of a figure? No, there's no point. As much as Beckett likes to cry about the Toy Biz Indy line, they made some beautiful figures. The quality and sculpts were top notch. They were easily available. They came with what they said they would come with. That Pitt figure is AMAZING. It's the finest BAF ever produced. Monkeyman was no slouch either. 

 

My advice, save your money. With the advancements of 3-D printers, it's a moot point. Figures will be much easier to produce, and some enterprising individuals could do a run of 200 figures and make money. We're probably 5 to 10 years away, but before too long a Vampirella or Princeless figure might be a reality, without the endless string of stories separating you from your money as is the case here.

scarecrow
scarecrow

my experience with him is this. i preordered a couple of figures through shocker. one was the barry hubris which they never produced, the other was a regular blue tick. even after the blue ticks became "available" i still wasnt sent one. after repeatedly emailing them over and over i finally got a response with a crazy story about how they did mail it, but it got returned to them by the post office and its too damaged to resend. and also theyre out of stock now so ill have to wait another month.  my post office knew nothing of this. after failing to get any help from them i went to paypal. i discovered there because i had paid through paypal and the 45 days had past they didnt care. at all. i tried again to get my refund from shocker and they finally said they would, but didnt. this went back and forth for weeks where they said theyd do it now, but wouldnt. finally i wrote them to tell them i am reporting them to the federal trade commission and my states attorney general and almost instantly my refund appeared in my paypal account. im glad i got my money back because i know a lot of people who didnt.

 

id never tell anyone what to do, but i know id never give this guy another cent.

Mr Gone
Mr Gone

Im done with this guy! He tries to play the victim every chance he gets. The community hasnt "degraded". They just act this way with you. If Hasbro makes a mistake with an order they contact you back after your complaint and rectify the situation. They do NOT hide and make empty promises to the point of no longer responding. We did NOT lose faith in Indy toys, we lost faith in YOU producing Indy toys. Please do not bring up how you did not "sell out". The only semi-major retailer that would take you is Toysrus and you jump on that in a second you "sell out"! Toysrus dropped you once they felt they might get "BECKETTED"! You would have done anything (except produce toys) to have had just one peg on a walmart toy aisle! Just because you claim your old school doesnt make you anymore trustworthy. I have an uncle thats "old school" and we dont leave our kids alone with him. Im sure your familiar with Frank & Sons in the City of Industry. Next time you go there ask what getting "Becketted" means. Only 2 rumors/myths still circle the aisles there; 1. The reason for such a low production number of Overtkills from the 1st spawn series is because the boat sank on its way to the USA & 2. Shocker Toys annual shipment of toys gets held up AND sent back every year at customs and than mysteriously disappears! Im more likely to believe the 1st one. Seriously Geoff, your done in the publics eye as a toy producer. You have ruined your name to the point of no return. Nobody likes you as a person so take the "donations " YOU made back and start a new life. By the way your "donations" remind me of the bums that put a few dollars in their own hat to kick start the rest of the crowd. Its not working bro. Now this is the point where you make a fake account and post a post about how Geoff is a good guy & we dont understand. After that doesnt work your next move is to contact this website and demand to have these posts removed our you will sue them. Just answer this one question directly with a yes or no answer & date: Will we get the Mr. Gone you owe us and if so, when?

SamuRon
SamuRon moderator

it's been one month since Beckett kicked off his Save Indie Spotlight campaign on GoFundMe - he's received $766 in donations so far. at this rate, he'll hit his funding target by New Years... 2015.

when I first contacted him about this article, he was very reluctant to have his comments be part of it. I'm glad he agreed to have them included, for balance's sake. I got this note from him a couple of days ago:

"As I predicted. Its a shame that the community has degraded so deeply. Even though we made mistakes and I did as well at Shocker I am trying to right the wrong since leaving and get people what they ordered as well as new figures they want. The crazies just keep stores from having any faith in Indy toys along with other companies even attempting it. At last I didn't sell out to Walmart making the line available to all size stores. These people are in a sense shooting themselves in the foot or maybe they don't even care about the Indy toys. I wonder how many of then actually own Indie spotlight series 1. I had some beef with marvels line comic book heroes but I own both series they released so I think that gives me done justification and even at that it was about improving their line not how to ruin it. I am a collector and an old school one at that and the values today have definitely changed.

Geoff"

I am a big fan of crowd funding - I am working with some of my toy buddies on something and hopefully we'll have a project on Kickstarter one day. I know for guys like us, it may be the only way to get something off the ground. if I've learned anything from what's happened with Shocker Toys and other small entrepreneurial ventures, it's that you're going to make mistakes. when you make them, you've got to be open and honest about them. and never, ever, blame your customer for something you screwed up yourself.

Geoff Beg It
Geoff Beg It

How does this work. If he raises the money is he filling the pre orders or will we have to pay again? Jesse Falcon stole his idea? I dont remember Jesse Falcon taking everyones money and not delivering figures

SlickMcFavorite
SlickMcFavorite

I am a victim of Geoff and his lies. I pre-ordered a 2010 SDCC exclusive Barry Hubris and have yet to receive him. This is after countless replies that he is being shipped, my refund is forthcoming, he yet again is being shipped, etc. Obviously these email communications are not from Geoff himself besides some "form letter" announcements. I was at the 2011 SDCC panel where he was "served" and I laughed my ass off. Avoid this man at all costs, especially any fundraising site that secures funds whether goals are met or not.

clark
clark

He never addressed all the different stories that have been told throughout the years as to why most of the figures pre-ordered were never made. He also doesn't want to take responsibility that it was he, mostly on forums, that alienated fans. Fans would get angry about not getting the goods they were promised, and he would viciously attack them.I should say, though, that I really liked the few Indie Spotlight figures that I got my hands on, after Hastings put them on a deep discount sell. I hoped that the 2nd series would come to fruition, but I was never going to put money on them.

gwb1887
gwb1887

Great article Ron.

 

I feel it comes across as a good journalist bit, asking good questions and unbiased. 

 

Geoff did have another partner, but Geoff was shocker toys. Time and time again Geoff claims Jesse Falcon of ToyBiz stole his idea, but its all been hashed out on the net and and its more ravings of a madman. Geoff clearly has passion, but he just doesn't seem to be able to pull it together to really make and deliver product. Based on his past, I would suggest that anyone donating money to him will never see anything, and on that note I'd urge people to donate that cash to a food kitchen where it could do some real good!

Geoff Beg It
Geoff Beg It

Two campaigns and he's only gotten a few hundred dollars to pay his electric bill each time. Is he doing the third campaign cause a final notice came in? What happens when he finally gets the money he's asking for in 9 years and all the licenses have expired? Will we be getting excuses why we arent getting our Archie and Jughead figures. I'm pissed cause from the first line I only wanted Maxx but bought the entire line to send in for Mr Gone and pre ordered wave 2. Now my money is Mr. Gone.

Buster99
Buster99

Geoff, you still owe me a Tick action figure from over two years ago...

Yeah, lies regarding shipping, followed by couple more lies, followed by complete silence. Call me old fashioned, but if a product is advertised as being in stock and I order said product, I like to receive it.  I politely asked for a refund only to be met with silence. This guy has no respect  for his customers. Really the failing of the business speaks volumes and it's collapse will save future disappointment. Step aside Geoff, and make way for others who give a shit.     

Mr Gone
Mr Gone

Geoff Beckett is the worst toy maker in the history of toys! He constantly lies to his consumers regarding shipping. How many times is "customs" going to hijack his shipments!? WHERE IS THE MR. GONE FIGURE HE PROMISED?! He deletes & bans every single person that asks asks or questions why he is failing on his word. If you have ever met him you will get an A-hole vib form the 1st word out of his mouth. He is very full of himself & will even threaten with violence if its his last resort. He has tried to sue everybody that he owes money to. He even got the video of him getting served court papers at comic-con removed from all video outlets! If you have that video please post it because it was classic. Do NOT get scammed by this guy by pre-ordering. No distributor will work with him because he does not deliver & has the people skills of a rhino. If you buy anything from him make sure the transaction is at the same time because he WILL take your money and run!

ethansuplee
ethansuplee

soooo....i ordered a few figures from them almost 2 years ago. i emailed them after about 9 months of silence and got a response that said that the order would be filled once all the figures were available. the problem is that most of my order consisted of figures that were supposedly available at the time and have since moved to the unavailable status. i find it hard to believe that they have 2 figures sitting on a shelf waiting for the production of the 3rd figure before they ship my order out. i've pretty much given up on ever seeing a return on my order, but it was like over $60 worth of merchandise. so yeah, unfortunately i do feel that i was ripped off by shocker toys. 

Stevie
Stevie

It's a real shame that Shocker toys haven't managed to bring out anymore of the indie spotlight series. I was lucky enough to get the first wave , scud and the Maxx being two of the best figures I own. 

 

Sadly it doesn't seem that Mr Beckett does himself any favours. I don't really know anything about this guy or the shocker company but it does seem that neither have the best reputation for customer care or producing products. 

 

I really liked the upcoming Shocker 6" figure line up and was really looking forward to getting the Golden age series, sadly that now seem unlikely to happen. 

 

I should say that I hope Mr Beckett proves all his critics wrong and brings out another great set of figures! 

MolarLion
MolarLion

I feel a little bad for this guy.  Am I angry at him? No.  But that's mostly because I refuse to preorder, so I've never been left hanging.  I've always wanted to produce toys of my own and seeing his struggles and reading the backlash scares me away from trying.  I feel like there's a very good chance I would make a lot of the same mistakes (I'm a very flawed individual, especially under pressure).  That said, I have no interest in Indie Wave 2.  I picked up the Tick at WWPhilly 2 years ago, and that's all I wanted from the line.  Wave one is awesome though, so I would love to see more product.  The potential of the Golden Age line could be amazing, too.  I feel like he needs to partner with a reputable company and stop trying to manage everything on his own.

Bravo
Bravo

it is simply not normal behavior at all for someone to claim everyone hates them and the rest of the world is lying. it is a sign of a pathological disorder.

Frankly Fred
Frankly Fred

The mysterious other owners of Shocker can't be reached... BECAUSE THEY DON'T EXIST!

 

He claims to have had "whole panels" of Shocker crew at comic cons, but if anyone has ever watched or been witness to something like his SDCC panel, that's not true. Yes, he had a whole panel of people (about 3) but they had NOTHING to do with Shocker. This included a guy on the panel who claims to have voiced Sol Rosenberg of the Jerky Boys... But even that is BS. The guy never voiced Sol Rosenberg or Mort Goldman on Family Guy as he claims. Like Geoff, he's a liar and flim-flam man.

 

If Geoff had other business partners, why can't he name them? Why haven't they stepped up to defend their good name from Beckett's claims? Why was Geoff always the one who everyone had to go through to deal with ANYTHING with Shocker, and not someone else? And what exactly do these people own now that Beckett has taken the molds, the toys, the concepts and the website/Facebook from Shocker? How does that work?

Thaddeus
Thaddeus

"Flim-flam man".  A more perfect description I've never heard to describ this ripoff merchant.

I feel for those who are still given this loser money.

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  1. […] endeavors. Despite this, GBJR Toys seems intent on selling toys based on Grist’s creation and using images of the Jack Staff action figure in their promotional […]

  2. […] endeavors. Despite this, GBJR Toys seems intent on selling toys based on Grist’s creation and using images of the Jack Staff action figure in their promotional […]