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When it comes to creating Aquabats merch for SDCC, Toddland always goes "with the most fun & crazy idea"

When it comes to creating Aquabats merch for SDCC, Toddland always goes "with the most fun & crazy idea"

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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 with Toddland

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 to SDCC?

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 Bat figures?

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 future?

Todd: you know it!

Alice: What's your favorite merch going on sale at your booth at SDCC?

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 SDCC?

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!

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