"We are viewing SDCC as our coming out party for the METALS brand."

METALS is forging their lineup (see booth #3746 at SDCC)

In our recent visit with Anime Expo, we had the awesome surprise of running into the METALS display for Jada Toys. Their footprint was impressive, even more so was the amount of eye candy in the display cases. We were able to talk with Darryl Li (eCommerce Manager) and Michael Jimenez (Creative Services/Marketing Manager) to learn more about Jada Toys, the METALS line and their plans for SDDC.

METALS pre-production samples from Suicide Squad

For those just discovering METALS with Batman vs. Superman, Civil War, and Suicide Squad, can you tell us more about Jada Toys? 

Jada Toys is a leading manufacturer of authentically licensed and highly stylized toys, games, and collectibles. Jada works closely with major entertainment and vehicle brands to produce the innovative, patented items that our fans have come to expect. 

How did Jada Toys get started with licensed character properties and METALS?

The METALS line was born from the idea of changing the way fans and collectors perceive collectibles. We saw an opportunity to create something new that could differentiate us from the rest of what is currently being offered. Because Jada has always held expertise when it comes to working with die-cast, we saw it as a perfect opportunity to create something completely new. 

That Hulkbuster though…

Where do you want to go with these licensed properties? 

As with any brand, we look to continue to expand our vast portfolio to continue to bring to market everyones favorite characters in true METALS form. 

Upcoming lines for METALS: WWE and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Does METALS have other plans for exclusives at conventions or retail stores, other than the SDCC sets? 

Yes, we will be offering more exclusive items to be featured at different retail stores coming later this Fall. 

Anime-Expo was a great showing! What can we expect for SDCC and beyond? 

We will have many new properties and characters coming to the METALS line on display at SDCC. We are viewing SDCC as our coming out party for the METALS brand. Some properties to be on display include WWE, Star Trek, Dr. Strange, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles just to name a few. 

Find these 4" SDCC exclusive 2-packs at booth #3746. $30 each or both for $50!

Darryl Li has been with Jada Toys for two years as the e-Commerce Manager.
Michael Jimenez has been with Jada Toys for over 11 years and is currently the Creative Services/Marketing Manager.

To learn more about METALS follow them on Intagram at Instagram.com/Metals_Diecast or visit their website.

Convention.Life Spotlight: San Diego's Energy 103.7 Fm "The AJ Show" AJ Machado

The folks here at Convention.Life had the amazing opportunity to catch up with one of San Diego's most beloved personalities: AJ Machado, from San Diego's Energy 103.7FM's "The AJ Show."

As a long-time resident of San Diego, and an unabashed fan of everything pop culture, AJ shared his thoughts on SDCC San Diego Comic-Con, comic books, movies, Con swag and helping the kids. -JF


CL:   When was the first time you ever attended San Diego Comic-Con, and how many years have you been attending?

AJ:   I moved to San Diego in 2001 and was thrilled to attend my first Con that year. I haven’t missed a year since. 

CL:   What comic books or graphic novels are you currently reading, and what can you recommend to someone looking for the “best thing they’ve never read?”

AJ:   Lately I’ve been getting caught up on Saga which I was totally missing out on! I’ve really been liking Suicide Squad since the “New 52” , I’m always down with all things Batman and I follow too many Marvel titles to mention. As far as my “Best thing you’ve never read” recommendation: If you somehow missed out on “Locke and Key” you need to run through that series. On a more obscure note, “Global Frequency” was a super fun and original series written by Warren Ellis. “The Map” is a fun new post apocalyptic title written drawn and distributed by Chad Cavanaugh who I should say in the interest of full disclosure, is a friend of mine. I’d like to add that one of my favorite geeky reads of the last couple years wasn’t a comic at all….it was the novel “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline.

CL:   Typically, part of the universal pre-Con ritual is packing in preparation for long days and countless miles of walking up and down aisles and standing in panel lines.  As a veteran of comic convention life, what would be your ultimate survival Pro Tip for attendees new to the scene?  Something you could not survive a Con without? 

AJ:   I always wear a backpack. Yes, some would consider it sacrilege to pass on the giant collectible Con back but I like having my hands free to maneuver the floor.

CL:   What would you consider your most treasured item picked up at Comic-Con? 

AJ:   I thought about this and laughed because the item that came to mind was actually “the one that got away.” Several years ago, I came across a set of limited edition Alex Ross “World’s Greatest Heroes” prints with matching numbers at a great price. My friend and I BOTH almost picked them up and we both walked away and every year we talk about them like they are are own personal Moby Dick.

CL:   Conventions are ultimately more enjoyable when attended with friends - people to hold your bags, stand in line for you, maximize your chances at exclusive Con swag, etc.  Do you usually attend as a lone wolf, or in a pack of wild, nerdy beasts? 

AJ:   I generally roll with a pretty small pack may up of my buddies Vernon, Dave and I. I have two daughters who haven’t been old enough for the Con yet, but that’s going to change soon!

CL:   Favorite place to eat when attending Comic-Con? 

AJ:   We usually hit up The Old Spaghetti Factory. 

CL:   Best comic book movie adaptation?  Most anticipated comic book movie adaptation?  What would you love to see adapted? 

AJ:   I’m going to avoid picking a single movie and say that everything Marvel has done since Iron Man 1 is the best comic book body of work ever. I loved Nolan’s Batman series but it was a whole different genre…it was the comic book trilogy that did everything possible to not feel like a comic trilogy. As far as things I’d like to see adapted, I like the idea of Runaways being part of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. I’s also like to see Fables as an HBO series.

CL:   A-List celebrities and legendary comic book creators all breathe the same air and occupy the same personal space for four magical days at San Diego Comic-Con, allowing for the possibility of a chance meeting with one of Geek-dom’s elite.  Favorite person you ever had the chance to meet at Comic-Con? 

AJ:   Meeting celebs is never a huge part of my agenda, but as a big martial arts/MMA fan I did get a kick out of running into Randy Couture, Gina Carano and Cung Lee.

CL:   Winding down from Comic-Con can hold its own set of obstacles, like trying to rid yourself of the collected germs of your 130,000 fellow attendees.  How long does it typically take you to recover from the post-Con plague that has affectionately been dubbed the “Nerd Flu?” 

AJ:   I fight the good fight against Nerd Flu by taking plenty of Emergen-C and using hand sanitizer like a maniac.

CL:   2014 was the inaugural year for Crane Con, a comic book / toy / cosplay mini-convention held in conjunction with your AJ’s Kid’s Crane toy drive for charity.  Both events were highly successful in helping you achieve your goal of raising over 100,000 toys for charity.  How fun was that to be able to bring together two things you love, comics and kids?

AJ:   It was amazing. At the end of the day, geeks are just people who made it to adulthood without losing our childlike enthusiasm for the things we love. Seeing so many people who love toys and costumed heroes and stories and comics come together to celebrate all of those things so that kids at the hospital could get more of them….it just felt like we were looking out for our own. When I got on the mic and asked if everyone wants to make “Crane-Con” and annual tradition and that sea of glorious geeks went nuts!!…………total goosebumps

CL:   Thanks, AJ!  Great spending some time with you! Keep up the good work on "The AJ Show" and with the Kids Crane!  Looking forward to 2015 Crane Con!

You can find AJ and the rest of the morning show crew every morning on "The AJ Show" on San Diego's Energy 103.7FM.

ArtOfficial SDCC 2015 – Thursday (Thinking outside the Con)

8:50am – Ran into La Bamba on our way to claim our Conan O'Brien tickets. Then we became best friends.

My wife, my buddy Joel, and I were about three blocks from the box office and I saw La Bamba just standing at a corner, people watching, drink in hand. After getting a picture with him, La Bamba decided to join us on our walk to the studio. It was weird, I was hanging out with La Bamba for about 10 minutes. I think that makes him my best friend. This is now the third time I've run into La Bamba at a convention, twice at SDCC and another time at WonderCon.

9:13am – Joel realized we were waiting in line with Ken Lashley right in front of us. Ken wanted to see what kind of hair products I use.

9:35am – Ken Lashley decided to kill time by sketching on one of my backboards. And I love it.

9:42 – SUCCESS!!

Joel and I visited the Hot Topic at Horton Plaza on the way back to the Con. This morning Hot Topic got select SDCC Funko POPs. It was a wonderful bounty, all the POP! vinyls we wanted from the Funko booth were available.

12:43pm – Took a break from the Exhibit Hall to get some food, a Coke and a smile

4:45pm – Watching Katniss curse up a storm, for a good cause.

5:58pm – In line for Nerd HQ's Supermansion panel. We want to see who's the one who knocks.

6:50pm – We learn about Bryan Cranston's favorite part of Albuquerque, it's a person not a place. (See clip here)

8:13pm – Drinks and dinner with friends at Lion's Share to celebrate SDCC and other great news.

9:06pm – Kristen Schaal!

4:23am – The booty.

I only really got an hour inside the Exhibit Hall but it was one of the best Con days I've ever had.

ArtOfficial SDCC 2015 - Preview Night (& Day)

9:00am – Kicked off SDCC week with a Johnnie Christmas signing at my LCS (Yesteryear Comics) and hanging with Justin. Smiles fueled by earlier inappropriate jokes.

1:47pm – Badge in hand, waiting for Exhibit Hall to open. Surrounded by my GDNs.

2:29pm – Delirious, an hour and half doesn't sound too bad a wait to bust through those doors.

5:27pm – "MOOooo..." Yay, we're being herded to enter!

Sometime during Preview Night – It was such a blur I forgot to take pictures.

Joel and I were so close to the front of the line before entering we swore we'd make it to the Funko booth. The line moved us in, we walked briskly (did not run) then as we settled into the Funko line, security capped it about 12-15 people in front of us. As the night went on I came by a few times to see if the line opened, and noticed it was the same person at the back of the line. It never reopened. Funko is trying something different this year to make the line more manageable but it's just too popular, the madness can't really be contained.

I took that as an opportunity to check out my favorite independent publishers. Basically, any publisher not named Marvel or DC, they'll get the loving attention they deserve throughout the week. I picked up a few free, and not-so-free items, while checking back at Funko. To fill the deflated need, I picked the two Marvel Collector Corps boxes in a different Funko booth. Their line was quick and easy. A quick and easy menu with fast and dependable service, like In-n-Out.

9:10pm – Met up with Justin for a quick drink while chatting up the good people of Comics Bulletin.

2:56am – The booty.

Tomorrow's agenda is jam-packed with goodness. Hint: Coco, I'm the one who knocks, and bats.

Walt Disney Studios 2015 Movie Slate


JANUARY 23, 2015 - Strange Magic

FEBRUARY 20, 2015 - McFarland, USA 

MARCH 13, 2015 - Cinderella

APRIL 17, 2015 - Monkey Kingdom

MAY 1, 2015 - Avengers: Age of Ultron

MAY 22, 2015 - Tomorrowland

JUNE 19, 2015 - Inside Out

JULY 17, 2015 - Ant–Man

OCTOBER 9, 2015 - The Jungle Book

OCTOBER 16, 2015 - The Untitled Steven Spielberg Cold War Spy Thriller

NOVEMBER 25, 2015 - The Good Dinosaur

DECEMBER 18, 2015 - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer

The official teaser trailer for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens awoke the internets this morning from their turkey induced slumber. Looks promising, and we here at CL are downright excited! Is this the movie we were looking for? I think so. Thank you, J.J. Abrams, for shining your light (flare) on this project.

The force awakens in theaters December 2015.


CONVENTION.LIFE is a new multi-author blog about conventions, comic books, toys, video games, pop culture and everything in between! Our authors are seasoned convention attendees. Their combined experience will bring you the best each convention has to offer including: first looks, exclusive merch, press insights, pro tips, personal views, photos and more! Be sure to follow us on instagram @convention.life for real time information and photos. We bring the convention to you!