New Taiwanese Pop-Culture Collectible Company Reigns Supreme
(along with a story I have to tell) By Ira H. Gallen
I like discovering new toy companies, especially those that think they can bring something exciting and unfamiliar to the marketplace.
First off, let me explain something: Each year, I shoot over 4,500 photographs of toys and six hours of digital movies over a four-day period. This time around, on the final day of the Fair, I was completely exhausted and didn't want to see another toy, doll or flying vehicle of any shape or size. I was really tired.
I also knew I wasn't going to piss money away this year buying more crap I didn't need to put on my shelves. On the last day, you can stop by certain booths and buy samples at 50% off. I have developed a science for how to show up before the other wolfs descended on my favorite haunts.
So...Before I got into the cab to head to the Javits Center for the last day of the fair, a strange and and familiar force dragged me through the glass doors of my neighborhood Bank of America to the ubiquitous cash machine. A few hours later, I spent my next month's rent buying more stuff I really don't need. You don't walk by the booths of #DiamondComicDistributors or #NECA Collectibles without something in your hands.
If I could only escape before I saw something else...But then it happened. I spotted two young kids packing up a glass showcase next to Diamond. Looking right back at me were Kirk Russell and Samuel L. Jackson. They were just saying, "Take us home! Take us home!" It's rare to see that much style and detail in cloth-type clothing for any type of figures at Toy Fair. The realism and detail of each face matched the remarkable workmanship put into the clothing. I truly believed that I was looking at the characters of Kirk Russell as John "The Hangman" Ruth and Samuel L. Jackson as Major Marquis Warren from Quentin Tarantino's The H8ful Eight.
I started asking one of the kids if the figures were for sale. They were both in their twenties and were from Taiwan. Their names are Hsing-Chi Hsu and Hsin-Ween Hsu and their company is called Asmus Collectible (Asmustoy.com). Hsing-Chi and Hsin-Ween grew up together playing with and collecting toys. Through their collecting in China, they created a number of connections with artists and factories that created their favorite toys.
These future toy moguls weren't happy. They didn't feel that their new line got a strong reaction. Their Lord of the Rings characters are outstanding, with "future major collectible" written all over them.
Asmus was situated next to Diamond because the legendary collectable company is distributing Hsing-Chi and Hsin-Ween's products. This proximity means that Diamond knows they should start a partnership with these well-connected and talented kids. These kinds of figurines are the wave of the future, even if the pocket watch in Kirk Russell's pocket is made of metal.
Asmus has created hundreds of figurines related to movies, television and video games. Most of their figures are made of plastic, resin or some type of polyvinyl. Don't get me wrong--if I owned a mansion or a musuem I would have rooms filled with Funko, Diamond, Neca and DC Comics collectibles.
What's that you ask? Oh, yes. I did indeed invest in future of Asmus and bought Kirk and Sam. Then I borrowed money from my producer Laura so I could take a cab home.
I'm so glad I took the time to talk with this guys. I'll be posting a few video interviews I did with them on another post.