Can you describe when you realized you were a customizer?
I started customizing because I'm cheap. I'd bought a 3 pack of Spider-Man figures. It had Spidey, Carnage, and Venom. I wanted Venom and Carnage, but the Spider-Man had a lame action feature and I knew there were better ones coming. I wasn't going to throw away or give the Spidey to someone else, I'd spent *MY* money on it dammit. So, way too many layers of maroon paint and a turquoise sweatshirt stolen from my mom later, I had me a Scarlet Spider figure (hey, this was before everyone came to hate the Clone Saga, easy to Monday Morning Spider-Man after all.
What was your Wizard magazine custom?
My custom was in ToyFare magazine, and I really hope I still have a copy somewhere, because I don't think I have a picture anymore, and the custom is long gone. They had a Silver Age Marvel contest, so I did a number of characters including the original Beetle design with the bucket helmet and suction cup hands, but the one that won was the Porcupine. His original costume. Where he looked like a fat guy wearing a haystack.
I just glued a ton of cut up toothpicks to a Ka-Zar figure. Took forever, but I got a Bowen Hulk mini-bust for it, so not all bad.
Hypno, you customize a wide range of subjects. Where do you draw your inspiration from the most?
These days I get a lot of my inspiration from other toylines. My to-do list is a ton of Action Man (and Force and ATOM), Big Jim, Remco, and Extreme characters. I like weaving them into the ARAH mythos, and I love trying to capture the essence of a character while maybe toning down some of the more ludicrous or poorly executed elements. I do wish I had more inspiration for original characters though.
If you never got into GI Joes or customizing, what would you be doing right now?
I'd probably have fallen into WarHammer or something. My nerdish leanings were pretty well cemented, so I cant imagine I'd have strayed far. I'd probably have more money and a lot less fodder "for someday" than I do, that's for sure.
Who is the most obscure comic character not enough people talk about and why should we all be reading stuff they're in?
If we're talking series that are currently running, I think I have to give the nod to Empowered. It's pretty risque, but it's a hilarious send-up of tons of superhero tropes, and it's brought out more genuine emotion in me than 90% of comics. Going back I have to say that DC Comics Chase is well worth tracking down, kind of like Alias before Alias. The comic Alias that is. Also, while I'm not sure it's forgotten or overlooked, what with it being a Will Smith movie and all, but the original 80s Suicide Squad series is well worth the effort to track down. If you've ever liked a Deadshot story you have Suicide Squad and John Ostrander to thank for it.
Oh, and get Walt Simonson and Archie Goodwin's Manhunter. Or just ask me for more. Because I could go on all day.
You have helped run the JoeCustoms table at several shows. What has been the most interesting/weirdest moment?
Well, Jm70 has been great at bonding with the voice actors and bringing them over to the table. It was awesome getting to talk to Bill Ratner about Minneapolis (guess he went to school here) and the bit in Dallas with Morgan Lofting was amazing. We've never had anything really weird or crazy happen beyond that thankfully, though JoeCzar's generosity with the moonshine did nearly cause me to heave all over the display. I took off towards a garbage can, which was embarassingly located right by RaginSpoon's table, but I don't think they got a good look at my face.
What's next for you as a Customizer? What's your Mt. Everest?
Well, I just revisited GP Slugger waterslides, and that wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. For stuff I'd like to try next, I think airbrushing or casting are probably top of the list. I have a long way to go with sculpting and painting though, so I'm in no hurry. I also have a project I'm working on that'll require scratchbuilding an entire character, so that's going to be a challenge, especially with the deadline I've set for myself.
As for an Everest, dios. Lack of space has prevented me from doing anything in that realm, but in my head I have ideas for elaborate settings I can use to display all my Marvel Legends and Joes. Until I move into a bigger place though, they'll have to stay ideas.
What's a custom you would like to redo and what would you change?
Of my more recent customs, I definitely want to revisit my ME version of the Sigma Six Dark Ninja Master. I want to take more time and get the tattoos better. Maybe waterslide decals? Going back to my older stuff I still want to revisit my Mega Monsters. I was really lazy on some of the sculpting but they're such a big undertaking that I haven't put them on the plate yet. Going into other properties I'd love to do a new Spider-Mobile scaled for Marvel Legends.
Or heck, any of my Marvel's Least Wanted characters. Especially Nanny and Armadillo, since I worry they might be the kind of characters I only have in me to make once. Or twice in the case of Nanny.
Yeah, I was/am a weird dude.
What do you do when your stuck on a custom?
When I get stuck I honestly just tend to put it away. Sometimes for years. It's a bad habit, and one I'm trying to break. Lately I try to pick the brains of friends, or just try and power through. If my two-week challenges are any indication starting over from scratch seems to work as well, though I'm starting to worry I'll never finish that Whip custom . . .
If you could go back in time and tell Lil' Hypno to not lose or break one toy what would it be and why?
If by 'lil Hypno you mean late 20s Hypno I'd probably tell myself not to customize certain things. I didn't really start collecting until I was in Junior High, so I was always careful with my stuff, probably to the annoyance of my friends. Almost all the Joes I bought new were complete and mint until I finally sold them off, though I did customize pretty much all of them to some degree. More recently though I find myself improving or customizing Hasbro or GIJCC stuff that ends up skyrocketing in value. If I'd known where Dr Venom and City Strike Destro would land on eBay and such I definitely wouldn't have gone at them with a Dremel.
There's also a lot I'd tell my younger self not to bother with. "Hey, those House of the Dead figures, from the game you played maybe once? Yeah, save your money. The Tenth too, you don't even like that guys art."