The 2012 Poppies - the Judges!

It's our sixth year already, and this time around we have judges from 5 different categories - Companies, Websites, Collectors, Retailers, and Artists.  The final list includes a total of 139 people.  They come from all aspects of the industry - large companies to small, general websites to niche, online to print, contract artists to customizers, and fans of just about every major license.  I'm also happy to say that there's a global influence, with judges from North America, Asia, Australia and Europe.

And so without further ado, here's the folks that will be selecting the winners of the 2012 Poppies: 



In this category of judges, the companies are represented by 39 different judges.  The companies represented range from one guy operations to multi-billion dollar organizations, from mass market to specialty market, with headquarters around the world.

- Georg Brewer: After spending 15 years as an award-winning creative leader at DC Comics, where he spearheaded the creative growth of Design, DC Direct and the Collected Editions groups, Georg formed The Brewing Factory in 2011.  A full service consulting agency, TBF was involved in everything from product development, franchise and business planning, to product design. He joined the international toy company Dracco Co Ltd. (based on Hong Kong) as their Director – Creative, Content & Brand Management at the beginning of 2012. Georg now leads teams all over the world in the development of new franchise properties, toys, animation, web / mobile gaming… you name it! Many of the newest works are rolling out across Europe now, and you can look for launches in mass retailers all over North America in 2013.

- Joshua Izzo has been playing in the toy, licensed brand and entertainment industries for over a decade.  Joshua has had the pleasure of hanging his proverbial hat in the hallowed halls of such industry giants as Topps Trading Cards, 4Kids Entertainment, Hasbro, Capcom.  During his career Joshua has manufactured trading cards and magazines, sold and bought some of the biggest brand licenses in the world and helped create over 150 kids cartoons.   Joshua is currently the Director of Licensing for 20th Century Fox and is responsible for Global Publishing Licensing.  Joshua has also been going to the local comic book store every week for close to 25 years, and has an ever-expanding toy collection that threatens almost every inch of his home.  Joshua's wife is extremely patient and forgiving about his mania....

- Scott Tipton serves as design consultant and copywriter for Toynami, where he's worked on product lines like ROBOTECH, VOLTRON, THE HERCULOIDS, THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN, and FUTURAMA, as well at the company's CINEMAQUETTE line. Scott also writes a variety of comics for IDW Publishing, including such series as STAR TREK: THE BURDEN OF KNOWLEDGE, ILLYRIA: HAUNTED, KHAN: RULING IN HELL, and the upcoming STAR TREK: INFESTATION.  His book, COMIC BOOKS 101: THE HISTORY, METHODS AND MADNESS, was published by Impact Books and is currently in bookstores. He has a startlingly large toy collection, but in this crowd it's probably about average.

Scott Neitlich is a Marketing Manager for several of Mattel's most prominent collector lines including DC Universe, Master of the Universe, Ghostbusters, and the upcoming Green Lantern film. A lifelong toy fan himself, Scott began his career in advertising but quickly followed his heart to the toy business to help start up and heading up Mattel's convention and fan relations presence.

Jim Wampler is the Sales Director for Quantum Mechanix, Inc. and has been with them since their start-up. Jim has been a toy collector and fan for longer than he wants to remember and has 20 + years experience working in the toy, hobby, and collectibles industries. 

- Howard Chan - the Founder and CEO of Hot Toys Limited, is a Hong Kong based entrepreneur and a creative director for Hot Toys Ltd. Howard has been an enthusiast of collectible figures since his childhood and turned his passion into a successful career. He initially started his business by producing 1/6th scale military action figures. In view of the popularity of the military action figure series at that time, Howard attained a great success and further expanded his product scope by specializing in 1/6th scale popular movie character and world-renowned celebrity collectibles. 

- Ken Lilly is currently a freelance illustrator, writer, product photographer, graphic designer and product designer under the company name Creatus Maximus. He was formerly the Director of Product Development for The MVP Collection, a company created in 2009 producing NFL Mini Busts, Statues and other sports merchandise, and was also the VP/Director of Product Development for Palisades Toys, where Ken was the creative force behind many product lines including Invader Zim, Resident Evil and the very popular figures and playsets based on Jim Henson's The Muppet Show. Prior to that he was one of the Product Managers for the long defunct toy company ReSaurus, working on classic toy lines like Duke Nukem, Quake, Crash Bandicoot, Sonic the Hedgehog, and the much-anticipated but sadly canceled Badlands and Magic the Gathering action figures and playsets.

Currently the main focus of his life is writing about his family on the blog called Blogzilly, where he chronicles the condition of his youngest son, who has suffered through a period of catastrophic epilepsy called Infantile Spasms, brought on by a very rare Grade II Oligoastrocytoma Brain Tumor and subsequent Temporal Lobectomy, as well as a diagnosis of PDD-NOS, a developmental delay placing him on the Autism Spectrum. While Blogzilly sometimes strays into discussions about movies, TV, toys/collectibles, video games and other such wackiness (which are, essentially, coping mechanisms as much as anything else) much of Kenneth's blog is about his family and their difficult journey through the world of Special Needs. The changes and fears, the victories and defeats, the dreams, the lessons, the stumbles and most importantly, the hopes. Full emotional disclosure. Warts and all.

- Zach Oat is Marketing Supervisor at Diamond Select Toys, and before that he was the editor of ToyFare magazine for a bunch of years. He is also the co-author of Pop Sculpture: How to Create Your Own Action Figures and Collectible Statues, a book about sculpting techniques he wrote with pros Tim Bruckner and Ruben Procopio. He loves Minimates, Megos and C.O.P.S., and in his spare time he likes to draw. You can check out some of his artwork on the LAW Blog.

- Ashly Powell is Director of Product Development at Gentle Giant Studios. She is fortunate to wear many hats and work with all the talented creative groups at the studio. She works on concepts and designs with the 2D art department, the talented digital and traditional sculptors, amazing painters, and their manufacturers in China.  When she isn't figuring out the line plan for Gentle Giant collectibles, you can find her working on specialty manufacturing projects for clients of Gentle Giant Studios.  Before landing on the west coast she worked for DC Direct/DC Comics making Batman and Superman action figures and polystone products, and before that, she found her real love and passion of urban vinyl while working for Kidrobot in New York City. 

The Phrenologist: This anonymous judge has worked in some area of the toy industry for over a decade.  He oversaw all action figures for what was once the largest toy specialty retailer in the US and Mexico.  He has handled contests, press releases and public relations for several toy companies.  As a writer his work has appeared in Fangoria, Baby Boomer, Omni, Psychology Today, Playboy, ASB Magazine, Time Out New York, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and numerous other publications.  He is the author of two books currently available on Amazon (and at a bookstore near you!) has just finished a book on the artwork of imprisoned artist Michael Lee Ford, and is working on a new book about Halloween in New York City.  He believes that the MAC Rescue Center (aka MAC Mountain) is one of the greatest toys that ever was, and misses old fashioned toy commercials of the 70's.

Damien Glonek is product manager at Mezco Toyz and co-creator of Living Dead Dolls.  He is a horror movie junkie and collects everything dealing with horror, please find him a bigger house to hold his collection.

Mike is the owner of Peril Unlimited, a toy maker, horror movie, and comic book fan, and works for the local fire department.

- After spending nine of the last ten years shepherding the SportsPicks and
Playmakers lines for McFarlane Toys, Mark Weber jumped at the chance of a
lifetime and joined Hasbro as a Manager of Global Brand Development for the
Transformers franchise. When he's not busy turning cars into robots and
robots into cars, he's always trying to learn what's coming up next for G.I.

Terry Scott is a senior vice president at Hasbro. His responsibilities include management of global creative services, which includes the packaging team, and creative director for Cake Mix Studios which is Hasbro's internal IP creative engine and video production team. Terry's team is responsible for all packaging graphic design for both boys and girls toy lines including; Star Wars, Transformers, GI Joe, Spider-man and other Marvel lines, My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, Nerf, Playskool, Easy Bake Oven and many more Hasbro core brands. He's a lifelong action figure collector of Transformers, Thundercats and the Thunderbirds.

Randy Falk is the Director of Product Development for NECA. He manages the development and production for all of NECA's action figures. He is also an obsessive completist when it comes to his toy collection especially 3 3/4" Star Wars and the classic MEGO Super-Heroes.

Brant Bridges is the Operations Manager at Sideshow Collectibles, providing support to the creative services and production management teams, and assisting with the product marketing and forecasting. He's a sucker for all things Lego and Star Wars, but has a weakness for great sculpts from any property.

Jason Lenzi is the founder and CEO of Bif Bang Pow! Toys. Jason lives and works in Los Angeles, as a freelance writer/producer for television, and as a voice over artist for television and radio. He's currently in the midst of writing and producing on his fourth season of ABC's 'WIPEOUT'. He started Bif Bang Pow! over five years ago, and in that time has released action figures and bobble heads for 'The Big Lebowski', the 1980 movie version of 'Flash Gordon' (with figures art directed by Alex Ross), Showtime Networks' hit series 'Dexter' and 'Californication' , CBS' 'The Twilight Zone', CBS Films' 'Beastly', CBS' 'Star Trek', BBC 'Doctor Who', HBO's 'Eastbound and Down' and Cartoon Network's 'The Venture Brothers', ABC's 'LOST', and Scott Ian of Anthrax. He is a Leo, loves toys, movies, mod culture and The Beatles. This is his fourth year voting on the Poppies, and he hopes to win in every category. Even the ones Bif Bang Pow! doesn't qualify for.

- Dan Lujan is Kotobukiya's Director of Media Operations within North America. No stranger to the hobby, Dan is an avid collector of toys and statues.

- Adam Van Wickler grew up during the heyday of action figures. Star Wars, GI Joe, He-man, Thundercats, Transformers, Super Powers, Secret Wars, Mego.  You name the line and Adam had at least a few figures from it. His mother still likes to tell people that Adam was potty trained with the promise of a new Star Wars action figure each time he went like a big boy. To this day he still expects a new action figure each time he goes like a big boy.

Adam has been involved professionally in the toy industry since 2001 and is lucky enough to have worked on many of the toy lines that he grew up playing with.

Adam is gainfully employed by Gentle Giant Studios. Working as a Senior Account Manager in their External Prototyping division, he works with various clients throughout the prototyping process. Overseeing concept artwork, sculpting, molding/casting, painting, and working directly with licensors to gain approvals are among his day to day tasks.

Be sure to check out and Adam's personal site for more!

- Bob Fulkerson: his journey into the toy/collectibles industry began as young boy with a Kenner Han Solo Blaster and has only gotten worse from there. He started as a Collector then a Collectibles Dealer and now an Account Rep/Janitor with Quantummechanix, Inc.   Where will it end when they peel that Blaster from his cold dead hands.

- Antonio Barranco is the founder, owner and president of GEEK TOYS, a new collectible figure company which launched the "Seven Deadly Sins" in January 2011. He has been an action figure collector for over ten years. His private collection has around 1,000 figures, most of which are 7 inch film characters. However, his favourite figure is actually six years old, 40 inches tall and is called A.Barranco Jr. (his son of course!).

- Frank Supiot is the Director of Licensing for the acclaimed toy boutique and design firm SUPER7, responsible for managing properties from film, comics, and music, as well as overseeing many aspects of the toy production.  Frank is a veteran of the toy industry with over thirteen years experience (some of spent working in Japan) and is a lifelong collector.

- Joe Amaro has been involved in the toy industry in some way or another for over 10 years, from making custom figures for ToyFare magazine, puppets for Robot Chicken and sculpts for various TV shows and Feature Films. He's also worked with most major toy companies and design studios like the Four Horsemen Toy Studio and Rudy Obrero Illustrations, Inc.

- Jeff Trojan has re-joined Playmates Toys Inc. as Vice President, Boys Brands.  In this position, Jeff will create integrated marketing programs in support of a new line of action figures, playsets and accessories based on Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles CG-animated TV series launching fall 2012 on Nickelodeon and NickToons.

Prior to re-joining Playmates Toys, Mr. Trojan was most recently Vice President, Business Development at DC Comics where he was responsible for the day-to-day management and marketplace expansion of DC Comics’ DC Direct business activities.  Before joining DC Comics, Mr. Trojan was Vice President of Marketing at Play Along where he led the strategic direction for the LIMA award-winning Care Bears brand as well as The Lord of the Rings, The Cat in the Hat, Teletubbies and Cabbage Patch Kids.  During his first tour with Playmates Toys, Trojan served as Vice President of Boys’ Toys where he guided several award-winning action figure lines, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Trek, Tomb Raider, Skelton Warrior, Exosquad and The Simpsons.

- Jesse DeStasio - A 10 year toy & licensing industry veteran, Jesse DeStasio founded his own company Eerie Theory Entertainment in 2009. ETE offers consulting services in areas such as Social Media, Licensing, and Sales & Retail Relations. Clients have included; Frederator Studios, Pop Culture Shock Collectibles, Bandai Japan / Tamashii Nations, and more.

- Andy Gore is CEO of Quantum Mechanix Inc. (QMx) and head of product development. As such, he's led the company's efforts in developing everything from stickers and keychains to animatronic hero props and filming miniatures. Licenses he's responsible for include Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Firefly/Serenity, Ghostbusters, Stargate. Previous to joining QMx, Andy logged over 20 years as a technology editor, including 4 years as VP/Editor-in-Chief of Macworld. He also spent 8 years leading the internet strategy for a Fortune 100 science research company, where he won several awards, including a Webby award for design innovation. It seemed inevitable that someone who spent so many years writing about and working on the future, sooner or later would want to live in it full time.

-  Other Company Judges include Shawn Knapp (DC Collectibles), Pat Linden (Playmates Toys), Jesse Falcon (Disney), Joseph Reiter (Symbiote Studios), Charles Howell (Toy Factory), Joe Ahearn (Captain Action Enterprises), Jim Fletcher (DC Collectibles), Rick Phares (Boom Limited), David Lee (Cast-A-Way Toys), Jeremy Atkins (Dark Horse), Jeff Brewer (Cool Rockets), and Alain Trembley (Integrity Toys). There's alson one additional anonymous judge in this category.



Where would our hobby and the industry be without the many websites and magazines out there that report the news, promote the collectibles, and provide the social networks for our geek selves.  The judges in this category represent websites and print publications that cover every aspect of the industry, from niche licenses and products to general themes and news.  There are 46 judges from a wide variety of outlets, some of which I'm sure you'll recognize.

- D. Martin Myatt is the lead Event/Photo Archive photographer and editor for Cool Toy Review and Rebelscum. He's been contributing to the Star Wars community through numerous media outlets since 1996 and found his online home with the Rebelscum team in 2000. In 2007 he created Cool Toy Review to compliment Rebelscum's Star Wars focus by covering everything but. With years of constant additions, CTR and RS's combined Action Figure & Collectibles Photo Archive is the largest in the world.

- Jason "Poe Ghostal" Clarke is the writer and editor of Poe Ghostal's Points of Articulation. In addition to running his own site since 2007, he has written for ToyFare magazine and websites such as Topless Robot, IGN and His greatest toy loves include Masters of the Universe, Godzilla, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Batman. Poe lives in haunted New England with his wife and their dog, Alfie (a.k.a. Alfred Pennyworth Clarke)

Brian Slivka has been covering the designer toy industry for 5 years.  It started with a few Happy Meal toys and a dream.  But that just lead to eating thousands of unnecessary calories and waking up from the dream 30 pounds heavier.  Plastic and Plush started up over 3 years ago, and it continues to deliver daily news and reviews from the designer toy and limited edition toy worlds.

- Nerdlocker was originally a blog for one guy to talk about all the nerdy things he loved. In 2010 the site made a huge change and started producing a weekly webisode to further explore all things nerdy. Since then the brand has gone international and nerds everywhere check for news on toys, comic books, movies, video games, gadgets, etc. It truly is a place for your inner nerd. And of course everyone involved in Nerdlocker is a nerdy kid at heart so we are honored to be asked to give our opinions on the best toys.

Mark Picirilli is the admin and webmaster of several large collecting websites, including,,,, and many more. He has been involved in the collecting online community for over 13 years and is also the Philadelphia Action Figures and Sci-Fi Entertainment Examiner for

- Jason "Slick McFavorite" Spiller is owner of Slick McFavorite Toys, LLC and along with his amazing wife, hosts the action figure podcast, Open Your Toys Cast. OYTC is the official podcast of, the site dedicated to the four greatest action figure franchises of the 80's and all time: Star Wars, Transformers, G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe. Aside from his ridiculous 10,000+ piece collection and the standard set of geeky interests (gaming, comics, movies and tech), Slick enjoys all things Colorado. Seasonally he camps, dirt bikes and snowboards, while year round he plays basketball and practices Tae Kwon Do.

Adam Pawlus Adam Pawlus has been writing about toys online since 1995.  A former contributor to ToyFare Magazine, several web sites, and other publications, his currently best known for his daily "Figure of the Day" and weekly "Q&A" columns at Galactic Hunter.  He maintains a general toy news blog and a second "Figure of the Day" feature at, and his day job is the merchandiser/Toy Evangelist for Entertainment Earth.

Erin Snyder started collecting toys about a decade ago, when he realized action figures wouldn’t stop following him home from Toys R Us. He has a number of blogs and websites, including Toy Remix and The Clearance Bin, both of which are dedicated to toy collecting, customizing, and display. He’s also written several novels and short story collections, including a dark fantasy about the greatest toymaker of all, Santa Claus.

Jess C. Horsley, like Luke Skywalker, grew up on a farm and dreamt of escaping his small-town life to travel other worlds. After enlisting in the USMC as an infantryman, he realized this dream. A decorated combat veteran, Horsley continues to escape the monotony of a routine life as the managing editor of, where he's free to play with toys and actually gets paid to do so.

Daniel "Julius Marx" Pickett is the co-creator/co-owner of Action Figure Insider, a toy news site with a focus on the creators and process of making pop culture collectibles.  He has been writing about toys for just under 10 years and has been collecting his whole life.  He also consults with many companies on projects, hosts panel discussions at conventions, and answers questions from readers all over the world.  Action Figure Insider has recently been featured on, G4's "Attack of the Show", and USA Today's "Pop Candy" blog.

Jeremy Wilcox (aka blueduck37) is the administrator for the Simpsons Collector Sector web community, the largest Simpsons collecting website on the net.  His collection was recently featured in Time Out New York magazine, making his mother very proud.

- Raised on diet of Marvel comics and Micronaut toys, Iok is the webmaster at That Figures, a toy blog covering everything from vinyl art toys to collectible mini-figures, cult TV and genre movies. His favorite toy lines include GI Joe, Henshin Cyborg, Microman and Marvel Universe.

Matt MacNabb is the Owner/Editor of the *Legion Fan Network*, which
includes Legions of Gotham, Toy Legion, Ghostbusters Collector, Pixar Collector and DVD Legion. A driving force in the collecting community for over six years, Legions of Gotham has taken leaps and bounds to break down the barriers between the industry and the collectors. Their coverage focuses on Batman collecting and animation. Matt is a lifelong Batman fan and toy collector, with well over 5,000 pieces in his personal collection.

Jack Muramatsu - Founder and editor of Vinyl Pulse, the premiere news site providing coverage of designer vinyl toys.  After opening countless toys over the past four years, he's got a strange gleam in his eye -- one too many sniffs of vinyl fumes. He's living the dream of blogging full-time about toys and loving every minute of it from sunny Pasadena, California.

- Ron Mirasol became a life-long fan of toys when he got a G.I. Joe with the Kung Fu Grip as a birthday present decades ago - thanks Mom! Today, he is the publisher of and the Fwoosh Network, which includes,, and He still gets upset when an action figure can't hold its accessories properly, and is completely devastated when their fingers break off.

Chris Holoka, a Poppies Judge from the very beginning, is the designer of Star Wars sites as,, and

Jeff Saylor - Editor of Artist, writer and admitted toy addict, his passion for pop culture collectibles dates back to a Micronaut/Star Wars/Shogun Warrior laced childhood. If not online, Jeff can be found playing video games, painting or rearranging his extensive toy collection. Currently trying to find more space for his growing army of robots and Aliens... 

- Pete Svab is the Director of Marketing & Promotions for ACME Archives in Burbank, CA.  He is also the co-owner of, the largest Star Wars themed directory on the internet.

- Khalil Quotap aka Kastor is a toy and comic collector who runs the website Kastor's Korner with Bill Sencio.  On the website, Khalil mixes toy reviews with the joys and frustrations of collecting, along with convention coverage, custom reviews, and comic related projects. Along with monthly interviews with Hasbro and Mattel, Khalil also eagerly awaits the return of the best cartoon property ever, Thundercats. 

David Yeh is a product of the 80's, raised on true gems such as G.I. Joe, Transformers, He-man, and yes, even M.U.S.C.L.E.  David had outgrown toys until the 1995 release of Star Wars lured him back for more.  Since then, he has gotten hooked on dozens of other toy lines as well.  David has written for, Geek Monthly and currently writes toy reviews for and

Bradley "Crazyjaco" Jacobs is a co-founder, admin, and contributor for Powet.TV, a site dedicated to bringing high-quality web programming on pop culture subjects to a new level. Crazy is probably best known for his regular video series called PowetToys, a segment where he gets to show off the latest and greatest toys he has encountered  in an information-rich format all his own. As an avid collector of many lines (Transformers, Marvel Legends, Marvel Minimates, MOTU and the Four Horsemen's Fantastic Exclusive project to name just a few), Crazy decided he wanted to give back to a fandom that he had so actively been a participant. Thus, the launch of Powet.TV and PowetToys, its first regular feature.

Eric Resnick is a long time collector and has been writing about the industry for many years. After working as a features writer and collectible reviewer for Toy Shop Magazine their untimely demise, Eric and a Cadre of collectors and pop culture fiends launched You Bent My Wookie, a site that blends collectibles news and reviews with entertainment news, exclusive interviews and the sexiest geeks on the net.

- Daniel Lynch, aka NoisyDvL5, is the site editor for ItsAllTrue.Net. He's a product of the 80s toy explosion and has collected toys for as longas he can remember. It's been twenty-five years and he still finds himself excited for the next DC Classic, Joe, MOTU figure, Marvel figure, or Transformer. Up until recently, he's been content to peruse various toy forums and interact with other fans. This year, he gathered up a ring of fellow collectors and started ItsAllTrue.Net, a toy blog that strives to  inject some fun into the serious world of toy collecting.

Engineererd (John V.) has been collecting Star Wars figures since the original 12 came out.  To appear to his wife that he's doing something with his varied collection, he posts reviews, action figure comics, and other related items on his website, TV and Film Toys.

- Scott Anderson launched his website, Action Figure Blues, in 2006. He now co-hosts the weekly Action Figure Blues Podcast and continues to review toys and statue from the worlds of comics and pop culture at the AFB Website. Originally from Chicago in the USA, Scott married an Australian lass and moved to Oz in 1991. Currently he resides in Melbourne and enjoys being part of the local comics and collecting community. His main collecting passions are currently focused and statues and busts and other such expensive items, much to his wife (and his wallet's) despair!

- Toy Break is hosted and produced by the owners of October Toys, George & Ayleen Gaspar. Toy Break is a weekly internet show featuring reviews and news about toys including designer vinyl, plush, action figures, collectibles, events, how-tos, interviews, and more! Both lifelong toy collectors, George has been working in the toy industry since 1996 and Ayleen since 2004. Ayleen also works with Ben Goretsky to coordinate the annual toy, art, and apparel show, Designer Con in Pasadena, CA.

- Lemonjuice Mcgee spends his days flip-flopping between drowning his sorrows and reviewing action figures. Apparently, the two go hand-in-hand as LJ is now the current toy reviewer/news-getter-guy for MTV Geek! While dealing with a newly-acquired crippling addiction to Glyos figures; he still does his pathetic best to also keep up his original toy blog: Lemonjuice McGee's Hobotastic Toy Reviews. Sadly, he may have to seek professional help on the matter... if only society were kind enough to care.

- Newton Gimmick is a longtime toy fan who was baptized in a love of GI Joe, Ninja Turtles, Pro-Wrestling and Godzilla toys as a youth. Now that he's "all grown up", Newt enjoys reviewing toys, movies and general pop culture goodness over at Newton continues to build his plastic empire, one toy at a time and hopes to continue to provide insight and analysis from a common man perspective on the plethora of toys that inhabit toy aisles today or have been forgotten into the labyrinth of time.

- Jason Devall has been involved in the world on on-line toy reviews for 7 years. Starting with the gang at, he went on to co-create the hit weekly on-line toy show, That New Toy Smell and with co-creator and co-host "Pixel" Dan Eardley. He is currently an Executive Producer for and is still cranking out all-new video toy reviews, including reviews of the new Bandai Thundercats line for!

- Adam Bernstein is a self-proclaimed film, comic book, and pop culture aficionado whose appreciation of the mediums led to his creating, a website devoted to the culture. His love affair with comics began when, at age 11, he first started helping out at the 2nd largest comic book store in Manhattan in the early 90s. Twenty years and 30+ comic book boxes later, his love for the medium and the accompanying culture remains as strong as ever. 

- Justin Gammon has two defining passions: creating design work and searching out new members for his ever-growing family of not-so-normal toys. He puts his art smarts to the task to pay the bills, directing creative projects for national-level clients with WorthWhile. While off the clock, he mans the helm of - the home for odd, ugly and neglected toys. When he has a rare break to daydream, Justin spends time plotting out his next move to combine his two loves, art and toys, into an army of original weirdo creations.

- Corey Tincher has been an action figure collector since birth, trading pacifiers for plastic and never looking back. He started his own action figure website Articuled Discussion in 2008, briefly ran the Past Generation Toys blog, and now serves a double tour of duty as the Guide to Action Figures for and the Community Manager for Collector-ActionFigures. He can still occasionally be seen chewing on an old mangled figure that's probably a holy grail to someone. 

- Gavin "The Daytime Ninja" Gregory created in April of 2012 as a product of the hobbies of toy collecting and writing.  While the site mainly focuses on reviews, it's evolved into incorporating toy editorials, event coverage, and more.  Transformers being the catalyst for his collecting bug, he also collects various toy lines including Bandai's Tamashii Nations, Play Arts Kai, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more!

- Jesse "Dr Rampageo" Chagnon is the operator of He has a deep love of Masters of the Universe, GI Joe, and Glyos toys. When he isn't doing work for DoomKick (so about 15 mins a week) he spends his time working on one of the many side projects that are always bubbling over at the DoomKick dojo. He loves toys and feels the best way to go about things is with a positive attitude and some great pictures.

- Brian Szabelski is editor-in-chief of Tomopop, a toys and collectibles blog focusing on a little bit of everything. A member of the Tomopop team since the site's inception in February 2008, his collecting hobby began when he was younger as he piled up G.I. Joes, Star Wars figures and a healthy number of Hot Wheels, then moved on to video games before detouring back into the world of collectibles. His collection has a little bit of everything, from designer toys to PVC figures to larger-scale statues. He is currently wondering just where that next figure is going to go on his already-crowded shelves ...

- James Chillcott is a digital entrepreneur, adventurer and massive toy nerd. As co-founder of ShelfLife, he is on a mission to build the best online community and collecting resource known to man or alien kind.  As head of Toronto based  design/development studio Advoca, James heads one of the first pro-human focused agencies in North America. He has visited all 7 continents, spent time on mars, and hoards extremely rare Transformers from the children of the world.

- Other Media Judges include Dan Messer (Vault from It's All True), Philip Reed (Battle Grip), Sohaib Awan (from Fictional Frontiers), James Perrett (Monsters and Monkey), Colin Doman (McFarlane Figures), Scarecroodle, and John "Emerje" Crocker (both from Tomopop), Arnie (Star Wars Action News), Justin Bell (General Joes), and John Charles. There is also one anonymous media judge.




You can't produce amazing products without designers, fabricators, sculptors, painters and other artisans.  These judges come from that side of the business.  Many are freelancers, but some work for specific companies. Others are well known and respected customizers, who do commission work for individuals, magazines and others. There are 19 judges in this category:

- Jerry Macaluso is a toy designer/sculptor whose love affair with the industry began (way back) as a child when he received his first Mego Micronauts figure. That life changing event inspired him to pursue a career in the arts, first with his special makeup effects company SOTA Effects, which supplied props, makeups and effects for films such as Spawn, A.I., Gods and Monsters, Toxic Avenger 2 and Darkman, as well as television shows including Weird Science and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Seeing his first Todd Toys, Spawn figures in the mid-90s reignited his love for action figures and Jerry began contacting toy manufacturers to see if they would like to use his special effects company for creating toy prototypes.  This quickly led to work with industry leaders like, ReSaurus, Applause, Toy Biz, Palisades, Mattel and Diamond and the forming of a new company, SOTA Sculpture and Design.

In 2001, Macaluso made the jump from prototype studio to full fledged toy manufacturer by acquiring the action figure rights to Street Fighter and Tomb Raider.  Both were a big success and led to the formation of SOTA Toys which enjoyed years of success creating action figures and statues from such popular licenses as World of Warcraft, Johnny Cash, Legend, The Thing, Charmed, Micronauts and Marvel, among many others.  In 2006 Macaluso sold SOTA Toys to focus on his film producing career, making the films 'Night Skies' and 'The Devils Tomb'.

In 2008, Macaluso formed his new toy and collectibles company, Pop Culture Shock Toys.  Currently, PCS is enjoying much success crafting high end polystone statues and busts from licenses such as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Judge Dredd and Masters Of The Universe.

- Chris Lauria is a toy designer and illustrator specializing in concept development and product design.  He has worked in the toy industry for over 20 years, and formed his own design company, Chris Lauria Design, LLC. in 2001.  He has worked with many of the leading toy manufacturers including Fisher Price, Hasbro, Spin Master, Playmates Toys, Jakks Pacific, Wild Planet, Crayola, Toy Biz, Basic Fun and Tomy. Chris continues to work on boys toys as well as girls toys in many of the different toy categories.

    In 1999 Chris created the presentation art for Playmates Toys pitch to Fox that helped land them the Simpsons toy license. From that point he designed almost every playset for the very successful World of Springfield toy line (approximately 40 sets total).  He has also designed numerous collectibles for The Bradford Exchange including over a dozen Nightmare Before Christmas Halloween Village pieces, and all of their Star Wars Galactic Village sets.  You can view samples of Chris' design work at his website.

- Not satisfied with the limited options available at retail, Cason Pilliod has been crafting his own toys since he was a child.  His passion for toys merges with his background as a theatrical prop designer, allowing him to find unique customizing solutions, which he shares with the ever-growing customizing community via Inanimate Objects, and its new sister site DC Animated Universe Comics.

Jonathan Matthews has been working for a decade sculpting collectibles. He's done work for Palisades, Graphitti, Plan B Toys, and other unmentionables. He's currently on contract with DC Direct. To see some of his sculpts check out his website.

- Currently a Project Designer on the Mattel WWE line, Derek Handy has been maintaing the collector WWE lines and making occasional appearances on for past three years. Previously he was Senior Manager of Product Development at Gentle Giant Studios, where he worked for 8 years. There he gained a wide depth of knowledge working on thousands of projects, including development and production of everything from Pre-school toys to high end bronze. Fresh out of college, Derek worked for LEGO on the now disavowed Galidor project. Apparently it was more fun to work on than to play with.

Joe Dunaway has been a painter of resin model kits for over 15 years, and is also an avid toy collector.  He loves his aliens and monsters, but also enjoys any figure that's well sculpted.  Check out his work at his site, ModelZone.

- Tim 'TK' Miller - Growing up with a love of movies, Tim pursued a career in animatronics design upon completing a Bachelors of Science in Biology. After five years with a small effects company in Northern California, he launched out as a freelance sculptor, quickly landing McFarlane Design Group as a key client, providing portrait sculpts for the prolific toy manufacturer. In the past fifteen years Tim has sculpted for industry leaders, including Sideshow Collectibles, Bowen Designs, and most recently DC Entertainment. Tim lives with his wife, Rebekah, and their spoiled pug, Winston, in picturesque Colorado Springs.

Matt 'Iron-Cow' Cauley, probably best known for his custom action figure work, formed Iron-Cow Prod. LLC to better serve his illustration, animation, design, and toy production clients. In addition to being a featured contributer to ToyFare Magazine, there are over 50 ICP-designed DC Direct, Battlestar Galactica and Marvel Comics Minimate action figures currently on sale. His artwork is exhibited and published worldwide and he is currently hard at work developing a line of t-shirts for Macys featuring his illustrations. Matt's illustration, broadcast, fine art, and toy design portfolios can be seen at the official Iron-Cow Prod.

- Jean St. Jean is a musician turned sculptor, who began his career in a small upstate NY toy sculpting studio doing mostly preschool toys and dolls. Five years later he joined McFarlane where he spent almost 7 years helping them develop their hyper realistic style, the last 4 years as Sculpting Supervisor. In 2004, he left McFarlane to start his own company, Jean St. Jean Studios offering sculpting, painting and prototyping services working on such licenses as Diamonds Select’s Stargate SG-1, SG Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica lines, Mezco’s Cinema of Fear, DC Direct’s World of Warcraft and Ame-Comi and Amoktime’s Killer Klowns and Day of the Dead lines.

His current projects have been the Lion-o and Mumm-Ra for Mezco’s  Mega scale THundercats line, the Munsters 7” Select line and various Universal monsters for DST including the Metaluna Mutant and Phantom of the Opera as wellcontributions to the Marvel Select  figure series. He is also working on his 29th mini-bust for DC Direct including Heroes of the DCU, Blackest Night and various movie properties.

- Julian "Anthony" Osario is an accomplished Airbrush Artist, Muralist and sculptor for more than 12 years, live and work in Rhode Island. Have worked as a Freelance artist  and prototype  painter for several companies including Hasbro Toy Company.

Anthony was exclusively delegated to paint the prototype of Cloverfield limited edition action figure. While at Hasbro, he created standard patterns (decals) for Transformers main character (Optimus Prime), airbrushed and hand-painted an extensive variety of product brands including: Playskool, Cloverfield, Disney, Dora the Explorer, Fantastic four, G.I.Joe, Ghost Rider, Iron Man, Littliest Petshops, Marvel, Mr Potato Head, Nerf, Nickelodeon, Play-Doh, Spider-Man, Star-Wars, The Hulk, Winnie the Pooh, Transformers, Nerf Guns and more.

Worked painting scaled sets, characters and backgrounds for TJ Bearytales story books. Besides Bikes & Helmets, Anthony has done paintings for galleries, oversized Sculptures and signs for Six Flags, Toys R’ Us, M&Ms World London, Campbell’s Stadium, The Pilli’s Stadium, Tonka, The Hustler night Club in Manhattan, Paul Newman’s Water Park, as well as murals and backdrops for the World Trade Center in Boston and other places throughout the United States. Most of the bikes airbrushed have been awarded as the Best Custom Paint bikes, an indicator of the quality of his work.

- Tony Robles of is an admin and co-founder of as well as the owner of indy toy company, He holds an MBA in media design with a strong focus on design and marketing in the toy industry. Tony is a customizing extraordinaire that specialized in made to order customs for private clients as well as professional work for over 5 years. Tony continues his toy designing with Toro Toys including chiBOO designer figures and his upcoming project Nanoidz, a collectible mini action figure game.

Kat Sapene has been a prototype painter for the toy industry since 1999. Kat has painted everything from Disney characters to monsters, from action figures to statues and busts. She was head painter at Sota toys for a number of years before deciding to try work as a freelancer. She now runs her own studio, WAK! Toys, with the help of her cat who dutifully wears a tie to work everyday.

- Jeremy Sung is President and Head Designer of Spy Monkey Creations Inc.  A long time toy collector and customizer, Jeremy founded Spy Monkey Creations in 1999 to provide collectors with hand made accessories to enhance their action figure collections. Since then Spy Monkey Creations has moved on to mass production for their accessories and in 2012 launched their first original action figure series, The Weaponeers of Monkaa!

- Hugo Dourado may be better known as grungethemovie on figurerealm for his awesome custom figures and not for writing in third person about himself. He's also worked as concept artist and 3d modeler (and 2d animator back in pixel times) in videogames and animation, and would absolutely love to work in the Toy Industry. I don't believe anyone will read this, but if you happen to be reading go check my, uh, i mean his facebook page.

- Rubén Procopio: Designer and Sculptor, Masked Avenger Studios: and

- Other Artist Judges include Bill Mancuso, Jason Wires Jason Babler, and John Harmon.




Without retailers to sell the stuff, there'd be a whole lot less to buy.  In fact, that's one of the current issues for the industry, as fewer and fewer retailers carry the figures, statues and busts we love.  These 12 judges represent some of the best known specialty and mass market retailers, from small to large.

Thomas Gaul is the owner of the CornerStoreComics and Beach Ball Comics retail locations in Anaheim CA, as well as the CornerStoreComicsAmazingToyz online toy store. He began collecting at age 7, starting with the very first wave of Star Wars action figures produced by Kenner. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of ComicsPRO, the comics retail industry's trade organization.

- Marc Bowker is the owner of and the Alter Ego Comics retail store in Lima, OH. He got hooked on comics at age 10 when he picked up a copy of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 and is the man he is today because of comics and the TV shows/movies of the 1980s.  His personal collection ranges from Mini-Mates to Premium Format Figures and he's a die hard Star Trek: TOS and Indiana Jones fan.

Russell Kay and Jason Forkos, are the owners of, an up-and-comer which has been around since August of 2008. Russell Kay, also known in the majority of the toy community as KingRandor for many years, has done several reviews for action figures for, and was responsible for the original Suncoast Area Report, back in the day. Russell was first introduced to the world of action figures back in 1985, receiving the MASK Jackhammer as a present for his 3rd birthday- and he's been hooked ever since.

- Lee Ward opened The Good The Bad and The Robots in November 2009 with a business partner and has enjoyed every minute of offering a personal service and chatting to collectors.Although he am based in the UK, my European wings are spreading. 

He started collecting Star Wars figures in 1980 followed by Action Force, Transformers, Thundercats and He-man. (He really wishes he still had them). He took an interest in statues approx 8 years ago but is more of a fan of 1:6th these days. He is also a semi pro magician and has a real passion for magic.

- Andrew McIntire is the Senior Director of Retail Operations for Things From Another World. He has been a comic and toy enthusiast since he was a boy, and spent much of his youth taking Transformers and G.I. Joe figures apart, then kit-bashing them back together in exciting, new, mutated forms. To his great pride (and his wife's great embarrassment) he boasts that he owns enough classic Star Wars figures, vehicles, and play sets to stage reenactments of almost every pivotal scene from the original trilogy--an endeavor which his long-suffering wife has asked he not indulge in when company's over. She holds on to the hope that he may one day listen.

Jeff B. is co-founder of Urban Collector and a passionate collector of LOTR, Star Wars and DC collectibles.

- Michael Shah is the owner of on-line retailer, Mikes Comics N Stuff, an on-line retail store that specializes in Doctor Who, DC action figures, and whatever else catches Mike's eyes.  An avid and life-long comic book collector - he still has his first comic book he bought off the newsstand, Avengers #158, buried somewhere in his collection - he finally decided to take his 30 years of comic book and action figure collecting knowledge and pursue his dream of opening a comic book related collectible business.

- Edward Couturier - Founder & CEO of Movie Replicas Direct. He has always had a love for science fiction and horror. Favorite movie monster is Dracula. Favorite Sci-Fi Movie is the Matrix. MRD was a childhood dream he started in officially started in August of 2007.

- Troy Emmi is the owner of Fanboy Collectibles. He has been collecting comic books all of his life. Like most young collectors, he started with action figures. This would eventually lead to statues and mini-busts, of which Star Wars and comic book related fill the majority of his collection. Over the past few years he has also began acquiring original pages of comic book art and commissions by a varied number or artists. Now with a retail and online store he gets to spend his days dealing with fellow collectors.

- Dat Ma has been the Buyer at Entertainment Earth, Inc. for the past 5.5 years.  

- Steven Loney is the founder and CEO of Toynk is a toy, collectible and costume company specializing in licensed pop culture related products. Toynk markets/distributes its product library worldwide through various retail and wholesale channels. Toynk is also involved in the creation, development, and manufacturing of similar licensed and non-licensed products through its subsidiary company, Locoape, LLC and Incogneato, LLC. Toynk's primary warehouse is based in Bensenville, IL. Toynk also has a warehouse in Adelaide, Australia.




In the end, it's the buyers that decide what gets made and what doesn't.  They vote with the money in their wallet, and smart companies and retailers listen.  I selected 23 collectors that I feel are opinionated, respected, and experienced.  Some are collectors of very specific lines, while others buy just about anything, but they all know the industry well.

- Michael S. Miller is the Editor in Chief of Toledo Free Press. He has been a toy collector since 1977, a year which will ring a bell with many who were affected by the force unleashed that year. Michael has written about pop culture and collecting for more than 40 publications coast to coast. His next published work is a chapter in "Gotham City 14 Miles," a new book about the impact on the 1966 Batman TV show.

- From 1977 to 1989, Action Figure Insider blogger Jason Chirevas' parents bought him action figures to play with. Since 1993, he's collected action figures, this time with his own money and everything. A lot happened between.

Jeff Parker aka Wookster, is a freelance illustrator and designer whose work has graced everything from BBC television titles through to a burlesque fetish artist’s logo (you should have seen the perks!). Though it has to be said toy collecting and reviewing seem to be taking up more and more of his time. He’s interested in all areas of pop culture and collects anything and everything, with a special penchant for high-end 1/6 scale, especially if it’s from the ALIEN series of movies. He also has a soft spot for Bettie Page memorabilia, Guinness (the drink, not the book of records!) and kicking back with a good DVD (new ones are increasingly hard to find you know!).

- Mark G. Meyer - "The Tekwych"  is a figure collector and industry historian believing that knowledge of the toy industry's history and an understanding of the manufacturing process can make one a better collector.  While Japanese robots and Microman make up the bulk of his collection, almost every format and scale can be found some where on his shelves.

JediJones (Eric S.) is a programmer/analyst by day and an action figure collector by morning, noon, night, and later night. He began collecting when his mom bought him Kenner's original Han Solo in 1982 and he hasn't stopped since. His favorite toy lines of the way too many he collects include Hasbro's classic and modern Star Wars and G.I. Joe lines, Playmates' Simpsons World of Springfield, 6" Marvel Legends and DC Universe, and movie tie-ins from the smaller companies like Mezco's King Kong and NECA's Ghostbusters. Good sculpting is more important to him than high posability and he believes accessories such as vehicles and playsets are what have truly set the great action figure lines apart from the rest.

Guy Klender - A Los Angeles based toy collector, he moved to California ten years ago and brought my love of toys to the sunny state. IHelucked out with a collectors show or a major show, i.e. SDCC nearly every week so the lust for toys is easy to nourish. He started years back with the new STAR WARS line and it all grew from there. He gained recognition as a toy collector with the film STARWOIDS that made for a fun time at shows with the occasional autograph and he did receive a fan letter as well. He moved on to the higher end products and Sideshow Collectibles sees his bank statement nearly as often as he does. He loves finding the rarity or the obscure toy that he may not have known of but for some reason must have. It's a wacky life sure but he wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world….except for a 12 back vinyl caped Jawa perhaps.

- Monte Williams has photographed action figures in Northern California, in and atop the Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls, Idaho, at Stonehenge and Windsor Castle, along the shores of the uninhabited Dahret Island on the Red Sea, in Istanbul, in Asmara, Eritrea and, most recently, in Lahore, Pakistan. His photostream will change your life.

Josh Long: Computer Technology Teacher/Avid Collector. Josh has collecting something in some form for as long as he can remember. When he was a kid, he was very big into sports cards of all the major sports but one athlete in particular. That athlete was Michael Jordan. During his playing career he hit nearly 2,000 different cards filling multiple books and shelves so they could all be displayed. After he retired the second time, Josh decided to take a break from collecting but he didn't know what he would find that he was so into.

In 2003, just about the time Return Of The King was going to be hitting the big screen, he found a little site called Sideshow Collectibles. Josh saw all the various statues from the movies and kicked himself for not having found them sooner. He didn't waste any time getting into it though going back and getting several that he had missed and getting his Pre-Orders for ones that where still to come.

At one point, Josh was very close to having all the Sideshow Weta statues but have since cut back on that to balance his collection out. However, he has replaced that with several items from Sideshow's Lord Of The Rings lines, The Dead, Indiana Jones, Masters of the Universe Classics, G.I. Joe and Star Wars. He has also ventured off into buying some pieces from Hot Toys and Medicom with the great products they've been producing. 

Josh runs a collectibles blog called The Pulse, as well as YouTube video reviews. In April of 2011 he  joined the staff of The One Ring.Net and has been writing the collecting column there called, "Collecting the Precious". With this article he coversmuch of the comings and goings of collectibles that deal with Middle-Earth.

Jason Jerde (TCM Hitchhiker) is a professional toy photographer who has been collecting toys since 1986, giving me nearly 25 years of experience and knowledge in the hobby (or should that read obsession?). I collect vintage and modern toys of all scales and styles from many different properties, as well as both loose and/or MOC/MIB, depending on the line. 

- Lonnie Cummins (aka lcummins) has been an avid collector of all things "pop culture" for the last 35+ years! He started with comic books, non-sports trading cards and monsters, and now collects everything from 1/6th scale figures to high-end statues and life-size busts! His favorite line of collecting is centered around the Universal Monsters... after all, he was a "monster kid" of the late 60's and early 70's, reading Famous Monsters of Filmland, building Aurora monster models and watching monster and horror movies on late night TV. Having never "grown up", Lonnie enjoys horror, sci-fi and fantasy genres, and has been an animation fan since the age of 5, sitting in front of the TV on Saturday mornings watching the Bugs Bunny show. His love of animation has carried him into the world of anime where he currently resides most of the time, when not watching the Discovery Channel or Science Channel. The first "action figure" he ever owned, was the original 1/6th scale G.I. Joes from the early 1960's... which he still owns!

- Curtis - A young LEGO/Gentle Giant collector who anxiously awaits growing up and being able to actually afford the stuff he buys.

- John Morey aka "Ridureyu" is a freelance writer and editor who has been collecting toys ever since he received his first pack of M.U.S.C.L.E.s on his fourth birthday. He founded the first American site based on Kinnikuman, which became Little Rubber Guys under different ownership. He mostly collects obscure or small-scale toys, but enjoys just about anything. A historian since college, he enjoys using his skills to discover and share a little extra info about any toy he reviews or photographs, making each one just a little bit richer. He is also an amateur toy photographer, and since last March, as been daily updating his Flickr account to develop and show off his vast (and sometimes obscure) collection. The name "Ridureyu" doesn't actually mean anything - it was a random set of keystrokes that turned out looking like a name, so he enjoys using it.

- Gillian Mann: Charlotte, Chooch and Alex are 3/7 of the admin from; who clashed heads, poked fun (at each other!), and danced the fandango till the decisions were made regarding the votes counting towards this years Poppies awards.. 

- Brian Ashmore is an illustrator and avid toy geek.  Brian has produced illustrations for many companies including Marvel and DC Comics.  His "toy heart" is firmly planted in the nostalgic past with the toys of his childhood (Megos, Evel Knievel, Kenner Star Wars, Six Million Dollar Man) but he continues to collect many pieces from modern toy lines, as well.  He is still struggling with the idea that a new Batman or Star Wars action figure can cost over $200. Check out his work at his website here!

- Other Collector Judges include Jeremy WilcoxMark Bellomo, Jeff McGinness, Brant Rusch, Eamon O'Donohuge, James Doble, Mike Kaplowitz (The Fight Nerd), Adrian Faulkner, and Mike Kelley.


And there you have the 139 judges for 2012!  I'll be looking to expand this group of judges in 2013, so if you or a colleague are interested, please drop me an email.

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