Well it’s another year and this one feels different. I started writing for AFTimes back in 1996 when Playmates decided that their 1701 promotion was a good idea. I remember my first column (which unfortunately lies in the graveyard of our old site) and how much excitement I had for my new found position. I remember my first trip to New York City with Andrew Gaughan, then my editor, and still friend today. How much energy and fun we had trapesing in the snow and going up and down the now gone elevators meeting toy company personell and taking as many pictures as we could. I remember making the connections that would take me through the years of toy reviews. Meeting Raymond Choy of Toy2R and how I just knew that the than mostly unknown “Urban Vinyl” market was going to explode and become as huge as it is today. Meeting Jesse Falcon and the golden age of Toy Biz! Lord of the Rings, Marvel and the showrooms that were so packed with toys that you didn’t want to leave. Meeting Digger at Art Asylum and being introduced to the now super popular Mini Mates. Going to Mezco and meeting Mez for the first time. Seeing Living Dead Dolls and just knowing those were going to go on forever. Meeting Todd McFarlane and seeing the Spawn showroom, (Spawn toys is what got me into toy collecting in the first place!) 21st century Toys, Palisades Toys, BBI and Sideshow. Meeting my dear friend Diane Kamahale and making a true connection. I still miss her and that golden smile and sweet attitude. The parties and the camaraderie amung the toy sites. I remember tromping through the snow to the WWE party hosted by than license holder Jakks Pacific (and being bitched at because it was a hell of a hike). Going to the Diamond Party and the Mezco party. There are so many companies, toys and memories I have from 16 years of doing this.
I remember the toy meetings we had at the San Diego Con! All the toy companies who would come and speak on our panel. The tons of toys we would get and give away. The thrill of seeing the same people year after year and how happy they were that the meeting was still on. Those days now gone.
What has happened to the excitement? Where did it go? Mattel and Hasbro are now the big boys on the block holding most of the large and popular licenses. Sideshow is still around and they haven’t really slowed at all. But there seems to be something missing.
The artist movement is what keeps me going now. Scott Wilkowski, Ferg of Jamungo, Motorbot, Drilone and others. I just don’t know. February is coming and I have planned my trip to NYC for this year’s Toy Fair. Hopefully there will be some excitement there as 2012 was pretty boring on the overall whole. I sense the end for me. Maybe it’s just age. Believe it or not I’ll be 55 soon and I started this when I was a relatively young 39 and the internet was still sort of new.
AFTimes has been my second job for a long time. It’s almost like having a second family. I’ve seen people come and go. Get some fame and move on. Some still around, some not. I’ve made friends who I still have, some not. Throughout it all it was you, the readers, who kept us going. Most whom I’d never get a chance to meet in person but whose presence was always felt. Whatever happens it’s been a great ride. Toygodd is a huge part of who I am and I wouldn’t trade a moment or a memory. Let’s hope 2013 holds something to make me hang on. The grip is sort of slippery.
Happy New Year,