Hey Reddit! You may have seen some of my bootleg action figures go viral in the past -- such as Paulie Walnuts from The Sopranos, Ernest P. Worrell from Ernest Goes to Camp, or the great MUGATU. Sometimes I sell the toys, sometimes they land in art galleries, and sometimes, as was the case for Naked Mario, they send the internet into an uproar. You can see behind the scenes pictures of how I create and package toys here, or check out my website and follow me on Instagram to see more.

I'm here to answer anything about bootleg toy making and anything else that comes to mind -- AMA!

Edit/130pm PT-- I've got to dip but this was fun! Might try to swing by to answer any I missed, thanks for all the great questions!

PROOF: https://i.redd.it/w4wu2kh60u591.jpg

Comments: 137 • Responses: 38  • Date: 

DontAskAboutMax129 karma

Hey Dano,

Have you ever received any legal threats from the likes of Nintendo for pulling off these stunts?

WeAreMEL156 karma

Hey there! I haven’t yet. Typically my projects are over and done with before anyone gets wind of them. I don’t do runs so I’ve already moved on by the time anyone can be annoyed with me

uw_y87 karma

This might be stupid but do you know Obvious Plant and the other prank/bootleg toy makers? Love when people get duped into thinking these are real lol - especially the Boomers on Facebook

WeAreMEL143 karma

I know Jeff from obvious plant personally! He is an amazing friend and huge inspiration. He showed up to my first solo show and I felt like I met banksy or something. He’s great

Con_Johnson63 karma

What's the oddest request for a toy you've gotten? Either just kinda weird or incredibly niche?

WeAreMEL196 karma

Tons of weird ones. Probably the guy who shit his pants on his first date with his now wife and wanted it commemorated in action figure form

Drive_Academic44 karma

Hi Dano! Big fan of yours on Insta, thanks for doing this! Whenever you post something new I immediately want it lol — especially your recent Dumb and Dumber one.

Two questions — which toy had taken the longest? And why do you think mainstream toymakers haven’t caught up on this trend? Like, who WOULDN’T want harry and lloyd action figures??? Maybe they’re too caught up in the funkopop game…

WeAreMEL38 karma

Maybe my Majoras Mask toy. Took the longest. I was verrrry into that one so I wanted it perfect. I actually think super 7 is doing a great job at mass producing cool stuff. They haven’t done dumb and dumber yet but I wouldn’t be suit they do.

argruid33 karma

What series of events led you down the path of bootleg toy making ?

WeAreMEL57 karma

I’ve always been an artist but the toy thing started for me when I bought some bootleg figures from deathbytoys on Instagram. I owe a ton to him

thedangerous127 karma

Any cool celebrity reaction stories to the action figures? Also, hope you keep making lighters, I have them all so far!

WeAreMEL76 karma

Thanks for grabbing the lighters!! Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden was on a show called Ice Pilots. On the episode he’s on someone shows him the figure I made of him in his pilots uniform. His reaction is huge and I keep a screen recording of it on my phone for when I’m down :)

Proud-Heat586818 karma

Has anyone ever said you look like a sexier version of Tony Hawk?

WeAreMEL54 karma

No but i imagine many people stop tony to tell him how he looks like a sexier version of me

its_ryanmiller15 karma

You did a Sonny Koufax from Big Daddy figure for me! Thanks again, man. Do you ever get requests to do a loved one/would you be open to doing "normal" people (if someone commissioned you)?

WeAreMEL21 karma

Thank YOU! Yeah most of what I do is actually regular people. I just don’t share that stuff on social media

Michael__James420015 karma

Hi Dano what was your favorite “toy” you made for a special request?

WeAreMEL27 karma

Probably norm Macdonald as Turd Furgeson. I wish that was my own idea but it was one of my brilliant customers

doubleflusher14 karma

Do you like the actor Paul Dano?

WeAreMEL17 karma

Who doesn’t

a_terrible_advisor13 karma

What was the toy you most enjoyed making?

WeAreMEL21 karma

Probably Fat Al. I love weird Al

franklyokay13 karma

are there any figures you refuse to make?

WeAreMEL47 karma

I try to avoid either side of politics. It brings out a special kind of negativity in people that I don’t enjoy

Wallsallaround12 karma

What’s a figure that you made that you expected to get a bigger public response than it did? And what’s one you didn’t expect to get a wide response like it did?

Also, if you were reincarnated, what would you want to come back as?

WeAreMEL27 karma

The first one that really took off that surprised me was for a guy named kerwin frost. I was unfamiliar. Still am. But damn did he send me a lot of business. I thought my Joey ramone was gonna be huge but didn’t have much impact. I’m terrible at predicting. When I die I’m hoping to stay dead :)

do0tz11 karma

Have you ever done your own injection mold, or do you only use premade action figure/dolls and pieces them together?

WeAreMEL10 karma

No. I’ve collaborated with guys who do that stuff but it’s all foreign to me. Very cool though

do0tz6 karma

Wow, thanks for replying! I never get a response 😂. I think I saw you do custom work. What is your process for both figuring out the "idea" and also sourcing parts?

WeAreMEL7 karma

A lot of what I make is other peoples ideas I’m commissioned to make. My own ideas come when they want. Seems like I don’t have much control over that. As far as sourcing, I spend a lot of time on eBay but I also have a pretty big surplus of broken toys to pull from here at my house

notmytemp07 karma

Hey Dano! I’ve been a big fan of yours for awhile. Your account (along with a few others) got me into the bootleg/kitbashed toy scene - so thank you!

My question is, I know you’ve done design work before you did toy art. Do you have a favorite non-toy art project you’ve done that you can share with us?

WeAreMEL14 karma

I won a contest to have my adventure time design sold in hot topic a loooong time ago. I was super proud. Still am.

shewholaughslasts3 karma

Mathmatical! Have you done any toys? I'd love a looong Lady Rainicorn or a BMO.

Also - were you the one who did the Spaceballs characters? What a perfect idea... no flame thrower needed just a Yogurt or a big ole Dark Helmet....

WeAreMEL3 karma

I never hav but they already have so many good licensed toys that they don’t need me

Wyzen1 karma

What was it? Can you share a link?

WeAreMEL7 karma

You can probably find pics of it by searching my name and “curse of the crown”. Seems all the old links are gone but it’s been posted weird places over the years. It’s somewhere on the internet

WeAreMEL6 karma

Yes! Except that’s not the final version. That’s basically it though

fast-idel7 karma

How do you get abs?

WeAreMEL21 karma

I only work out one arm but the abs just show up anyway

ergonaut6 karma

Has anyone ever told you that you look a bit like Billy Boyd?

WeAreMEL10 karma

You’re the first :)

jbrasco5 karma

Fuck bro! Now I know you’ve hit the big time! Glad to say I’ve known you since you were just a lame ass NES collector. Does this mean you’ve peaked?

And RIP Brown Dano and those sweet ass jumps

But for real, super proud of you man.


WeAreMEL3 karma

Ha! What’s up dude! Good to see you here

JosephArt19654 karma

Are you the Same guy that is also in a metal band who does this?

WeAreMEL11 karma

Not me! Probably someone way cooler

fast-idel3 karma

Who your favorite Judd?

WeAreMEL10 karma

Judd Nelson

helpfuldan2 karma

Why don’t you touch up the ceiling with some white paint?

WeAreMEL14 karma

Honestly if I knew anything about Reddit at all I would’ve known that pic was gonna be the only thing people see of me during this AMA and probably would’ve done many things differently. I look like I’m being held captive :(

bentlao19892 karma

Can we get a naked Luigi?

WeAreMEL31 karma

Maybe I will make the famous little brother some day. If I do, he’s getting a mega dong. He deserves a break

Lextube2 karma

I'm very interested in making bootleg toys as a hobby. I was mostly interested in knowing what your production process is when making the packaging? I have no idea how I could source blisters, and not sure if there is a specific card thickness or name for type of card material used. Thankyou!

WeAreMEL2 karma

I use photo paper glued to comic board and I get my bubbles from dke toys or empire blisters. Both great sources

katanakid132 karma

Do you experiment with other mediums like sculpting clay or 3D printing parts?

WeAreMEL7 karma

I sculpt with a product called Green Stuff. Originally I used it to fill in cracks or smooth out imperfections but not I sculpt quite a bit with it. I do play with zbrush and 3D printing but I’ve never incorporated it with any of my toys. Mostly because I’m not good at it

SerjicalSystem182 karma

When are you gonna release your next album Danny?

WeAreMEL15 karma

I’m in the studio right now. They’re escorting me out :(

MrWhiteVincent1 karma

What's with the foreskin obsession?

You got it as a theme on a couple of items?

WeAreMEL2 karma

The lunchbox is an old meme I reformatted to fit a lunchbox. I don’t deserve much credit for that one but just always thought it was really funny and made for an almost believable lunchbox. The patches came from an old zine that never went anywhere that featured artists’ scrapped ideas. I had made the turtleneck design a long time ago but never intended on actually producing anything with that design but when the guy putting together the zine posted my illustration to his page, people really liked it and i got a lot of requests to actually make it into a patch. It’s been selling in my shop pretty steadily ever since. I wouldn’t really call it an obsession so much as an old dick joke I made that occasionally still puts money in my account. Actually still really proud of that one though. The idea and illustration are still solid to me

WulliesTime1 karma

What's the deal with Team Turtleneck? Are you from Europe or the UK?

EDITed because I got the name wrong.

WeAreMEL2 karma

Very proud of that design :)

WulliesTime1 karma

It's great. As an American who is a member (no pun), it's refreshing to see :)

WeAreMEL2 karma

Dm me your address on Instagram and I’ll send you a patch. Team members gotta stick together

Bubbly-Sentence-49311 karma

Were you ever close to stopping? Were you concerned that you couldn’t make money on this? Actually haven’t followed you very closely but still very interested to understand

WeAreMEL2 karma

I really enjoy making this stuff so I’ve never really considered stopping. There are times when things slow down a bit but I’ve been fortunate enough to keep enough money coming in from art to get by for a while now. Definitely gonna do my best to keep that going for as long as possible

fast-idel1 karma

Do you sex with fan?

WeAreMEL42 karma

My wife is a pretty big fan and I’m hoping someday she will let me do that

Misotheism1 karma

Do you ever get threatened by companies? Via copyright claims, cease and desist, etc.

WeAreMEL3 karma

Not really. I typically do one offs to avoid stepping on toes

MissElanieous1 karma

Have you ever considered expanding into the bootleg Barbie realm?

WeAreMEL5 karma

I have not. I try to stick with things that are nostalgic to me personally.

elmonoenano1 karma

How often have are you asked to book someone?

WeAreMEL1 karma

It varies. Since 99% of my customers find me through Instagram, whether or not I’m active on there has a huge effect on how many people reach out. If I post something that gets shared a lot, my inbox usually starts filling pretty quick. If I post too many things consecutively that don’t really get anyones attention, I won’t be getting many emails or dms. It has a lot to do with self promotion which is the less fun part of it all but super necessary if you’re trying to be a working artist in todays world. For me at least. I’m sure there are super talented assholes that probably never need to promote a thing and sell out of everything.

silentmattcanuck0 karma

Hey Dano,

If you haven't done so already, how about an action figure of Tommy Wiseau?

WeAreMEL2 karma

Great idea :)