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Rachel Antonoff Discusses Her Betty and Veronica Clothing Line with Archie

Rachel Antonoff BETTY & VERONICAAt San Diego Comic-Con 2016 I got to speak with Rachel Antonoff concerning her upcoming fashion line inspired by Archie ComicsBetty and Veronica. In June the clothing line was announced, though details were scarce.

Last night, during New York Fashion Week, the line debuted and our friend Jeff Trexler was there to snap photos which he has graciously allowed us to use in this interview.

Get the scoop about the upcoming fashion line and the origin of the Clinton campaign slogan “I’m With Her.”

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Graphic Policy: So there hasn’t been a lot released beyond the announcement that you’ll be working with Archie to create a clothing line based on Betty and Veronica. Can you give some more details?

Rachel Antonoff: Yah. It’s going to be women’s contemporary, ready to wear clothing. We’re doing a lot of varsity themed stuff which feels very Betty and Veronica, also very Riverdale. But also is on trend with the season so that worked out well in our favor. So we have some varsity jackets, some cheer skirts, but all Betty and Veronica… ized. We have patches, prints, various types of prints. One is called an in progress print which was inspired by watching Dan Parent draw and seeing the inprogress drawing going from one line to the finished thing.

GP: Is it more graphic shirts or is it style of clothing? Both?

RA: It’s both. We do a lot of graphic t-shirts and sweat shirts and then a lot of regular clothing.

GP: How’d you get involved in the project?

RA: They actually reached out to us. I got an email from them and was so excited, I didn’t know what to do with myself. We just went from there.

GP: When I think of Betty of Veronica I think fashion. They’re fashion icons in a way…

RA: They are…

GP: What are your thoughts on the two character’s fashion and how it’s involved over the years?

RA: Well, it reall is astounding to me, the artists are and were true fashion designers. When you go through the archive and you look at the outfits, they’re so specific, they’re so detailed. And, they’re so on trend for whatever time period they’re drawn in. It’s amazing. I don’t know if they were just gifted fashion designers or they did an epic amount of research. I found it totally impressive. I think of the clothing throughout the history of Archie comics as a character unto itself.

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

GP: Comic fans come in all shapes and sizes. Betty and Veronica are a very particular size. As a designer, how do you create clothing with their aesthetic, but make it so anyone can wear it?

RA: I think as we move into the future and Archie continues to evolve, I think it’s important that Betty and Veronica do as well. Specifically, with that in mind. Betty and Veronica are an idea. Do you know what I mean? They’re a feeling. I don’t think they should be as binary as two thin girls. I’m just not into that. So, we are working really hard, we really want to diversify things and make sure that that’s very obvious as we put the line out there and that it’s for all shapes and sizes, just different people, different ages, different ethnicities. That’s very important to me.

GP: With the fashion debuts you’ve done, they’ve been very unique. Have you talked to Archie about that?

RA: Yes, we’re going to do an event. I’m really excited. That’s always one of my favorite parts. My grandmother told me I should be a Bar Mitzvah planner if this didn’t work out. So, yeah I’m very excited for that.

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

GP: You’re very politically active and Archie has been really ahead of the times recently when it comes to things. Are thoughts of that going through your head as you come up with this line?

RA: Yes. First of all, some of the things that have been done within Archie Comics has been so cool to me. The fact that Jughead is Aesexual. The fact that there’s a gay character. I just think it’s incredibly important. I did going into this consider potential backlash that these are two very thin white women. Not a lot of diversity going between the two of them. Like I said I think it’s really important to put it right out there from the beginning that it’s not going to be like that.

GP: Nice.

RA: I want it to be accessible and relatable for all.

GP: It’s a little off topic, but our site does a lot of comics and politics. You coined “I’m With Her” which has taken on a life of its own.

RA: Yes, it’s amazing.

GP: For you you how does it feel for it to take off as it has?

RA: Really cool. We got “I’m With Her” from the original “I’m With Stupid” from back in the day. There were t-shirts that said “I’m With Stupid.” So, it’s not like we invented it. I was really psyched to see it in her campaign. We’re doing a reprint of ours just because… why not?

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

GP: Has anyone from the campaign reached out?

RA: No, but we spoke to them and talked about doing something together and we haven’t figured out yet. I’m a pretty big supporter.

GP: To get back on topic. With Betty and Veronica, are you being inspired by any of the other characters or is it just those two?

RA: For now, it’s really just focused on just those two. In our research we constantly finding things like Ethel. There’s just so many cool great characters, so there’s many ways the line could go, but for now the line is pretty B&V centric.

GP: Are you focused on a certain era or is it looking at their entire history?

RA: It’s an interesting combination of throughout and now. We of course want people to buy the clothes, so we have to pay attention to what the current trends are. It’s sort of a combo.

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

GP: For you, off of these two characters, what is their distinct signature thing?

RA: One of thing about them is that they were constantly stylish no matter the era they were in. So, one of my favorite Betty and Veronica eras was the 70s and Veronica got really into women’s lib. There’s some really cool… one of our sweatshirts says “female powered” and is taken directly from the comic that Veronica made these sweatshirts for a rally.

That’s one of my favorite things about them. They did evolve. Their fashion evolved so much over the decades and was so on point. So that stuck out to me.

And then of course, there was the comic I had as a child and still have. And those specific outfits in those comics are iconic to me because they’re mine.

GP: Geek culture has really exploded in fashion over the years. As a designer, what do you look for to be inspired by it?

RA: That’s so interesting. For this we looked directly to the comics. Because there’s so much material you could go through the archives forever and never hit the bottom. So, we had so much to work with there and that’s where we looked for inspiration.

As a whole we didn’t look into geek culture, so I hope we got it right.

GP: As a whole beyond Archie, what are your thoughts of geekdom transcending and becoming the dominant pop culture?

RA: I think it’s awesome. There’s lots of collaberations happening nowadays. With various comics, superheroes. It’s really cool.

GP: With the actual desing process, what is that? I’d imagine Archie has some say into it.

RA: We, the Antonoff team, put together a collection. We present it at the sketch phase and get notes and discuss and it then turns into a sample line. And then more notes and discussion. And then it’s off to production. It’s the same process that we do internally, but with the Archie team.

GP: Since you’re so politically active. Are you focusing on the manufacturing aspect of it?

RA: We are really excited to be manufacturing with the same factories that we work with right now for the most part. So we’ve already vetted them. We’ve been there visiting them. We know what’s happening there is on the up and up. So that makes me feel very comfortable.

GP: I think you’d be able to sleep better knowing that. So, final question. When is the line being released?

RA: November.

GP: Thanks so much. It was great meeting you.

And check out the video Jeff shot at the event below!

What was Thor Up to During Captain America: Civil War?

It was one of the most buzzed about videos from San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H. Directed by Taika Waititi, the mockumentary shows what Thor was up to during Captain America: Civil War. Marvel Studios has finally released the video short to help promote the release of Captain America: Civil War on demand on video.

The short will be part of the Captain America: Civil War special features when it’s released on video.

SDCC 2016: Robert Venditti Discusses Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps

The Green Lantern Corps has fallen apart and in its place stands Sinestro and the Sinestro Corp. Hal Jordan is all that stands in the way.

This is the beginning of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, the series written by Robert Venditti.

I got a chance to speak to Venditti at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 about the series and what we might expect.

DC Super Hero Girls Gets All Sorts of New Toys

At San Diego Comic-Con DC Super Hero Girls was front and center in many ways with lots of new toys on display and making their debut. Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Harley Quinn, Batgirl are about to get a whole bunch of friends (and toys based on them).

Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet made its debut. It’ll be available from Mattel this fall.

Invisible Jet

Starfire joins the line and flies on to shelves.

Starfire

The superheroes get a new size with mini Super Hero Vinyls that features them on their signature items.

mini Super Hero Vinyls

Hot Wheels character cars inspired by the characters in DC Super Hero Girls will be rolling out.

DC Super Hero Girls Hotwheels Supergirl

Finally, Wonder Woman gets a plush figure!

Wonder Woman plush

This is just some of the items that’ll become available over the next months.

SDCC 2016: Gary Phillips Talks The Vigilante: Southland

In July, DC Comics announced The Vigilante: Southland, a new miniseries updating the classic character! The series will be written by Gary Phillips with pencils and inks by Elena Casagrande, colors by Giulia Brusco and covers by Mitch Gerads. The series will be hitting comic retailers October 5.

We got a chance to talk to Gary about the series at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 about the series and what we can expect.

Mattel’s San Diego Comic-Con Exclusives Go On Sale Monday

Mattel_logoThis Monday at noon ET Mattel‘s exclusives from San Diego Comic-Con go on sale. If you didn’t make the show, or weren’t able to pick them up there, you can get some of the exclusives online.

Here’s the full list of products available:

  • DC Comics™ Multiverse Wonder Woman™ Figure + Invisible Jet – $15
  • DC Super Hero Girls Katana – $40
  • Disney Pixar Cars Precision Series Die-Cast Dirt Track Fabulous Hudson Hornet Vehicle – $25
  • Ghostbusters™ Lights & Sounds Multi-Pack – $24.99
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe® She-Ra® – $75
  • WWE® Elite Figure Shockmaster™ Limited Edition – $30
  • Kubros TMNT – Leonardo™ vs. Bebop™ Special Edition Set – $25
  • Kubros TMNT – Michelangelo™ vs. Rocksteady™ Special Edition Set – $25

There will be limited quantities, so good luck!

SDCC 2016: John Semper, Jr. Talks DC Comics’ Cyborg

This September Victor Stone comes to DC ComicsRebirth courtesy of writer John Semper, Jr.

Victor Stone was once a star athlete and brilliant student with a bright future. But after a tragic accident destroyed over half of his body, Victor was kept alive by merging flesh with advanced technology. Today he is the Justice League co-founder called Cyborg. But is the young hero a man…or a machine that merely believes it’s a man?

At San Diego Comic-Con I got a chance to speak with Semper about what we might expect from his take on the character.

SDCC 2016: Joshua Williamson Talks The Flash and Frostbite

In April it was announced that Joshua Williamson would be exclusive to DC Comics and Vertigo writing The Flash and his upcoming series Frostbite.

The Flash is a few issues in and Williamson has quickly added to the character and series and Frostbite debuts this September.

I chatted with him about the Scarlet Speedster as well as what we can expect with his Vertigo debut.

SDCC 2016: New DC. Marvel, Ghostbusters, Predator and More from Diamond Select Toys

At San Diego Comic-Con, Diamond Select Toys showed off lots of new items, some of which are already available for pre-order. Read on for the details on new DC Animated items, new Marvel Comics items, new Muppets items, and new movie items from Predator, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice and National Lampoon’s Vacation!

Batman The Animated Series Man-Bat Resin Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! Beware the Man-Bat! The newest resin bust in the epic line based on Batman: The Animated Series depicts scientist Kirk Langstrom as his monstrous alter-ego, the Man-Bat! Measuring over 6 inches tall and approximately 8 inches in diameter, this detailed bust is set on top of an art-deco base inspired by the show’s distinctive architecture. Limited to only 3000 pieces, it comes packaged with a certificate of authenticity in a full-color box. Sculpted by Varner Studios! (Item #AUG162554, SRP: $59.99)

ManBatBust

Batman Animated Series Premier Collection Nurse Harley Quinn 12” Resin Statue

A Diamond Select Toys release! Hello, nurse! On the TV classic Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn played dress-up almost as often as she wore her now-iconic jumpsuit. And this all-new 12-inch resin statue depicts one of her most memorable clothing swaps – a nurse’s disguise! Nurse Harley blows a kiss to her next patient while wearing a short, white mini-dress and standing on a logo disk base. Limited to only 3,000 pieces, this statue comes packaged with a certificate of authenticity in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Clayburn Moore! (Item #AUG162553, SRP$ 149.99)

HarleyQuinnNurse

Beetlejuice Movie Reelware Pint Glass

A Diamond Select Toys release! Troubled by the living? Is death a problem, and not the solution? Unhappy with eternity? Then pour yourself a drink in this movie-inspired pint glass, kick back and call Beetlejuice! This pint glass features the original advertisement that prompted Barbara and Adam Maitland to call the revered bio-exorcist in an attempt to reclaim their home, and kicks off a new line of merchandise based on the classic Tim Burton film Beetlejuice. Packaged in a full-color window box. (Item #AUG162571, SRP: $10.99)

BeetleJuiceGlass

DC Gallery Justice League Black Canary PVC Figure

A Diamond Select Toys release! The heroines of the DC Animated Universe are expanding their roster! As seen on Justice League Unlimited, this 9-inch scale PVC figure of the Black Canary depicts Dinah Lance unleashing a sonic scream at her opponent, wearing her classic, comic-inspired leather jacket and tights. Figure is in scale to all Gallery and Femme Fatales PVC figures, and comes packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Varner Studios! (Item #AUG162555, SRP: $45.00)

BlackCanaryGallery

Ghostbusters Slimer Cookie Jar

A Diamond Select Toys release! Looking for cookies? Check inside Slimer! The food-loving ghost made famous by the Ghostbusters feature films and animated series is now a ceramic cookie jar! Measuring approximately 12” tall, this class 5 apparition is quite solid, so you can’t just stick your hand into his stomach and grab what you want, but a removable lid will grant you access to whatever Slimer recently ate. Packaged in a full-color box. (Item #AUG162572, SRP $150.00)

SlimerJar

SlimerJarOpen

Marvel Gallery Hulk PVC Figure

A Diamond Select Toys release! The Marvel Gallery just raised the roof! Clocking in at approximately 11 inches tall, the Incredible Hulk is the biggest Marvel Gallery PVC figure so far! Based on his comic-book appearance, the Hulk flexes his muscles in a show of strength, with one foot on a heap of rubble, in a Sam Greenwell sculpt that features a high level of detail and exacting paint applications. It is in scale to all Gallery and Femme Fatales PVC figures, and comes packaged in a full-color window box. (Item #AUG162570, $45.00)

GalleryHulk

Muppets Muppet Show Glass Tumblers

A Diamond Select Toys release! It’s time to get things started! It’s time to pour the drinks! You can’t help but smile when you’re drinking a tasty beverage out of these nostalgic glass tumblers featuring the cast of The Muppet Show. Inspired by fast-food glassware of yesteryear, these tumblers sport all-new original artwork spotlighting main Muppets Kermit, Fozzie, Bunsen, Beaker and the Swedish Chef, as well as their supporting casts! Each glass comes packaged separately, in a full-color window box.

Muppets Kermit Tumbler (Item #AUG162573, SRP: $9.99)

Muppets Fozzie Tumbler (Item #AUG162574, SRP: $9.99)

Muppets Bunsen & Beaker Tumbler (Item #AUG162575, SRP: $9.99)

Muppets Swedish Chef Tumbler (Item #AUG162576, SRP: $9.99)

MuppetBunsenTumbler MuppetChefTumbler MuppetFozzieTumbler MuppetKermitTumbler

National Lampoon’s Vacation Movie Reelware Pint Glasses

A Diamond Select Toys release! Who’s the moosiest moose we know? Marty Moose! Who’s the star of our favorite show? Marty Moose! Relive the craziest road trip you never went on with these two pint glasses that are straight outta Walley World! With one depicting Roy Walley’s famous creation Marty Moose, and the other showing the full cast of Walley World characters, both glasses are the ultimate in cinematic souvenirs, inspired by the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation. Be the first in your neighborhood to drink like a Griswold! Each glass comes packaged in a full-color window box.

Walley World Pint Glass (Item #AUG162556, SRP: $10.99)

Marty Moose Pint Glass (Item #AUG162557, SRP: $10.99)

WalleyWorldGlass1 WalleyWorldGlass2

Nightmare Before Christmas Santa Sally Unlimited Coffin Doll

A Diamond Select Toys release! The leading lady of the stop-motion animation holiday classic Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is back, and Christmas will never be the same! With an all-new head sculpt, this unlimited, single-packed 14” doll of Sally the Rag Doll in her Santa Claus outfit features a real cloth costume over a fully poseable body, with hidden internal articulation at the knees and elbows. Packaged in a coffin-shaped window box. (Item #AUG162564, SRP: $99.99)

SantaSally

Predator Minimates 2-Packs Series 3 Asst.

A Diamond Select Toys release! The hunt continues! The Predator Minimates series returns with another assortment of figures based on the classic action films Predator, Predator 2 and Predators. In this series, Thermal Dutch faces off with the classic Predator, Muddy Royce faces off with a Cloaked Berserker, the Falconer Predator teams up with the Warrior Predator, and a rare, one-per-case 2-pack features a Cloaked Falconer! Each 2-inch Minimates mini-figure features 14 points of articulation as well as fully interchangeable parts and accessories. Each 2-pack is packaged on a full-color blister card! (Item #AUG162565, $9.99/ea.)

PredS3SpecGroup

Offered Again: Marvel Select Cable Action Figure

A Diamond Select Toys release! Because you demanded it, the return of the man called CABLE! The founder of X-Force, Cable always comes ready for battle, with big guns and even bigger ammo, and since his debut he has loomed large in the Marvel Universe. Now, he’s traveled from the past to rejoin the 7″ Marvel Select action figure line! Wielding multiple weapons, including one that can be mounted on his shoulder, Cable comes with a detailed display base, referencing his most famous foe, Stryfe, and features multiple points of articulation. Figure and base come packaged in display-ready Select packaging, with spine artwork for shelf reference. (Item #OCT142189, SRP: $24.99)

MarvelSelectCable

SDCC 2016: Talking with Hasbro’s John Warden About Transformers

P1070101San Diego Comic-Con is a geek’s dream with comics, movies, television, games, toys and more. It also provides an opportunity to check out things first hand, such as Hasbro‘s latest releases for their line of My Little Pony, Marvel, G.I. Joe, and Transformers toys.

I grew up playing with Transformers and each year I’m excited to see what’s getting released in the coming months. This year, I got the opportunity to also talk to John Warden, a Design Manager with Hasbro who works on the Transformers line.

Graphic Policy: As much as I love to play with toys, what goes into creating them is so foreign to me. What’s your role with Hasbro?

John Warden: I oversee the design and development for the Transformers: Generations collection as well as working on the product for the Transformers 5 movie as well as some development for the Transformers 6 movie. So, I work with talented artists and designers from around the world and we have a staff in-house that help bring some of the toys and products to life. We also have an amazing partnership with Takara Tomy where we with the inception I will put together a list of the products we want to take care of. We try to think of the ecosystem at play and how we can capture all different types of fans, such as those who like the sophistication of Generations. We’re finding it’s actually so broad. It’s including at this point a lot of older age kids and fans of all different generations of Transformers.

Once we have that line plan established, we go to Takara Tomy and we kick things off. They share their ideas. And together we coalesce our ideas and refine them. I’ll do some sketches of some vehicles. Takara will do some sketches of how the transformation works. And we’ll have discussions either through email or in person to come up with the best product possible.

Once those things are done we’ll figure out the deco. Sometimes we’ll literally go to a toy store and buy vintage toys and color match them. That’s a fun part of my job. And then I think probably one of the most fun parts, when we get samples in, we’ll have a Thursday meeting where we sit down and transform the toys as a group for about two hours. We’ll sit down with a pad and paper and be like “arm loose, please tighten.” And we’ll gather all of our comments and we eventually get to a point where we release the product to consumers. I’m here at San Diego Comic-Con to learn more about creating the next year of stuff. That’s a big piece of it. It’s not just creating a product but reaching out to fans to see what fans want and what to do next.

P1070131GP: I’m sure this is a popular question, but how do you get to your position and do your job? I’d think a lot of fans want to be you.

JW: I took industrial design in college back in the 1990s. As a kid, I always wanted to be a toy designer. There’s schools now that’ll provide an actual curriculum to be a toy designer. It’s rooted in industrial design. I have a Bachelor in Science and Industrial Design. My road was loopy. I was all over the place. I was in the automotive industry in Detroit for about a year. I bounced around with a couple of other jobs. It was always a passion to be a toy designer, I never gave up. I still remember putting together a toy portfolio, trying to get my foot in the door. With my newborn baby on my lap, in the middle trying to power through it. I was lucky enough to land a job. At one point I was doing contracting work with a smaller toy company. Had to be a waiter at night and finally got a call. I was putting my resume into places. I finally got a call with Kenner at the time to be a part of the Star Wars team. I remember running outside and doing a Rocky jumping up and down. It’s been a fun ride ever since. I’ve had an opportunity at Hasbro to meet so many amazing people working on so many different toy brands.

GP: A thing that strikes me about the Transformers line is how well coordinated it is across media, toys, cartoons, comics, movies. What goes into making that happen?

JW: There’s a lot of coordination happening, especially now. One of our big efforts in recent years is to try and make the facts of the Transformers universe as universal as possible to really bring things together. With a brand that has such emotional cache, you really have to pay tribute to characters in a way people expect. And now Transformers is cross media.. we’ve got a great partnership with Machinima with the Combiner Wars series. We’ve got an awesome partnership with Paramount and the Michael Bay films. It’s so excited to see a brand that so many people from around the world love come together in awesome formats.

GP: A thing that’s also struck me in recent years is it’s beyond nostalgia, you’re not just bringing back old characters. You’re creating new characters as well. Windblade is a great example. A lot are more female based. As a designer, what’s your thoughts on that and the reaction from folks for these new Transformers? Windblade has really taken off in popularity.

P1070156JW: Yeah. Generations is a really cool thing. It gives you a chance to not only upgrade characters people love and want and respect. I look over in the case and I see Chromedome and I think, wow I had Chromedome as a kid. It’s exciting. It’s fun to bring that to life in different ways and add articulation, but still make it feel like it’s a cool character people want, but it’s upgraded enough and pushes it to the next level. That’s part of the spirit of Generations. It’s not just fun and nostalgic, but it also adds something special for the next generation of collectors. That being said, there’s so many new great characters in the line, Windblade being a notable example. The current state of storytelling in the Transformers universe is awesome because it’s a reflection of things that are happening in society. There’s so many great aspirational female heroes that are out today. I look around at the crowd at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 and see so many female fans, more than ever before. Transformers is a reflection of the community that loves it. When you have great female fans who are passionate about it, and great male fans like me who appreciate cool characters, gender don’t make as much difference as long as it’s an awesome character. Windblade and Victorion were fan created characters. It was great to see them brought to life in all of these mediums, especially our partners at IDW and Machinima.

GP: I’d imagine the design aspect has changed over the years with 3D printing and more powerful computing. What has changed in how you work?

JW: The introduction of CAD really revolutionized things, even since I joined the Transformers team. Even 6 or 7 years ago a lot of the models were scratch built by lots of different houses in Japan that Takara would work with. Lately, a lot of that work has been done with computers using CAD. When you think about how easy it is to just copy and paste to the other side to create a symmetrical thing, it goes that much faster. It’s also possible to debug in CAD, so that you can stop interference problems and stuff like that. A lot of the problems can be solved digitally before you even get to the final stages before printing them out. Another thing that’s really awesome is just even, I worked on the Age of Extinction film too, when you have a licensed car, like the Bugatti with Drift, you can send a 3D PDF to someone across the world and have them approve it. They’re able to move and flip and look at it. You don’t have to physically mail anything anymore. It enhances the speed.

When you think about it, you’re working with someone in Japan. You have factories in mainland China. It’s almost having a team working around the clock. The digital medium has really helped bring it all to life.

P1070166GP: How long does it actually take to bring something from the initial concept to the shelves?

JW: That depends on the project. You’re typical run time is about a year, from inception to getting the product on the shelf. A lot of that is strategic planning upfront. When you think about the entire line, at least the way I do it, is try to think of the entire year and then how much tooling do I have? How many characters can I do? Can I make more character by making one of these guys flexible to be a couple of different characters so I can spread out the tooling over the course of the year. Once that’s done, it’s the whole gamut of the toy design process that runs about 10 months. The back half of it, though, a lot of that is factory debug. That part of it is slow moving and a waiting game. I’ll tell you, there’s nothing cooler than seeing one of those crazy colored samples come into the office and it’s in my hand now. It’s great.

GP: If you had advice for someone that wanted to get into this business, what would you tell them?

JW: My biggest advice is never give up and follow your dreams. If you’re passionate enough about something and follow your heart and think about how you want to accomplish that goal, you need to fight for it. You’ve got to make sure that you learn every aspect of the industry you want to get into whether it’s toy design, whatever your passion is. You’ve got to understand the facets that surround it. Meet people. Come to San Diego. Talk to me. Talk to other people around here. Talk to people around the show floor and you’ll find everyone’s path is different. The one thing in common is you’ll find we all have passion for what we do and never gave up.

GP: I feel like this is a question I have to ask. Favorite Transformer?

JW: I get this question a lot. I like Whirl quite a bit, and Roadbuster specifically. I have great memories associated with those guys as a kid. I remember thinking to myself these guys are different looking and they’re more detailed. There’s something about the decals and the transformation of those characters. I was more of a toy kid than a cartoon kid. I liked the cartoon as any kid. I’d have to say Whirl and Roadbuster just because there was an untold story about those guys and I had a lot of great adventures with them as a kid.

GP: Thanks so much and appreciate you taking the time to talk with me.

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