STGCC 2014: Frank Kozik Interview by Jedd Jong

On the eve of New York Comic Con, I’m doing a bit of catch-up on a piece that our good friend Jedd sent in several weeks back, during the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention. It’s a great interview with designer toy icon Frank Kozik. Be sure to check out Jedd’s own site, The Movie and Me, for his full coverage of STGCC and much more.

Frank Kozik with Marvel Labbit Rocket Raccoon - Image Credit: Vinyl Pulse

Frank Kozik with Marvel Labbit Rocket Raccoon – Image Credit: Vinyl Pulse

Artist and designer Frank Kozik is known in collectible art circles as the creator of the Labbit, but it also famous as a poster designer who created artwork for bands such as The White Stripes, Pearl Jam, The Beastie Boys and Nirvana. The commercial artwork he has done includes work for Nike, Swatch and MTV. Kozik was in Singapore as a guest of the Singapore Toys, Games and Comics Convention (STGCC) and I got to sit down with him to discuss his work. He was somewhat intimidating and frank and off-the-cuff, giving a detailed description of how Labbit came to be (it involves booty calls) and offering a surprising, piece of advice to aspiring artists.

Jedd Jong: What was the genesis of Labbit; how did you conceptualise that?

Frank Kozik: That’s an interesting story. In the mid-90s, I was going to Japan quite a bit, I was working with the people there. When I went over there for the first time, I was really in Sanrio products, was really into like Hello Kitty and Keroppi and stuff, I thought it was very interesting, the stuff they were doing. I liked how they did the characters, it was like super-perfect. What’s interesting is in Japan then, it was just something for low-class people. These were are sort of like snotty Shinjuku fashion dudes, right? And they’re like “what do you want to do, do you want to do cocaine on top of a mountain?” and I’m like “no, I want to go to Kitty Land!” And they all just thought I was crazy, they were like “what?!” They couldn’t understand, it was such a low thing for them. And I tried to explain it, I said “look, there’s something really interesting here. It’s like super-perfect way to develop a character,” like you got to get beyond who buys it. In the US, it became a really big cult thing.

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Toynami Celebrates Online Shop Opening and Cyber Monday with Free Shipping Deal

SDCC 2013 EXCLUSIVE BADTZ MARU RYU PLUSH COMIKAZE 2013 EXCLUSIVE HELLO KITTY BLANKA PLUSH SDCC 2013 EXCLUSIVE FUTURAMA DESTRUCTOR GENDER BENDER BOX SET SDCC 2013 EXCLUSIVE FUTURAMA HYPNOTOAD VINYL FIGURE

Toynami recently opened the Toynami Shop, their online store. And low and behold, it’s stocked with exclusives from San Diego Comic Con and Comikaze. I can tell you, if I’d known these items would be available online way after the shows were over, it would have saved my wife some stress. She is nuts over the Sanrio / Street Fighter plush mashups, and braved the insane lines at SDCC for the Badtz Ryu exclusive. Then when we figured out we couldn’t make it to Comikaze, we had to figure out a way to get our hands on the Hello Kitty Blanka. I also heard that a lot of Futurama fans were unable to get the hook-up at SDCC for the Gender Bender set.

So, if you missed out, get them now! Need your arm twisted? For Cyber Monday, Toynami is offering free shipping on all orders until December 6.

Hello Kitty x Street Fighter Comikaze Blanka and Wave 2 Update

street_fighter_x_sanrio_blanka_plush HelloKittyXStreetFighter Blanka hk-sf_10inch-plush_s2 HelloKittyXStreetFighter Wave 2

For the plushies out there, the next wave of hellokittyxstreetfighter is on its way. Cami, Guile and Ken are slated for Series 2 at both 10-inch and 6-inch size. Slated for March 2014, if you want to get yours, BigBadToyStore has them up pre-order now.

And if you were lucky enough to have attended or know someone who attended Stan Lee’s Comikaze at the Los Angeles Convention Center this past weekend, you might have seen Toynami’s latest exclusive hellokittyxstreetfighter Blanka Kitty! My brother was nice enough to brave the unwashed masses and get me one (thx Matt!)

Only 1000 were made and all SOLD OUT. Happy hunting on eBay now I guess…

DC Comics Mimobot USB Flash Drives on Sale at Woot

Woot-MimobotUSBFlashDrives

Right now, Woot has Mimobot Flash Drives from DC Comics on sale for 28 to 32% off list prices. They’ve got two versions of Batman, Robin, the Joker, Catwoman, Superman, and the Flash. They’ve also got other properties like Hello Kitty and South Park. On top of the flash drives, each Mimobot comes with special desktop backgrounds, avatars, and media files that are unique to each Mimobot.

I can’t see how anybody could resist a Flash flash drive. In fact, last time I checked, the 32GB version was sold out, but a 16GB Flash is still available. Sale ends tomorrow but I think these will move fast. No Flash pun intended.

Mimobot USB Flash Drives

You don’t have to be a fan of all of these characters to get some enjoyment out of your Mimobot USB devices. Just say “The Flash flash drive” enough times, and you’ll know what we’re talking about.

via Mimobot USB Flash Drives.

SDCC 2013: Toynami Booth Video

Toynami Hello Kitty Street Fighter SDCC Exclusives 2012 - 2013

I like to think that we get a little more Comic-Con savvy every time we go. Last year my wife missed out and had to pick up the Toynami Hello Kitty Street Fighter Chun Li on eBay. This year, on Preview Night, instead of previewing, she lined up at the Toynami booth and picked up this year’s Badtz Maru as Ryu and Hello Kitty as Akuma. I was lined up at Hasbro, which was right next to the Toynami booth, and I probably walked around that booth at least 15 times over the course of the show.

When I watched Toynami’s Comic-Con video, I realized I’m still as Comic-Con dumb as ever – I’m always so caught up in taking pictures / getting to panels / trying to get SDCC exclusives that I miss so much of the show. Sandman was more on top of things than me, and took some pics of the Toynami booth.

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SDCC 2013: Toynami DC Skelanimals, Hello Kitty Street Fighter, and Voltron

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Here’s a couple of pics from the Toynami booth – no Narutos or Futurama in the booth. They did have a Masterpiece Voltron with light up eyes on display. No word on the release date for that one.

I have to say, the DC Skelanimals and the Hello Kitty / Street Fighter mashups do look good!

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