I was making my way through the list of 2011 San Diego Comic Con exhibitors and noticed that a few designer toy stalwarts are not to be seen. I had known that Patrick and Rocket World was planning on sitting this year out, but the big surprise was not seeing STRANGEco on the list.
Being that the designer toy industry is relatively small, you often hear rumors...especially when you write about it. One of the recent bits of gossip I heard was that STRANGEco had folded up shop. If true, it would be a huge loss to the industry. Gregory Blum and Jim Crawford started up STRANGEco back in 2002 after leaving Kidrobot.com. Their lineup of toy releases is impressive, working with artists such as Mars-1, Ron English, Pete Fowler, Gary Baseman, and Shepard Fairey...to name a few.
After hearing the rumors...seeing that STRANGEco wouldn't be at SDCC...noticing that Jim Crawford was now working with Clutter Magazine...realizing that STRANGEco's Twitter account hasn't been updated since April 2011...I decided to check out the California Secretary of State's office. (For those of you who don't know, Strange Collective LLC is a registered Limited Liability Company in the state of California) Unfortunately, I found that their business entity status was 'Canceled'.
This doesn't mean that STRANGEco has folded up shop (they could be registered in any of the 49 other states). But the totality of all of these instances just increases the likelihood that the designer toy genre has lost one of their biggest (and oldest) companies.