SDCC 2023: Syndicate Collectibles Debuts With Ghoulies, Pumpkinhead, True Romance

One of the most eye-catching toy displays at this year’s Comic-Con came from a company nobody had heard of: Syndicate Collectibles. At their booth, they showed off surprisingly impressive action figures based on the likes of Ghoulies, True Romance, Double Dragon, Bloodsport, Dragon’s Lair, Pumpkinhead, and The Golden Girls, as well as statues depicting Gene Simmons, Ronnie James Dio, and, uh, Jesus Christ.

Wait, Who?

The quality makes sense once you know who’s behind it. Jerry Macaluso, former head of SOTA Toys and makeup maestro, has teamed with online retailer Toynk to create the company. Macaluso had retired from toymaking for four years, he tells Superhero Hype, because, “It’s pretty well known I’m not a fan of running a business; I don’t really enjoy the business side. I like making toys.” Toynk asked him just for fun to create some plush toys based on Killer Klowns From Outer Space, and followed up with a deal he couldn’t refuse.

“It was working well, and [Toynk] said, ‘Why don’t you do statues and action figures again?’ And I said I don’t wanna run a business again, and he said, ‘We’ll run your business. We’ll do all the stuff you hate. We’ll run the business, we’ll run the accounting, we’ll do the shipping, customer service, and you just make cool [stuff].’ It’s like, okay. Because I love making stuff. I never wanna stop making stuff. But I do not want to do accounting at all. I’m bad at it. So it’s the perfect relationship.”

Macaluso’s friendships and connections in the horror makeup community helped him acquire some of the licenses he wanted, many of which he held before at SOTA and his subsequent company Pop Culture Shock. Time has been kind to demand. “When I first made Killer Klowns action figures, people thought I was crazy,” he says. “But now it’s like a thing! And since I’m good friends with the Chiodos, who made the movie, I was like, hey, will you guys help me art direct these to make them perfect? They’re like [eff] yeah.”

Smashing Pumpkins

“Pumpkinhead, I went to Tom Woodruff. Tom was in the Pumpkinhead suit in the movie, and he has a casting of it. So he scanned it for me. That’s as accurate as you could ever get. So Tom Woodruff helped art direct that statue and the action figures together.”

Most Syndicate toys will be sold through their own website later this year. Macaluso says deals with other online retailers aren’t out of the question, though physical retailers like Target are unlikely. And while the figures may seem niche in some cases, they will not require preorders or crowdfunds. “The KISS statue? It’s already in the warehouse. They’re already made. So it won’t be a preorder – you just go and buy it. The [Killer Klowns] popcorn gun will be in the warehouse in about a month, no preorder; now, that’s not to say we won’t do preorders. Not because Toynk needs the crowdfunding, but because we wanna gauge the interest level. That’s the more important part of preorders; just to see should we make 300 of these, or 3,000 of these? Because nobody wants to be stuck with a bunch of items in the warehouse.”

Our Price: Cheap?

Most of the figures will either be in the 3-3/4 inch or 7-inch range — in the case of True Romance, both. Pricing should be competitive with similar offerings from Super7 and NECA. “We are serious and we want to build the brand,” says Macaluso. “So, we will be competitive if not a little cheaper, because we want people to get this stuff.” Future likenesses he hopes to acquire include many familiar to SOTA fans, like Tremors and Legend. Stuff that NECA might consider too niche at this point. “Nobody’s gonna get rich off it,” he allows, “but I think it will sell enough to be happy.”

Ghoulies, which scale to 7-inch figures but a bit smaller, might come in multipacks. “Obviously there will be bloody variants at some point,” Macaluso says.

Okay, but how about a toilet? He grins.” There’s all sorts of stuff, ya know? Especially for the action figures, I did not bring all the accessories and swap-out pieces, because I want that to be a surprise later. I’m not ready quite to reveal all that yet.”

Take a look at the rest of Syndicate Collectibles’ display in the images below: