5 Questions With: Kate Napolitano

Codename: Kate Napolitano
Specialty: Managing Editor
Base of Operations: ToyFare magazine
Motto: “What’s it going to be then, eh?”
History: There was she, that is Kate, and her three hobbies: books, sex, and superheroes. For a long time, she believed she was going to marry the first two and try to become the next Dr. Ruth. Growing up in my happy New Jersey home, she always appreciated having my questions about sex answered honestly and positively by her totally sweet, supportive parents–and she thought it’d be great to pass that good karma professionally on to others. But when she got to college, and suddenly realized she was writing a few more papers on Batman than she was on BDSM, she thought a job more marvelous-so to speak-would likely make her happy. So, she kept her eyes open for anything Wizard, Marvel, DC, Top Cow, etc., related–and lo and behold–she found this opportunity and fought for it like the last BBQ chip! She is a life-long fan of all things Wizard–they are honestly her Journalism heroes; it’s a dream and honor to be in their office every day. So, humbly and happily, Kate’s glad to say she’s a pretty happy girl right now. And (she said with a wink) still a budding sexpert off the clock. She never leaves a droog behind.

PG: 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 Adam Tracey’s bioengineered clone, birthed in a petri-dish at Wayne Enterprises–now with less goatee, more cleavage (::shiver at thought of Adam with a li’l decolletage::). Okay…seriously, I am ToyFare‘s Managing Editor. And what’s that, friends? In short, I organize, organize, organize–production schedules, meetings, interview appointments–with a little whip crackin’ to make sure everything, from big features to little ads, gets done on time. Plus a little copy editing. Which is a sentence fragment. As is that. And that.

Please list the toys in your work area.

I should preface this list with the following…I’ll admit I don’t follow toy companies very closely…that is, while I certainly know the difference between a Marvel Legend and a Minimate, I generally shop for toys by looking for anything that I think just looks darn cool/accurate. So I can’t really give lines or labels here, but I promise they are all things I’ve taken lots of time and care to pick, and I picked ’em because I have a long-standing love affair with the character (I am a certifiable comics/literature/tv nut).

That being said…I’ve got:

  • 10″ Treebeard statuette from Lord of the Rings (with Merry and Pippin on board)
  • Sam LOTR figure
  • Bruce Timm-style 10″ Batman
  • Some kind of tiny Spidey
  • Wheeljack Transformers bust
  • Hellboy mini-figure
  • 1:6 Lt. Worf
  • 1:6 She-Hulk
  • 1:6 Super Girl
  • Bust of Thor (as a girl, in his Earth X incarnation)
  • A figure of Batgirl standing quite seriously, with a Harley Quinn behind her, giant mallet raised, about to strike. Can you tell I prefer Harley to Babs, lol?

Of course, I didn’t bring all my favorite figures to work (my ultimate faves must be protected, lol)…like my Tom Strong deluxe action figure set, which I just bought the other day…I love making salads with good ol’ Tom hovering nearby in his heli-vest, lol.

What was your favorite childhood toy or toy line?

A 1:6 figure of Nightcrawler that I picked out at a garage sale when I was 5 or 6. I blame that instance for making me not exceptionally care about toy companies…I had no idea where he came from; I just loved the way he was painted, the angles and articulation…it was so cool to me to be able to really touch one of my favorite heroes ever. I took him everywhere with me, and totally started crying when I was nine-ish and his tail broke off. But, oh, the wonders of Duct Tape, lol…he’s still got it today!

Growing up, were you ever aware of the marketing divide between “boys toys” and “girls toys”?

Absolutely. I always wondered why my brother would get, like, a bunch of Ninja Turtle figures (the turtles, Splinter, Casey Jones, etc), while I would get handed April O’Neill. Not that I was denied anything–there were all the Barbies and pink plastic corvettes I wanted. It just took my friends and family a little while to understand that I didn’t want everything to be pink or yellow (like April’s clothes) all the time…even She-Ra’s buddies occasionally seemed too pastel at heart for me. I never understood why girls’ toys seemed to be lighter, fainter in color, while boys’ toys were rich reds, browns, greens. Of course, once I got older I discovered heroines like Hawkgirl, Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman and Phoenix–bold if there ever was bold, of course.

What do you think is the most interesting development in the action figure industry today?

The obsessive need for accuracy! I LOVE when a figure honestly looks exactly like the hero, or when heroes’ weapons have all the right curves and detail. No figure is really that cheap anymore, so I really appreciate it when a company goes all the way to please their buyers. Above all, though, I love that a higher demand for detail means a higher demand for true artistry. Names like Tim Bruckner, Clayburn Moore and the Four Horsemen will undoubtedly go down in history as artists–not just “toydudes”–and I think that’s awesome. It’s such a great communal experience to buy a figure out of love when you know it’s been made with love by others. Wow, that’s totally cheesy sounding–I’m not a hippie, I swear! But hey, none of us would be buyin’ figures if we didn’t love ’em, though, so, hey, guess I might as well admit it. 🙂

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