CM: Any Personal Info you are willing to share: (Married? Kids? Pets? Occupation? Where from? Other hobbies/Interests etc?).
PH: I'm a 27-year-old man from a small town about an hour out of Chicago, I moved to Chicago a few years ago. I am married to a wonderful and beautiful woman who is super supportive in all my collecting/customizing hobbies. We have a Cat named Judy; she is less supportive of my hobbies. Up until last year I owned a small comic shop called Stand-Up Comics in Lansing Illinois. Now I work for ToysRUs here in Chicago, and in my free time I make hand puppets, draw, paint, sculpt, customize and collect! And while I don't have any kids yet I look very forward to being a dad in the next few years.
CM: How did you get started collecting mego?
PH: Being that I am 27 I missed the era of Mego being on store shelves so I sailed through most of my young life without any knowledge of what I was missing. Then, when Toyfare magazine came out and ran a comic strip starring these amazing toys with cloth costumes I fell in love. At first I thought they might have been customs, since I had no clue these amazing things existed in real life. But I did some checking and lo and behold they were real and waiting for me to find them! I remember I got my first Mego off eBay, it was Spider-Man he had sewn on sleeves and holes in his feet but holding him in my hands was magical. He was well-loved and that is the thing I like most about old toys. You can feel the magic of a child's happiness in a well-loved toy. After that I slowly collected one at a time, I got a Superman, then Hulk, the Batman then Robin then Joker. After that I was content until I found a magical little shop near my house called "Dream Time Collectables" and the guy there was more than reasonable with his pricing and he had a bunch of old Megos. Suddenly all my spare cash went into collecting Megos, and I am happily collecting them to this day!
CM: What are your favorite original Mego figures and lines?
PH: Hands down Spider-Man with RC Batman as a close second and WGSH all the way.
CM: What are, in your opinion, the biggest "holes" in Mego's original lines? (What figure or figure line is missing that should have been done?).
PH: Green Lantern, if you never guessed by my online handle I am a bit of a GL nut and I always thought GL should have been in the WGSH set as well as the Comic Action Heroes.
CM: What motivated you to start customizing?
PH: Well the first thing I wanted to do (and the first thing I really did in fact), was make that Green Lantern I always felt was missing. Once I did that (Out of a Captain Kirk head and a Brian Leitner suit) I fell head over heels for BL's Plastic Man head. Plastic Man is my second favorite DC character of all time. As many of you know once you finish making a figure with yoru own two hands, looking back and thinking, "Yesterday there was no Plastic Man Mego figure and today there is! And I made him!" I never get tired of that feeling. Even when things didn't turn out as well as you'd hoped, you could still look at it and marvel at what you are capable of. If you haven't tried it I highly recommend it.
CM: What was your first custom?
PH: My first custom ever was of myself, I used a McDonalds Power Ranger toy as the body. I then used a Quasimodo figures cloak that I (poorly) sewed down as my shirt. I used to wear a green Marvin the Martin shirt a lot back then so I painted Marvin on the shirt, I am a bigger guy and so I stuffed the shirt with some cotton to give me a tummy. And for some reason I though the punishers head for the old Marvel toys had a thick enough neck to be me so I painted over his hair and gave him a scraggly mustache (I had facial hair since the 7th grade) I then hot glued the head on and thusly my first custom was born.
CM: What have you done/learned that has improved your customizing skills?
PH: Oh so much, everyone on this board brings interesting things to the table; I love pouring over the finished customs pages. I get a lot of wonderful ideas and inspiration to try new things whenever I look at them. I have been officially sculpting now for about a month and I adore it! I don't know how I lived without it for so long!
CM: What areas of customizing are your strongest points, or favorite things to do?
PH: I don't think there is any one thing I do better than anything or anyone else. I just love doing it, all of it. I am getting better at painting and I am enjoying sculpting a lot. I hope to get very good at both one day.
CM: Why do you choose the projects you choose?
PH: I just go with the flow of whatever sparks my interest. If something is out there that I wish I had but they don't have, I'll try and make it myself.
CM: What resources make it easier for you as a customizer?
PH: Well not to sound like I am sucking up but the Mego Museum is the best thing I have up my sleeve. Any questions I have, I ask, and someone tells me how they did it, or how they might go about it. I also am forever indebted to Brian Leitner, Dr. Mego and CTVT with out whom I would not have even been able to even start customizing.
CM: What is on your "to do" list in the near future?
PH: Right now I am working on Emperor Zombie, the villain from Amazing Screw-On Head. After that I plan to finish the costuming on my own villain Dr. Allen Fargus, who is the arch nemesis of Stand-Up Guy.
CM: How do you think customizing affects the mego collecting hobby?
PH: I think it is a loving and wonderful tribute. We all love an action fiogure line so much that we can't let it end, and even more then that we want to be a part of it so we push it forward using our own creativity, and it kind of bonds us all in a way. Nice to think about how it brings random folks together.
CM: What do your friends/family think of your customizing hobby?
PH: Oh they are all very encouraging and loving, I like showing my work to my wife and she'll tell me what she likes and what I should work on and then ask me who or what it is. But overall they are wonderfully supportive of me.
CM: What are some of your favorite customs that others have done, and why?
PH: There are too many to count! I will say I love Black Knight's figures, I love Random Axe's paints I love Jessica's Sewing, I love Brian Leitner's suits and heads and so many, many more, I could never choose just one figure or just one customizer
CM: Any tips or words of customizing advice to new customizers?
PH: Try new things! You will never know if you can do something, let alone if you will be great at it or not until you try it! Try sculpting, try painting, try anything you can imagine, you will more then likely surprise yourself. And remember that you are making your custom for you, if everyone else likes it, then that's a bonus, s long a syou like it then nothing else matters.
CM: Do you sell custom figures or parts? Why, or why not?
PH: Well when I had my shop I sold custom Stand-Up Guy figures but ultimately I only sold like 4 of them in 5 years but it was still fun! I hope to start selling some more stuff soon though so if you like what I do keep your eyes peeled and let me know what you like!p>
CM: Anything else you'd like to share?
PH: Thanks for having me be part of this wonderful community and I am happy and honored you guys wanted to take the time out to get to know me a little better here. So in closing and I really hope that you enjoy looking at them even half as much as I enjoy making them. And if you haven't tried customizing, please do yourself and the community a favor and get on it. I never thought I'd be asked to be here so any of the rest of you could be next!
CM: Thanks for your participation Pat!!