Lisa Hanawalt's illustrated Toy Fair report

Posted by asterphage 
cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt has branched out from her recent illustrated movie reviews (well worth reading) with this new article for The Hairpin, in which she goes to Toy Fair and finds the whole toy industry to be ridiculous to the point of surreality:

[thehairpin.com]

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Also of interest is her review of Transformers 3, which features a drawing of Jessica Chastain dressed as Jazz:

[lisahanawalt.com]

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
that was pretty terrible.
Aw. That Toy Fair report sincerely depressed me a little bit. I think that's more from the tone bugging me than anything else.

Hey, some of the guys around here attend Toy Fair, yes? Is it OK to ask you to comment on your experiences? It can't actually be as ridiculous as that article suggests.

= T w T =



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/05/2012 02:21PM by MaidenLili.
MaidenLili Wrote:
>
> Hey, some of the guys around here attend Toy Fair,
> yes? Is it OK to ask you to comment on your
> experiences? It can't actually be as ridiculous as
> that article suggests.

Well, you have to remember, she's on the exhibition floor as a member of the trade, not visiting the big, fan-pleasing companies as a journalist. It's pretty easy to get into Toy Fair as a creator/businessperson, even with nothing more than a design portfolio and an admission fee, but the companies worth looking at want visitors worth showing off to, like Josh.

A huge chunk of the toy industry, after all, is composed of small companies trying to come up with any gimmick that will persuade kids to persuade their parents to lay down some money.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Sanjeev (Admin)
It's all about context, right? Having first read her review of Bayformers 3, I wasn't expecting anything remotely serious, savvy, or even toy-related! I expected a goofy, experiential, total-outsider write-up. And that's what we got...and it was mildly amusing.

As something meant to capture what Toy Fair's actually like--especially for folks into toys--it was complete garbage. I was at Toy Fair once (under either a press pass from JoshB or an exhibitor pass from Matt Doughty--I forget) and I walked the floor much as she did. I wasn't welcomed in any special way by the heavy hitters at Hasbro or whatever. I was there more or less to hang out, again, much like Lisa.

But as someone interested in toys (granted: I'm into old Japanese stuff...not new Western stuff), I found it pretty magical. There was a TON of stuff to engage in. Sure, in some cases, there was some lame bunch of suits trying to pitch boring-ass crap...but for the most part, you got to see the brilliance of toys you could never have imagined through the excited eyes of their makers (or marketers, I guess). THAT is a pretty killer experience.

And, of course, Lisa's article utterly missed that aspect. But whatever. I wasn't expecting anything more...
A designer vinyl toy store owner posted a link to this article on Twitter and said 'Hipsters go to NY Toy Fair and whine about it.' I think that about says it.

I thought it was kinda interesting... nothing too profound, but worth reading. Her Transformers 3 review was pretty spot-on.

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
[prometheusrising.net]
I make 3D printed mecha action figures.
a designer vinyl store owner calls a cartoonist a hipster. lol

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
everypony you don't like is a hipster
I thought it was a cute outsider's perspective piece. I liked the art.

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
But Sanjeev, she found PONIES!!! A deep connection to happy childhood memorites. That's magical right...? I mean, they clearly are having fun until the wonder wears off and fatigue begins to set in.

But really, you can't blame her after the Playmobile people act like dicks.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/2012 02:57AM by Kwesi K..
Sanjeev (Admin)
Kwesi K. Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> But Sanjeev, she found PONIES!!! A deep
> connection to happy childhood memorites. That's
> magical right...?

Sure...but it was completely by accident. They walked in with closed, cynical minds looking for something to amuse them--and not toys. More likely toy nerds, themselves, and the spectacle they create en masse. Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh, but that's still the direction of the impression I got reading that...if not the magnitude.

The pony bit was great, but it was a happy accident. Again, anyone with a remotely open mind about toys (even if not at all interested in modern Western stuff)--or, hell, anyone with some sort of spiritual open road to their childhoods--would have been blown away by all the crazy shit people come up with. Stuff you never coulda imagined that spoke to your inner child. To have the sort of experience Lisa had...well, you just shouldn't be going to something like that then.
Sanjeev Wrote:
>
> More likely toy nerds, themselves, and the spectacle
> they create en masse.

I don't see where you're getting that. The ridicule in the article is almost entirely directed at the industry and its employees.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Sanjeev (Admin)
Either way.

I mean, why else would they want to go to Toy Fair in the first place if not some form of "people watching"?
This doesn't sound too cynical about toys to me: "I'm not going to sit on the floor with it for hours, making it talk to other toys, acting out my latest conflicts and fantasies, forming pretend relationships. I wish I could enjoy toys on that level again."

It sounds more like she was not digging how reps from Playmobile and such were super snobby to her, which I can relate to, because every time I go to a place like San Diego Comic Con or trade shows for work, I feel the same way. Like an alien.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/2012 02:44PM by Ginrai.
Sanjeev (Admin)
If not cynical, then...confused? Like, if those ideas are already lurking in your subconscious, then why would you be going to Toy Fair NOT to recapture those experiences? It *really* came off like the goal was people-watching...and the actual bits about enjoying toys and playing were accidental.

I guess the snobbery observation is a legit point, though. When I went, I had already been primed to avoid the huge companies. But even without prior warning...why would one give a shit about the latest from Mattel or Playmobile or Mega Bloks? We all know about what's coming out from Hasbro ages before it hits the shelves. And listening to a lame marketing spiel from some asshole in a suit sounds pretty soul-killing to me (nuff respect due to Josh & crew who brave such interviews every year!).

But in my opinion, the real meat of Toy Fair is crazy shit like this!
OK Scopedog, what did you do with Sanjeev and where did you hide his body?
Sanjeev (Admin)
LOL

C'mon...it was a slow day at work yesterday (in fact, half our department just took off after lunch!). :P
Sanjeev Wrote:
>
> But in my opinion, the real meat of Toy Fair is
> crazy shit like this!

You like that stuff, Hanawalt likes creepy fishtank bears and anything shaped like a shark. I don't see a dearth of genuine enjoyment in her piece.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
I thought it was harmless fun. It's POV whimsy plus Maira Kalman-esque illustration that will eventually be compiled into a book.

Please, let's focus on what's important here: she sold her piece!

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