SAN ANTONIO - A love of horror films put a local toy maker on the map.
The gore of 80’s horror films is what inspires owner of Retroband, Aaron Moreno when he is creating his designer toys.
“I was obsessed with horror films as a kind. My mother worked at a video store and my aunt lived right across a drive-in theater so those were our weekends,” Moreno said.
It wasn’t until years later when Moreno’s oldest son started playing with toy figures of his own that they once again sparked his interest.
“I kind of wanted to do this nostalgic figure based off of a movie “The Night of the Creeps.” I decided to sculpt it, produce it, package it and it went online and it became somewhat viral and my life has changed ever since,” Moreno said.
That’s where his story took a turn.
“I just decided one day what if I were to make the toys I wish I had growing up as a kid,” Moreno said.
You see, Moreno has always been into art as a hobby, but never went to school for it. Much less even picked up a piece of clay.
Yet somehow it just came naturally.
“I guess I got lucky,” Moreno said.
So when he told people he wanted to leave his government job to make toys full time.
“They were shocked that I took the leap,” Moreno said.
He went to work drawing inspiration from those slasher films that had filled his adolescents and brought to life his original character, Meats.
“Basically Meats it’s inspired by the films that I loved growing up…so I’ve kind of compiled all these films that I love into one figure and made this underdog from it,” Moreno said.
Flash forward three years to today, Moreno has seen his career in toy making skyrocket. He's been commissioned by some of the biggest names in the TV and film business to make figures out of their characters.
“These companies were just coming to me back to back. Columbia, adult swim… It’s been somewhat of a rollercoaster. At the same time, I’m not used to it. I’m from San Antonio. Four blocks up,” Moreno said.
That’s right, Moreno has been asked to move his headquarters to L.A. so he can be closer to the TV and film scene. But it’s in his studio on the west side where he said he feels the most comfortable.
“It definitely grounds me and it feels like home here,” Moreno said.
Locked away in his studio designing and sculpting everything by hand, and continuing to build a fan base that has taken Meats worldwide.
“It hasn’t hit me yet. I guess. I’m very humbled by it. It definitely fuels me to keep going,” Moreno said.
It's a rags to riches story. It started by a leap of faith and a want to create toys others no longer have to wish they had growing up.
“To me if I’m going to make money or not I’m still going to do this because it makes me happy,” Moreno said.
Since these designer toys are more of collector’s items, one can range anywhere from $100 to $8,000 dollars.
For more information, you can visit http://www.retrobandtoys.com/.