Interview With Reis O’brien Designer at Funko
Today I have a treat for you guys! I “sat down” with Reis O’brien one of the designers over at Funko. We talked a bit about ReAction, and the upcoming Legacy line. In the time since I conducted this interview the internet has been ablaze with the sanctioned pics of ReAction from Entertainment Earth, and some unsanctioned pics of the Game of Thrones Legacy figures that have lead to Official pics coming from Funko ( which you will see here along with some shots from Funko HQ taken by Reis) so some of the Legacy questions may not make Sense knowing what we now do.Read on to see what Reis has to say about Funko’s takeover of the industry.
Dr. Rampageo: hi Reis why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.
Reis O’brien: Well, I’ve been a designer in some capacity since 1996 after several years of trying to break into the comic business. I spent most of those years as a freelance illustrator which eventually led to full-time t-shirt design. Then I sort of stumbled into toy design through my last t-shirt gig and haven’t looked back since. I’ve always dreamed of being a toy designer but never thought it was possible. Turns out, I was wrong. Now I’m literally living a dream come true with Funko.
DR: That’s lucky for you man! So what is you official title over at Funko, and what are some of your duties?
RO: I guess my title would just be “designer” but I wish it was something cool like “Fun-a-tron 5000″. My duties include concepting toys, directing the sculpts, calling out colors, some package design, brianstorming ideas with the design team and whatever else is needed to get something exciting into a collector’s hands.
DR: Nice. That sounds like a fun job. You guys have worked with a wide array of properties over at Funko. What were some of your favorite things you have had a hand in?
RO: Well, if I could go back in time and tell my 11-year-old self that I’d one day be designing Star Wars, Ghostbusters and Goonies toys, I’d probably fry his little brain. Most of my favorite licenses trip my nostalgia trigger, but I also had a ton of fun working on the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones stuff. Zombies are always fun.
DR: Each and every one of those properties came out killer man! Funko has been making some serious moves into action figure territory with the Reaction line. The Alien figures started out at Super7…how did Funko become involved in the equation?
RO: Basically, Super 7 came up with a killer idea and put a lot of heart into it, and once we struck up a friendship with them, it just made sense to add our resources to the mix, in regards to greater distribution, design staff, financing, stable of licenses and whatnot. And we were looking for new product lines anyway, so it was pretty serendipitous.
DR: Yeah that makes a lot of sense. Nothing against super 7 I think they are amazing company, but part of the joy of a vintage style line like this is being able to go into a store and pick one up. The reach of Funko makes that a reality. So now that the Alien figs are out and doing well what is next for the reaction line ?
RO: We’ve got a bunch gearing up for the big launch, most of which will be officially revealed at Toy Fair. But you can expect figures from Terminator, Escape from New York, Goonies, Firefly, Universal Monsters, Pulp Fiction, Predator and a bunch more.
DR: That is an awesome line up man! I will buy the heck out most of those. So without going into specifics should we expect to see ReActions of multiple properties available at once or will it be more one franchise at a time?
RO: The way I understand it, we’re going to kick off with a big splash as far as showing and announcing what figures are coming up through 2014, but they will actually be released in a more calm, collector-friendly fashion. We want collectors getting excited, not fearing for the safety of their wallets. So we will be pacing things a bit. Maybe not as calm as one license at a time, but not all at once, either.
DR: Nice! That is good to hear on both fronts. The other big news from you guys is the 6 inch figures, will we be seeing those at NYTF as well? Or are those farther down the line?
RO: Yes, we’re calling them “Legacy” figures. 6 inches of stunningly realistic sculpture with more articulation than you can shake a stick at. Our first license ( Game of Thrones as we found out) in that series will be revealed at Toy Fair. I’m expecting this line to make the biggest ripples throughout the collector world.
DR: That is exactly what I wanted to hear! Sounds like between ReAction,Legacy, and the rest of Funkos stable of products you guys are set to take over the toy world. Where is the best place for people to stay up to date with the latest info from you guys?
RO: We’re all over Facebook at facebook.com/OriginalFunko, and Twitter/Instagram @OriginalFunko.
DR: Nice I’m sure our readers will be excited to follow closely and see what you guys have in store. Now will the ReAction figures be in scale with each other across the board? Like will the kids from Goonies be child sized compared to say Ripley? Or will Each property be in scale with itself?
RO: All the figures will look like they live in the same universe. So the Goonies kids will be shorter than Ripley, and the Predator will tower over her, and Sam from Trick R Treat is downright tiny. The only ones that sort of have their own look are the Nightmare Before Christmas figures, due to the nature of their original design, but even they are in 3 3/4″ scale.
DR: That is perhaps the BEST news I have heard yet. I can’t wait to start mixing worlds in some photos!
RO: That’s the beauty of getting to work on this project. As a kid, I was always a world-mixer. The Rebel Alliance would team up with G.I. Joe to defeat Dracula and his band of monsters, and they had to hire Indiana Jones to go get this special artifact from the tomb of Warduke, and he couldn’t get there without a ride from the Duke Boys in the General Lee. So, seeing all of these new worlds come to life in the style we loved most is not just a lot of people’s’ dreams come true, but it’s also mine. With that in mind, we’ve tried to approach this project with just as much heart as Super 7 had when they started it. Hopefully, the collectors will see that love and care that we’ve put into it once they finally have them in their hands.
DR: It sounds like you guys are committed to delivering on a lot of peoples dreams. I can’t wait to see all of this stuff,and I certainly think its a winning formula. I cant wait to get my hands on some more. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions man.
RO: Absolutely! Thank you!
DR: Anytime man.