At Toy and Geek Fest 2018, there are plenty of ways to get serious about the ways you play. In fact, it’s the first thing you see on the marquee: Toys! From history buffs and seasoned pros, to kids and kids-at-heart, we’ve got all of the action figures, Funko Pops, and Legos you need to really build out your personal collection… but even more than that, we’ve got the kinds of toy industry celebrities that can show you how far your passion for collectibles can take you, too!
Mark Bellomo, author of the Ultimate Guide to Vintage series
Author, action figure enthusiast, and toy expert Mark Bellomo doesn’t just deal in toys, but in helping publish the kinds of books that any serious toy collector should be collecting, too!
From writing the forewords to IDW Comic’s Transformers: Classics and G.I.Joe: Special Missions trades, currently presiding over their fifteen-volume hardcover project G. I. Joe: The Complete Collection, and penning titles devoted to The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Transformers, Star Wars, and G. I. Joe action figure collecting, he’s got an influential and comprehensive perspective on what it means to be a current collection of classic franchises. He’s even appeared as a talking head on Netflix’s hit show The Toys That Made Us, talking about favorites like He-Man, Star Trek, and G.I.Joe!
Thankfully for us, Mark is taking a few days of his time to come meet fellow fans at Toy and Geek Fest 2018! Mark will be appearing on panels, signing his books, and would be happy to answer some of your questions at his booth.
Jordan Hembrough, from Travel Channel’s Toy Hunter
It’s pretty normal for kids to play with toys… but buying and selling them professionally? Not so much. However, that’s how Jordan Hembrough got his start at the age of 16, going on to found vintage and modern collectibles company Hollywood Heroes in 1998. He would go on to become a major player in the collectibles world, bring this passion to TV with Travel Channel’s Toy Hunter from 2012 to 2014, and become a 2016 inductee into the Toy Hall of Fame!
Jordan has catered to the rich, famous, and toy-obsessed with his passion for collecting, and comprehensive industry wisdom. Not only does he use his vast background knowledge to buy and resell collectibles toys, action figures, film props, and more, but he also serves as a consultant to iconic toy and entertainment companies, too, calling the likes of Disney, Hasbro, Mattel, and Lucasfilm some of his clients.
You can find Jordan at Toy and Geek Fest as a featured guest on numerous panels, and meeting fans and signing autographs at his booth… though we’d have to bet he’ll be taking a peek at some of our toy vendors, too!
Jake Stevens and Criz Bee, from Toy Run
Whether you’ve come to Toy and Geek Fest as a Star Wars fanatic or a Toy afficianado, Jake Stevens and Criz Bee are sure to be two experts you’re going to want to see in action! Creators of the podcast Toy Run, a Star Wars action figure podcast discussing the the latest and greatest in out-of-this-galaxy figurines, Jake and Criz are veterans of the collecting world, and ready to share their wisdom with Toy and Geek Fest fans on various panels. They’ll even be podcasting live!
Come prepared with questions for these two, because they’re quite used to answering them: they’ve both been regulars at both Emerald City Comic Con and Star Wars Celebration as experts in their field. Jake himself has amassed nearly every Kenner and Hasbro Star Wars action figure, and covers current developments on his website, from4-lomtozuckuss.com, while Criz Bee is the founder of JediBusiness.com, the Star Wars action figure database, with over 4,000 figures logged from here to 1978, which adds up to quite a bit of background knowledge between them.
When it comes to Star Wars collection coverage, these two toy masters are going to need to be at the top of your to-meet list!
Gus Lopez, Star Wars superfan and owner of the Bobacabana
Like Jake Stevens and Criz Bee, Gus Lopez is a big fan of Star Wars… but out of the three, he’s the only one whose house is actually a museum devoted to the franchise! Dubbed the Bobacabana, his collection of Star Wars cast and crew items, movie props, unproduced toys, cereal boxes, and more, is known throughout fandom for being one of the mightiest, and that’s not even counting his other work: the Star Wars Collector’s Archive, the first Star Wars collecting website on the Internet, which he founded all the way back in 1994!
Not only is he an author whose work has been published in Star Wars Insider, Star Wars Galaxy Collector, Lee’s Toy Review, and Toy Shop, but he’s also been featured in news, television, and films, including Plastic Galaxy, and Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us… and now he’s here to bring that expertise to Toy and Geek Fest 2018!
You can find Gus as a featured guest on numerous panels, answering fan questions, and popping up on a number of podcasts that will be recording live at the event.
Blake Wright, author of Toys That Time Forgot
There are plenty of people who are passionate about collecting vintage toys, but Blake Wright isn’t just interested in the ones that everybody knows or has, but something a little more elusive than what the average collector is prepared to search out… he’s a collector of toys that never actually got made!
In 2017, Blake launched a sucessful Kickstarter campaign to create Toys that Time Forgot – a Visual History of Unproduced Action Figures. Using his professional journalist background and passion as a toy collector, he set out to build a different kind of collection: photos of all the concept art, mockups, and more, of toys that never quite made it to store shelves. What resulted in an art and history book that chronicles the lifespans of these uniquely unattainable collectibles, and what they might have been like had they actually been manufactured.
Bring your questions for Blake, because you have the perfect opportunity to ask them on the Toy Panel Stage, as he talks about Toys that Time Forgot, and gives sneak peeks at possible content for future volumes!
Brian Volk-Weiss, executive producer of Toys That Made Us
Fans of Netflix’s suprise hit show, The Toys That Made Us, will be excited to hear that its creator and executive producer, Brian Volk-Weiss, will be making his way to Toy and Geek Fest 2018!
Brian’s entertainment industry background is extensive and impressive, serving as the founder and president of the Nacelle Company, which develops, produces, and distributes feature and documentary films, television, and virtual reality content for companies like Netflix, HBO, Discovery, Hulu, and more! The video and recording component of the brand, Comedy Dynamics, also brings one-hour comedy specials and recordings from the likes of Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, and Ali Wong to the platforms you love to watch.
A self-proclaimed toy enthusiast and major history buff, Brian was able to take his passions and transform them into his Netflix’s newest hit. Come meet him at Toy and Geek Fest 2018, and hear him talk about toys, the show, and maybe even what’s in store for next season!
Who are you most excited to meet? What kind of toy collection do you have? Let us know!