Thursday, September 17, 2009

Getting to Know: Robert Tonner and Comic Book Collectible Dolls Part 4

Please read Part 3 of the interview before reading Part 4

Other Doll/Company Questions
I checked out the calendar on the website and there are comic conventions listed. Plus I saw them at New York Comic Con 2009. So, I got curious. Since I have never seen dolls, such as Tonner, at a convention, I decided to ask him a question about the company’s participation. What is the goal or purpose of Tonner Dolls Company at these conventions other then promoting the comic book dolls? “I’m a big believer in going where the action is. The Comic book conventions are fun and exciting—it’s very stimulating to go to one. I’m able to meet the collectors and hear what they’re interested in. It’s great research. Plus, it’s a fantastic way for the collector to get to know my Company.”

Let us continue the comic realm. However let’s talk about manga, Japanese comics, and the animation style of Japan, which in America is referred to as anime. I was wondering If Tonner ever heard of the medium, since I did not find anything related to those areas on the company site. So, I got curious and asked a couple of questions: have you seen the figures or sculptures for these and do you think Tonner Doll Company will ever move into the anime/manga industry and produce such dolls? Tonner definitely has heard and knows about manga and anime. Plus, he is a fan of the art medium. “I have seen many figures and sculptures of these characters and I really admire many of them. I would love to try my hand at sculpting producing dolls of that look—maybe someday I’ll give it a try!”

For the next question I asked Tonner, I think many individuals and people can relate to. Some of us might want to see a doll related to them in some way. I am a Chinese American and I think it would be cool to see a Chinese doll. Because most of the dolls I encountered growing up had European features, I have not seen that many dolls of Chinese ethnicity or outside the European realm. So this is what I asked him: I was wondering would you be making dolls that represent different world cultures or even Asian dolls? Does it depend on how many people are willing to purchase such dolls? This is his response: “I really think the doll world has changed in the past few years. We have produces many Asian dolls (dolls of the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha” comes to mind). We done well with the dolls and we plan to keep producing them. In fact, my sales team…asked if we could do another Asian male for our fashion doll collectors.”

We are reaching the conclusion of the interview. Tonner had a success life with his doll company for many years, but does he feel that he has accomplished everything he has wanted in the field? “I try not to look back! I really don’t think of my career like that—I’m always looking for something new to do and new challenges. If I did have to look at what I’ve done so far, I’m pretty pleased. However, it could take me the rest of my life just to finish up the Harry Potter collection!”
© 2009 Linda Thai

All DC Comics characters and elements are trademarks of and © DC Comics.
TONNER 459 Hurley Avenue, Hurley, NY 12443.
©Tonner Doll Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
Photographs supplied by Storm Photo, Kingston, NY.

Thank you Storm Photo for letting me use their photographs! Thank you Eric Goodman and Shauna Perry for your help! Thank you Robert Tonner for participating in the interview! Thank you for checking out Robert Tonner and DC Stars!

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