Comic Con 2019!
July is a great time of year, it has always been, for me. There’s a nostalgia about the seasons, for many centering around Holidays, family get-togethers, another story arc in the chain from years past, to present – “Hey, remember that time when Uncle Jimmy shorted the power out on the entire block when he tried connecting the Christmas lights to Aunt Jenny’s “Funny” back massager charger? Yeah, that was awesome! I hope Aunt Jenny catches the ginger bread house on fire again!” Or, “Remember that time walking through Central Park, leaves cascading in a color wheel of yellows, reds, and oranges? A start of a cool breeze, the first of Fall, wearing a winter’s scarf, holding a cup of coffee to keep my hands warm?” Folks I talk to have strong feelings, a healthy reminiscence about the changing of the seasons, but usually changing from the season I love most, summer. I get it, seasons’ and holidays elope, so do the memories. Feelings of love, nourishment, change, togetherness, all very powerful, a harmonic combination, for many defined by Thanksgiving or Christmas. Perhaps that’s why summer has always owned my heart, my mood, my inspiration. The sequence of perfect events; the last day of school, the first day of summer, the 4th of July, and four days later, my birthday. Like a string of luck, the trifecta, a winning ticket, how could it be that the end of June, through the first weeks of July be so magnificent and providential? Not to mention, for a kid growing up in Southern California who loved to surf, the Beach! Where I spent every waking day, morning to night, and at times spending the night! Camping in make shift forts dug up into the side of the hills, like tribunal beach bums of the adolescent kind, a Lord of the Flies with boogie boards, skateboards, surfboards, and wetsuits, trickling out of the shrubbery as if disrupting a clowder of feral cats. And some times we were disturbed, by the grounds crew for the Ritz Carlton, with the buzzing of their weed whackers, and shouts like a Greek chorus with hispanic accents, “Date prisa, sal de ahi, chicos locos!” The Ritz, a vacationer’s castle perched on the triangular hilltop bluff above our home break, Salt Creek Beach. The Ritz, an expensive ticket, I’m sure the good paying guests hadn't bargained for the Lost Boys milling about in the shrubs. Richard Nixon used to mill about, walking the path down to an area we called “Point”, separating Salt Creek from Strands, the furthest southern beach before turning the bluff into the Dana Point Harbor. His secret Service weren’t exactly phased by a bunch of sun bleached beach bums with make shift t-shirt turbans, and duct taped flip flops. In fact, Nixon would stop, and sign autographs on Presidential cards, “Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America.” I took a card, and I threw it away. I always heard he was a bad guy from my parents. I wish I had that card now.
July has always been special. Salt soaked from the beach, tan, the long days, the long summer nights, the ecstasy of exhaustion, sleeping sound, quiet to the world, then up for action, another round of sun and surf. I have a vivid memory; the sliding glass doors open to the backyard, the smell of the lemony scent, my mother cleaning the tiled counter tops, with the sounds of Stevie Wonder, “Isn’t she lovely, isn’t she wonderful”, transitioning to Steve Miller, “I want to Fly like an eagle, to the sea.” The house was joyous, open, breezy, free…not a worry in the world. Down the main drag, a stretch called Crown Valley Pkwy which connected the 5 freeway to PCH in South Laguna Beach, each summer a fireworks stand would find itself for a good two weeks. Slinging explosives, whizzers, whirlers, sparklers, sky rockets, kaboomers, screemers, screachers, fizzlers, poppers…whatever the sounds, whatever the effects, whatever the explosions, they had it! Boxes ranged from the beginners $19.99, to the intermediate sportsman, $49.99, to the “I’m a Pro, I got this, honey don't worry, this is boy’s business, I can blow up the neighborhood without hurting a soul”, $99.99. My dad was frugal, still is. Not an opulent guy. He would plunge in on the $19.99, truth be told, that’s all we needed; we loved every firecracking, wakadoodle in that box! As my mother was humming to the tunes of the day, my dad was off doing something, I was in the den inspecting the box of fireworks, myself, getting worked up for the precession of lights which would own much of the block later that night.
Years later, summer was for touring with Bands. A rented van, plots along the highways connecting San Diego to Seattle, stops at smelly bars, rundown clubs, an occasional good club with some decent sound gear, some backyard parties, some living room parties, some legendary punk clubs, and more importantly, memories. A break from college, a break from my menial job (I worked at a punker clothing store called Nana), a summer vacation with a bunch of delinquents, some better, some worse than me, but all a fraternity with two objectives; to rock, and to have a good time. After I quit the bands I started a toy company, unknowingly. I had created a funny cartoon concept, sold it to MTV for development, then made a bunch of toys from the idea. My roommate at the time, a big comic book fan, turned me on to Comic Con. I needed some place to promote these new toys, he said, “Man, you have to go to Comic Con! It's nuts!” I said, “Ok.” I called up Comic Con, printed their application, turned it in with a check for $500.00, drove on down to San Diego, rented a hotel room at the Marina Twin towers next to the convention center, and was politely introduced to Comic Con for the fist time. The entire convention space was about half the size it is now. The convention Hall stopped at “D”. Just beyond, separated by a giant curtain like partition were the bones of the convention center. Nothing but empty space with a few skids housing collapsed folding chairs, and circular tables. I met Spike Decker from “Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Animation Film Festival” at Comic Con. Much of what was the first harvest for MTV’s Liquid Television – Bill Plympton, Beavis and Butthead, some of Spike and Mike’s graduating class. He liked us, or he liked my sister and my girlfriend at the time, not sure if it was my charm or theirs. He was my first ally in the toy business, and he had nothing to do with toys.
Cut to a few years off, I took a job as a Creative Director for a start up, eventually, leaving, and eventually starting The Loyal Subjects. I believe this marks TLS’ 7th year at San Diego Comic Con. Our booth has never grown more than 10 feet, policy for the Convention is to let more folks in, not divvy out more space for existing exhibitors. We would love to have a giant island, alas we are contained, confined by the democratic state of Comic Con, where hopefuls waiting on the 5 year plan will finally get their table or booth space, and TLS, we’ll still be holding on to our humble 10’ x 20’ outfit. My original space is now Gentle Giant’s space, right across the way from Hasbro (chuckles). I’m happy with our space this year, relocated, directly across from Marvel, our Booth, 2544.
I’ve had three birthdays at Comic Con, I had my fortieth at Comic Con, celebrated by my crew and a round of Patron before hitting the hay after a 16 hour day of setup. Summer is special, even more so, because we can connect to those with like-minds, with common interests. Just like the memories I shared, Comic Con holds the doors to deep rooted, cogent feelings, and experiences for many. No different from my stories retelling the feelings, the sounds, the smells, the warm breeze tingling the hairs of my arms, summer breeze, the shy zephyrs playfully conspiring and whispering through the halls of my childhood home, the anticipation of what’s to come when finally we’re able to see the full potential of what’s in that fireworks box dad brought home. July, my season, our season, our warm, rich memories forever branded, captured with boundless affection in all of its telling. We are proud to represent The Loyal Subjects at the world’s most famous, exciting, and anticipated Pop Culture Convention. We are proud to represent the community, the TLS Army, and we aim to serve the best experience we can.
Without further ado, below are The Loyal Subjects 2019 SDCC releases. Single items will be $18.00/ea, double packs $27.00/ea. New stickers will be available, along with a backpack TLS logo carrier, which is free for purchases $100.00 or more, or can be purchased individually for $10.00. The backpack totes are limited, available while supplies last. We’ll have a small selection of Action Vinyls: WWE, Gudetama, GOT, Predator, Aliens (GE), and Hot Wheels all for $12.00/ea, as well as some new tees; TLS Army, and TLS 10 Year also available for $12.00/ea. We have a very limited supply of tees (available while supplies last). We’ll have some swag giveaways at the booth, from Sanrio (Aggrestuko), as well as some hats, a branded partnership between Club Kaos x Marshmellow. Please stop by any time for the freebies! For those who cannot attend, our items will go live Saturday, July 20th at Noon (if this changes in the week leading up we will loudly announce the change, however, at this time, unlikely it will change). We have very limited qtys for the website, first come first serve. Please review our Returns Policy on our website – please do not purchase if you’re plan is to hold items, consequently return items while evaluating to see if you get a better deal on ebay, or from a friend standing in line. All purchases are final, no exceptions. TLS gets charged back a fortune when we participate in all these nuanced strategies, we can't do it this year. Also, please kindly do not ask for consolidated shipping, purchase what you would like to purchase out in front. We’ll do our best to service all requests in a timely manner, starting the week after SDCC has ended. There are two stamps, “SDCC FLOOR”, and “SDCC STORE”. Hot Topic will be our partner on many of the exclusives (“SDCC STORE”), and should have the items up for sale on their website around the same time as the Convention starts. We will randomly give out (a small qty of) protos at our booth throughout the duration of the convention. Keep circling, maybe there’s a proto that has your name on it! There are 200 of each convention exclusive with the stamp “SDCC FLOOR”. There are 300 of the convention exclusives with the stamp “SDCC STORE”. We hope you enjoy, and see you in San Diego! Here’s to July! My favorite month in the year, and for Comic Con goers, I’m sure it’s yours too, or a close second!