The Child Hot Wheels Character Car Concept | Source: Mattel

Now that the dust has settled from Comic-Con@Home, the world is left with days worth of content to enjoy and absorb. Unlike in-person editions of Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) in which most panels are not broadcast globally, this year’s lineup was presented entirely online. Now, rather than missing potentially overlapping panels, all can be enjoyed at your convenience. Perhaps more than ever, the toy and game industries were well-represented in the lineup. If you missed them last week, now is the time to catch up on all the toy-centric happenings from Comic-Con @ Home.

Mattel Creations: Designing Pop Culture

Mattel President and COO Richard Dickson and moderator Chris Down (chief design officer) discuss the behind-the-scenes process of what goes into designing iconic toys for today’s pop-culture fans while introducing the world to the all-new platform, Mattel Creations. The packed lineup of panelists includes Jen Tan, director, consumer products, Pixar Animation Studios; Ed Duncan, senior vice president, design, Mattel; MEGA Brands Designer Mia; Halo Designer Joe Ferstl, 343 Industries; Bill Miekina, boys action play designer — WWE at Mattel; Stan Stanski, senior vice president, creative services, WWE; Erick Solorzano, design manager, Universal Creative; Jamie Dunn, vice president, packaging and visual communications, Mattel; Chris Dern, senior product manager, Lucasfilm; and Dave Magde, senior packaging designer, Mattel.

The Q&A panel looks at the creation of products for Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story, Universal’s Jurassic Park, Microsoft’s Halo, WWE, and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars, and Mattel’s 75-year legacy of pop-culture influence.

State of the Tabletop Industry

Moderated by Ross Thompson, marketing manager at The Op Games, this panel explores the tabletop gaming industry in 2020 with experts in publishing, crowdfunding, and event management. Panelists include Scott Gaeta (president of Renegade Games), Eric Lang (game director at CMON), Mandi BG Pinup (contributor at The Dice Tower), Tony Serebriany (director of new product development at The Op Games), and Mary Couzin (president at Chicago Toy & Game Week).

Action Figure Insider: 15 Years of Talking About Toys

Moderator Daniel Pickett, founder of Action Figure Insider (AFI), celebrates 15 years of AFI SDCC panels with a lively discussion about the current state of the world, making toys in the time of COVID-19, and a look back at the innovation, dedication, and lessons learned over the past 15 years. Panelists include Randy Falk, vice president and general manager of product development at NECA; Jim Fletcher, creative director at DC Direct, DC Entertainment; Super7 Founder and Principal, Brian Flynn; Jeremy Padawer, partner at Jazwares; and Funko President Andrew Perlmutter.

Funko: Fun TV

Funko founder Mike Becker and CEO Brian Mariotti host a half-hour special filled with sneak peeks, celebrity shout-outs, first-time unboxings, and more. Special guests include Elvira, Chris Hardwick, Walter Jones, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, and more.

Hot Wheels: Designing Fans’ Exclusives

Mattel’s Molly Hampton, global marketing manager, Hot Wheels, moderates a panel featuring three key Hot Wheels designers as they offer a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of new Hot Wheels products and convention exclusives. Panelists include Bryan Benedict, senior manager, vehicles product design; Chris Colangelo manager, vehicles product design; and Sam Kok, key lead designer, vehicles packaging. The panel also includes the first look at Hot Wheels Character Cars based on The Mandalorian and Masters of the Universe.

Additional Mattel panels include a look at new offerings from Mega Construx and WWE Elite.

So You Want to Make an Action Figure: A Conversation with Today’s Indie Toy Makers

Writer/filmmaker Gavin Hignight (Star Wars Resistance, Transformers Cyberverse, Marvel’s Spider-Man) moderates a discussion about how advances in technology and the growth of crowdfunding platforms, such as Kickstarter, are allowing independent toymakers to launch new brands and resurrect old classics. Panelists include Chris Gawrych (Amazo Toys), Brian Flynn (Super7), JE Russell and Paul Mundheim (Chicken Fried Toys), Craig Owen (Zica Toys), and Paul Wolf (The Fwoosh/Articulated Icons).

Also recommended: How Do Ya Figure? A History of Comic-Con Exclusive Action Figures.

Diamond Select Toys and Gentle Giant Ltd.

Diamond Select Toys (DST) Marketing Supervisor Zach Oat moderates a discussion about what products are soon to come from DST and Gentle Giant. Panelists include designers Joe Allard, Barry Bradfield, and more.

The Nacelle Company: Pop Culture Under Quarantine

Nacelle Co. CEO and Founder Brian Volk-Weiss is joined by producer Richard Mayerik, vlogger Victoria Bennett aka Bevin, toy designer David Vonner, and writer Robin Henry for a discussion about creating new content during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the new series A Toy Store Near You.

Transforming Together Time: Family Gaming and the Future of Play

Tommy Palm, CEO, Resolution Games, Tommy Tallarico president, CEO, Intellivision, and connected play expert Valerie Vacante of LiveAreaCollabsco share a discussion on how creators are designing new experiences across various platforms utilizing emerging technologies to shape the future of family gaming and play.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.