As he said last month, Justin Aclin went to the San Diego Comic-Con both to promote his new graphic novel from Arcana, Hero House, and to cover the con for his day job with ToyFare Magazine. I caught back up with Justin after the show to see how everything went on both fronts.
JK: Unfortunately I was already on my way home when you were doing your signing on Sunday for Hero House. How did the signing go?
Justin: The signing was great! Obviously no one had the chance to read Hero House yet, but I was able to meet a bunch of really nice ToyFare fans who were willing to pick up the book and give it a shot. At one point I had one Twisted ToyFare fan standing at the table while I signed his book, and another walked up and started talking about his favorite Twisted ToyFare moments, and it just became a conversation between the two of them, quoting their favorite jokes. As a comedy writer who never gets to see an audience react to what he writes, it was a very gratifying moment. We also had our artist, Mike Dimayuga, sketching at the signing, which brought in even more curious onlookers.
JK: How did Hero House do at the show?
Justin: It did great! I know Arcana was only able to bring in a limited number that were right off the presses, but by the end of our signing early Sunday afternoon we were totally sold out for the entire show. If you’re one of the folks who picked it up at the show, drop me a line on aclincorp.com and let me know what you thought of it!
Unfortunately, selling out meant I wasn’t able to bring home a bunch of copies for friends and family that I was intending to, but (cheap plug imminent) Hero House will be in the September Previews catalog for items shipping in November, so make sure to look for it there and let your retailer know you’re interested.
JK: You also covered the con for ToyFare. What were some of the toy-related announcements you were excited about?
Justin: Every year I go to the show wondering if I’m going to have seen everything that gets revealed, and this year there were some legitimate and nice surprises. One of the first things I saw was Hard Hero’s new Lion-O statue from Thundercats – it’s the first piece of Thundercats merch I can recall in who knows how long, and they did a great job with it. It’s only partially toy-related, but Mattel is doing a really cool augmented reality thing with their packaging for toys based on James Cameron’s “Avatar.” Hasbro’s new Marvel Legends for their fan poll were excellent as predicted, and I was shocked to find out that a lot of them were just kitbashed together with new paint jobs – they looked good enough to be actual figures. NECA acquiring HeroClix was probably the biggest surprise of the show to me, possibly tied with the fact that Diamond Select Toys now owns Battle Beasts and is going to be making them as part of their MiniMates line.
JK: On a personal note, what were the highlights of the show? Did you meet anyone, see anything or buy anything that blew you away?
Justin: The highlights of the show for me were all about the stolen moments where I got to see my friends in the industry who were out for the show…and they were mostly moments. It seemed like everyone was twice as busy this year as in years past! I did get to grab a nice long dinner with my college roommate who now plays Office Jesus on Attack of the Show, and we were sitting two tables away from Jerry Lewis. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t in town for the Con, but at this point nothing would surprise me. I also went to check out Gwar on Thursday night with Ryan “Agent_M” Penagos, which means that 500,000 people on Twitter know that I went to see Gwar.
I’m always blown away by anything the Four Horsemen sculpt, and getting to see some of their new Masters of the Universe Classics and DC Universe Classics figures was one of my show highlights. I also got some great figures from a small independent toy company called Onell Design – they’re called Glyos and they’re completely customizable with interchangeable parts. I always thought they looked fun and now I can confirm that they are, in fact, a total blast to play with. I mostly avoided panels because I’m allergic to lines, but the Venture Brothers panel was one of the best panels I’ve ever seen, and the preview of Season 4 they showed looks amazing.
Oh, and in our pre-Con interview, I said I wasn’t coming home until I got an Owly book signed by Andy Runton for my three-year-old daughter. Not only did I accomplish my mission, but Andy proved to be one of the nicest guys I’ve ever spoken with. Everyone, support Owly!