Quick questions with Eric “Corn Boy” Mayse

From L to R. Eric Treadway, Jim Preziosi, and Eric “Cornboy”Mayse

 

 

The excitement of New York Toy-Fair is unparalleled, seeing the toys that could potentially be your favorite in the upcoming year is only enhanced by meeting the people that create these toys.  I was fortunate enough to interview one of the most talented creators of action figures today, this man along with his partners are taking action figure fan’s dreams and turning them into plastic realities.  They are the architects of successful toy lines He-man and the Masters of the Universe, Power-Lords, Thundercats, Outer spacemen and now they have their own successful toy line, The Mythic Legion, I present to you my interview with Eric “Corn boy” Mayse of 4 Horsemen studios.

TL:  First of all, thank you for doing this.

 

CB: Thank you.

 

TL: You have finished your successful Kickstarter Mythic Legion, when do you expect them to ship?

 

CB: Actually, we’re supposed to ship just before the holidays; we were hoping to hit it before Chinese New Year, but we didn’t make it. So it got delayed by a few weeks, so we’re thinking it will hopefully ship right after all the workers come back from Chinese New Year.  We’re hoping to have it in the studio warehouse by late April/early May.

 

TL: Will you be adding more characters to the Mythic Legion line?

 

CB: Actually, we have a few on display here. We have four characters that are essentially mix-and-match parts and some repaint pieces that we’re going to have as convention exclusives this summer. Or, I’m sorry, they’re not going to be exclusives. The launches of these figures are going to be at conventions this summer.

 

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TL: Is that another Kickstarter or add-on?

 

CB: No. You’re going to be able to buy them at conventions and through Store Horsemen. And then we’re showing here today, we have four other characters here today, that are going to be part of the next Kickstarter, plus we also have two big deluxe troll figures that we’re showing today that are going to be going up for pre-order probably in about a month from now.{*The pre-order is this Friday, 2/26/16} We’ll be making an announcement I think sometime next week about when that’s going to happen.

 

TL: Is that exclusive to the Kickstarter backers or is that in general?

 

CB: That’s going to be open to everybody. Since it’s a pre-order — normally when we would just sell things, we would allow our Kickstarter backers who help us launch this project and back this project — we would allow them to come in and have first access to it, to make sure that everybody got one that wanted one, but this is going to be a preorder so it’s going to be open for a certain amount of time so anybody can order them. So yeah, it’s going to be open to everybody.

 

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TL: You already answered my next question. What’s your next Kickstarter going to be about?

 

CB: Our next Kickstarter’s going to be another Mythic Legions line. I’d like to say we can get it done and ready to go by Fall/Winter 2016, but it looks like it’s probably going to be early 2017 for Mythic Legions II.

 

TL: Now Mythic Legions II — is it going to be the same genre?

 

A: Yes, it’s a continuation of what we’ve done so far but with all brand-new characters and brand-new body types. There’s going to be a female, which people have been asking for. With using some of the female parts we’re still working on it, but we may even be able to work out elves, because it’s thinner-based characters. Obviously not the torsos, but maybe arms, parts of the legs, something like that. We may be able to go back and forth between females and thinner, wispier elves — things like that. We’re not sure yet. We’re still kind of in the development process on that.

 

TL: Along with Mythic Legions, is the 4 Horsemen coming up with any different lines, perhaps like a sci-fi genre?

 

CB: Our initial idea with Mythic Legions was,  an outer space legion, and a western legion. We wanted to do everything. But Mythic Legions has taken off so well, we’re focusing on this for now, and we want to get some of these deluxe figures and maybe even some possible vehicles, beasts/playsets, that kind of thing out. See how this goes, and then we may expand into some of those other realms at some point.

 

TL: Is there any different types of media coming out from Mythic Legions, like a comic book or poster?

 

CB: Actually, we’re promoting an art book that was actually on the Kickstarter. It’s an art book being produced and not only is it going to have a comic story in it but it’s also going to have at least the beginnings of a role-playing game, it’s going to have prints, it’s going to have trading cards in it, and some nice artwork from some incredible artists. We actually have one very big-name artist that we’re not allowed to announce yet that has agreed to do it and we’re kind of going back and forth with him. We’re hoping to be able to announce — we were hoping we were going to be able to announce it here at Toy Fair, but we can’t. Hopefully a week or so after Toy Fair, we’ll be able to announce that and it actually happens, but fingers crossed.

 

TL: Any update on the Power Lords?

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CB: The Power Lords, we were actually actively working on that before we had to focus on getting the Mythic Legions stuff ready for Toy Fair. We are working on a couple of new prototypes. We’re talking about possibly doing that as a Kickstarter or maybe even a GoFundMe or one of those other crowd-funded projects, but it is still very much in development and it is very much going to happen. It’s just a matter of when.

 

TL: You mentioned GoFundMe and others. Why not Kickstarter again?

 

CB: We’re not sure yet. Kickstarter, we’ve done very well with two projects through Kickstarter, and for what we have to offer for Power Lords, we’re not sure it’s going to fit the model that we’ve kind of set up for what we do with the Gothitropolis, what we’ve done with Mythic Legions. That model I’m not sure will work as well with Power Lords. We’re going to try to fit it in there and see how well it works, but it may be something that would be better done for another site. Because with something like Power Lords, we won’t need — for Mythic Legions, say, we needed to have that fully funded before we can start, because that thing’s like a juggernaut. We don’t have half a million dollars we can pull out of our pockets and throw at a project. Something like Power Lords, which is less figures, smaller figures, so the production run is going to be lower probably, and the cost of the tooling is going to be lower. We don’t have to put everything we have into pushing it to make sure we get the full amount. We only need part of the funds and then we can probably cover the rest. So I don’t know that we need to utilize Kickstarter for that; we can use one of these other crowdfunding sites and hopefully that will work for us. We’ll see.

 

TL: Good luck. Switching to Masters of the Universe Classics 2.0 — how do you feel about it right now?

CB:   The Filmation-based figures, we always knew that the way that we designed the Masters of the Universe classics, we always knew that if we had to we could utilize some of the styling of the Filmation-based stuff and it would kind of work, but Mattel’s allowing us to go in and do a lot of new tooling on these things — new boots, new loincloths and things like that, not just popping a new head on it — and we’re really surprised how well it works with the Filmation-based stuff. So when we heard that we were going to be doing a Filmation line, we thought it was just going to be oh, we’re just going to pop new heads on existing bodies and slightly repaint it. But we’re really happy with the way Mattel is going with this, in allowing us to kind of pick up the ball and run with it. It’s as close as getting a Filmation action figure as we’re capable of doing right now. We’re really, really happy.

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TL:  Now, there’s been a lot of controversy about the ankles on the Filmation figures.

 

CB: Right.

 

TL: Was that a Horsemen call, or was that Mattel?

 

CB: No, that was not a Horsemen call,  — if you look, there’s some prototype shots of the things that we did out there, and it looks completely different. We have not seen those in person yet, the ones that Mattel has shown online, so we don’t know if that’s a prototype that’s not quite put together quite correctly or what. I can’t really say much about that, because we don’t know exactly what’s going on there, but from what I saw in the photos that’s now how we had things set up, so I’m not sure what happened with that yet.

 

TL: ThunderCats line, has Masters of the Universe become a roadmap for ThunderCats? If you get the same results, can we expect the same handling of it?

 

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CB: Yeah. Essentially, when we started Masters of the Universe Classics, one of our dreams was to do ThunderCats, SilverHawks, TigerSharks, and do all those. I don’t think we’ll ever get around to TigerSharks and SilverHawks. It would be great, but we’ve gotten to do ThunderCats in the Masters of the Universe Classics scale and style. I mean, it’s really exciting. But the thing about ThunderCats is that the characters in ThunderCats are a lot more diverse in body styles than a lot of the characters are in Masters of the Universe, so we’re having to be very creative in figuring out ways to use a standard buck and use body parts to go on that. I know we’re going to get to characters fairly soon that are going to be virtually new sculptures, because there’s no buck that really fits them, but that’s one of the things we like about our job. We like that kind of a challenge in trying to figure those things out. So we’re excited about it. Like I said, we’ve wanted to do ThunderCats forever. There were a couple of — it looked like it might happen and then it kind of fell apart, and now we finally get to do it and we’re excited. We’re having a blast with it.

 

TL: I’m sure you can’t answer this, but …

 

A: Probably not.

 

TL: Will we ever see a ThunderTank, do you think? Has that even come up?

 

A: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Absolutely, it’s come up, because we want — like you were asking, would we treat it like Masters of the Universe Classics? We would absolutely love to. That really all depends on fan response and how sales go and how the preorders go with the subscription and everything. If that goes really well, then I can’t imagine that Mattel wouldn’t want to do vehicles and beasts and hopefully even possibly playsets. Who knows? That’s our dream.

 

TL: Very nice. With Classics 2.0, do you see it as a way to fix certain things that maybe you didn’t like in the original line, like any corrections or …

 

A: I wouldn’t say that there was anything that we didn’t like, but there’s some stuff as artists when you finish something, you might like it and then you look at it a month later and you’re almost never satisfied with. So, yeah. Then there are things that people have called out, fans have looked at and said, you know, I would like to see this done differently. So if we’re given a chance, yeah, to hopefully go back in and correct some of these things that people think need to be corrected, or fix some of the flaws that we now see in the original things that we did — yeah, that’s one of the pluses about being able to go back into the stuff again.

 

TL: Thank you again.

 

Thank you again to Mr. Mayse for this session of quick questions and don’t forget the Pre-sale for the Mythic Legion line including those incredible Trolls on 2/26/16 on Store Horseman.

 

 

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