Okay, so...why??? I mean, I've never been one to push the envelope when it comes to interweb tech...and yet here I am--writing a fucking blog.
Well, there's a funny thing in the air right now. Western civilization crumbling? Well, yeah, but that's not what I'm getting at. I'm talking toys. I grew up in the Boston area in the early 80's...and gods bless the little Hindu boy's latchkey upbringing. See, marketing toys directly to children via cartoons was just coming into vogue...
Oh yes. In lieu of parental supervision, I had Starblazers, Force Five, Tranzor Z, Battle of the Planets, and of course, Voltron to teach me right from wrong. Sure, we couldn't really afford most of those toys, but hell...I woulda killed just to have the chance to go to Mr. Big's Toyland.
And apparently, I wasn't alone.
My friends' own personal histories notwithstanding, there is a pretty tight crew of Japanese robot and monster toy nerds that has formed in the past decade or so...right here in the Boston area. I blame WLVI (channel 56) and the Saturday morning Creature Double Feature [Ernie Boch, Jr., one love!], as well as the aforementioned English-dubbed Japanese cartoons and mom & pop toy stores.
Well, I should really say that those cartoons were the seeds planted in our fertile young greymatter. But who watered them and cultivated the land since our adulthood? Enter The Godfather...Alen Yen. If Alen hadn't created ToyboxDX, who knows where we'd be? Well, most likely, many of us wouldn't be friends at all, and our participation in this hobby wouldn't even remotely be where it is today (if anywhere at all).
There was Tom's CJT and Bonner's Jumboland...and obviously sister-sites like JoshB's CollectionDX, Flynn's skullbrain, and Sanford's robot-japan. But when it comes to contemporary talk of vintage Japanese robot and monster toys, TBDX remains king. It's where we all met over the last several years (as much as it pains an old-fashioned curmudgeon like myself to admit to "meeting people online"), and it's where some REAL solid relationships have formed...on- and offline.
Okay, touching...so beyond the history lesson, why this blog? Why now?
Well, there's that funk in the air I mentioned. Been sensing it over the last few years. Over time, our hobby has matured quite a bit. A lot of the great toy mysteries have been unraveled. A lot of the staples of our wildly varying collections have been filled. Grails have been fought for and won. What's next? I mean, there are only SO many *vintage* toys out there, right?
After a while, consumption gets kinda dull. Hey, don't get me wrong: it's never been a blind "gotta catch 'em all" mentality. I sorta look at my toys as collecting artwork, of a sort: studying what these toy-makers did, and why the aesthetic has transcended generations, continents, and language. But still...not a lot of new discoveries are made these days. And a lot of the big WANTS have long since been acquired. But here's the thing: the passion is still there. The love for these crazy Japanese toys still burns. We spend long hours sitting back and appreciating what we have (I can't help picturing Duban in a crimson velvet robe, sitting before a fire in a gigantic easy chair...a tumbler of brandy in one hand and a Bullmark Zaboga vinyl in the other). We wax poetic online about various "pieces". We chat online about the latest drama in teh MARKET.
So, clearly, what's left after acquiring is creativity and sharing. Some of us have taken to creating new websites or expanding existing ones. Some of us are producing podcasts and internet talk-shows about toys. And some of us have decided to take the leap of actually making toys. Doughty showed us it could be done. Walker showed us the very cutting edge of color. We have reached critical mass...and only amazing can come of it.
Not surprisingly, Alen is leading the way with his own production label, Incubot. He's produced a rubber USB stick action figure made in the US and a soft vinyl figure cast in Japan and painted here. These toys feature "Nekosaur", an original humanoid cat-dinosaur-robot character of his own design...and they're glorious! The man's bringing back the funk you've been missing.
And now Brownnoize Productions is here to show and prove. In collaboration with Incubot, we will be designing and producing toys of our own. DIY. Made in the USA. And of course, keeping it in the family.
We may just have something cooking right now...and trust me: it's been tough keeping a lid on it. Our first release is going to be big, but I ain't saying shit until ALL the bugs get worked out of our system. I want this shit tight and on schedule. No hype machine. Just raw skills.