Codename: TJ Dietsch
Specialty: Associate Editor
Base of Operations: ToyFare magazine
History: He comes from the mean streets of Toledo, Ohio where he learned to survive by reading comics, watching hours of TV and playing with toys. He’s somehow, to the amazement of just about everyone but his mom, turned all that into a living–go figure! No pun intended. Or maybe it was.
Please describe what you do at ToyFare. Is this the culmination of a lifelong desire to work with toys or the inevitable result of a misspent youth?
I am the Associate Editor here at ToyFare, I took over when Justin left us briefly. Basically, I read all the copy that comes in and check it for factual and grammatical accuracy. Every now and then I get to write a feature or two (my first was the Iron Man Costume Contest feature in TF #130 which I’m pretty proud of). I also suggest word balloons and help out with things like TTT, Back Page and those wacky next issue ads.
I actually started out at Wizard Entertainment with an internship a few (four?) years ago. After I graduated I sat around my home town of Toledo, Ohio for a while and then got a job in the research department of Wizard for about three years before moving up to my current position. I’ve always like ToyFare, I even remember picking up the first few issues until I couldn’t afford it anymore and I’d read the issues as they came out when I was in research. I’m a big toy fan, I’ve been collecting, opening and playing with action figures since I was a kid, so ToyFare isn’t where I though I’d end up, but it’s been a perfect fit so far.
Please list the toys in your work area.
Oh wow. Let’s see, I’ve got an ever-growing Green Lantern Corps on the corner of my desk including Hal Jordan from The Batman, a number of JLU GLs, Alfred E. Newman and even “expanded universe” GLs like Swamp Thing (from the animated series line), Yoda, an Abe Sapien PVC figure from Dark Horse and a Ronan the Accuser from the Silver Surfer line. Next to them we have the 2002 MOTU Zodac figure dancing with Far East Monsters’ awesome light and sound Godzilla statue. Looking down on me from the top of my computer I’ve got Nick Fury from Spidey’s animated series, Usagi Yojimbo from TMNT, Zauriel from the JLA, Toxic Avenger (Crusader) and Boba Fett. Below them I’ve got a PVC Lobster Johnson, The Batman‘s Martian Manhunter and 2002 MOTU Ram Man standing over a breakdancing Peter Parker. Then, I’ve got my hall of monsters with the Rancor, The Shark from GL, DCUC’s Demon and Hellboy. On my bulletin board I’ve got the early DC Direct Preacher figures propped up with pus pins along with a couple of Hawkmen (The Batman and Super Friends), DCUC Harley Quinn and even an advance Robin (thanks Mattel) [Really? Now I hate you… -Poe].
Whew, what else…oh yeah, my Supermen. I’ve got the DCUC Superman Blue and Golden Age Superman DC Direct figure both with their arms raised in triumph. And finally (until I add something else), I’ve got the Marvel Legends Nick Fury rubber-banded to my phone receiver in a relaxed position. Oh man, I just turned to my right and saw my Mage, Kill Bill and the McDonald’s Kung Fu Panda monkey toy. Plus there’s two boxes under my desk that I rotate out every now and then.
What was your favorite childhood toy or toy line?
I was really into He-Man, Thundercats, Silverhawks, Transformers, G.I. Joe and Ninja Turtles. Later on I really got into all of the Marvel lines even though I’m way more of a DC Comics fan. I’ve got a big box of X-Men, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, The Vault and more figures. Great stuff, I’d play with them for hours. I was also incredibly excited when the Total Justice line came out and finally gave me some rad looking (though barely poseable or articulate) DC figures. Oh, and when the Star Wars line relaunched, I grabbed a ton of those toys.
What do you think is the most interesting development in the action figure industry today?
Really just how good the figures look. You can get figures that look exactly like the actors they’re based on or the characters on the comic book page. A lot of things from NECA, McFarlane, Mezco Mattel, Hasbro and the rest look like they could be statues instead of figures that you can actually play with. I’m also a big fan of all the crazy lines that are coming out now. We live in an age with Warriors figures and just about every horror movie I like is represented in figure form. It’s a great time to be an action figure fan.
What’s the most recent toy you bought, and why?
I was just at a flea market where I picked up the 2002 MOTU Evil-Lynn figure and The Bride from Kill Bill. I really dug the 2002 MOTU cartoon and figures because they captured what my memory told me were the best parts of the original series (even though, going back, the toon doesn’t hold up too well). So, I’m still trying to pick up the MOTU figures I’m missing. I snatched up The Bride because I’m a big Quentin Tarantino fan and NECA does great work. In my perfect world I’d get a full line of highly articulated figures from the Tarantino-verse. Then we could do a TTT staring them too!