SDCC 2012 Max Toy Company

Here’s a quick over view of SDCC 2012 for Max Toys / Mark Nagata. Over all it was the best convention I’ve had, although with hindsight impossible to fit all I needed too into one day, mixing business with personal stuff.

I was only able to get a one day pass for Thursday so i needed to drop off my customs and exclusives with Rotofugi ( Ed on left and Kirby the owner in the middle ) on Wednesday driving straight from the airport.

The following day we decided that taking the train from where my sister lives was a good idea, thus eliminating the search for parking. I’ve never done this, but let me say it’s easy to do and gets you about 10 blocks away from the center. A bit of a walk if you have lots of toys to haul ( which we did later on ! ). I don’t think I’ve taken a train in decades but the ride was smooth and comfortable.

Once we got to the convention site we had to walk around to the back to line up. The line stretched all the way back to Joe’s Crab Shack … lets just say that’s really far away (!!) But the line kept moving so it wasn’t too bad …until the line reached the front of the building ! This is where everyone is walking in and out of the front doors and the line suddenly disappeared in front of us, mixing with Press pass folks and misc attendees. Total “Fail” in my book as we could see folks skipping the line up behind us and jumping in line. Ah well .. so it goes … Once inside the process is quick to get your badge. They asked to see my ID twice, which I thought was odd since the first guy marked off my printout after checking my ID .. but whatever .. oh and they did this for Max, too.

We had our list of booths to check out and I had two signings lined up so we decided to start at one end. At this end the rows are in the hundreds and this is what i call the older booths .. or whats left of the old Comic Con .. having mostly toy dealers and actual comic book dealers. I enjoy this part of the hall best … I especially like looking at the original comic and illustration booths. The Mondo poster guys were here too and swamped .. so Max and I passed on waiting in that line and kept moving like sharks.

Of course, we made our way to the Konami booth who makes Yu Gi Oh cards. Too bad they didn’t have any SDCC exclusive cards .. but still they showed all the releases for the rest of the year which got max excited .. and I could only calculate the cost to me to come !

The middle sections have all the big guys, and while it’s neat to see the new stuff ( I really want the Hot Toys Batmobile ! ) it’s simply too crowded … and to figure out what one can buy on the spot versus having to go get a ticket somewhere else or even coming back another day was frustrating … so if it seemed too confusing we just walked away …

Good thing Max is with me .. he looked at his watch and said, it’s 11am .. don’t you have to sign at Rotofugi ?!! Oops … we quickly made our way from row 900 to 4700 .. which takes awhile having to dodge people… Making it in time I learned that all my customs had sold out on preview night 0_o ! Whoa !
I don’t get to see Max Toy fans much since i run everything via my web site so it’s always good to put real faces to online names.

While collectible toys are what I make, I did manage to make this Lady Maxx comic book which I think over all turned out great and to release an actual comic at Comic Con … haha … was fun to do.

Midway through artist, TOUMA joined me as we gave out postcards showing our upcoming project. We wondered if he’d show up with mask or without .. of course with mask !

If you look at the video below, one question folks ask me is how to pronounce TOUMA … it is not Two-Mah .. it is Toe-Mah  ;-P

Always fun to do sketches for the fans .. you can see the new Max Toy x Frenzy Captain Maxx’s there too.

Ah, Kaiju Korner Andy all the way from Japan … I think he was taking a video here …

With that we wrap up another terrific year at the Rotofugi/ SquibblesInk booth ! Many thanks to Kirby, Joe and Ed for hosting myself and TOUMA. And I’ll be in Chicago October 2013 for Toy Karma 4 !! Geez, can you believe the 4th one ? we do them every other year, too ….

With that Max wanted to go back to the Yu Gi Oh booth which meant a trek all the way back …  ;-( Along the way dodging the Stay Puff man …

Having both exhibited at SDCC as well as attending since the 80’s .. I have to say attending is harder on the feet ! At least in a booth you can sit .. but as i get older I find the back and forth from one end to the other is not something i like to do anymore  ;-P

If you know what this is above you must have a pre teen or teen child .. from the MineCraft game ..$20 for a cardboard box .. they were everywhere .. brilliant idea and the profits I can only imagine for this piece of paper  ;-P

The next signing was not till 5pm but as anyone knows, hours can go by like minutes .. in between wondering around, had a few quick meetings, stood in line only to find out what Max wanted had sold out for the day ( waste of time )… grabbed a quick lunch … had to sit a bit to rest … and actually left the center to get some air and ice cream ….

Finally at the Dragatomi booth for a signing with Jay222. As plans go we were suppose to have test shots of Jay’s new figure, Lady Vengeance, along with Troy Stith’s new figure Yuudoku. But they had not arrived yet .. so I was not happy about that, but what can you do ? The show must go on .. Dragatomi had these great signing cards so both Jay and I were able to use those to sketch for folks. Above the legendary Jim Crawford, of StrangeCo and Clutter stops by to say hello and pass out postcards.

I sketched on this KidRobot figure …

I wish i took pics of Jay’s customs .. d-oh … they are awesome… well you can see the huge one blocking him  ;-P

So the plan was to make my way to another artists table, but after the Dragatomi signing Max wanted to play the new Halo 4 demo .. so off we went to wait an hour and a half in a line …

When the demo was over ( which I videoed for him ) he said it was simply awesome ! and yes we have already pre ordered the darn thing plus might have order a deluxe edition too !

After that we were running out of time but Max saw some Halo and Predator stuff and wanted to go buy them .. only problem was that was like by row 200 … damn.. so from row 4800 we made our way back again .. took a good 20 minutes … and to find the right booth too was maddening .. but we did and made our purchase. By the way my iphone could not connect to twitter or make calls most of the convention .. which was weird because in 2011 I didn’t have that problem. Anyways the phone rings and it’s Kirby of Rotofugi … he wants to know if I can come back to the booth to sign something .. but we have like 10 minutes till the con is over and I’m at row 200 .. no way i can get back in 10 minutes  ;-(

So that was it for 2012 … both Max and I were beat and I just couldn’t move any more. We slowly made our way to the train station with our haul and agreed to fit all that into one day was crazy.

Of course on Friday, the test shots arrive at my sisters house… so I drove them to the convention center and handed them off to Jay. So there is a happy ending after all  ;-P

Next up for me is the Singapore Toy, Game, and Comic Convention or STGCC. I am an invited guest and honored that they asked me to attend. I have about a month to paint new customs and gather all the assorted exclusives.Really looking forward to meeting Kaiju fans in Singapore and of course eating the food  ;-P

Phew … I’ve said it before but I had planned to take 2012 a bit easier and space out the various events and releases but it’s turned into the busiest year ever for me. The rest of the year is full, we have more new toy releases, collabs, I’ll be in several more shows, I think putting on another one at Double Punch and much more  ! Thanks again for the support and see you soon !

 

About toykarma

Over the years Mark Nagata has collected thousands of toys and a fair amount of titles. The man behind San Francisco-based Max Toy Company is widely known as: Toy Collector. Illustrator. Magazine Founder/Publisher. Toy Designer. Artist. Author. Husband. Father. But the one description that might fit best is an unofficial one – Kaiju Toy and Art Ambassador. In the Japanese-inspired art and toy area, as well as throughout the larger toy collecting community, Mark is welcomed and recognized for his personal passion and commitment to supporting artists all around the world and the unique works they create. Beginning as a collector in his youth, Mark has had for years a keen eye for great art and a personal interest in collecting that he has spread through a variety of outlets. Trained at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, Mark honed his skills working for himself and for some of the most notable businesses in the country. As a freelance commercial illustrator, he completed works for such prominent companies as Lucasfilms, DC Comics, Hasbro Toys, IBM, Sony, and numerous advertising and design firms, both national and international. Mark’s colorful style graces over 40 cover paintings for R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps book series – Give Yourself Goosebumps. After hundreds of assignments, Mark made the decision to move in another direction, and that choice has led to whole new career as a successful businessman. For four years, the owner of one of the largest Ultraman toy collections in the world co-published Super 7 Magazine showcasing the finest in Japanese toy collecting. “I’d been collecting Japanese toys all along and suddenly realized it would be cool to have a magazine of some type devoted to them,” Nagata says. Mark’s devotion to presenting collectors with a selection of original figures inspired by classic Japanese toys from the 1960s and ‘70s as well as new versions of licensed Japanese characters is at the heart of Max Toy Company. Named for his son, Max Toys specializes in custom and limited editions of “kaiju” (Japanese monsters) toys and artwork. Many of the original toys produced are hand painted by Mark, a tradition that goes back to Japanese toy makers of the past. “Since our target is the soft vinyl Japanese toy collector, which is a very small niche, our runs of toys can be extremely small,” Mark says. “Runs range from 500 pieces of one toy to just one for a hand-painted, one-of-a-kind custom figure.” Through Max Toys, Mark has taken great pains to widen the reach of his two passions – toys and art. He played a significant part in the development of the first group kaiju show in the United States. Held at the Rotofugi Gallery in Chicago, Illinois in 2007, the “Toy Karma” Show featured detailed work from artists from Japan, the U.S. and South America. Participants marveled at the custom-painted toys and art on display. “Toy Karma” led to Mark being asked to be one of the artists spotlighted in the “Beyond Ultraman: Seven Artists Explore the Vinyl Frontier” exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The October 2007 show, held jointly with the Los Angeles Toy, Doll and Amusement Museum, marked the first time – in a museum setting – that the influence of Japanese toys on California artists was explored. The exhibit featured more than 30 of Mark’s original paintings, toys and a selection of his vintage toy collection. Mark continued to be at the forefront as interest in Japanese-inspired art and toys expanded in 2008. Prestigious art houses Philips De Pury and Christie’s in New York and London sold Mark’s hand-painted custom kaiju toys in its auctions, spreading this unique art and toy movement into new and uncharted areas of the art world. In 2009, Mark once again took his love of toys and art overseas this time to a receptive and welcoming audience in Tokyo, Japan. Here, Mark curated the “Kaiju Comrades” Art Show, once again bringing together artists from various aspects of the kaiju toy realm in this first-of-its-kind toy art show. The following year found Mark in Barcelona, Spain co-curating with Emilio Garcia “Kaiju Attack,” the European country’s first kaiju art show. As the growth of kaiju art and toys increases worldwide, Mark continues in his unofficial role of Kaiju Toy and Art Ambassador. He has written and had his artwork and toy designs included in several books and magazines, both domestic and international. In 2010, Mark served as guest lecturer on kaiju and the toy-making process at the Morikami Museum in Florida. The San Francisco resident and his art can also be spotted in the first volume of the “ToyPunks” DVD and the “Toys R Us” DVD, while the video for the number one song by Owl City “Fireflies” featured Mark’s popular Kaiju Eyezon character. During this same time period, Mark has spearheaded the “Toy Karma 2” and “Kaiju Comrades 2” shows and has plans for future shows both in the U.S. and overseas. “Max Toys allows me to produce original artwork, new toys and work directly with a lot of talented artists,” Mark says. “Max Toy is a synthesis of toys and art, both life-long passions.”
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