You can’t possibly have a con without an army of action figures, and that's exactly what fans got at New York Comic Con 2018. But what many con-goers stuffing Funko Pops into their oversized tote bags are missing is the vast universe of indie toys out there.
There is no portal to enter this universe. You just have to look. When you do, you’ll find neon alternate dimensions, aliens that are even more alien, talking zombie heads, Lovecraftian card games, and creatures you never thought could exist even in fiction.
Keep scrolling to get the full otherworldly experience of the most painfully cool indie toys at NYCC 2018.
He’s half Oryx, half deer, and all majestic. Watch out, unicorns.
Taza is a mystical guide from Ray Chou and Vincenzo Ferriera’s dystopian steampunk fantasy Glow. He travels alongside two siblings making their way through a magic-imbued industrial revolution and a nuclear holocaust. He’s also their ride as they run from evil forces.
Mr. Rhee: Surviving the Nightmare World
Based on Dirk Manning's Nightmare World series, this chilling Lovecraftian card game is the ultimate face-off between heroes and villains. But good and evil are hardly stereotypical when the heroes have vices of their own. Play as a hero fighting supernatural dark forces, or be the darkness. Survive or take over.
And yes — there are tentacles.
What if you dream up a comic character and then realize that character is your own personal robot weapon? This explains the android look Ceri has going on, since she’s been merged with her creation, Corsolla Robot. The threat of an angel army of nebulous origins (apparently angels can be evil) means these Valkyries now have to join forces and fight together as living, breathing armor.
Tara McPherson is known for her slightly twisted take on candy pastels and mythical creatures (hello Care Bear with rainbow guts spilling out), so it’s no surprise that the flowers which grow in her otherworldly visions look more like sugar skulls than actual flora, though this species is anything but saccharine. At least the vinyl version doesn’t bite.
Party on, Luke! Party on, Darth!
The geniuses at Credenda Studios just went there. Your favorite Aerosmith-obsessed dork just traveled from Wayne’s basement to a galaxy far, far away and now uses his drumstick as a lightsaber. He should have no problem landing space babes with his new Imperial status.
When you’ve got a huge, abnormally muscular Viking who calls himself the Head Lopper roaming around the northern wilds, heads are bound to roll. This warrior from Andrew Maclean’s Head Lopper glows in the dark. There are a few other variants, but come on. This one glows.
For anyone who hasn’t watched Death Note (not the Netflix series, please not the Netflix series) or any number of anime featuring shinigami, just know that shinigami are the grim reapers of Japanese folklore. They can take on wildly different forms depending on the artist's interpretation.
Clogtwo's version brandishes an imposing scythe and gazes at you with swirling eyes that tell you they know when you will die. Now try to sleep at night.
Yes, you have just encountered an enormous piece of toast that sees through empty eyeholes and talks out of a jelly mouth.
The Toast of Carolyn Belefski’s Curls is kind of disgruntled to be living in a giant toaster, but not a bad piece of bread to have around. He’s always smiling so long as he remembers to smear his jelly smile on once he bounces out of his toaster in the morning.
Totoro is sweet, but he’s literally cavity-inducing when covered in cotton candy, gummy bears, cupcakes, and melting ice cream.
Artist Zard Apuya loves both Studio Ghibli and food so much that he sculpts Hayao Miyazaki’s iconic characters in their own edible (looking) settings. His creations include Kiki sitting in a pile of cakes and Ponyo grinning under that infamous bowl of ham and noodles she inhaled in the movie. Even Noh Face helps himself.
It’s not Tru. It’s T’ru. Got that? He kind of looks and acts like Saru from Star Trek: Discovery, except this alienated Earth-born alien in Ben Slabak’s Exilium came into being way before Saru. He has issues; you would too if your ancestors landed on another planet to escape being vaporized by another extraterrestrial race? Oh, and now he has to play nice with humans.
He’s human in one dimension, skeleton in another. Alexis Ziritt’s trippy adventure is what would happen if Miami Vice and Ghost Rider morphed together in an alternate universe of neon skyscapes and dangerous portals. You may get through the portals alive, though not technically alive since you will find yourself turned to bones — but at least bones in really badass retro leather gear and sunglasses.
Nameless but still awesome creature
The creatures that emerge from sculptor and tattoo artist Blaq Lion’s stream of consciousness can take any form — tentacle horns, aliens in gas masks, a hybrid of a boar, a gorilla, and maybe the Predator... the possibilities are endless. The fact that most of his creations are painted entirely black only makes them that much more intense.
Fauna Fruits are what you get when you mash up stuffed animals, Lisa Frank, and those scratch ‘n' sniff stickers we all loved. Strawbunny and Watermurtle live in the rainbow dreams of eternal ‘80s and ‘90s kid AsherBee (who also illustrates some rad offensive unicorns).
By the way — wait for it — they actually smell like fruit.
Little Lazies is back with this fantastical piece of eye candy, which is creator Leah Lazy’s take on Martian Toys’ “Falling Apart” project. Note the freaky purple horned thing rocking out on this obviously confused bear’s shoulder, and what could be the tiniest owl ever perched on a pumpkin.
Scum & Villainy Wretched Ball
This Fu lion bred with Godzilla is the brainchild of UME Toys, who made sure to give it the kind of eyes that might suck your soul in if you stare for too long. Whatever this creature is, it probably wants to eat your soul after it’s done with your flesh.
The ghosts, ghouls, homunculus, sea beasts, anthropomorphic spiders, and other horrors in jellykoe’s whimsical scare squad are so creepy-cute you can’t stand it.
There’s a creature that could be the undead version of SpongeBob SquarePants, a somewhat civilized werewolf eating dog food instead of a human drumstick, and an infinitely more adorable version of The Crawling Eye. They’re just dying to haunt your dreams.
There is a world where raindrops are happy and have faces. That is the world Picadilly imagines on an un-gloomy rainy day in Picadilly and the Jolly Raindrops. If Picadilly says the raindrops have personalities, they suddenly do, and unlikely things keep appearing as she makes them up. Author Lisa Anne Novelline is a former teacher who used fantasy worlds to make her students think differently about math. It obviously worked.
Harlette of Sentinels is not your average superhero. Sure, her hair is an unnatural color, both her eye makeup and hero name are vaguely reminiscent of Harley Quinn, and she’s also a wild child, but is Harley a sentinel of the last Templar who has to go up against a strange conspiracy, paramilitary operations, hostile aliens, and something terrible and divine? Didn’t think so.
The cookie that bites back
You will never, ever blindly stick your hand in the cookie jar again after nearly having your finger bitten off by this half-baked horror from Nick Jodice. Someone must have gotten the ingredients very, very wrong because baked goods just aren’t supposed to have multiple eyes and killer teeth.
The upside is that this thing could be an excellent healthy eating motivator.
These random felt monsters
Strange creatures just keep crawling out of writer and illustrator Joshua D. Howell's brain. They could have horns or tentacles or look totally amorphous. Whether they come alive at night remains unknown.
Sisters of Silence
Eerie and wraithlike, the Sisters of Silence from Robert Geronimo’s Blood Realm are on a mission to find a sacred relic before it falls into the claws of a warlord general. Geronimo designed and 3D-printed both versions of the Sister bust, then created a mold to reproduce them in both ghost gray and a darker finish that looks like it’s been rusting in a dungeon somewhere.
Just in case these baby Ravagers haven’t already devoured you with their fearsome cuteness, the monster guarding his demonic offspring is something to behold.
Ravager of Dominic Riggio’s Arcane Awakening is actually just your average human who grew up in a trailer park until he found out he was a cannibal and… you’re just going to have to read the comic to find out how he turned into that. Did I mention Ravager Red soda is a thing?
Porgbacca and Chorg
Somebody had to do this. Seems some porgs (or at least creator Katerpillar) have gotten the ultimate revenge on Chewie for roasting one of their own. Now he’s waddling around as a huge flightless bird that makes a different kind of unintelligible noise. And the critter hanging out at his feet? One porg finally found out what it’s like to be a Wookiee.