the evolution continues
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ISO: So is there any chance of there being any exclusives, variants, anything like that for the first run?

JM: Probably…but I wont go crazy with it. There will probably be 1 or 2 really super limited, maybe 50 to 100 sets worldwide kind of thing…so there's definitely that. We'll go back through and look at original Micronauts color schemes and try to find something in there. I should also point out that we listened to some of the fan criticisms of the line concerning Space Gliders colors, and we will address that. We definitely are going to change that before we go to production and take it back more toward the original scheme.

ISO: Those original designs were shown off way back in 2005, is there anything you can say about the delays the line has seen and what fans can look forward to?

JM: Well, the retail environment for collectibles is in the gutter right now, every time we had a deal with a retailer to release these, they go bankrupt! The Musicland chain, which is Suncoast, Sam Goody and Media Play, they were originally going to take them and then they file bankruptcy. And while some of those stores still exist, they did cancel any orders to things they felt were slightly risky. And sometimes lowered the number of orders to an amount that didn't cover the cost of manufacture.

ISO: Do you think all the QC issues and factory problems Palisades Toys encountered with their Micronauts line, shipping their broken product to the stores, had a drastic effect on your orders?

JM: Huge. The Palisades stuff was a disaster bar none, and when we told retailers we were going to do Micronauts, they said: no. They said, "we bought them, they were broken, we had tons on clearance…" so yeah, it had a huge negative affect us.


ISO: Yet you decided to keep going forward with them, is there a reason why…?

JM: People who know me know that Micronauts are one of my favorite things in the world, and since you, Dave, have now covered my arms in Micronauts tattoos, I guess I'm committed in more ways that one! (laughs)

ISO: (laughs) Yes my friend…you are f*&ked!

JM: Yeah, I'm totally f*&cked…I should now go get Godzilla, Gatchaman and Shogun Warriors on my other arm so I have to go buy those licenses as well!

ISO: (laughs) So that's how you determine major business decisions then…through tattoos…


JM: …exactly…it's funny, I was out with a friend I hadn't seen in a long time yesterday and I was showing her the tattoos. She was like "Wow! How long did that take?", I told her and she was blown away. Both her and her boyfriend have a few, and they have enough to where they looked at me and went, "you did that much in your first go-round??" so it was cool.

ISO: And there still more to go…a few more empty spaces to fill.


JM: I just sort of now want to fill in the rest with the Microverse. My inner arm, where you could theoretically put a character, I think it might be cooler to have a space battle going on under there. The Microverse is such an important part of the Micronauts legacy that I don't want to short change it on the arm. Homeworld has gotta be in there, as well as Acroyear's planet Spartak. We definitely have to have Rann's ship Endeavor in there and have it chased by a bunch of Battle Cruisers and stuff like that. Have a DNA helix running all through it, and at one point I even thought of having the Professor Prometheus and the Prometheus Pit in there but decided against it because it just not "Micronauts" to me…

ISO: You need to get Captain Universe under your arm!

JM: I am not getting Captain Universe on me…(laughs)



JM: I just recently went back and discovered I have almost 2 complete sets of the Micronauts comic series…

ISO: And you even own the original artwork to the cover of an issue of New Voyages, correct?

JM: Yeah, issue # 4. Keith Pollard drew the cover.


never before seen Acroyear concept art by Randy Queen and Sandy Collora and Lobros art by Sandy Collora © SOTA Toys

ISO: But to go back to the toys and the retail issues…

JM: …back to the retailers…most collectors don't follow the business end of specialty collectible toy retail, they just know that they need to go to wherever to buy their figures. And they do wonder why some of them aren't there, but there's so much that goes on behind the scenes…and with Micronauts, they just don't carry that kind of weight. It's just not going to get in…so it's better to do it as a low run, high end line. I've always referred to them as the Ferrari of action figures, and that's still how I want to make them. I want to make them the best I can do with current technology.

ISO: Speaking of current technology…you already have resin casts of the 3 figures at about the 12" size, how do you plan on shrinking those designs down? Will you have to completely re-sculpt and create new prototypes or are there other tools you can use to do this for you?


above: Microtron? Concept art © SOTA Toys
and right: unseen Space Glider accessory


JM: You're thinking of panagraphing…and we really don't use much of that anymore. Like with Street Fighter, we laser scan them and then output them at the right size and scale. It does require our sculptors to spend a week or so of putting detail back in, but I'd say 80% of it is still there in the laser scan.

ISO: To get back to the delays one last time, are you able to comment on the rumored lawsuit surrounding the Micronauts brand?

JM: I can say that we aren't really involved in it, but we are waiting to hear what happens. We believe A.G.E. is in the right, we continue along with the Micronauts development, and hope it ends soon. Worst-case scenario: we have put too much energy, time and money into this line, they will come out be it as Micronauts or under another name. I hope to have them out for the SDCC by next year, hopefully before my license runs out. Maybe we can call them "Nanonauts". It could be a nice little footnote in toy collecting history…the line that was supposed to be…(laughs)


ISO: Hey…you have to get those toys out you know, fans are waiting and want them.

JM: sigh…I am the bad guy in the Micro-verse, huh?

ISO: Not at all, you're the good guy, you are the savior! You will be the one to finally break the "Micronauts curse"!

JM: Hey, I really do believe they will come out and I keep talking about personally funding them myself and not doing them through the company if that's what it comes to, but I think I could break even so, you never know…

Many thanks goes out to Jerry Macaluso for taking the time out for this exclusive interview with ISO 9/01/06


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