Customizer of the Month- October 2007- Anthony Durso
Name: Anthony Durso

CM: Any Personal Info you are willing to share: (married? Kids? Pets? Occupation? Where from? Other hobbies,/Interests?).

AD: I was born in 1967 in Central New York and have lived here all my life. I'm not anywhere near New York City so don't expect me to have an accent...I get that a lot when people hear I'm from "New York". I'm married and we have two daughters, age 8 and 12. I'm a graphic designer by day and a customizer by night. Besides toy collecting/customizing, my favorite hobby has always been comic books and super-heroes. I also have decent sized collections of Coca-Cola memorabilia and PEZ. And I've logged waaay to many hours in front of the TV since I was a kid. But the useless trivial knowledge that I've absorbed into my brain has served me well over the years!

CM: How did you get started collecting mego?

AD: When I was a kid I had the whole Batman line of figures and vehicles and the 1st wave of the Apes. My interest in both groups was heavily influenced by the TV shows. The Batman family eventually went the way of a garage sale (thanks, Mom!) and it haunted me whenever I'd see pics of the old toys in magazines and books in the early 90s. Somewhere along the way I stumbled onto the Doc Mego website, as well as ebay, and became hooked again.

CM: What is your favorite original mego figure and line?

AD: Batman! I remember in kindergarten a fellow classmate had his mom make a Batman costume for his GI Joe...we were all jealous! Another kid always brought his Action Jackson to school. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the "AJ" company was making a Batman figure (we didn't know what "Mego" was back then). As soon as it hit Stars Department Store I had my mom bring me there to buy the solid box RC Batman (my brother got RM Robin which he quickly broke). I still remember the excitement of opening that box!

CM: What is, in your opinion, the biggest "hole" in mego's original lines. (what figure or figure line is missing that should have been done).

AD: I know the usual response is Flash or Green Lantern but as a kid I always was confused by this Mr. Mxyzptlk guy being labelled as "Superman's Arch Enemy" when everyone knew it was Lex Luthor. It also bothered me that the Catwoman figure was unlike any I was familiar with at the time...I was expecting something more "Julie Newmar". I wish Mego was able to continue the WGSH a while longer and tie in to the "Challenge of the Super Friends" cartoon. They seem made for each other.

CM: What motivated you to start customizing?

AD: When I came across the Dr. Mego site the first thing I did was order parts for a repro RC Batman. After that it just seemed a logical progression to tackle some of the heroes Mego didn't do. I also began designing my own packaging then also.

CM: What was your first custom?

AD: I think it was a Green Lantern. Followed very closely by a Yvonne Craig Batgirl and a Julie Newmar Catwoman.

CM: How did it come out? (looking back on it now)

AD: OK I guess for a beginner. Most of the stuff came from Dr. Mego so there wasn't much "thinking outside the box" so to speak. Just slapping together the parts that I had ordered

CM: What have you done/learned that has improved your customizing skills?

AD: I've been trying my hand at sculpting lately.nothing major, removable helmets, transforming existing heads into someone else with a little cosmetic surgery, stuff like that.

CM: What areas of customizing is your strongest points, or favorite things to do?

AD: Definitely the package designing for the figure...I usually have those done looong before I tackle the figure but it helps motivate me to see the project through.

CM: What resources make it easier for you as a customizer? (is there a source for parts? Information? Etc. that aids you more than anything else?).

AD: I've bought heads from Russ, Austin, Dave Mc, Dave LePage and Laurie. For costuming I often outsource to Brian Leitner and Jason Roberts for certain things. I've yet to pick up a needle and thread myself so it makes it easy to work with someone who's on the same page with me and can deliver on an oddball request.

CM: What is your favorite custom you've done and do you think it's your best work? If not, what do you think is your best work?

AD: Two of my favorites are Archie and Jughead as Pureheart and Captain Hero. I wouldn't say they're my best work: Jason Roberts sewed the suits and I pretty much just did the cards and accessorized them.but I like the way they came out and I think they're true to my original vision as well as the characters.

As far as my best work, right now I think it's the Silver Age Captain America re-do. I like the way it turned out.true to the character and a Mego improvement IMO.

CM: Why do you choose the projects you choose?

AD: Mostly my customs are influenced by Silver Age/Bronze Age DC Comics, some Marvel. Heavy into Superman and Batman. Besides that, if something strikes my interest and I think it's do-able then I'm inclined to try it.

CM: What are your favorite customs others have done and why?

AD: Jason Robert's Deathstroke, Derek Combs' Silver Surfer and Brian Leitner's 1950s Catwoman are 3 that I personally own that I think are phenomenal. They each have their own individual style but they also have that Mego quality to them.

CM: What is on your "to do" list in the near future?

AD: I have many more Legion of Super-Heroes members to do . I also hope to get back to my Crisis On Infinite Earths line sometime. Beyond that I'd like to tackle the 70s Injustice Gang down the road or build a Secret Society of Super-Villains. But those are long term projects and I'm sure quicker ones will pop up along the way. Plastic Man and the EC GhouLunatics are ones that I've had in the planning stages for quite a while that are finally reaching completion.

And some more playsets.

CM: How do you think customizing affects the mego collecting hobby?

AD: I think it's new eye-candy that quite often gets the ball rolling as far as new collectors. After all, Mego only made a finite number of characters but it's neat to see characters come to life that they should have done or could have done if they still existed today.

CM: Any tips or words of customizing advise to new customizers?

AD: They are a lot of choices/decisions to make when planning a custom...heads, parts,etc. Everyone brings something unique to the table. It's cool to be able to collaborate with this many people on a daily basis. Look around and take advantage of what is offered as far as knowledge and product.

CM: Do you sell custom figures or parts? If so, why?

AD: I have sold some figures but not on a regular basis. I find it's too much pressure when I have to create a figure for someone else. I take a while on most of my own customs and I don't like to be under a time crunch for someone else.

It's pretty common knowledge though that I design boxes and cards (insert plug here, lol)....why? I think there's a market for but I really like doing it. Gives me a creative output with characters that I've enjoyed since I was a kid. And doing work for others gives me a chance to tackle some projects I probably never would have done myself.

CM: What does your family/friends think of your mego custom work/hobby?

AD: At first my wife didn't seem to "get it" but now she doesn't give it a second thought. She'd probably prefer if I didn't have a small pile of box flats and figure parts on the corner of the coffee table though. My 2 daughters were more amused when they were younger. But now they're entering the age where I might possibly "embarrass" them. My side of the family is cool with it but it's really hard to explain it to anybody else.

CM: Thanks for chatting with us Anthony!

AD:Thanks to everyone involved with the Mego Museum! Glad to be a part of it!