Geoff Beckett is back! But who is he? And why is he such a controversial figure? Bleeding Cool looks back over fifteen years…
Geoff Beckett Jr comes to Toy Fair 2002 with a product called the “Shoulder Action Figure” or SAF, the prototype for which is made from pieces of styrofoam. The product is reminiscent of something called Wise Aces, an impish creature meant to sit on your shoulder while you turn its head with a tube. Geoff’s product is a robot with the same premise. His self-produced prototype and printed-out info sheets aren’t taken seriously but it establishes him as an “underdog type”.
Beckett jumps on the block figure craze with his own product called “Shockinis” under the Shocker Toys banner.
Shockinis reached comic book stores late in 2004. Geoff tries to differentiate his line and the Stikfas figure series. His SAF figures are put on hold.
Geoff gets a high-profile profile in Buffalo Business First.
Shocker Toys releases a GWAR San Diego Comic-Con mini resin statue exclusive and promised action figures/shockinis. None made it to production. However GWAR used the Shockini mock up pictures on their tour T shirts.
Beckett announces his Indie Spotlight action figures with a Series 1 including Witchblade, Madman, Judge Death, and Shadowhawk. The premise is Shocker Toys would shine a light on those comic book heroes overlooked by the larger toy companies.
None of the character creators were paid up front for licensing. As stated by Shocker Toys, “characters in the Indie Spotlight include Solar: Man of the Atom, Magnus Robot Fighter, Dick Tracy, Lone Ranger, Jack Staff, Madman, The Atomics, Witchblade, Darkness, Nexus, Shark-Man, The Moth, Retro Rocket, The New Toxic Avenger, The Phantom, Sachs & Violens, The Wraith, Scud the Disposable Assassin, Isis, Victoria Secret Service, Judo-Girl, Shadowhawk, OZF5, Grim Jack, Fallen Angel, Badger, Cyberforce, Jetcat, Atomic City, Smoke & Mirror and God of Thunder.”
Some time after, Toy Biz announces their own lineup for a “Legendary Comic Book Heroes” action figure line which would include Madman, Witchblade, The Darkness and Cyberforce as well as 2000AD characters Shocker Toys had in their own figure lineup. Beckett speaks out against this and he really does seem to have a point.
Shocker Toys are announced as the company making an action figure for the winner of Stan Lee’s Who Wants To Be a Superhero reality TV show. Though the “Feedback” prototype was shown around conventions alongside Shockinis of other cast members into 2007, the figures are never produced.
Shocker releases Metalocalypse mini resin statues at San Diego Comic-Con , the Metalocalypse license was said to be for an action figure line. While no action figures made it to production, a set of 5 vinyl figures were released as a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive in 2008. At this time, “Shocker Toys LLC” has expired due to failure to file paperwork. Poor reviews of these figures were explained away as being hurried prototypes.
Shocker announces the expansion of their “Spotlight” series of action figures to include Anime Spotlight, Gamer Spotlight, Horror Spotlight, Manga Spotlight and Movie Spotlight. Shocker would show an image of the Anime Spotlight figure series at Toy Fair 2010, along with Golden Age Spotlight figure prototypes and 2 figure pack
Shocker announces the expansion of their “Spotlight” series of action figures to include Anime Spotlight, Gamer Spotlight, Horror Spotlight, Manga Spotlight and Movie Spotlight. Shocker would show an image of the Anime Spotlight figure series at Toy Fair 2010, along with Golden Age Spotlight figure prototypes and 2 figure pack mock-ups. None of these products have seen production.
After several shifts in the lineup and delays, Shocker’s first series of Indie Spotlight figures hit retail. The new lineup includes Sam Keith’s The Maxx (via MTV), Rob Schrab’s Scud the Disposable Assassin, David Mack’s Kabuki, Terry Moore’s Katchoo from Strangers in Paradise and Jim Valentino’s Shadowhawk, with variants for Scud and Shadowhawk. Each figure is released with an Isz character from The Maxx, and sending in proofs of purchase from the entire line would get you a Mr. Gone action figure (also from The Maxx). No Mr. Gone figures were produced at this time.
Rumours of creators not receiving a cut of profits and finding it hard to get samples owed, compounded with Beckett threatening legal action on message boards stating that treachery against his company had hampered the line’s release. Robyn Moore (Terry Moore’s wife) tells Bleeding Cool that they received a case of figures from Shocker, but no monetary compensation. Jim Valentino tells us ” I got the samples, yes. No money. It was not a pleasant experience.”
Shocker announces Indie Spotlight Series 2 with Dick Tracy, Ignacia, Jack Staff, King Zombie and The Tick. Dick Tracy sees production with a trench coat and non-trench coat version alongside The Tick who sees several releases with small accessory changes and two exclusives to private companies.
Idle Hands commissions the Mucus Tick variant action figure. Shocker agrees to sell the product through their website, but after a year of non-payment, Idle Hands takes possession of the remaining half of the stock, much of which they state is damaged due to poor packing. Idle Hands state that they had paid for the initial production of their figure (possibly including the cost of the standard Tick figure) with custom packaging and then fronted the money needed to “free” both Tick figures from the Chinese factory, putting them in for a $20,000 investment they would never see a return on.
Astro-Zombies commissions a translucent blue Tick action figure. Beckett sells the product at a convention before shipping them to Astro-Zombies and tells them he was shorted on the initial shipment. From there, A-Z deals with unreturned phone calls, poor excuses and ultimately, an incomplete shipment with many damaged items. An Astro-Zombies rep remarks “He went so far as to threaten to kick my ass in a phone call (easy when he’s 2200 miles away). What he wasn’t ready for was me to show up at a convention he was at 2 weeks later and call him out on it. He changed his tune fast once he saw me. He’s a scam artist, unprofessional and screwed all of us. In the end I wrote it and him off. He is garbage that had no place in our industry.”
Shocker Toys announces convention exclusives including San Diego Comic-Con exclusive figures The Blank (Dick Tracy), The Blue Beetle (Dan Garret), Barry Hubris (The Tick), Shinigami Mallow (Soul Eater), and Wizard World Tour exclusive figures Hunter Rose (Grendel) and Mallow versions of The Maxx, Mr. Gone and Lazerman. Shocker does not have the figures mentioned on hand at the time of these conventions, but accepts pre-order money for them from attendees. To our knowledge, only The Blank and the Shinigami Mallow were produced from this group.
2011: Shocker issues the following update to address unshipped product:
“We would like to apologize to all the fans for the long wait and delays on our end. We are working as hard as we can under the direction of a new corporate structure to get Series2 in full and the summer exclusives to the fans. We have gone through a few bumps such as theft by a crooked agent in Hong Kong named Kent Law to changing of partners and ownership within the company. We are still the collectors at heart that all of you are and will continue to make the best toys and action figures we can for the customizers, kids and collectors out there. We only ask that all that support us continue to do so and we will keep putting out great toys. We here at the new Shocker Toys thank all the fans and collectors for their continued support in these hard and changing times.”
Beckett blamed Hong Kong agent Kent Law for the disappearance of money earmarked for paying a factory for production of action figures. Previous reasons for delayed delivery of product included lead paint concerns, Chinese customs destroying shipments, the weather, Canada (just Canada) and that pirates stole a shipment being sent by sea.
Shocker Toys attends San Diego Comic-Con where Beckett is served court papers for non-payment of an artist in the middle of the Shocker Toys panel. At this point it appears the original Shocker Toys team is gone, leaving Geoff Beckett Jr and a man named Eric Nyenhuis to run the company. It’s stated that Nyenhuis had actually purchased a portion of the company.
Nyenhuis is no stranger to controversy himself, most notably behind the attempted reboot of the GLOW women’s wrestling franchise (complete with toys from Shocker) at an event attended by an estimated fifty people, concluded Nyenhuis leaving before the show’s end in an apparent attempt to avoid paying people, and allegations of abuse from former girlfriend and Clerks actress Marilyn Ghigliotti, who filed a restraining order. Then there was the reunion of The Warriors at Coney Island where Nyenhuis allegedly faked a heart attack to get out of paying anyone.
GBJRTOYS domain name is registered by Shocker Toys LLP. Soon after, Beckett announces he has resigned from Shocker Toys and is now working with GBJR (claiming not to be the owner, though the company bears his initials). Later he would clarify that he started the company, though he doesn’t give himself a concrete title. GBJR has acquired all of Shocker Toys assets (licenses, tools, prototypes, etc) and will pick up where they left off and promise fans who pre-ordered products (from Shocker Toys) that they would fulfil the orders at their own cost. Though they claim no further connection to Shocker Toys, GBJR Toys takes over the Shocker Toys page on Facebook and the GBJR Toys website links to pages on the Shocker Toys domain.
GBJR launches a Kickstarter for DIY Plush Mallow Designer Toys. The Kickstarter raises $583 of the $9,850 goal. Beckett follows this up with an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign which is taken down prematurely. Beckett makes the following statement “Well everyone, thanks to the internet Trolls who breed on Fwoosh, Bleedingcool and other Bias sites our campaign has been frozen. They falsely reported us to Indiegogo in effect ending our campaign and ruining our momentum we had for Series2 and Indie Spotlight in general. What happened to collecting toys and having a great time doing it? When did malicious, devious and downright nasty behavior become part of it? We hope to get this situation resolved and get our campaign back on track and we hope to see the collecting community come together as a whole and support us in a show of our love for toys and collecting without the low down dirty tactics of people out to get their own kicks. We thank all those that contributed or were going to contribute.”
This interaction occurs.
GBJR follows this up with a GoFundMe campaign for Indie Spotlight Comic Book Heroes which, to date, has earns over $22,000, due in large part to a $6000 donation from Red Star Comics and $10,000 from Angry Viking Press.
Paul Grist, creator of Jack Staff, slated for Indie Spotlight Action Figures Series 2, issues a statement, saying “I was originally approached by Geoff Beckett, trading as Shocker Toys, about doing some Jack Staff toys about 7 years ago. This was to be part of an Indie Superhero Toy line which would feature The Tick and Dick Tracy amongst others. Sounded like a good idea to me (Hey! Guess what everybody’s getting for Christmas this year!) so I signed a contract which gave Shocker Toys a 3 year licence to produce action figures. I should mention at this point that although we had a contract, Shocker Toys didn’t pay any money upfront. What I would get would be a percentage on sold figures. As it happened, the next three years came and went and apart from being sent some photos of the model in progress (which were published in Jack Staff), that was it. No toys. No money. Nothing. These things happen. I moved on. Imagine my surprise when a few months ago I saw that Geoff Beckett , now trading as GBJR toys (and claiming that he was just an employee of Shocker Toys though he always signed his emails as President Shocker Toys), was using an indigogo campaign to raise funds to produce an Indie Superhero Toy Line, featuring The Tick and Dick Tracy amongst others… and including the Jack Staff figure. I contacted Geoff and told him that he didn’t have a licence to produce Jack Staff toys (and hadn’t had a licence for three years) and asked him to remove the figure from his campaign. To his credit, Geoff did this quite promptly. The latest news is that Geoff is now running a Gofundme campaign for his toy line and is offering blank (unpainted) Jack Staff figures as a ‘Design your own Hero’ option for donations. I wouldn’t really be bringing all this up, but since I gave Shocker Toys a plug I thought I should now give a word of caution to anyone who might be sending Geoff Beckett, Shocker Toys and/or GBJR Toys any money for toys.” This was published in Grist’s Mudman comic published by Image Comics.
At some point, Beckett gets involved with Pretty Poison Burlesque in Philadelphia. Beckett attends Wizard World Philadelphia with Pretty Poison Burlesque and throws an after party with James Marsters band “Ghost of the Robot”. There are more allegations of non-payment. Similar happens at San Diego Comic-Con.
He creates his own company , Poisonous Pinups Magazine , first as an internet magazine and later as a self-published release via Magcloud. Beckett currently attends conventions as press for this magazine. Later in this same year, Beckett dates a woman known as Tara Von Gore and soon after begins calling himself Geoffery Von Gore.
GBJR launches a KickStarter for the return of Shockinis and raises $465 of the $12,000 goal before negative press hits, primarily from people who ordered items and never received them. They issue this sarcastic response to someone who backs the projects.
Hello Richard and thank you for your recent donation of $1.00. In response to your concerned comments you raise all good points which I can answer for you.
Number one: The Shockinis were invented long before the company you are speaking of Shocker Toys LLP was formed. This project on kickstarter is about the shockini products themselves that were bought by GBJR Toys and has nothing to do with Shocker Toys LLP or it’s original partners. We will be addressing these comments you have made about another company not pertinent to this project only once and in this reply.
Number two: Geoff Beckett Jr. was one of four partners at Shocker Toys LLP and has since resigned from that company and started GBJR Toys. He purchased the rights for original toylines and retained certain rights like Shockinis through legal process. What ever was produced or not produced by Shocker Toys LLP we cannot speculate on but GBJR Toys did promise fans who pre-ordered products that they would fulfill the orders at their own cost. As toy fans we ourselves hate when toys can’t make it to production and this is why we have started this kickstarter to get the toys made with everyone’s help and into the stores and shelves of collectors and customizers.
Thirdly, The music figures I believe you are referring to were the GWAR toys of which I can see online that a painted and non painted statue was made of one of the band members and sold. They were to produce action figures of the whole band which did not happen. To our knowledge all pre-orders were refunded and many attempts were posted by the Shocker Toys company to alert to the fact the line was canceled. At no time did the Shocker Toys LLP company ever rip off characters. All characters were obtained through the legal licensing process with signed contracts.
Lastly, we cannot speculate on agreements Shocker Toys LLP had between artists or sculptors they may have used or not used. We ourselves use 3d artists who are paid in full and this is what is sent to our factory to produce our tooling from. We will provide some updates on new theme packs for Shockinis and the process as it moves forward after we reach our goal.
Richard we are glad we could address your concerns. And now that we have we hope to see you update your donation of $1.00 to a great and toyline that is full of potential for block figure fans, customizes and toy fans alike.
GBJR Toys announces San Diego Comic-Con Exclusives including the long awaited Mr.Gone action figure (which the company claims they shipped first to those who ordered in 2009). Beckett takes the SDCC Exclusive eye logo, replaced with his own eye and has several booths (and a shop outside the convention hall) sell his exclusives for him.
What follows is a series of crowdfunding attempts to get their Golden Age Indie Spotlight action figures completed. Each attempt raised very little cash, but the nature of each campaign meant that Beckett could keep any funds donated.
Ben Edlund/ New England Comics pulls The Tick license with rules stipulating GBJR can only sell the remaining figures made under the original license with Shocker Toys…
GBJR sells new Tick action figures.
Mr Gone toys are sold at SDCC in Tick packaging. They are now hot collector items
GBJR/Beckett launches an IndieGogo crowdfunding campaign to “rescue” figure tooling and other assets from the Chinese factory, despite having told people that GBJR had acquired all Shocker Toys assets and before that, stating the Shockini molds in particular were destroyed or stolen (both claims had been made). Beckett reports the factory is “extorting” $7000 from them to recover their tools. Later, he changes the number to $10,000. The campaign raises $125 of the $7,750 goal.
Poisonous Pinups Modeling Agency is born (though their Facebook “about” page says they’ve been in business since 2014). Geoff is listed as one of their models. There is no website for the agency, but an Instagram account is listed under contact information.
Creative Comics and Collectibles is born, lead by an individual named Drackstin. Shocker Toys/GBJR Toys parts are used in their initial action figure prototypes, as well as familiar characters from Angry Viking press (once part of a GBJR Toys lineup). Their current plans involve a re-branding of Shockinis, a dip back into the Golden Age super hero properties GBJR had previously attempted, exploring Indie Comic possibilities and purported deals with Frazetta, Valiant Comics and Gamer’s Workshop. For the moment, Beckett seems to be a silent partner in this endeavour, or at least a very quiet one.
GBJR/ Beckett makes the following statement via Facebook: “An update. I have set up an email for refunds for orders placed through the GBJR toys company. As far as Shocker Toys LLP that company was given back to the last controlling partner Mr. Butiglieri and I legally resigned from said company with no access to their Paypal or records. The Gbjr toys company after failing to rescue their product tools are no more, however if you placed an order with GBJR Toys please email a copy of your order to email@example.com and I will get back to you. I am offering in hand products in place of your ordered items or a monetary refund covering the amount of your order. I look forward to putting this to rest and getting you all your refunds.”
Beckett is referring to Lance Butiglieri who walked away from Shocker Toys years back and is now somewhat reclusive. He does not own or claims to own any piece of Shocker Toys. When GBJR Toys surfaced, they purported to own all Shocker assets and would “make good” on anything not shipped to those who pre-ordered or outright bought seemingly available product and received nothing. Beckett previously stated in a Facebook post that Butiglieri had “disappeared” in 2010.
He also recently criticised another company’s Kickstarter appeal, for delays, saying,
You know what I find hilarious when a toy news company trashes me and my company for years and says they can do action figures better. They then decide to do a line of 6″ action figures and delay orders and piss of fans even after getting $343,894. If Gbjr had 300k I would have had all the comic figures out and more.
He’s probably referring to these. Still, some people just won’t let it go…
Next move? Keep an eye on San Diego Comic-Con… especially Creative Comics And Collectibles.
Geoff Beckett did not return comment regarding this article.
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