Last year, fans of Mondo were alarmed that parent company Funko was set to shut down the company’s popular poster division. This year, at Comic-Con, we can report that the posters were back. Spider-Man posters by Tomer Hanuka made for popular exclusives, and fans can expect the familiar alternate movie posters the company is known for to continue.
“We are moving ahead and moving strong,” art director Peter Santa-Maria told SuperHeroHype. “We’re literally planning the end of 2024 right now with posters. So posters are going strong; lots of brand new IP. We’re bringing in even more new artists — for Mondo, one of the most exciting things is to turn people on to their next favorite artist, right? Some of it is really unexpected stuff.”
Like whom? He won’t say, except, “Some of them are here [at Comic-Con] and have giant lines of their own.”
Some of Mondo’s most impressive art shows in the toys they make. One of their most stylish new vinyl figures is a James Groman take on Stranger Things‘ Demogorgon, which has seen fairly straightforward interpretation before. This one comes with Christmas lights wrapped around one arm, a spiked bat buried in its back, and other creative flourishes that make it fun to look at from all sides.
Groman also created a figure of Marvel’s Werewolf by Night, which just happened to be one of his two favorite characters, along with Man-Thing. It was happy coincidence for them all that the MCU put the characters together on TV.
Speaking of Marvel, the X-Men animated line continues apace — with Omega Red looking especially cel-shaded.
“With Omega Red in the show, he was always more cel-shaded than any of the other characters,” says creative director Hector Arce. “He in particular had all these black lines that I guess were meant to evoke reflective, metallic.”
Santa-Maria adds, “When Hector first sent me the picture of Omega Red painted up, it was like resting on a white sheet of cardboard or something, and I thought he was just sending me the concept art, so I was like, yeah, so what, I’ve seen those. He goes ‘That’s the figure,’ I’m like, what? It looks like literal art, and that to me is the magic of some of the engineering here, is being able to take your memory of the moment watching him onscreen and give him to you right there on the shelf.”
He notes that there may be some announcements forthcoming regarding the upcoming revival series X-Men ’97.
Werewolf by Night may have been a nice coincidence of timing, but M3GAN was definitely not. The Mondo team saw the movie and knew they need to have a toy right away — the prototype, with alternate battle-damaged head, is already on display. She’s part of an overall deal with Universal for horror characters, with They Live’s John Nada and The Thing’s Macready already shown. However, the latter’s getting a revised headsculpt and thus was not shown again this year.
“There are opportunities to make characters that are maybe more popular in terms of sales, and maybe we’ll get to that sometimes,” says Arce, “but we don’t prioritize that over where our hype is and where our fandom is.”
Their fandom is strongly with Masters of the Universe, as an exclusive Prince Adam figure put the character in actual tights for the first time (“Prince Adam is like the perfect figure to do that with”). But the aesthetic on their MOTU figures has changed over the years. Initially, they drew from many different looks for a new aesthetic, but more recent figures have stuck closer to canon. They’re still drawing in details from multiple iterations, but a bit more subtly. “When we’re designing these, I want to stay true to the aesthetic of the character and what everyone loved,” says Arce, “and I want to call back to the things people really loved, but we still want to elevate the designs, update the details, and do that kind of stuff.”
Don’t expect reuse for the sake of reuse, either. Beast Man (not shown) will stand an inch taller than the other figures, which means his body likely won’t be reused for a hypothetical Stratos, as Mattel typically has it.
“We are looking at our characters individually, from the ground up every time. Sometimes it makes absolute sense to share a body to do it, sometimes it doesn’t.”
In re-releasing Skeletor with new armors recently, they could have reused the old body, but instead built a brand-new one. (“We didn’t change anything aesthetically too much – we just changed a lot of function.”)
Will fans get another chance at a character as important as Prince Adam? He dropped for pre-order as most Comic-Con fans were traveling to San Diego.
“Do we have the option to do it? If there was a good reason that we think would excite fans, that wouldn’t make fans feel like they were being taken advantage of, then heck yeah we would do it,” says Arce. He points to an upcoming Trap Jaw variant for Power-Con that features cartoon colors, resculpted head and arm, and some new weapons. You won’t see this exact Adam again, but perhaps another version is possible.
In a nifty co-branding deal, Mondo will also be assisting official Star Trek collectible toy company EXO-6 in distributing non-articulated Lower Decks maquettes. Initial offerings will include multiple poses for Boimler, Mariner, and of course … Badgey.
With a super-stylized Juggernaut figure on display, could Mondo get as creative with He-Man and friends? “I would LOVE to!” says Santa-Maria, hinting that maybe we might hear something sooner than later.
Check out some more images in the gallery below.