Lair of the Geek

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Interview with Bryan Katzel, President of WARPO

ByCrazyivanuk

Jun 20, 2014

Hi Guys We have a great treat for you, here is a interview we got with the President of WARPO Bryan Katzel. If you dont know much about the company its amazing they make retro toys. Go take a look you can find them here WARPO.COM

(All answers by Bryan Katzel, President of WARPO)

(Geeklore)So What made you want to start Warpo?

(Bryan Katzel)The team comes from the “toy world” in one way or another and it’s something each of us has always wanted to do for ourselves. I was essentially at a point of creative frustration in my career when I approached Tommy with the concept of making new toys in an artisanal way (what we now call “method manufacturing”). We were actually on a friends & family trip to Disney World when I approached him with the idea and it pretty much consumed the rest of our vacation. Once we got home we contacted Eric and he was on board within 24 hours.

(Geeklore)Do you collect Toys yourself or do you just like making them?

(Bryan Katzel)The entire team most definitely collects toys. We cover the complete gamut from MOTU to Micronauts and vintage to vinyl. It’s something we’ve all been doing since we were kids and have seen the collectible market change incredibly over the years. It’s probably one of the biggest reasons we started WARPO. With the rise of the internet and Ebay collector’s are completing collections faster than ever… but the desire to collect toys of a certain look or style does not go away. We want to make toys that look and feel as close to their vintage counterparts as possible… so we can have something new to collect that gives us the same nostalgic “tingle” that our current collections do.

(Geeklore)Why did you pick Cthulhu?

(Bryan Katzel)We were shocked to find that this had really never done before… and the more we researched and solidified the product direction it seems to make sense for so many reasons. First of all his work was so influential to so many of the artists and creators that we idolized and inspired so many of the toys and games that we totally dug from our youth. Also, we knew we wanted to make a late 70’s / early 80’s action figure line and this was right around the time of the rediscovery of H.P. Lovecraft’s work. It seemed believable that this kind of revisionist history could have taken place – a toy company looks to harness the sword & sorcery phenomenon that was occurring in pop culture at the time, stumbles into Lovecraft’s work and tries to make it the next big thing. With all the satanic panic that was surrounding D&D and MOTU during that time it seems totally believable to me.

(Geeklore)I used to Roleplay Cthulhu many years back, you strike me as a person who roleplays or has done in the past, so what’s your history of roleplaying?

(Bryan Katzel) I grew up roleplaying and so did the rest of the WARPO team. Personally I was into all the TSR standards – D&D, AD&D, Star Frontiers, Gammarauders, Indiana Jones and the Marvel RPG’s, and on and on and on.

(Geeklore) Will we see any other H.P Lovecraft inspired Toys coming from you guys?

(Bryan Katzel)We just might : ) It will really all depend on the Kickstarter and the demand. A series two has always been something we’ve penciled into our product development schedule, but we’ll want to do the second series justice if we do. This line has had some amazing feedback and we’d want to ensure we do it right if we definitely move in that direction.

(Geeklore)If People miss the kickstarter will they be able to buy them after?

(Bryan Katzel)Yes sir! Our plan after fulfilling the Kickstarter exclusives is to bring in an open run retail version to make available through warpo.com and a few key retail / etail partners… so if you readers out there fall into either of those categories, reach out to WARPO, we’d love to discuss distributing Legends of Cthulhu with you!

(Geeklore) I see you have got Eddy Mosqueda and Ken Kelly working on this project – what’s it been like working with them?

(Bryan Katzel)Freaking amazing. They’re both total pros with so much insight into what was going on during those periods of toy manufacturing. Eddy really took this project on with a personal passion we could have never imagined. He poured a lot of heart and soul not only in the hand sculpting but also the research and conceptualizing of how to make these toys feel authentic to the era. Ken was the same way. He told us stories about how quick toy company deadlines were in those days and how most of the time the package artists were working of photos of prototypes that were 2 or 3 generations older than what went into production. We tried to mimic that the best we could with forcing “inconsistencies” on our package artwork throughout the process. Both these guys brought the authenticity and “magic” we were looking for from that era… just to know that Ken painted our canvas on the same easel he painted the KISS “Love Gun” album cover is pretty mind blowing.

(Geeklore)The Toys you make, are these the toys you wanted to have when you was children?

(Bryan Katzel)Well, that’s a tough question. WARPO definitely creates toys from our youth but they might not definitively be for the youth… if that makes any sense. We received a great comment from one of our supporters saying “Thanks for combining my love as a youth with my love as an adult”.

(Geeklore)With the Invention of Kickstarter it’s led to a lot of cool indie stuff being made, and we have even seen big companies using it. Do you think it’s the way forward?

(Bryan Katzel)For sure, no doubt about it. This is the perfect platform for creators like us that have the ideas, the experience and insight into making toys (or anything really) but have difficulty raising the funds to get the project off the ground. Tooling expense has always been the killer when making toys and with the rise of Kickstarter it’s really helped to minimize that factor of the equation.

(Geeklore)So what’s next for you guys after this project? Any top secret info you can give the readers of Geeklore?

(Bryan Katzel)Lots and lots of cool stuff coming down the pipeline for WARPO. Sorry, can’t disclose any details on what’s next but we can tell you that our plans go beyond the Lovecraft mythology, and 3.75″ action figures… if you’re a fan of what we’re doing now you’re going to love what we’ve got planned next.

Thank you Bryan for taking the time to answer these questions and all the best for the future.

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