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SDCC2008 – Four Horsemen Interview – Part 2

Welcome to part two of our interview with toy making superstars The Four Horsemen. In this installment we get to gush about all things DC, from characters to construction. Learn about some the Horsemen’s favorite characters and how they had their own version of Blue and Gold!

Fwoosh: I know we talked about it last year a bit, but one year later, how is the collaboration going between you guys and Mattel and DC?

Cornboy: Spectacularly. What? We are in the ninth or tenth wave at least right now that we are working on?

Chris Dahlberg: Yeah, I am not sure if that should be said or not…[laughs]

Cornboy: Well, needless to say it is really moving right now.

Eric Treadaway: We are well into 2009 product right now.

Cornboy: Yeah, we are moving well into 2009 right now and had better zip it-

* Editior’s Note: At this point, as we are standing on the loud and slightly oderiferous loading dock Elvira walks past. Yes, THAT Elvira.

Cornboy: Well look at this, it’s Elvira!

*The veteran entertainer (?) now tells us that it stinks back here and that she hopes we are having a good time. Ah, the people and the places you see at Comic Con.

Fwoosh: Well, now that I have completely lost my train of thought…

Cornboy: Umm… oh yeah, the waves that we are doing- the line is selling well enough and is doing incredibly well for Mattel that, right now, there is no end in sight. They are letting us do more and more unusual and obscure fan base characters and the biggest thing is that you have two guys over at Mattel, and of course the whole Mattel design department, but two guys in particular that we are working with directly with on this line- Bill Beneke and Scott Nietlich (Toy Guru)- they are both HUGE DC fans and they really know their stuff. I mean, it may have been said before and people may already know it but Bill was hired at Mattel because his wedding band is a Green Lantern ring! I mean, who best to handle the line then a fan that just knows his stuff? He has spent hundreds of dollars just buying old back issues of comics like Justice League and stuff.

Fwoosh: JSA hopefully?

Cornboy: Yeah. [laughs] It’s going to happen, more "when" than "if".

Fwoosh: Now, you teased us before with a character that we were not going to believe was going to get made…

Cornboy: Yeah. Did you think a classic Killer Moth was ever going to get made?

Fwoosh: Ha! No!

Cornboy: Yeah, cool stuff, right? [laughs]

Fwoosh: Well, we thought that if he would even get touched it would be the more modern Charaxes version.

Cornboy: Were you in the DC panel the other day?

Fwoosh: Oh yeah!

Cornboy: Did you see the crowd when they showed him? It was crazy! The crowd went nuts.

Fwoosh: It was pretty amazing to see and hear such a response. Very welcome. So this is the first time ever that Killer Moth in this form is going to get an action figure right?

Cornboy: First time EVER. The first time he has ever been done. There was a little figurine made of him I think that came with a car from Corgi, I am not sure if it was a die cast or a plastic figurine, but never has an action figure been done, not even once.

Eric Treadaway: I think that car was the only three dimensional representation of him at all so it was really fun to be the first to do it.

Fwoosh: He is kind of the first step towards high obscurity and he also starts what I hope will be a trend of seeing characters that have not ever been done in a six inch action figure line, or have just never been done as a figure in general. Are you currently looking at any more characters that fit into this category?

Cornboy: Lots more.

Eric Treadaway: See, the first year had to allow for a lot of the choices being made to get the line to come out strong and help it perform well, which it had to do in order to survive. In the second year however, there is certainly going to be more of that, but there is at least one character in there that I was actually not familiar with going in. But in the third year plan there was a character in there that even CB didn’t know who he was by name.

Cornboy: Nope.

Fwoosh: Really?

Eric Treadaway: So that sort of approach expands quite a bit in the later half of the second year because the strong ground work has been laid.

Cornboy: Mattel is extremely confident that we can go in with waves that don’t have to have a Batman or Superman in every wave and DC is being gracious enough to let us take that ball and run with it. They are letting us play in their backyard and have a blast.

Fwoosh: So digging deep into the DC backyard is something of a priority?

Cornboy: Absolutely- as deep as they will let us.

Fwoosh: Okay then, on that note, let’s go back to Killer Moth- whose idea was it? Did it come from you guys? Did it come from Mattel?

Cornboy: Actually, the original idea was to do Charaxes believe it or not. Over time we were thinking about it and it just eventually became Killer Moth. It was a bit of an organic, mutual thing.

Eric Treadaway: The line-up had several incarnations before it finally completely materialized. It actually changed even while we were working on certain figures but he is one of those where the name just popped up in a meeting and everybody just thought it was cool. Of course the people at DC are big fans as well so, you know how that goes. Everybody has their favorite characters and everybody is excited to see their favorites put in. Of course you are balancing the business end of it and the reality of it but when you can get those guys snuck in there then everybody is thrilled.

Fwoosh: Speaking of favorite characters in wave six- CB, how awesome…

Cornboy: Woo Hoo! [laughs]

Fwoosh: Captain Marvel!

Cornboy: Eric [Treadaway] did him and I bow to him because he turned out beautifully. It is everything I could have wished for in a Captain Marvel figure.

Fwoosh: That face sculpt…

Cornboy: Oh yeah. I am so damned happy we got to do it. He was my dad’s favorite character growing up and I cannot wait to hand him that figure in the package.

Eric Treadaway: Yeah, I took a lot of extra care on that one. I kept bringing things over and asking CB stuff like: Should the lightning bolt be this big or THIS big? Do you want to do such and such version of the cape or something else? So I really consulted everyone.

Cornboy: He didn’t really need to ask because everything he showed me, I was like "Yep, that’s right!" and "Yep! That’s right too!"

Fwoosh: Speaking of another favorite character- who did Blue Beetle?

Eric Treadaway: I did Blue and he [pointing to Chris Dahlberg] did Gold. We were Blue and Gold.

Fwoosh: Ha! That is fantastic!

Chris Dahlberg: Yeah, we were doing them simultaneously too. I was very collaborative, we worked side by side and even in the same space a lot of the time we were working on them. It was fun.

Fwoosh: Well again, one of my personal things is that I get so excited about seeing all of these characters and then the ultimate realization is that they look exactly how I would picture I would want them to look.

Cornboy: Cool, that is really the ultimate goal with us for the line.

Fwoosh: Well, on a selfish and personal note, Blue Beetle was the big one for me.

Eric Treadaway: One of the things about doing these guys, and this is in all honestly here, really- to me, one of the most exciting things doing figures like Killer Moth, who has some very dedicated fans, guys like Scott finally gets his Moth Figure, and the same thing with you-

Cornboy: Finally VeeBee get’s his Blue Beetle!

Fwoosh: He will finally shut up about it!

Eric Treadaway: No really, I am on The Fwoosh all the time because it is a great place get an overall feel about the line, it is very diverse, so I see everyone’s posts and your posts so I know that there is at least one person that I know this is going to make their day.

Fwoosh: Um… century?

Cornboy: There are a couple of other people there that keep coming back and requesting certain figures and really, it does help a lot of the time. I can’t get specific but there are few people that are very vocal about getting certain figures- tell them they are coming! We can’t mention any names yet because we can’t give it away, but don’t worry. Keep them coming with the threads and votes because we are not letting up.

Fwoosh: Don’t worry, the Wildcat campaign starts on Monday! As far as other character selection goes, I am, and I think a lot of people are huge Jack Kirby New Gods/Fourth World fan-

Cornboy: Yeah man, us too.

Eric Treadaway: I mean, one of them is a very popular Green Lantern and the others are New Gods so you have multiple reasons to get them in there.

Fwoosh: Moving a bit from characters to construction, one topic that comes up a lot for discussion is the base bodies that you guys are using for different characters depending on their build- about how many bases do you have floating around right now that are the spandex-clad bodies?

Chris Dahlberg: Four of them, I think.

Cornboy: Yeah, right now it’s four and not all of them are totally complete yet. Take for instance the teen male body, there are like, four arms and legs. We are kind of building a library as we go along. There are others, like the really thin body, if we are going to do a character like um…

Fwoosh: Sinestro?

Cornboy: Even he has his own right now, the thin evil body. But if we were going to do someone like Creeper or Deadman or someone like that then we are going to have to go really thin. That is another body we are going to have to do. They are usually built when we need them and we have several arms and legs that can go with each one. It is not just one complete body.

Chris Dahlberg: Sometimes we are not really able to get it as close as we want in terms of skinnier bodies. These are costumed superheroes after all so often times people want them to look a little bigger for toy aesthetic- which is fine, it makes sense.

Cornboy: We are getting it pretty close though. On the females we already have two bases, we have the Wonder Woman body which is a little larger and bulkier, but so is Big Barda but she needed to be new. Then we have Harley who is a little bit thinner, but we don’t have a teen female yet which we’re going to get to, you know?

Fwoosh: What body is Starfire?

Cornboy: She’s uh… roughly off the top of my head- oh, she is mostly Harley Quinn. Not all, but most.

Fwoosh: So it sounds like the library is built off of need first, but then you have the various bodies to go back to in the future.

Chris Dahlberg: Exactly, and sometimes that will help a certain character’s chances of getting made, if we already have a nice base for them it makes it easier and more cost-effective to do. I mean, there are probably a few whole teams that could be completed with the bodies we have right now, or that could use parts that we have.

That will wrap up part two of the interview. Check back for part three coming soon with more talk of DC Universe Classics, Masters of the Universe and more celebrity sightings.

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