Anthony Hernandez has been making quite the name for himself in the realms of toys and art. You may know him better as his alter ego, Batbomb82. Since 2015, Anthony has brought us some of the best toy reviews on youtube thanks in no small part to his in-depth analysis of how toys and action figures actually function instead of just gawking at how awesome something is.
Considering how many toy reviewers there are on the internet, how did you find a way to not be just another toy guy? How did you find your voice?
Anthony Hernandez: I try to be different. With things like incorporating my art in my reviews (Since I love drawing toys and other pop culture stuff.). I created my own mascot in Little Lego Batman which is just a Lego version of myself. I created my own logo because I wanted people to have an image to relate to my channel. I try to sound more enthusiastic when others can sound bland. I genuinely love collecting because to me, all toys are art. I study toys from their history to their mechanics. Everything about them fascinates me, so my enthusiasm is very real. People also always told me I had a nice speaking voice so I’ve trained myself to have almost a radio talk show host type of voice when I’m reviewing. I get lots of compliments about it. And in all honesty, it’s helped me with my confidence a ton!
Some might not know that you’re a bad ass artist. You seem to have a “Profile Picture” art style, almost as if you’re drawing your own action figure standing on a shelf. How did you find that style and do you use any references, or is it all from your head?
AH: Well thank you for thinking I’m badass. But mostly it stemmed from so long of trying to mimic my heroes in comic books. Artists like Jim Lee, Ed McGinnis and the late great Michael Turner. I tried so hard to be like them and realized I’m NEVER going to be them. So I took certain aspects of each of their techniques and just did them MY way. Simple things like drawing shoulders a certain way for example. After I figured that out, I thought to myself, I wanna do stuff that people are familiar with just not in the way I do them. I LOVE to use a lot of color, sharp crisp lines and funky designs. And a big shout out goes to ALL the artists I’ve worked with over the years from my time at Disney and Universal Studios. We all learned from each other and we all made each other better artists. Even now, I still feel like I’m refining my style and learning more with every piece.
You seem to have pretty mixed collection of action figures, never really adhering to a single character or series to collect, what make an action figure worthy of your collection/shelf space?
AH: Multiple things. One is the overall look of the figure. Because we’re all gonna spend more time looking at them then actually playing with them. Another is fun factor. Sometimes I just like fun toys and not necessarily a figure that has mind blowing sculpt work and detailed paint apps. Sometimes if it’s colorful, goofy and makes me smile, that’s all I need. Example: My entire Glyos collection. Those are incredibly fun toys. And actually the other does depend on the character. I’ll buy anything Batman, anything TMNT and so forth. I just happen to have an expansive taste in characters. I think it’s the artist in me, if I can see myself drawing it, I wanna own it in toy form.
You have mentioned to me before that you have hopes of creating your own action figures one day. If you could make your own toys, what would it be? Would you choose from an existing property, or would you want to create something completely new?
AH: A little of both actually. My dream is to design a Batman toy and a TMNT toy. THAT’S the dream. BUT, as an artist, I would love to create original designs and characters. We’re living in a time where independent toy companies are doing amazing things and I could easily see myself going that route. I’ve spoken a lot about Glyos toys and lines like Battle Tribes and the Warlords of Wor are some of my favorite. I could totally see myself creating a sister line to those. And since they’re Glyos, they would all be compatible with each other. I would love to expand that Glyos world. There’s so much art in my head, it’s crazy. I dream of that day of someone holding a toy I created and making them smile. Making someone smile because of your creation is the best feeling in the world.
What property is out there that deserves to be given action figures but just hasn’t yet? Personally, I would love to see some Battletoads figures done by Playmates Toys.
AH: Ok so I’ve thought about this before, and I’d have to say I need action figures based on the movie, Space Balls. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies and I’m honestly shocked no one has made them yet. There’s so much they could do with that line. There was even a scene in the movie where Dark Helmet was caught playing with his Space Balls toys. I ALWAYS wanted them. Also, if this counts, I would love a modern toy line of Darkwing Duck and Gargoyles. Those are some of my all-time favorite cartoons. They had really fun toys when I was a kid but I would love to see some real collector type of action figures of those two properties with detailed sculpts, paint, articulation and a ton of interchangeable parts and accessories. Kind of like what Boss Fight Studios is doing with their Bucky O’Hare line. I’d buy all of them. Do you hear me, Disney?????
For those that want to see more of what Anthony is up to now, here’s his most recent video.