AFI’s Behind the Plastic:The Golden Age of Toy Biz/Marvel Toys Panel
True innovators in the world of action figures are few and far between. The team at Marvel Toys/Toy Biz has been bringing articulation to American action figures in their ground breaking lines: Marvel Legends, Spider-Man Classics, Lord of the Rings, Legendary Comic Book Heroes and other Marvel movie lines. At Comic Con 08 I brought the people that poured their blood, sweat and tears into these toys and had them talk about what might have been and their future plans for these line. Among the stories we had a slide show of NEVER BEFORE SEEN PLANS for unproduced figures from their Marvel, LCBH and other lines.
I’ve been friends with most of the Toy Biz/Marvel toys guys for going on seven years. Some of them I just see twice a year at Toy Fair and Comic Con, some of them are friends where we email, talk on the phone and see each other when in town.. In talking with them and seeing them in their post-"Toy Biz" lives … you can see that they are mourning the loss of this "family" they had at Toy Biz/Marvel Toys. It’s a palpable thing. They "lost" their dream job. Sure, some of the are still making toys, but the team work, the collaboration, the family has split up. And it’s had an effect on all of them.
Talking with Jesse, I had heard the things, that up until now, he hasn’t been able to say. It was a decision by the Marvel board of directors to scuttle the toy making arm of the company, it was a business decision, and as much of a drag as it is, the way the world/industry is now it’s maybe not such a bad decision from a stock holder point of view.
I didn’t put this panel together to rub it in anyone’s face the toys that we won’t get now. I really did it to give my friends some closure. Even though they saw it coming, the rug was pulled out from under them way too fast.
We loved this stuff, they loved this stuff. These guys, Jesse, Damon, Eddie, Phil, Steve, Dave and several others… they aren’t marketing guys, or businessmen.. they were toy makers… and damn good ones. And overseeing it all was Joanne. She doesn’t get a lot of props or press like the other guys, but as they said at the panel, she was the heart and soul of Toy Biz and she had the vision to let these guys do amazing things. I wish she had made it to SDCC. She deserved to see the fans, and hear the gasps.
These guys will do other amazing things, but it will be hard for them to do it all together again. That was like catching lightning in a bottle.
Thanks to everyone that came out to the panel. I hope it was entertaining and informative. We needed more time to cover everything we wanted to talk about, and had to rush a bit at the end, but I hope it gave you some insight into the behind the scenes working and I hope it gave them some closure to be able to talk about it.
And thanks to the AMAZING AFI Abby for filming it and cutting it all together so that those that couldn’t make it out to Comic Con can experience it all.