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      Alien Day Exclusive at Hot Topic!

      Alien Day Exclusive at Hot Topic!

      When I was 19 I got a job at a NaNa, a sort of punk rock atelier.  A fresh face from Orange County, new to LA, just enrolled in Santa Monica City College, came to LA to play in bands, make records and make it big (so I thought).  Anything music related I was drawn to.  I had begged a friend’s girlfriend who had managed a NaNa location on 3rd Street in Los Angeles (across the street from where the Orlando Hotel stands now), for a job, any job!  I had a crap car, some punk rock tee shirts, camo shorts, Vans, a drum set and nothing more.  I didn’t know if I were going to be homeless or famous. I needed a job!  Those Stafford Loans were micro and ordering a pizza was an opulent expense.  Fortunately, Jill (my friend’s girlfriend at the time) took pity on my poor dimpled cheeks, and gave me a job.  My job?  I skated out in front of the store for hours until pretty girls would walk in, ask for Doc Martins and I would (coquetry) fetch sizes and colors batting bashful eyes.  It was a great job for a drummer with no money, who loved to skate. 


      I would bring my skateboard to SMCC.  There I would skate in the quads, practicing kick flips ad naseum.  There were few other kids kick flipping their days away.  Soon we became a cult of kick flippers, a crew of sorts.  Mike Eizinger from Incubus and Mickey Madden from Maroon 5 were among the Kick Flippers.  A guy with a cow print shaved head would sit in with us, draw cartoons and make hilarious jokes.  He would try his hand at kick flipping, shave layers of skin off his shins then go right back to drawing cartoons and telling jokes, in a slurpy lisp.  Eventually, a punk rock girl with short blue hair joined in and eventually our slurpy, lispy friend pulled his attention to this blue haired girl.  That girl was a 16-year-old Tara McPherson.  How she started a Junior College at 16?  I have no idea, but she was there. 


      So, what does this all have to do with Aliens?  A lot!


      I remember Aliens as a kid.  These creepy, slimey cockroach shell-ish looking humanoid creatures that killed in a mindless, annihilation, hive like way.   Anything that moved was fair game for a ravenous slay.  Cut to my slurpy, lispy friend and his new girlfriend.  My friend was a huge H.R. Giger fan.  I had no idea who H.R. Giger was.  My friend knew a ton about Mr. Giger.  I had a friend in high school that played guitar.  He couldn’t jam because he couldn’t ride on a riff long enough to get a groove down, he was always toggling to micro riffs that had nothing to do with one another, not like a “prog” way, but in a “I have no idea what I’m doing and I can’t jam” way.  This guy was really into Fangoria.  First time I saw a poster of Pinhead was in this guy’s room.  I had a poster of Michael Jordan and some guy getting barreled at Pipeline in my room.  I was new to this horror as fanship world.  I digress.  Cut back to my shaved head friend with the cow print dye job – he and his girl moved into an apartment behind an alley in Santa Monica.  They lived upstairs.  Their house was a confectionary of Toys, Nostalgia and Horror.  I had never seen anything like it – Robby the Robot, Shogun Warriors, Star Wars toys and they had a huge Alien toy!  It scared the shit out of me!  I would sometimes crash there and I would be forced to stare at this eyeless drooling banana shaped-head death creature, and a large figure of Pinhead!  WTF!  I couldn’t think of a more unpleasant place to sleep – my sleeping totems where a large deadly alien and the demon man, Pinhead.  Joy!  I would look at the other wall and there was a Geiger poster, which had tails and ingested mechanisms coming out a half woman creature with exposed breasts.  Needless to say, I slept light and had a few strange dreams at their place.  This was the first time I heard the term “Xenomorph” – I was like “Xerox-wha?”  “What the hell are you saying?”  It left an impression.  This was around 1994.  Eventually, I was filled on the whole Giger story, saw all the Alien movies and became a fan of the hive, and those trying to survive the hive.  Really a story of species dominance and survival, for both!  Here I am, 24 years later and I’m making little Xenomorphs that are magically fun to play with!  What are the odds!


      We’ve been working on Aliens for almost a year – increasing the articulation, the poseability, the play value, the accessories – Aliens is TLS’ Gold Star Standard!  What better way to preview Aliens than to have a one off, limited edition matte black Xenomorph with a spring loaded inner jaw, bendy tail, with 15 points of articulation, a commemorative Alien Day foot stamp and collectors packaging, and ONLY available online at Hot Topic!  Check Hot Topic’s webstore for availability.  Don’t sleep on this one, these are gorgeous.  I think Giger would approve!


      Alien Day Update!

      Alien Day Update!

      I’m sure you’ve heard it before.  It goes by many names; Murphy’s Law, Mercury in Retrograde, Human Error, Bad Luck, Black Cats, Lucky Number 13...if you believe in superstitions or voodoo (I do), some times the Universe has its own inexplicable plan and the best thing you can do is surrender to it’s omnipotent and unrelenting forces.  In the end, everything gets a fair shake, things pan out, people quench their satisfactions and all will right itself in the ancient order of great feels and timely (delayed) wants. 


      Planes, Trains and Automobiles…no, really.  Would you like to hear the story of the Alien Day Hot Topic exclusive?   So then, I will tell you.  The kind folks at Hot Topic opted in on a “first look” TLS Aliens exclusive.   TLS had powered through a micro production of a beautiful black matte 3.75” xenomporh with a spring loaded inner jaw, a bendy tail, and articulation of the extraterrestrial kind.   The commemorative Alien Day xenomorph comes with a commemorative “Alien Day” foot stamp, and collectors box.  If you’re a Giger, TLS, Action Vinyls, Hot Topic , Ridley Scott or Sci-Fi fan this is a must have, magnified more so by the low edition size.  Everyone is pumped!  The Nerdette does an amazing periscope featuring the terrifying and agile creature, TLS splashes the omni destructive xenomorph all over our social media – this is going to be HUGE!  The production is finished, just in time for a barely postponed Alien Day drop.  Excitement swells.  Then wanting “colonists” search the vast reaches of space for rich finds, to find nothing.  A day goes by, another day, then another, still no xenomorphs to bag, tag and take home to the trophy case.  What gives?  This gives!  The kind folks from the forwarding Company opted to send the entire shipment to Atlanta.  The problem?  Hot Topic’s DC is in LaVergne, TN.  A far hop from Atlanta…believe us, LaVergne, TN was specified on the shipment instructions.  The story gets better.  After fumbling the items through keystone cops levels of cloddishness, the xenomorphs finally popped out the other end of Customs’ trachea, like a good little xenomorph baby should (the host heart still beating as the host’s throat spills onto the tarmac).  The items are released to the airlines in Atlanta.  After some passionate sonnets by yours truly to the forwarding agents, the folks find it in their kind hearts to correct their mistake and ship our beloved xenomorphs to LaVergne.  Trucker 1 misses the pickup, let's wait for tomorrow.  Trucker 2 misses the pickup, let's again wait for the following day.  Trucker 3 misses their pickup window, again, another day must pass.  This is happening against the backdrop of what could only and comparably, (and audibly), be-sound a passionate performance rivaling Liz Taylor’s meltdown in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”.  The Forwarding Agent lucidly absorbs the passionate performance which raises their hand to relay the well deserved Oscar (for moi), finally securing a truck as an “or bust” ultimatum, or a “you better drive it yourself” option.  They opted to make sure their designated trucker picked up the cargo and got their ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ tail to LaVergne as fast as Dolly Parton could hum the musical hit, “9 to 5”, or as fast as Burt Reynolds could upholster a rec room with lushes chest hair.  Jokingly, we asked the forwarder if the cargo delivered (our expectations blown to smithereens like the remnants of the Death Star), which he replied, as if the house was not burning down these last two weeks for him, “Yes, it delivered Saturday.”  I simply replied “LOL”.   So, there you have it folks – Planes, Trains and Automobiles!  You can’t make this stuff up.  I’ve seen it all, nearly 10 years in with TLS, you just have to laugh, or call yourself Pied Piper. 


      Conclusion – Hot Topic has receipt of the xenomorphs and I’m sure they will be up for sale (FINALLY!) this week!  So keep your eyes peeled and don’t let those face huggers hug too tight!

      Happy 4th of July!

      Happy 4th of July!

      I wake up, excited, feelings of surging adrenaline, anticipation; I can hardly control my speed – my brain a million miles a minute, my speech volume on 10, my feet fast as Scooby Doo’s.  The sun is piling in the open aired home.  A breeze settles.  The flowing fabric, rippled in waves, like the movement of a flag proudly cresting it’s way over the tops of trees, sheer and light curtains flanking the open window.  The breeze like an unsuspected guest blindly palming it’s way through narrow lanes, off to more distant destinations.  A guest, a stranger.  The sounds of Stevie Wonder, “Songs in the Key of Life” gently rowing beneath the rush of the kitchen faucet’s persistent whistle.  A mindful hum, a warm, welcoming tune filling the room with light, with life, with joy.   Mom.  A lyric here followed by muddled hums and “la’s”, with improvised-life-longed choreographed movements – foot, ankle, knee, hip, playful as it were and practiced through a lifetime, unknowing.  Unconscious to the conscious, performing for an audience of one.  Lemon scented cleaning supplies amplify the room, in a delicate dance wurlitzing with the sounds of the stereo and the breeze intruding every so often just to silently exit, and then again.  Repeat.  It’s summer.  It’s 4th of July. 


      To the Den I go.  Yes!  Perched on the sill, atop a wood flanked stoop, a box of fireworks.  A Roman Candle, Blossoms, Snakes, Piccolo Petes, Sparklers!  It’s endless!  I can’t wait for the sun to retire, for the night to take over.  Yet, I can’t let the sun leave so soon!  There are trees to climb, bikes to ride, popsicles to lick, hamburgers to chomp – can you believe it?  It’s SUMMER!  No school, no shirts, hardly any clothes.  Just my OP shorts, the fresh, clean ocean air, dragging over the sun kissed hills spotted with black trunked Oaks, wild grass, wild flowers and a California glow-like as shiny as gilded spindles and bales. 


      Hours pass as tiny feet race.  There is no tired.   As the sun dims, the hills glisten with gold plumes.  Young hearts race.  Is it night?  Is it soon?  The day has been an odyssey, the night only begun.


      Families start pouring into the streets, dragging coolers filled with water, drinks and refreshments, aluminum chairs with plaid nylon strips anchored to one side of ellipse’d aluminum piping, then to the other, the nylon sagging, in a perfect bowl as bottoms settle in.  Here comes Dad.  His black mustache pulled up on either side, his cheeks stretched into a delightful grin.  Out comes the parade of boxes, with colorful plumes of red, white and blue.  Some boxes bigger than others, like the people carrying them – tall, skinny, fat, short.  An arsenal of magic, like infantry, flank the front line, combat to a naked street.  We are the back line, waiting for the front line to fire.  One by one, the wicks a blaze, setting slow working fuses in a rustle of blue sparks negotiating its way down to  cardboard collars and stocks.  BOOM!   Fire balls, sparkles, flames, whistles, plumes, rooster tails – the whole night sky ablaze!  Magic!  Eyes opened like dinner saucers, mouths agape, screams of joy.  For hours it continues, until the last light dots the night sky.


      The 4th of July.  My favorite Holiday.


      Be safe, be kind, be tolerant. 


      Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!



      Hot Topic Horror Pack Exclusive!

      Hot Topic Horror Pack Exclusive!

      I have an older sister.  Being the kid brother I was put through the sibling gauntlet of experimentation.   Occasionally I would get a hug and compliment but mostly terror.  A hose turned on while dressed for church, a practical joke extending to my sister and her gaggle of gossiping goons (aka mallrats), the “I’m going to lick your cupcake so you won’t eat it” technique, maybe a little extra backwash in your Capri Sun…you know, the usual Suburban edition of Guantanamo Bay.  One particular evening, my mother was out, my sister (and her friend) were tasked to watch the kid brother – real simple instructions – “keep your brother alive and make sure he has something to eat.”  Me, being fairly independent, even at a young age; just needed a baseball, a glove, a skateboard, a surfboard, my Vans, some coloring pencils, some drawing paper and I was “a-ok”.   I shrugged off the usual Hermit Kingdom style psychological torture tactics.  Perhaps it was my access to my mother’s stereo system – Steve Miller, Sgt. Peppers, Songs in the Key of Life – all on 8 Track!  That’s where the world disappeared for me.  Not this night.  Besides the high tech and highly coveted 8-Track in stereo setup, my mother had a VHS Tape machine.  The top of the door rose as if blending realities with the Delorean from “Back to the Future”.  Equally as clunky, flat metallic silver steel, motorized and whizzing gear mechanisms.  A lot of action just to drop a tape in and let the spindles spin.  Apparently my sister had a tape to play me.  Knowing I wasn’t much nor had the stomach for slaughter, blood and guts – as a kid the Kiss record freaked me out - *just an aside, partly due to “Phantom of the Park” where the evil Gene Simmons breathed fire, and the only sound that came out of his mouth was a raging, belching dragon…and he killed some guy by busting through a wall.*   This tape had the name “Nightmare on Elm Street” scrolled over the top.  Oh shit.  I get the picture.  Cut to my sister dropping the tape in, turning out all the lights then locking herself with her friend in her room, cackling laughing pouring from the thin stripped light splitting cracks of the door jam.  It was one hell of a ride.  Hell, not using euphemistically or with any hints of irony.


      Cut to the Exorcist, Friday the 13th and It.  All with similar, and visceral memories.  “It” was a bit bizarre.  I watched that with my mother.  I think it was an ABC movie of the week.  A big “to-do”.  A TV Movie from Stephen King’s pages.  Stephen King was, well, King of the frightening and odorly, deadly supernatural (on the silverscreen).   Having the luxury to watch a Stephen King movie, for free, in your pajamas, at home – who could pass?  My feelings – I liked “It”.  I thought it was funny.  The creep hadn’t crept and spooked me out.  If I was Siskel and Ebert, two thumbs up!  The Exorcist – hmm…the Omen freaked me out more.  I loved the barf scene, the little one-liners…all good fun.  Make sure to check the bottom of each bed from Reagan’s Build-A-Bed – we’ve planted a unique quote from the movie on each retailer exclusive.  Friday the 13th – yes, freaky.  Yes, scary.  A retaliatory and vengeful zombie swoll (assuming) from a fare share of protein shakes and cross fit training mindlessly lops kids heads off with garden tools – yes, very freaky.


      In the end, these memories are priceless.  Even my lovely sister’s gambit of torturous pitfalls and landminds.  We’re all grown, she is a VP of a movie studio, I own a toy company.  She makes the features, I make collectibles.  Apples that fell close to each other from the tree.  Alas, we are siblings.  Want to know which makes the Horror Pack Collectibles more fitting?  I’ve lived on “Elm Street” for 24 years.  I pass Freddy Kreuger’s house every day, as long as I’m home and not in China, of course.  Everytime, I still point it out – “Look, that’s where Johnny Depp was grinded up in a bed blender and shout out like Old Faithful onto the bedroom ceiling of that house!  Isn’t that great!”


      Life is funny; the universe has a wonderful way of tying everything together, neatly.


      TLS SDCC 2018 Exclusives Rundown!

      TLS SDCC 2018 Exclusives Rundown!

      I was living in West Hollywood.  I had a friend, a really funny guy.  Loved music, loved tattoos, loved comic books, loved horror movies, a big Star Wars fan.  We met skateboarding in the quads at Santa Monica City College.  A funny group of folks hung on the quad – Mike Eizinger from Incubus, Mickey Madden from Maroon 5, Tara McPherson -  SMC (as the locals called it) was some sort of wayward bound home for creatives, weirdos, punkers, musicians, skaters, surfers – the fun kind of folk, the people who see everything in color, with possibility.  I met this fellow there.  The guy had a super sharp wit and from the looks of it, could draw pretty good (say that with Napoleon Dynamite like sincerity).  We became good friends.  Eventually, he moved in as a roommate.  His girlfriend, Tara McPherson, came along too.  Three happy punkers hanging Christmas lights around a 1920’s Spanish style bungalow.  The salad days. 


      My buddy loved comic books, and metal.  His dream was to be a comic book artist, and possibly a part time death metal singer.  He achieved the latter.  We started a band called Lightning Swords of Death…another story for another time.  My buddy was pursuing a project with some friends.  Screw it, DIY -  If you can’t get hired by a comic book company why not start one?  My sister was studying business at USC.  She jumped in to try and help my buddy launch a comic book.  It had all sorts of crazy mythology and story engines – Ancient Egypt, the Necronomicon, Kung Fu, Kaiju, robots – I forget what it was called but it was an orgy of cultures and mythos.  Any event, he hired an artist, Bill Sienkiewicz to do a cover.  My buddy, my sister, and a guy who threw a couple thousand bucks into the cost pool headed down to San Diego to this thing called Comic Con, try and drum up business about this new comic book.  I ended up heading down, primarily to hit the pool.  My buddy was staying at the Marina Towers right next to the convention.  The Towers had these tropical style pools, and ladies with sarongs came by with fruity drinks, the kind with umbrellas, the kind that gives you brain freeze and a vacation style buzz.  My kind of place. 


      I get down to the Convention Center, walk upstairs, buy a ticket, and head down to the show.  About half the hall is being used.  The other half has sliding partitions about a mile high.  Beyond the partition were dusty chairs, odds and ends and a converted food court.   Some guys with Hawaiian style shirts printed with comic book characters sat around, checking out toys and things.  I walk around and I’m immediately filled with nostalgia – “Say what?!  I can buy that Darth Vader Head?!  How much!”  I was going nuts.  I thought it was a geek flea market, and I loved it!  I would walk up to each booth and start a Tijuana style auction, except the prices went down, not up.  I bought some ceramic Beatle statues, some Star Wars helmets from Riddell and a kooky looking Optimus Prime with Japanese writing all over the box.  I still have all those things.  I ran the hall, it was lightly crowded, you could walk freely, lapped it about 6 times in one hour (the show wasn’t that big), gave my buddy and my sis high fives, and added my moral support for their new venture.  We would peel out after the show closed, hit the pool, sip on those cruise ship drinks until it was bedtime.  We would crack the windows, let that warm summer breeze fill the room, paradise.  Then mosquitoes  breeding in the stagnant pools from fountains below would eat us alive.  Not so much paradise.  We learned, we closed the windows before bedtime.  This was my first San Diego Comic Con.  The year, probably 1996.


      Here I am 22 years later.  The show is different.  It’s HUGE!  I call it Sundance South.  Movie Studios, Celebrities, giant Brands, Tastemakers – all hit the streets and convention halls in San Diego to take advantage of that golden shine, when one weekend pop culture rules the world!   It’s Halloween, a popgasm, a thesis in marketing all rolled into one.  More important, it’s a chance to get to know people who share the same passions, have the same feelings, leave judgment at their front doors – it’s an all for one, one for all, where fans, customers, creators co-mingle in a celebration of the popular arts.  How cool is that?!   The Loyal Subjects has grown because of San Diego Comic Con. Because of those early adopter TLS Army folks who thought, “Hey, this is cool, it’s worth me giving it a shot.”  These folks have seen us refine our craft, add more great licenses with magnificent mythos, up the stakes each year, and are the first folks to eat steaks on grills we had to man ourselves for the first ever Fan Jam!  SDCC is on our mind all year round – “How can we exceed expectations?”  “How can we ignite imaginations?”  That’s our goal.  Our whole Team pours an enormous amount of energy into SDCC because we want to be special for you, we want to live up to your expectation, so we give it everything we got, and then some.  I’m really proud of our exclusives this year – we deliberate carefully, pouring our best energies into characters, products, details, and themes that we believe stand the test of time and are great story telling vehicles for the Action Vinyls program.  We want them to be collectible too!  We painstakingly comb over every detail, every design element, and we schedule the releases in themes that we think are fun and engaging.  I have a special affinity for this year’s exclusives.  I live on Elm Street.  Not kidding.  I’ve lived on Freddy Kreuger’s street for 24 years (the house from the movie).  How fitting to be making Freddy into an Action Vinyl!  Not only that, to the left is Mutato – Mark Mothersbaugh’s studio, where the Rugrats music was/is composed.  To the right, Clasky Csupo – the way ahead of their time animation house responsible for breaking down walls, seeing animation and multi media from the lens of true artists, true creators, and now I’m making Action Vinyls of their creations!  It took 24 years, but heck, better late than never!  Thanks neighbors!


      Without further ado, here is the list of all TLS exclusives and the schedule.  We errantly forgot Chuckie Finster in the clumsy price catalog cobbled together.  Forgive us.  He’s on the schedule and his picture is featured in this blog post.  He’s awesome!  Each exclusive bought on the floor (only 150 of each from the TLS Booth) will have a foot stamp that says “SDCC FLOOR”.  Super rare finds.  On Thursday afternoon, pending a smooth web upload, ALL the “SDCC STORE” exclusives will be loaded up online for purchase.  We can’t leave those folks behind who can’t make the trip!  Better yet, we left three Predator exclusives to ONLINE ONLY, some will have the SDCC FLOOR foot stamp, and that’s right, those will be 1/150!  The Predator 1/150 items will randomly be thrown in orders, as will some choice prototypes.  Customers are limited to purchase 5 of each style per a 24 hour period. 


      Special Mention – we have Tsuchiya-san, the Producer for Mega Man dropping by to sign Mega Man blindboxes, Saturday at 10a!  Pretty dang cool.  Another note – for one hour every day, starting at noon and ending at 1p, TLS blindboxes are Happy Hour prices – HALF OFF!  This is my ode to those beautiful, sippy cruise ship drinks, and sun filled days back at the Marriott Marina Towers.  May my memories metamorphosis into your savings!


      I hope this is a memorable SDCC.  I’m happy to have shared my memorable experiences; I hope you guys make some great memories too!




      “Kazuhiro Tsuchiya (Producer, Mega Man 11) is a Capcom development veteran who has been with the company for 20 years. Tsuchiya was close to the Blue Bomber from the start, with some of his earliest projects being Mega Man 5 and Mega Man 7. Today, Tsuchiya and his hard-working development team are creating Mega Man 11, combining classic side-scrolling action with a fresh new visual style and the game-changing Double Gear System that gives players more control than ever before.”