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      Los Angeles Comic Con!

      Los Angeles Comic Con!

      Ever seen one of those 80’s tour videos?  Usually accompanied by a ballad from the hair band of the day; life on the road, truck stops, loading in gear, setting up in big venues, sound checks, load out, backstage exhaustion, back in the van…the wear and tear of the road as you setup to play from city to city.  Journey “Faithfully”, Motley Crue “Home Sweet Home”, you know, the “tour video”!  As a kid I’m thinking, “That doesn’t look so bad.  You mean you play in front of tens of thousands of people, you ride around on a cool bus, and you hang out in truck stops?  Sweet!”  Little did I know they were making millions of dollars doing it too, a sort of “pirate” summer camp for millionaire rock n roll delinquents.  When I had my bands the best we could do was rent a van, beg for taco money, get free beer, and wait around until we played clubs in strange cities in front of no more than a dozen or so folks.  “Hey, this doesn't look that Journey video, what gives?”  It was still fun, the time of my life, packed with amazing memories.  Even got stuck in the salt flats in Utah.  Had an 18 wheeler pull us out, just to pull off the axle, with the chain snapping, a 30’ metal chain whipping around in the air at mach speed.  Could have been a situation right out of a “Final Destination” movie.  “Whap!”  Head be gone.  We still drove the Van, gear and all, with the flimsy wheel rotations like a Tom and Jerry cartoon all the way back to Southern California.  We did stupid things in our 20’s.  Not much has improved.

      Setting up at conventions is sort of like the tour video – grips, electricians, union guys, tractor trailers, big road cases, sets go up, the sets are dressed, merch booths are stocked, the crew assumes their positions, the curtain goes up, SHOWTIME, then the show comes down, the nights are late, the trucks move out in the wee hours of the morning, the coffee spots are welcome sanctuaries at 6a, all to start the whole thing over again.  As much as we love to do these shows, it’s a herculean effort.  Marveled at the fact folks can go show to show, some guys we know do 200 shows in a year!  We do 4 professional shows, and ultimately two fan shows, it’s still 6 shows a year, sometimes 8!  We know we have to be more fan facing, we’re really fan’s Brand, not an industry facing Brand.  Fans know us, far more than the sea of ubiquitous toy insiders, and generic Co’s.  We’re proud that we’re a fan’s Brand…nothing matters more at the end of the day than having communion with the folks who are tuned into the message.  We’ll figure out how to get to NYCC, Emerald City, Wondercon, Dragon Con, all the places you guys are at!  It’s hard with the Journey road crew!  I think we have to get back in the van to make it possible.  Always looking for surrogates to tow that rope, if you know someone who wants to be the TLS representative in your town’s Comic Con we’re open ears.

      LA Comic Con – we rolled out the Journey road crew on this baby.  We built a small city, cracked open the neon signs, the powered coated shelves, the white carpet, the kiosks…the TLS version of an Apple store.  It's going to be a shopping experience, we’re here to put on a show so we’re puttin’ on tha dang thing!  150%, no hold’s bard.  All who roll by booth 717 will know “Hey!  It’s TLS!”  Crank up your Walkman, start air piano’ing, get those Asics wrestling shoes tied on tight, the big hair, the leather gear, and come forage in our Home Sweet Home!  Be a part of our tour highlights starting tomorrow and ending on Sunday, when the road show packs up and gets on the highway, stopping for that nourishing, and comforting 6a burnt coffee, eggs scrambled to a dry desert’s crisp, and bacon cooked until it resembles bark.

      Each day we’ll be releasing 66 Translucent Black Night Kings, 66 Translucent Blue Night King and Viserion 2 packs (TLS 10 Year anniversary Edition), 6 First Look Ghostbuster PDQs, a small assortment of Regular Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Aggretsuko GE PDQs, 6 First look My Hero Academia GE PDQs, A new Alien tee, more tees (Tees, all $12.00), TLS Lanyards ($2.00 or free with purchases over $20.00), TLS stickers, Totes, and all sorts of other goodies, like Hot Wheels!  For the Translucent Blue Night King folks who can't make LACC, we’ll make 50 available on our website starting Monday at Noon PDT. 

      Come party with us LA style, bring your shades, your smiles, your favorite ballads, and have a great time at the TLS Show, located at the Los Angeles Convention Center, starting tomorrow at Noon, Ending Sunday!  For details and show times please check this link - https://www.comicconla.com/

      See you at Booth 717!

      Game of Thrones Night King

      Game of Thrones Night King The Loyal Subjects

      The Loyal Subjects Ghostbusters

      The Loyal Subjects My Hero Academia

      The Loyal Subjects Aggretsuko

      The Loyal Subjects

       

      TLS Mega Update!

      TLS Mega Update!

      Hello TLS Nation.  The Blog has been silent as of late, outside the mega Bandai x TLS Partnership announcement.  That shook the earth, the rafters, the roots in the teeth.  Wowzas, that’s a big announcement.  I looked back, there was a recap from SDCC 2018 and that was it!  From August!  About 4.5 months had past since we had posted….anything!  I’m kind of aghast by the neglect.  The Blog has been my voice, in an empty room, typewriter, a few polaroids, some loose scribbled notes…my writerly quick quipped haven well under 2000 words per post.   The petri of collected thoughts, steadied, studied, ready to explore the days, the months, events in highlight form.  It’s not as though HUGE news isn't the regular.  It has been, pedal to the metal, fuel injected, wazooo til your hair bleaches blond!   That’s the point, I’ve been busy!  Aliens landing at Target and Hot Topic, a Nick 90’s invasion at Hot Topic, Horror flying off the shelves at retail, WWE landing in Australia, now making it’s way to North America (absolutely crushing it at Big W, Target, and EB Games Oz), Masters of the Universe Wave 2 literally selling 60% of it’s stock in one week at Hot Topic, Game of Thrones releasing in March, Hot Wheels, Naruto, My Hero Academia, One Punch Man, Predators, Aliens GE, Aggretsuko, Fox Animation – the headlines, highlights, updates, and what nots are flying at me, like the speed of light. 

       

      Somehow working 12-14 hour days 6-7 days a week, building this beast of business because we are “all for one, one for all”, and we collectively know this is the best collectible in the market, the most fun, the most bang for your buck!  That’s why we do it, that’s why we obsess over the details, why we dedicate the time.  It’s also why I’ve been off the writer’s block (not to be confused with writer’s block) for the last 4.5 months – bc it’s been nuclear pace here at TLS!  I wish I was Shiva without all the death, only the multiple arms!  I need more arms!   But tonight, enough was enough.  I stared at the last email sent, was closing down the computer, then said F’ that, I’m writing, to you guys, because we are connected on the same journey, with the same passions, the same love for killer, cool, fun, quality, story driven collectibles which bring back the waves of warm feels like cannonballs in the hot tub.  You guys need to know what’s been happening!   We’re all in the band, we’re all on the bus, flipping the bird to mediocrity, joining in full throated song sharing our memories, our love of all things pop culture, our desire to still play, to still use our imaginations, to still tell story, and to back the bands, like the kids did in Berkeley, Los Angeles or DC during the punk days – “this is cool, we back it, people need to get hip to it, everybody needs to join in!”  TLS is like “Bleach” phase right now, ready to hit “Nevermind” (Nirvana reference). 

       

      The highlight reel has broken the tape machine!  Club 28’s being found left and right, gold figures found, crazy chase figures found, more SDDC drops, more retailers added; 7-Eleven – dudes, and dudettes, that’s crazy!  7-Eleven!  I literally get my coffee there every morning, even though I own 3 coffee makers.  The dudes who work there know The Loyal Subjects!  Like, K N O W  TLS!  It blows my mind.  I still haven’t told them I own it, I tell them I just follow the Brand.  I don’t look like a CEO.  I talk like a surfer, wear V-Necks, the same pair of jeans weeks on end (gross), Vans…nothing polished about me, so they would never know that I was anyone other than the dude who gets coffee at 8a every morning.   And, who obviously sounds obsessed with TLS.

       

      Retail is a juggernaut this year.  Finally getting the Distribution and outlets you guys need.  We’re increasing our space at Walmart, Target, Rite Aid, Walgreens opened TLS up to 8k stores!  4 slots in Walgreens this Fall!   Hot Topic, Game Stop, FYE – the TLS staples, all crushing it this year with TLS!  We bleed Hot Topic.  Nerdette is one of our favorite humans on planet earth!  TLS is about to go Vesuvius raining Action Vinyls, like thunderous clouds filled, raining down, a Universe without Borders!  As KISS said, “You want the best, you got the best!”  KISS said a lot but that’s about all I can quote from KISS relating to TLS.  Club 28, rare Easter Eggs, gold figures – these all stay, forever a staple with TLS.  By the way, still hit those shelves!  There are plenty of Club 28’s left unfound, gold figures waiting for homes…go get em!  I heard there are some good sales at Game Stop, going right now!  Hot Topic has bouillon with Aliens and Splat!  Still mega finds there, don’t sleep!

       

      I’m not sure if this was a catch-all update Blog Post, or an apology for ONLY sticking to the cellular brain candy the last 4.5 months; i.e. Instagram, Facebook, etc.  We’re communicating the same message there on the regular but the Blog is a special place, a place where I can drop words like marbles on a trampoline.  Watch them bounce, where they go, nobody knows.  2019 is going to crush.  Yes, it’s been crazy hard work, insanely busy.  I feel like I’ve spent half of last year in other countries, learning how to speak native tongues without any of the artfulness or elegance, just thumbing through beautiful words like a sledgehammer to a watermelon.  But hey, I’ve learned a few phrases in a few languages.  It impresses my mom.  I’ve spent the whole year catching licenses like Ash Ketchum catches Pokemons (no, this isn’t a hint), developing and conceptualizing new products, improving our products, improving our messaging, building bridges with Brands like Bandai, building our Team in Asia….phew, wait, let me catch my breath.  All this activity is like running back to back to back to back to back marathons with a 30 second Gatorade break in between races before the gun fires again.  And it’s been the ride of my life!  Only the best to come.  In short, the experts say that a good Brand needs about 10 blog posts per week, three social media posts per day – well, we ain’t that, nowhere near, but we are always actively engaging in conversation.  I feel like I know most of you, like friends and family, and for that, I’m grateful.  Here’s to the TLS Army, here’s to more Blog Posts (Maybe another one tomorrow), here’s to all the fun hunts, the finds, the exhilaration of finding a Club 28, the satisfaction of turning a friend onto something cool….this is our year guys, let's own it.  TLS is on the cusp of being the fans’ Brand, period.  Let’s do something special together, let's dance like we mean it.

       

      Signing off, not for 4.5 months, but for tonight – JC

       

      PS We’re also nearing the end of construction for our new website.  We plan to launch in April.  It’s going to be content rich, news and stories a go go, with select TLS offerings, including our 10 Year Anniversary products!  Yes, coming this May 24 marks TLS’ 10th Year in existence and we aim to party!  Bring your dancing shoes!. Into the year 2019 we find ourselves, ready, set, blast off Captain!  Gung Hay Fat Choy!

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      motu2_pdq_group

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      Wrestlemania 35 and WWE availability!

      Wrestlemania 35 and WWE availability!

      “Bing, Bang, Boom!  Smack, Splat, Thwack, Crack!  Crumple, Crackle, Thwackle, Thud!”

      “Zing, Zang, Boing, Bounce, Splash, Ding, Brack!”

      An episode of Batman, or sounds echoing through the giant hull, ricocheting and shaking the seats at Met Life Stadium in the Meadowlands? 

      This is my second Wrestlemania event.  The first was New Orleans last year.  Nothing beats Bourbon Street, the Black Cat, some Dixie swing, and a bunch of savages descending on the Big Easy, chopping up legs, lips, and larynx to the tune of Meshhugah’s double kick drum, furiously pounding out thrashing rounds of 16th notes. “Th Th Th Th Th Th Th Th Thud, crack!”  I’ll have a lil ole that with my beignet, good sir.

      From the Big Easy to the Big Apple, Wrestlemania 35!  I’ve been hyped since I saw Cindy Lauper bopping around with Captain Lou Albano, the rubber band man, the Italian Mario, Luigi, “shut-ay-up-a-palease” before you get mouth thwacked from a gorilla chest with a coat’s worth of chest hair!  I couldn’t tell if his cheek was pierced with a rubber band, or if it was glued on…whatever it was, he had that cutting edge body modification down in the early 80’s!  He was a big dude but who wasn’t from those early days?  Life was a bowl of cherries in your belly, rolled up with a figure 4 leg lock, and the dreaded ear yank…”tap tap tap”, I’m done ref!  Nothing like the 80’s, until the 90’s, then the 2000’s…wrestling never gets old, it reinvents itself, with more dares, more dings, more acrobatics, more athleticism.  With all the aerial tricks, and flying acrobatics it’s a surprise these dudes and dudettes walk away from these matches at all.  The Big Apple was ramping up to be an epic show.  My takeaway?  Huge upsets; (Main Event) Becky Lynch taking down Rousey, and Charlotte Flair, both UFC masters (a Galaxian Guardian) taking “L”’s, one from an old timer, another from a fan favorite, the Demon King making a much anticipated appearance, slaying his opponent….real drama, great characters, mind boggling athleticism…this show is as good as any, and it was nearly 9 hours long!   Lest I forget the high wire, trapeze bash in the rafters between Shane McMahon and the Miz – talk about using space, these two teeter tottered, tango’ed, tormented, and tailpsun through the first 30 rows of Met Life, culminating in a 3 story death drop, elbow to the throat double knock out!

      This was the first time I had been back to Met Life since the rain bowl where Brett Favre launched his record breaking TD pass to Randy Moss, both Vikings at the time.  I spent the better part of an hr at the Club house sushi bowl chasing Nigiri delights with a deluge of tequila – east meets west.  I was lucky this time; Met Life was dry as a bone, but good to see that ole sushi bar again. 

      I get WWE, the whole thing.  Larger than life characters, with super human strength, flying, floating, speeding, racing, thwacking, cracking, and spinning opponents around the ring like the tea cups at Disneyland, “spin, spin, spin, puke, beat down.”  Tap, tap, tap, out, I’m done Ref.  Kind of a live action Avenger’s stage play.  Badassery, and kudos for those flying, leaping, lunging dirvishing whirlers, heroes on foot, villains on the lurk, the stage, 20’ x 20’, contained chaos (except for the Miz and Shane McMahaon – that was chaos on a bumblebee’s wings).  As tight as a live action super hero stage play can get, that’s you my darling ingénue, meaning WWE, you see!

      Bravo WWE, thank you for the superb show!  You have to drink it in to know it, and hopefully, the WWE Action Vinyls are a testament to our fanship, and love for this crazy, kooky, heroic brand of super hero misfits and conspirators.  If you’re wondering, check out www.entertainmentearth.com, and www.amazon.com/theloyalsubjects for availability!  They got em!  Sit at home, aim, click, checkout, maybe a Club 28 will show up on your front porch!

      See you next year at another Wrestlemania in a town near you!

      WWE Action Vinyls

      WWE Action Vinyls

      Ultimate Warrior WWE packout at Target, NOW!

      Ultimate Warrior WWE packout at Target, NOW!

      Live Strong, Act Bold, Be Brave!” – The Ultimate Warrior.

      Not bad words to live by.  I remember this freight train; bottled up energy like a can of soda that had been flung up into the air 15’ smacking back down, seeing the canister swell, ready to blow, a different kind of uncontained energy with muscles popping off his finger nails, muscles in his hair, his ears, his eyes…he was the culmination of inescapabilty from a frenzy unleashed…unmanageable, a spire of disaster with a sprinter’s purpose.  The Ultimate Warrior was a sight to be seen, with the war paint, a sort of neon warrior filled with aim and determination, the flying W’s curling inwards like spikes, his eyes hiding behind the black paint, the snarl, the stare down, the flex, the streamers barely holding on to his biceps which looked like penned hogs on each arm.  The knee pads with the Ultimate Warrior bat signals, the Flying W’s resembling a pair of vampire’s teeth, more insidious than a straight, do-gooder’s freedom fighter emblem…the Ultimate Warrior sourced, and sorcerer in augury, a presage to his opponent.

      Once the shock wears off, sense a little glam, a little Body Glove action, a little day-glo, some hair metal – the Ultimate Warrior was the culmination of pop culture and an evolving WWF, into a slicker, faster, stronger, more acrobatic brand of wrestling.  No cheap tricks, just full table tops off the top ropes with the agility of a gymnast but the strength of an NFL linebacker, and the rock n’ spirit of the time.  He was a game changer and the game went his way, exploding the super star realm into rockstar realm, the seeds sewn by Hogan, now, a faster, leaner, meaner, stronger Terminator, no fat, no frills, just slick, lean, a new wrestling machine.  A new face for the WWF, and an end to the 2nd generation, who brought down the Pontiac Dome 100,000 strong on their toes, watching two giants (one real giant) duke it out on the stage fit for Super Bowls.  Beside a select few who’s fame kept them in the routine until the routine changed again, the Ultimate Warrior was the new wave, with remnants hanging on to his tassels, being pulled into a new era of exciting, acrobatic, and daring Wrestling Super Stars.

      The Ultimate Warrior was a dominant sports figure of the unusual sorts – part man, part animal, part warrior, part comic book hero, part mystery.  He’s pure nostalgia, and he tugs at those friendly heartstrings, like those cascading letters conveyor’ing into a vanishing point, “In a galaxy far far away…”  He hits similar notes, and those notes are keys to the time machine, pulsar’ed into memories like it was yesterday.

      “Finally”.  “Finally”, some may say.  Finally, the WWE Action Vinyls set comes out with Ultimate Warrior as the anchor!  We’re with you!  We’ve been wanting this set to come out, at one point the working title was “Walmart, Packout” but alas, it's Target who scored the much anticipated Action Vinyls set!  This sucker is rare, we produced very boutique numbers so definitely, if you’re a fan of heroes, villains, classics, and currents – this set is for you!  Everything is unique about this set; Brock Lesnar’s red shorts, the Ultimate Warrior character exclusive and exclusive variant, the blue shirted Club 28 referee, John Cena in his jean shorts, and construction orange hat and wristbands, Roman Reigns with the red outlined logo, Styles in his Evel Knievel getup, the Undertaker with his omnious insignia, Sting in his red face paint!  One of the best wrestling sets to date (in my totally unbiased opinion).  I think Zack Ryder gave us a big thumbs up, and, oh yeah, the Bella Twins starting following TLS too…rad!  Another Easter Egg – there are hidden “WrestleMania” rings in this packout!  Another reason to go fleece Target for all things TLS, all things TLS x WWE!  Also, when you’re over at your local Target, don't forget, Game of Thrones, Gudetama, and Splat!  It's a TLS takeover, help support the cause and clear those shelves.  We have a ton more coming this year!

      Last parting words of wisdom from none other, the Ultimate Warrior – “It’s never wrong to fight for what is right, never!

      Go get your face paint game on, and we’ll see you at Target!

      John Cena

      WWE Action Vinyls

      TLS in TARGET!

      TLS in TARGET!

      It’s hard not to be Pollyanna about your Brand.  Hopefully my stoke transfers, and becomes your stoke.  I make collectibles because I like to build, I build because I like to share, I create because creating is sharing on a much more intimate level, sort of a soul bond per se, especially if your creation connects with another human, and hopefully your creation takes on a whole new meaning, or an amplified meaning with it’s new owner, and it becomes their creation…so the cycle continues and everyone takes ownership and authorship of what was once an idea, now an object, and eventually an experience.  This is the beauty.  THIS is why I do what I do, it gives me a raison d’etre, a purpose, and ultimately a way to connect to all of you with shared passions, with fun, with playfulness, with strong spirits, open hearts, and most importantly good times. 

      I’m not saying it’s easy, nothing is easy worth striving for.  We’re constantly fine-tuning, constantly evolving, hiccups, hills, valleys, successes, exhilaration, disappointments, elation, ten steps forward, two steps back, new heights, new plateaus – the whole emotional arc of what it means to be a creative entrepreneur.  We party, dance, battle, laugh, cry, - all of it.  After all, we’re human, and this is a human experience we’re having.  TLS is not a trading Company; we don't simply find other creations, lean on them and passenger our way through a story arc where we’re only the watchful observer.  We dig in, we become the costume designer, the makeup artist, the producer, the director, the casting….we put a TLS spin in our own 5 act play but with the spirit of the story in tact; i.e. be it Ghostbusters, or Game of Thrones, you can still tell those dynamic stories from the lore created by their respected authors, but TLS has put their story on the TLS party bus, given it a spin, and it's a new play, although still intact with all the necessary details and familiarity!  In this, we’re much more an active creative participant, more invested, less transactional, more meaningful, and ultimately Pollyanna because it’s nearly impossible to divorce ourselves from the creative process.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

      What does this have to do with Target?  A lot!  For TLS to have 5 products in Target (5!), it’s taken a lifetime workshopping our ideas, our vision to get the creative enough in shape where we’ve developed a product that people connect with, not just one but many, thus TLS in Target.  All the hills, the valleys, the defeats, the successes, each experience is a culmination to this one moment, where TLS gets a shot at the big time in a big way.  I get it, the products aren't always easy to find, we’re working on that!  However, to have 5 different lines in Target at the same time is insane!  When I started this Company that was never on my radar, how could it be?  I was shocked when a single person bought something I made…that blew me away.  This is just the start, 10 years in the making but it’s finally starting to open up because we have all journeyed together with shared passions – e pluribus unum!  PS We’re working on getting a store finder for all of you. 

      We have a great distribution partner in Bandai, they are making some heavy in roads for TLS, it's exciting, and I can't stop being Pollyanna!  My stoke is your stoke, and I’m even more stoked when you're stoked.   Bandai has Splat (literally, one of the best characterizations and articulation for the beloved Nick 90’s brands that I’ve seen – am I biased?  Me thinks not, check them out, I think you’ll agree), WWE (turns out to be the Ultimate Warrior packout – it’s ridiculously sick!  Includes a Wrestlemania Build-A-Ring!  For chimney sakes!), Gudetama (it’s the laziest egg with the cutest derrière – if this doesn't make you smile…), Horror (one of the coolest, playable, poseable, lovable, band of killers, creeps, and kooks on the market), and Game of Thrones (probably down to the skin and bones right now, but dang, to have a small part in TV’s biggest most watched show is nuts, plus the characters are killer!) – ALL IN TARGET, NOW!  Please support our Target campaign, the more support we get the more lines we get to release through their illustrious shelves!  Clear the shelves, make room for MHA, Ghostbusters, Hot Wheels, and all the new releases coming down the pike.  Let's really turn this into a pop culture movement – TLS Army Builders 4 LIFE!  We can all say, we built something special, and more importantly, FUN!