By Blake Garris
With the holidays in full swing, we know that finding that perfect gift for loved ones can be exhausting. So we asked resident expert Hembrough, host of Travel Channel’s “Toy Hunter,” to give us some help.
We spoke with Jordan as he prepared for the one-hour season finale Holiday Special, which airs at 9 PM ET on Wednesday, December 12. He gave us his current Marvel picks for any fan young and old as well as a couple classic figures you may want to get if you have a collector in the family.
Marvel.com: I was reading up on this season finale of “Toy Hunter.” This seems really interesting.
Jordan Hembrough: The Holiday Special’s going to be fantastic because what we’re doing is actually going on this great hunt for some secret clients. I’m going to be bringing up the best of the best. We’re going on the hunt for the greatest misfit toys throughout history. These were all the toys that were either recalled off the shelves or maybe didn’t have a big production run. We’ve got these secret clients who really want them and we’re deep in the hunt. It’s going to be a great episode.
This final special, it’s not a half hour, it’s a full hour, so you’re getting double the “Toy Hunter” for the Holiday Special, which is really great.
Marvel.com: What’s next? Do you have an upcoming season you’re working on?
Jordan Hembrough: Yeah, we’re filming season two right now. I don’t want to reveal too much, but I can tell you that the toys are going to be better, the collections are going to be rarer, and it’s filled with great characters and great people. Everything you saw on season one for “Toy Hunter” is going to be amped up even more. It’s going to be great, I’m so psyched.
Marvel.com: How do you juggle the job and the show? It’s got to be hard.
Jordan Hembrough: It is very, very hard. I’ve been very, very fortunate to have people around me who really help me. I’ve got a great crew working back at Hollywood Heroes and they’re fielding e-mails and shipping out toys and everything. I just have an incredible group of people on the crew of “Toy Hunter” making the show. With the support from Travel Channel, [the have] actually become my second family. They’re incredible people, and I’m really in a good spot right now because everyone’s been very open to my needs and concerns. We all work together, and I think that’s really the key to making a good show and running a good business. As long as everyone’s open and the communication and support [are] there, there’s nothing we can’t do. If it were up to me I’d do this show three, four, nine seasons if they’d have me.
Marvel.com: What was your experience like this year at New York Comic-Con?
|Diamond Select Avengers Vs. X-Men Minimates|
Jordan Hembrough: New York Comic-Con’s fantastic. Every Comic-Con in New York is like a party. I think the fans in the New York area are some of the best in the world. They’re full of passion and they’re full of energy. When you walk on the floor of Comic-Con you can just feel the energy in the room. The interesting thing about this year was that we had “Toy Hunter” on the air, so we had all the people who not only love the toys, but they love the show. I was able to actually interact with those people one-on-one, and that was so special to me. You can’t compare anything like that because you’re sitting there one-on-one and having an experience with all the people from the show, and it’s an incredible feeling.
Marvel.com: Do you ever find any rare toys at these conventions?
Jordan Hembrough: Oh yeah, people come up all the time and offer me stuff. In fact, two years ago someone walked in and offered me some really rare Marvel toys, some Captain America action figures that I hadn’t seen before. They were actually bootlegs from Spain, and I picked them up at Comic-Con. They were great. And Spider-Man stuff walks in all the time. I’m really excited.
Marvel.com: Since it’s the holidays, are there any new Marvel toys that you are excited about?
Jordan Hembrough: We’re actually selling a lot of the Minimates. They’re really popular this time of year because they’re great stocking stuffers. They’re small, they’re relatively inexpensive and they’re highly collectible. The thing I love about the Minimates line with Marvel is that they’re so articulate and they’re so real-life and true-to-form the way they’re detailed and everything; they’re a favorite all year-round, but we especially sell a lot during the holidays.
|Hasbro Arc Strike Iron Man|
Also, Hasbro is making the role-playing sets for the Avengers and Marvel characters, Iron Man and Thor and everything, and a Spider-Man Web-Slinging set, and they’re absolutely fantastic as well. I love Hasbro and I love what they’re doing with Marvel. They’re fantastic. I’m going to be on “Good Morning America” this week, and Hasbro was kind enough to send over some of the Marvel role-playing sets that I can actually talk about on the show and everything.
Marvel.com: Have you seen the new Iron Man and Hawkeye figures from Hasbro that are coming soon?
Jordan Hembrough: I caught some sneak-peeks of them, and they look fantastic. Marvel is here to stay in terms of movie franchises and toys with [“Iron Man 3”] coming out, and now “Thor: The Dark World” and they’re talking about the new Avengers movie and all the spin-offs. Marvel’s going to be here obviously for years to come, and the toys will be here as well.
Marvel.com: Speaking of Diamond Select, do you work with any of the Marvel Select figures at all?
Jordan Hembrough: It’s interesting you say that. We do. The funny thing with Marvel Select is we’re actually doing more customer specialty ordering right now because we over-ordered in the past sometimes. Right now we don’t blanket order anymore. We don’t order five or six of every figure. What we’re doing is we’re ordering the figures that customers are specifically asking for, so a lot of them are specialty-ordering things through Diamond.
Marvel.com: Do you have any Sideshow Collectibles figures?
Jordan Hembrough: Absolutely. Speaking of Marvel, the beautiful, wonderful people at Sideshow sent me a Captain America bust and an Iron Man bust and they actually sit in the Hollywood Heroes office, and I look at them every day. They’re great. There’s a woman over at Sideshow by the name of Marissa Black, she’s in charge of marketing. She’s fantastic. In fact, I’ll tell you something, when we were doing the press tour and a lot of the newspapers came around, when they were taking my photograph at the offices and everything, Captain America made his way into a lot of the photographs because he was right over my shoulder, which was great.
Marvel.com: So you have busts as well? Do you ever work with Gentle Giant?
Jordan Hembrough: We do a lot with Gentle Giant. And of course Sideshow, we do a lot with the premium format statues by Sideshow and a lot with the ⅙ figures and everything. And of course, I don’t even have to tell you about Hot Toys. Hot Toys is basically driving my business right now.
|Gentle Giant Thanos bust|
Marvel.com: Oh really?
Jordan Hembrough: The stuff they do? Absolutely. I was just informed today, Captain America’s getting ready to ship from the Avengers and we are already sold out. I ordered 25 pieces and they are already sold out.
Marvel.com: They do look just like the actors. It’s insane.
Jordan Hembrough: Hot Toys is absolutely the leader on the market right now when it comes to ⅙ scale figures.
Marvel.com: As far as past Marvel toys, are there any that come to mind that you really like?
Jordan Hembrough: Believe it or not, I’m a fan of the classic Toy Biz line; the Spider-Man and Captain America cars from the classic Spider-Man line from Toy Biz, and also the old figures and everything. I really, really like that. I love the Secret Wars line that came out, and that was done by Toy Biz as well; very hard to get, very expensive. I mean if you want to talk about Secret Wars action figures, some of the Spider-Man and Captain America figures, the black Spider-Man, they’re going for almost $200 each right now.
Marvel.com: How hard is it to work in this business where you can’t tear open your toys?
Jordan Hembrough: It’s extremely hard. I have to have a lot of self-control. The beauty of what I do is—and again, I go back to the manufacturers and I go back to the people I work with—companies like Gentle Giant, companies like Sideshow, companies like Hot Toys, they’re really kind enough to send me samples of their product that I can open. So, while I have to keep the old toys in the boxes, I have all these great companies that are giving me pieces that I can open now and actually take out of the box and display in my office. That’s a consolation to me. You can’t open the old stuff, but here’s some new stuff you can play with.
Marvel.com: Anything else you want to say about the finale that we haven’t touched on?
|Sideshow Captain America|
Jordan Hembrough: You know what? Just don’t miss it. I mean, the thing is this: This truly is a perfect way to wrap up a season and I want people to understand that we’re really going to be coming full circle and talking about all the great toys over the year and everything. Great characters, great fantastic toys, and it truly is a perfect fitting way to end season one. I can’t stress it enough, I really want the fans and everyone who made this show to come on out for season two, because it’s really going to be good. I listen to everyone who comes up to me and I pass along all the comments to Travel Channel and the network, and we truly are a fan-driven show as well. I want people to know that the show if made for fans, and they have an input. Season two is just going to be fantastic. I’m so excited.
Marvel.com: Finally, where can people reach you?
Jordan Hembrough: The easiest way to follow everything about the show is TravelChannel.com. You go to TravelChannel.com and look for “Toy Hunter” for the shows. That’s where you can catch up with all the latest news and all the latest shows and episode guides. You can also follow me on Twitter, personally, @JordanHembrough and I’m at Jordan Hembrough on Facebook.
One interesting thing that you might want to note to everyone: a lot of people don’t even know this but you can upload all of your toys and your toy collections to TravelChannel.com. There’s a section under the Toy Hunter section on Travel Channel called Rate My Toy, where collectors can go there and share photos of their collections and talk about it. It’s really become this online forum and community over at Travel Channel, and that’s fantastic too.
The one-hour season finale Holiday Special of ‘Toy Hunter’ airs at 9 PM Eastern on Wednesday, December 12 on Travel Channel.