AFi's 5th Anniversary- '5 for 5' with Toy Fare's Justin Aclin
April 30, 2010

5 for 5

Here’s another new feature we’ll be running this week as part of AFi‘s 5 Year Anniversary called "5 for 5."  We asked a wide range of friends in the industry 5 questions about the last 5 years and let them answer however they wanted…

I think everyone likes to think there’s a lot of bad blood between the different collector press sites or between the websites and ToyFare magazine.   I think people just like to think about the drama, but the truth is we mostly all get along and even hang out when we see each other at cons (as much as we can with all of the running around, gathering news and posting it).   Case in point is Toy Fare’s Editor Justin Aclin.  I really like Justin.   I wish that an entire continent didn’t separate us, because I really believe that if we lived closer to each other we’d hang out. He’s my kind of people and looking at our Facebook profiles it’s bizarre how much of the same stuff we’re into.

There have been some big events these past couple of years for Justin, he’s had another  daughter, took over as editor for ToyFare Magazine, and he has just had his first graphic novel, Hero House, published by Arcana Studios (hurry and order you copy, according to Amazon they only have 5 copies left)!    

Justin was gracious enough to join in our reindeer games and send us hist ‘5 for 5’ answers:

 1.  How would you say has the industry changed in the last 5 years?

The biggest disappointment is the great companies that are no longer around, like Palisades and Toy Biz, just to name a couple. Obviously the industry has gotten a little smaller and the model’s gotten a little more difficult in this economy, but it’s heartening to see people still making it work.

 2.  What about YOUR job has changed in the last 5 years?

Well, on an obvious level, I’ve gone from working under the amazing Zach Oat to being head honcho at ToyFare. Obviously a lot has changed about my other industry—publishing—in the past 5 years. But I’m proud to be able to say that ToyFare is still the greatest action figure magazine out there.

3.  What is your weirdest Convention experience from the past 5 years?

Weirdest—and also one of the best—was a Twisted ToyFare Theatre panel we did at Wizard World Chicago a couple of years ago. Not only did our loyal fans turn out in force, but they even brought a Crave Case of White Castle hamburgers with them. I ate some on stage. I am not a proud man.

 4. What did you think you were going to grow up to do when you were 5 years old?

When I was 5 I thought I would be a scientist, which I thought meant you got to sit around thinking about things all day. Once I got a little older and realized there were facts involved, though, I decided I wanted to be a writer, which really is about sitting around and thinking about things. And I’m thankful every day I actually get to do that.

5.  What do you anticipate will be different in the industry or your job in the next 5 years?

I hope it’s not shocking to ToyFare fans to say that in 5 years, I’d really like to be known more for writing comic books than for writing about toys. I’ve been taking baby steps towards this dream—my first graphic novel, Hero House, was published this year, and I have a short story coming up from one of my favorite publishers in the June installment of MySpace Dark Horse Presents.

As for the industry, I hope it can grow on the strengths it’s displaying now and get bigger and better. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an increased emphasis on personalization, whether that means toy customizing becoming an even bigger part of the hobby, or more custom-built collectibles like the World of Warcraft Figure Prints.

Thank you so much to Justin for participating.   You can see more of Justin’s work every month in the pages of ToyFare.

Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on,,, Boing-Boing,, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
Read other articles by Daniel Pickett.




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