There were no crowds of outraged customers. No screaming matches. Not a single punch was thrown. The apocalyptic predictions proved to be unfounded. No, the Shocker Toys panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2011 was quite laid back and without incident... except for legal papers being served. Yeah, you read that right. Let's get into it, shall we?
The panel consisted of Geoff Beckett (owner and founder of Shocker Toys), Eric Nyenhuis (Moderator), and Jerry Macaluso (original founder of SOTA Toys, Pop Culture Shock). The three are good friends and their banter back and forth consistently scored laughs from the attendees as they picked on one another. Of course, the random Mort Goldman quotes from Eric didn't hurt.
Geoff then went over Shocker's plans for the coming year during their restructuring. This included trying to get the mail-aways and exclusives finally shipped over for distribution. He stated that they had a problem over on the China side and everything had been delayed 7 to 8 months and they were doing their best to get the figures as quickly as possible.
"We're basically trying to get a couple of containers filled and over here so we can get these to Toys "R" Us, since they have orders in, and into your guy's hands."
The Golden Age and series 3 of Indie Spotlight are still being worked on using their new body system.
"There are a lot of bumps in the industry. I don't think that you can really know what it's like unless you're working in it. It's not fun. It may seem like it is, and I think it was when I first started, but it really gets tough, and you'll learn. But it's something that I wanted to do and I'm trying to get something out for everybody to have, some nice articulated action figures."
The panel then went into questions from the attendees. This is where the insanity was expected to occur, right?
Geoff was asked how he got his passion for making toys and action figures.
"I was always a toy collector and always into comics, much like probably everyone here. Fast forward, i got into construction work and I collected still but it wasn't a lot. I kind of backed a little off of it and comics. Then one day, I started getting back into it again and I decided I wanted to do something in the toy industry. I had no clue what it was about. I was like,"What do you do? How do you get in the toy industry?" Nowadays it's very open, and you can see what goes on in the toy industry, especially through us [laughing] about the things that are happening, but when I was getting in 10 years ago there was no chart on how to get into the toy industry."
"One day I said, y'know what I'm done with the construction work and I just left the construction business and started a toy company."
Geoff went on to talk about the process of getting his first toy, The Shockini, made and getting his first toy license, The Toxic Avenger. Then he went on to discuss the daunting task of moving up to fully articulated action figures from the simpler block figures.
The questions ranged from advice on getting a toy made to asking about what future licensed heroes Geoff would love to have in the Indie Spotlight line. Geoff and the guests took lots of time with each question and it was really... uneventful. It played out more like friends just shooting the s**t than the rabid back and forth arguing everyone had predicted and expected. Except for one thing...
During the question and answer portion, an attendee raised his hand and was called on. Instead of asking anything, he slowly made his way to the front and said,"I wanted to give you this."
The panel joked about him serving papers, assuming it was something else entirely. It was not. Beckett was served court documents right there in the middle of the SDCC panel, and kind of mirrored his career in the industry thus far.
After that, the panel quickly moved on without skipping a beat. at the end, Geoff gave attendees black edition Mallow figures and shook hands with fans.
That's it, folks. The biggest surprise here was the lack of surprise.
Stay tuned to MTV Geek for all your in depth SDCC coverage!