If you're a regular reader of JHM, then you might already be familiar with The
Aquabats. A band of five spandex-wearing
middle-aged men who live out of a van and travel the land to fight crime, sing
songs & stuff. And, if you're an Adventure Time, Yo Gabba Gabba, or just a
cute-and-cool-things-in-general fan, then you're most likely already familiar
Started in 2009 by " ... a few friends that liked rad
stuff, and wanted to make rad stuff to give to our friends," this company
has been making some really awesome stuff. And at San Diego Comic-Con next
week, they'll be premiering some amazing new Aquabats products.
I recently got the chance to talk to Todd, owner of
Toddland, about the history of his company as well as the upcoming SDCC merch:
Alice: First of all, could you tell us a little about how
Toddland started. What got you into the industry?
Todd: Toddland was
started in 2009 by a few friends that liked rad stuff, and wanted to make rad
stuff to give our friends. We all worked
at Paul Frank together for years and just wanted to work on a new project.
Alice: How did you start working with The Aquabats?
Todd: While working at Paul Frank we became good friends
with them. And it didn't hurt that our super pal Parker [Jacobs] is MCBC's
brother. (Parker did the artwork for the
Hi GFive target practice print for Comic-Con this year.)
Alice: What's the process like when a company / group like The
Aquabats approaches you with product ideas? Did it go smoothly in the lead-up
Todd: We love working with those guys. We work best with other creative types that
don't like boundaries. Always go with
the most fun & crazy ideas. You can always back off if you have to. But you
never know unless you try. We only work
with people we like now, and those guys are always super-fun to work with!
Alice: Can we expect to see these items for sale on the
Toddland website later?
Todd: Maybe. We are
still working out all of that. The plan
is to sell everything at Comic-Con, and take what we can to the House of Blues show
during SDCC. Then whatever we have left
will probably go on tour with The Aquabats, then we'll see what is left to put
online. BUT if we sell out of something, and there is enough demand, we may
bring it back. That is the reason we decided not to get anything approved as a "SDCC
EXCLUSIVE" this year. If it is an official Comic-Con exclusive, we cannot
sell it online or at any of the shows.
With SDCC tickets being so hard to get, we wanted to make sure everyone
had a chance to get things.
Alice: Could you tell us a little about the panel / signing at
SDCC this year?
Todd: Well, Thursday they are planning House of Blues San
Diego (doors open at 7 p.m.), Friday
I know that all of the Aquabats will be in our booth (#4537) from 1 - 3 p.m. signing, and that there is a panel
that night from 9 - 10 p.m. as
well. Saturday I heard there is an
unofficial [not Aquabats, Toddland, or SDCC-sponsored] meet-up at Children's
Park that day for Aquabats fans!
Todd then tossed in some extra notes about merch, and tips
for those attending the signing:
Todd: The only tip I have people is that we have a limited
amount of tix we can hand out for the signing.
You should come to the booth as early as possible on Friday morning to
get a ticket. They are free. But having
one is the only guarantee you'll get to meet/greet/get things signed with
them. If you do not get one, you are
welcome to get in line during the signing, but all the ticketed people
will get to go first, and the signing ends promptly at 3.
Also, for merch, there are limited numbers of things, so
people should consider the math on things.
There are 5 days of Comic-Con, and 1 HOB show. So considering that, if we only have 100 Lil
Bat blank figures, that breaks down to less than 20/day/event that are available. We usually
sell out of everything, and there is no guarantee of things going online. So
best to pick things up or have your friends grab them while they are there.
Alice: How much, altogether, would it cost to buy at least one
of each new Aquabats merch available at SDCC?
Todd: Hmm, off hand
I'd say probably between $250-300 for one of everything of the new stuff, not
counting anything that has already been released, and helmets, power belts,
goggles, rash guards, etc. Keep in mind this year that everything we made was
100% designed, produced, and made in the USA.
Alice: What made you guys decide to bring back the Squishy Lil
Todd: They're not squishy. They are actually molded urethane
plastic and coated with white semi-rigid plastic. Since a lot of people really loved the
Squishy Lil Bat and didn't have one, we thought these would be a cool update to
them. Now they can make their own. From following cadets on Twitter, [we know
that] there is A LOT of creativity in the [Aquabats] fan base. And we think the
fans will do some really really cool things with these on their own.
We partnered up with Thingify to make this happen. They're awesome!
Alice: Can we expect more Toddland / The Aquabats team-ups in the
Todd: you know it!
Alice: What's your favorite merch going on sale at your booth
Todd: Anything we get to collaborate on with other companies
/ artists is always fun. This year we
got to work with Dave Perillo again, and are introducing collabs with Thingify
and Toygami. The art prints are always
awesome. But I really like what we were able to pull off with Toygami, 100
handmade blank Lil Bats that people can buy and paint up / design however they want. We've been trying to make it
happen for the past few years, but we finally pulled it off. Anything that promotes creativity and gets
fans involved is awesome for us.
Alice: Finally, anything else you're looking forward to at
Todd: Other than the Aquabats going's on, I'm really looking
forward to seeing a lot of my friends, trying my hand at cosplaying a couple days (two
outfits is twice the fun right?) hitting a couple panels, and of course picking
up some exclusives like everyone else. (*cough*, I REALLY need a Star Wars
black edition Jabba the Hutt from Hasbro this year. If somebody can make that happen, I'll make it worth
it). At the end of the day, I'm just a
big fanboy like everyone else. Walking around
and experiencing it is the best part.
It's the greatest week of the year!
Well, there you have it! It was an absolute pleasure talking
to Todd about the upcoming merch, and I'm fully prepared to throw just about
all my money for SDCC at him. To learn more about the upcoming merch for SDCC,
follow Toddland on Twitter at @Toddlandstore! And make sure to follow The
Aquabats at @TheAquabats for more news.
Here's to all the news, and merch coming out of SDCC!