Our good friend Jedd was at the Singapore Toy, Game, and Comic Convention this past weekend, and sent us this update.
I just got done with STGCC 2015! I’ve attached some booth photos, as with every year, Hot Toys has some impressive dioramas and displays up, with more of a Star Wars bent this year due to the imminent release of The Force Awakens. We also had a giant life-sized Hulk vs. Hulkbuster statue. The photos of Marvel statues (Elektra, Daredevil, Iron Man, Black Bolt) are from XM Collectibles. I’m not really sure who made the Poison Ivy statue prototype but I thought it was pretty enough to include. Then there are the actually levitating DeLorean and hoverboard models from KidLogic.
The local Star Wars collecting community did up a few dioramas, including the LEGO Simpsons family watching a performance of Jizz (yes, we’ve all heard the jokes) by the Bith musicians at Mos Eisley Cantina, and Hasbro Black Series figures lining up to get some satay from street food vendor Jabba the Hutt.
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.
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.
While I’ve got Hulk on my mind, I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight the recent reveals by Hot Toys for their Avengers Bruce Banner figure. We first saw puny Banner in a shawarma diorama at SGTCC. At the time I thought Hot Toys was cruel for making a custom we could never get ourselves. Now I find myself in a quandary – I don’t have a Tony Stark figure. And Hot Toys hasn’t made a Steve Rogers figure. So do I get Banner? In fact, there’s two options. One is Banner by himself, while the other includes the really awesome Hulk figure, I think with some additional “set pieces” to liven up your display.
Here’s a wrap-up of Jedd’s STGCC coverage with an interview with Nathan Hamill, artist and toy designer, who coincidentally is one of Mark Hamill’s kids. He talks with Jedd about toys, art, comics, and, yes, a little bit about Star Wars.
Jedd: Welcome to Singapore!
Nathan: Thank you!
Are you having a good time so far?
Excellent. First time here and it’s stunning, it’s incredible. The weather was perfect yesterday; it’s great so far.
I had a look at your Twitter feed, really cool stuff. Beneath your handle, it says “I makes what I likes.” What do you think has been the most rewarding thing of living by that maxim?
Yeah, “I makes what I likes” is just… first of all, I think it’s funny because it’s using improper English, which makes me laugh. Like “I makes what I likes,” yeah… I try to keep it as simple as that. So yeah, my motto, “I makes what I likes,” at the end of the day it should come down to whether or not it’s something that you enjoy, not to be too convoluted about what your themes and what your concepts are. Yeah, that stuff is good and fine but I guess I’m trying to… you know, take things less seriously.