I never know how to start these release blogs. I could take the easy way and just let the product speak for itself, or I could speak to where the ideas came from. So many things went into this line. It’s insane. I knew from the get go, that I wanted to do something different than the past few years. It had been a long time (2012) since I released a new line of products for Halloween. In 2013, I did a re-release with everything being glow in the dark. I also did a trick or treat bag and unleashed Dead Heads, my take on the infamous Madballs. Last year, I did the same, but added posters to the mix. I was so focused on trying to do all new products and stepping outside the box, that I felt like this year, I needed to step back into and bring out what I once did in the past. There’s so many great designs and products and STILL new things. So where do I start? Let’s talk about the new stuff.
Candle, SAY WHAT? For years now, I have been working with Horror Decor, an awesome company who HAND MAKES tons of products. They have been the ones who have produced the Wrestling Buddies (DEADIES, RIP) for me. I had been watching what they had been putting out and releasing for year, and this year they released an Ecto Cooler Candle, which is pretty glorious. It triggered an idea. Ecto Cooler, is the top of the mountain when it comes to nostalgia juice drinks. What’s in 2nd place, you guessed it, Ghoul Aid. I already knew that I was doing the shirt of this design. I asked if they could find some scents that could match. The process was great. I got to choose the color, and the scent. The scent is INCREDIBLE. It’s insane how you can smell bubbles. You know that feeling when you open a soda and take that first sip and there’s the carbonation bubbles that hits your lips and tickles your nose? This smell does this. I wish I could explain how it’s possible. It’s an awesome new product. I’m not going to try and FIND reasons to do candles, but if an idea comes to mind and is too good to pass up, It’s going to happen. This is going to be a super limited candle, that is ONLY available on Horror Decor’s website, and I will have some (if any) are left over after my convention run this month.
It seems to me that the whole “ENAMEL PIN” scene is super saturated at this point. I jumped on it way late in the game, but that’s because I didn’t want it to seem like I was doing it, to take advantage. I like to make a trend, instead of following it. I still feel like it’s a “fad”, but regardless, I went ahead and made more anyway. I just had to. Just like with the candles, if it fits and makes sense, let’s do it. But I won’t scramble and feel like I need to “make a pin”. These 3 pins, this time around, just screamed. MAKE ME A PIN. Especially with the name “Pinheads”. I know a lot of you will wonder why they don’t glow in the dark, but, I’ve heard from people that if it’s got color AND has glow in the dark, it affects the brightness of the color and really does it. I may have missed an opportunity, but to me, it’s all about that first impression. What people first see, and what the customer first sees. I’ll take the bright, in your face design, over the “cool” factor. I also did stickers of these guys as well, on a new matte die cut print. Super clean and classy looking (for a sticker). I think it’s safe to say that the “Kill-Aid” design is the mascot of this release. It really embodies the brand and what makes me think of Halloween and what we Halloween Fanatics look forward to the most. I’m hoping that many of you go and wear this while picking pumpkins or watching your favorite movie, or sipping on that “basic bitch” PSL. Originally the plan was to sell these pins for $9.99 (hence the Kay-Bee sticker) but I felt the need to look at what everyone else who was selling pins were selling their pins for. A lot of them weren’t even selling them with packaging for way more. So I thought that maybe I was selling myself short. Well, I decided to go back to my original gut feeling and sell these (and all the older pins) at $9.99. To those of you who bought them at the $12 price point last season, sorry, I’ll make it up to you via cyber back rub or something. (probably not)
With all the mega love shown for the Kill-Aid design, I don’t think I really need to divulge into that any further. It’s the best, it’s the BEAST!
I rarely like to talk about other brands or anything like that because, I mean at the end of the day it is in a sense a competition. Fright Rags, have been an inspiration and buds for years now. I’ve been lucky enough to work with the brand who inspired me to create one myself. Brands like Mishka, Fright Rags, and Fourth World (RIP) all feed that passion. In fact a lot of the new line is inspired by the work I have done or got to do for them recently and in the past. 3 years ago, I got to work on a Silver Shamrock Halloween 3 mask ad shirt. I really wanted to do something similar but in the classic Famous Monsters of Filmland ad vibe. I know a lot of people are going to bring up the Johnny Cupcakes shirt, but, that’s a stretch. People are inspired by the same things and looks nothing like it. It’s a mask ad, if anything, mine looks more like an ad than his does. I’m not a super fan of the super clean look and vibe anyway. Clean to me, doesn’t look spooky. Moving on. I also used the same “Mask art” to create and awesome custom t-shirt, which is one of my all time favorite things the brand has ever put out. I am going to wear the crap out of that shirt. So comfy, and just screams 90’s skateboarding to the video store to play Mortal Kombat 2. I got to make a new Halloween 3 shirt for Fright Rags that looked all VHS TV static messy nonsense and Made a poster in the same vain. I actually photograph and run these images through my tv, and then whip up some photoshop trickery. It’s one of my favorite things to do with bands, and it was awesome to finally be able to do it for myself. The poster is massive and looks amazing. It’s probably the largest full color piece I’ve ever done. It’s the poster I’m most excited about. Again, with Fright Rags, they have an awesome Trick R’ Treat line coming out on October 14th and I was super excited to work on that as well. My piece got butchered a little bit, but I didn’t get too upset by it, as I decided to take that frustration and focus it on my poster for the film. This was a TRICKY (see what I did there) poster to make, as there are so many cool themes, stories, and characters. Nothing SCREAMS Halloween like Trick R Treat does.
Speaking of Trick or Treat….ING… I really wanted to make a cool trick or treat bag this year. I originally was going to do a 1 color glow in the dark bag, but after doing the Mask design, the combo of the white and orange, I couldn’t let myself go the cheap and non consistent route. After showing some of my inner circle buds the design, they were like “This is sick, is this a shirt?” I then told them it was a tote bag, which lead to some frowny face emojis. I hadn’t thought about it being a shirt. I was just so focused on making this cool Halloween bag that kids or parents could bring during their Trick or Treating. I knew that there would be a flood of, WHY ISN’T THIS ON A SHIRT, so, I put it on a shirt as well. HAPPY NOW?!
As I have stated before, comic books and comic book art, are a big influence over me, my art, and my brand. It’s been blatantly clear over the past 2 years worth of launches and releases. I remember when I was in 6th grade, The Ghastly Grinner episode of Are You Afraid Of The Dark, was what really made me want to be a comic book artist. I wanted to be Ethan or “Cakes” or mini Jonathan Davis, so badly. But then reality came crashing down, you have to draw more than just straight forward drawings to be a comic book artist. WAHHHH. That episode, is really the only one that stuck out to me from the series, and was probably one of the most played / aired. But who can complain? 21 years later (jesus) I have resurrected The Grinner with my Mind Microwave, and this time he’s going to get the last laugh. SORRY CAKES!
Confession time. I rarely play video games. I think I can count maybe 2-3 handful of games I’ve played or loved in my whole childhood. I always thought the ads for the games we’re much much better. The power glove, Ninja turtles, Maximum Carnage,and of course, SPLATTERHOUSE. I wasn’t sure what I was looking at, a new comic or what? Obviously influenced by Jason, it just stuck to me, horror, comics, and video games. HOLY CRAP. I never actually played the game. I watched friends play updated versions when I was in 8th grade. But that ad will never escape my memory. I didn’t taking with he original concept too much, but if you read closely you will see and love the changes. Be on the look out for other pop culture references in the design!
I don’t touch the video game world often, but when I do, it’s because it had a 100% impact on my life and not just some cash grab. Doing this shirt, made sense, especially since I did a “Powerglove” version of a Jason shirt earlier this year. Doing a Nintendo Power magazine featuring all these designs via easter eggs just, it just fit. I am a man of concept and meshing together themes and fitting little things in the perfect little nooks and crannies. It’s an awesome feeling to sort of bring a legacy of designs and chapters of designs into 1 solid piece down the road. Sort of closing that book and onto the next.
I spoke about going to video stores previously and the first design idea I had for this line came to me because of video stores. I’ve talked about this before. In 6th grade is when the whole sleepovers, staying up all night and watching horror movies started. I used to ride my bike with friends to Circle K and grab icee’s and then go across the street and rent movies and we’d play Mortal Kombat 2, and read comics pretty much all afternoon. It was seriously the best store. 3 of my favorite things under one roof. At night we’d watch ridiculous movies like Ticks, Carnisaur, Dolly Dearest, and playing Clay Fighters until our eyes bled. This continued all through middle school and some of high school. Wrestling became a bigger part of my life in high school, so it died down. Point is, I don’t think I am the only one who spent their weekends this way. So I wanted to make a movie crew shirt. To play tribute to our teen years, and the long gone video stores.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done cut and sew, 3 whole years. Merchline has been working on some really cool clients lately and helped me get these things going. The t-shirts are made right down the road. So great. A quick drive and you can see them being assembled. The jackets, all custom, perfectly cut, right weight and consistency and some of the best patch work I have ever seen. This embroidery is MIND blowing. I plan on doing either a revamp shirt or a long sleeved tee of this design (Monster Squad) after Christmas, so keep your eyes peeled.
I think the most popular item I have ever made that was completely custom. Was the Freddy hoodie. Tons of people have asked me to bring it back. Which I might MAYBE do at some point. Since there’s the locally made “sew house” I guess we’ll call it, right down the road, I decided to make some skin pocket shirts. It’s a bit more subtle and a little more wearable than the hoodie. These are more true to freddy colors as well. I’m hoping this goes over well and will be looking to do other things with this skin artwork and trying new garments and avenues for it. Just testing the waters with the shirt first!
Last thing to talk about is the Monster Squad poster. Some of you might remember me teasing this 2 years ago. Here’s a quick run down. I was approached by Bottleneck Gallery to make a poster for it. They wanted to try and do movie showings the day of gallery openings. Which is where the Night of Creeps poster came into play. Both of these posters were talked about doing a double feature or a Dekker artshow, Just loads of different things. This thing was in limbo for a long long time. Then recently, a Monster Squad artshow came about, which, is amazing by the way. I was going to contribute this piece (which still will be, but for the screening only) but I couldn’t get it screen printed in time. So now it’s for the release and the screener poster for the gallery show. I added a bunch of new stuff seeing how the poster was 2 years old, and finally seeing the light of day. I think it still holds up nicely and just a big part of my life and brand. With the new Jacket, the squad is out in full force!
I think this is the most work I have put into any of the lines this year. Unfortunately there was a 5 panel hat that got cut from the line. It might come out one day, but I wouldn’t count on it. I was hoping it would be ready in time, or even available by at least Halloween, but it was looking more like the first week of December, YIKES! It’s what I get for showing a teaser of it!
There’s 1 more release for the year and then a sticker pack in December and then that’s a wrap! Thank you all for making this an amazing and successful EZ year. Stay tuned for more, and be sure to follow me on social media for news, ramblings, and more!
Don’t forget to check your candy!