Bustin’ out

Hope everyone is enjoying an early start to fall. We hope to have “Mouse Guard”’s Rand’s Shield out the door in the next two weeks and when it ships, it’ll have a cool bonus: writer/artist David Petersen has offered to sign tags on any orders placed by Oct. 15.

A few other odds and ends at the studio this week:

* Our new painted Poyo prototype from “CHEW” is below, both in its own glory and with a few other mini-busts to show scale. It’s amazingly sculpted and painted by Jamie Macfarlane. We’re shooting for an early spring 2014 release. Plain and simple, Poyo is bad ass.

* David did a great blog post about our next few pieces and our process working together. He’ll have golden SDCC Black Axes for sale at NYCC if you catch up with he and Julia there. (Both awesome people. Tell ‘em we said so.)

* Really happy to announce Jetpack Comics, Zimmie’s and Vault of Midnight are the first three comic shops to start carrying Skelton Crew Studio merch, the only place to find it outside of this site and the occasional con. We love the idea of working with and supporting independent shops.

Take care,


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Happy New Year

Let’s get right to what the studio has in the works for 2014:

* Alpha 2 might have brought an awesome close to this arc of “Locke & Key,” but happy to say the keys will keep coming. We have many more planned for 2014 and beyond, starting with a new key and another addition to the jewelry line later this month.

What you won’t see: the new release of any more legacy, or variant, editions. Well, with one possible exception. It’s the key we’re asked about the most each week. We’ll see if those tentative plans take us Anywhere.

* David Petersen’s already teased to plans about a very limited “Mouse Guard” marionet. That’s in the works along with Loukas’ sword, Lieam’s sword, Gwendolyn’s pike-axe and more.

* “CHEW” should see the release of a new color Chog, a to-be-revealed SDCC exclusive, Tony’s badge and other goodness. And, of course, we launched our mini bust line with a resin Poyo pre-order today.

* In our Artifact Archive Collection, look for Vasilisa’s Comb, Mohlomi’s Bell, the Ogdru Jahad amulet from “The Island” and more from the “Hellboy” and “B.P.R.D.” universe.

As people’s time allows, we’ll continue to try to get the initial releases signed by creators as often as possible this year.

We’ve also got other projects in the works and who knows where they could lead. The possibilities are endless.

From creators to sculptors to editors, we work with some amazingly nice and incredibly talented people and we have, hands-down, the best customers around. We never forget how lucky we are.

Hope the year brings amazing things for you and yours.


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Something to CHEW on: Replicas from Skelton Crew Studio coming

There will be Chogs.

The creators of the Eisner and Harvey-winning comic CHEW and Skelton Crew Studio have reached an exclusive license agreement for the studio to create a line of prop replicas based on the series.

"We're positively thrilled about this deal. The Skelton Crew Studio's commitment to quality is obvious, and we've been looking for the best way to get CHEW-related stuff into the hands of fans, readers and collections – and this is it,” said John Layman, writer of the New York Times best selling series. “This is going to be a great partnership and one of the absolute CHEW highlights of an already monumental year for the book."

CHEW is drawn by Rob Guillory, the 2010 Harvey Award winner for Best New Talent.

"I've been a fan of Skelton Crew Studio's work for a while, and I couldn't imagine CHEW being in better hands,” said Guillory. “And personally, I cannot wait to have their CHEW merch on my shelves! The fans are going to LOVE what we have in store."

Skelton Crew Studio, a small sculpting house out of Maine, is already the exclusive home of replicas based on IDW’s popular “Locke & Key” by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez.

“CHEW is such a great book and these guys are amazingly creative, so I’m pretty amped,” said Israel Skelton, owner of Skelton Crew Studio. “Can I resist saying it? It’s a comic I’m really anxious to get my teeth into.”

Skelton has plans to tackle Chogs, badges and, of course, fan-favorite Poyo. The studio will roll out the first CHEW replicas in late 2012. Check out www.skeltoncrewstudio.com and www.chewcomic.blogspot.com in the coming months for updates.

The latest trade paperback from CHEW, published by Image Comics, “Major League Chew,” hit shelves in May. The latest issue, the spin-off one-shot CHEW: SECRET AGENT POYO goes on sale Wednesday, July 11.

The latest release from Skelton Crew Studio is a limited edition Omega Key from "Locke & Key," this year's 2012 San Diego Comic Con International exclusive.

Layman, Guillory and Skelton will all be attending SDCC this week.
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A is for April

Hope everyone’s spring is off to an awesome start. Our winter just flew by. Too many projects, but in a good way.* A life-size TARDIS dominated January. It’s installed at Hill House, complete with lights, sound and working phone (but sorry, I can’t divulge the number.) Many thanks to Al Landry, Corey Vintinner and Mike St. Germain for helping make it happen. * The Angel Key has been waiting in the wings — pun fully intended — so we could release it with the Animal Key as what we hope is a nice surprise. Sales for both open at 12 a.m. EST April 1. The first 400 pre-orders for the Angel will have tags signed by the amazingly talented Gabriel Rodriguez. (Talented and the nicest Chilean we know.) Both keys ship in May. * We wanted to give a shout-out to British sculptor Jamie Macfarlane. He did an amazing job on the Animal and we can't wait to see more of his work. * What’s down the ‘pike? Well, we hope fans go nuts when they scope out our next couple keys. We’ll say no more.* Making plans already for SDCC. Hope to meet a lot of you there. I do plan an exclusive, one that I hope is music to your ears. OK. Enough. Clearly, there’s too much near-April giddiness at Skelton Crew headquarters. Have a key you need to see? As always, drop us a line.Israel
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San Diego Goodness

Couldn’t make it to Comic Con? As it turns out, I couldn’t either. Instead of catching my flight I was in the ER with my first kidney stone yesterday. Pretty awful, but I did get a get-well-soon call from Walt Simonson, a great consolation prize. And speaking of that, two consolation prizes for those of you who also are not in sunny San Diego this weekend:- The Giant Key prototype is below. (Seen here on G4 today with Blair Butler.) It took a crazy amount of work and, like the Ghost Door, wouldn’t have been possible without Mike “Germazing” St. Germain and Peter “Laser Eye” Gill. We’re still working up the final numbers on cost, hope to have details in late August. It’ll definitely be on a made-to-order basis. (Shipping alone from Maine to California was $160.)- Starting Monday, we’re going to try something new, a sort of post-order window: Orders placed for the new comic con exclusive IDW Key before Aug. 8 will receive a tag signed by two of the busiest – and nicest – guys in comics, IDW CEO Ted Adams and IDW Chief Creative Officer Chris Ryall. Meanwhile, in other key business, the Undertree Key will be coming in late August, followed by the Animal Key in September. Really appreciated all the support and have a great rest of the summer. Here's looking forward to NYCC, where, fittingly, the Mending Key might be the con exclusive. I'll throw up a prototype when it's finished. And, of course, huge congrats to Joe for taking home the Eisner for Best Writer and to IDW who raked in five Eisners overall. Well deserved. Wish I could have been there to toast you.Israel
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Studio Locke Down

Sorry it’s been so long between updates. We’ve been crazy busy trying to get sculpts done for San Diego. I’ll be at SDCC and bringing with me a limited edition con exclusive, the IDW Key. I’ve wanted to tackle it since seeing the key in the comic included with IDW: The First 10 Years. I’ve also got two versions of the Hercules Key, the Undertree Key and the Animal Key in different stages of production, all due out within the next couple of months. (The Hercules Key, formerly known as the Beast Key, won the fan choice vote back in February.) Because a lot of fans asked, I’m also releasing a Legacy Edition Head Key this month, plated in antique rose gold. Legacy edition runs aren’t limited or numbered and going forward, some keys will get limited edition variants and legacy runs, some won’t. I hope to run into a bunch of you at SDCC – I’ll be the one with the shaved head and the black t-shirt, I swear, you won’t miss me . . . I’ll also have a few goodies at the IDW booth in addition to the con exclusive key, so please stop by and check them out. Thanks, too, to everyone who’s offered well wishes and sleep advice for the baby. We were able to hit the snooze alarm this morning, twice, for the first time since he was born – that has to be a good sign. Israel
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Thanks for a great show

We had a great time at NYCC this weekend, and thanks to all who stopped by Artist’s Alley (or who worked extra hard to find us.) I’ve posted a few pictures below: Signing at the IDW booth with the talented Gabriel Rodriguez, all the way up from Chile, quick shots with G4's Blair Butler and MTV Splash Page’s Jill “Nerdybird” Pantozzi (both amazing ladies) and my pal Dan using a Head Key to unlock legos at The Art of the Brick booth. I also had fun talking props with the guys from Cultural Compulsive Disorder.Those who stopped by got a sneak peek at the Anywhere Key, which I’ve now posted in the Shop section of the website. It’s coming next month. They also got a preview of one of my new favorites, the Shadow Key, which should debut near Christmas – photos of it soon.We’re getting lots of questions about more Ghost Keys (understandable, because we just saw one go for $145 on eBay) and don’t have any plans future plans for it right now, but I’m happy to keep you all posted. Speaking of keys selling out ... we had a great key weekend and we’re down to about 60 Head Keys. Thanks again to everyone who’s ordered. Really hope everyone digs them as much as I dig building them. I got my own sneak peek of upcoming keys courtesy of Gabe and Joe. Two words: Friggin' awesome. ‘Til next month, Israel
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NYCC Update

Sorry for the late news, but I wanted to share that there won’t be a New York Comic Con exclusive next week. It was going to be the much-anticipated Anywhere Key. Unfortunately, it took longer than expected to hammer out all the fine details of this key, and to do it right, it’s taken a little more time. We’re hoping now to debut it in early November online and I’ll drop another note when details have firmed up. To lessen any letdown, does it help to know a certain amazing Chilean artist will be autographing some of the tags? More details to come on that, too. I’ll still be at NYCC next week in Artist’s Alley with any remaining Head and Echo Keys (though I will be surprised if either of them last the whole show.) I’ll also have some of my other gallery pieces on display, hopefully a sample of the Anywhere and maybe the prototype of the fifth key, debuting around Christmas, which could come in handy in dark places ... Please swing by, say hi and give me your ideas on what “Locke & Key” goodness Skelton Crew Studio ought to be working on in 2011. Thanks again to everyone who’s dropped a line and ordered. Glad to hear you like them. I can’t wait to continue to add to your – and my – collection.Israel
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Season’s Greetings

Hope all is well and that you don't receive more than five family Christmas newsletters. I kinda feel they are the modern-day equivalent of the fruit cake.  So if you get one from me stating that "Michael had a awesome time at quilting camp," it's just because I'm trying to go green this holiday season and recycle wherever I can. I've had a hectic fall, more sketches and concepts than new pieces, but I see that changing over the winter. A few highlights: Had another great time at BangPop! in September and met all kinds of wonderful folks. Finished a portfolio piece I'm hoping to unveil around mid January. Finally, a few photos of the Ghost Door from "Locke & Key" made for Joe.  A piece like this, I always regret not building two.  I'd love to put one up in my study ... but I've got to build a study first. Sincerely, this year has been great and I've enjoyed meeting so many awesome people. Take care, and happy 2010. The year of the Tiger? We'll see, but really, I hope all that crap is behind him. Israel
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Stay classy, San Diego

Wow, what a crazy July. I wrapped up a large commission, then headed off to this year's Comic Con, which kicked tail. Met some really great people, watched my key be scoffed up by the masses and accidentally met Bela Lugosi Jr. (Also spotted the Honky Tonk Man in gym shorts and loafers, cradling his championship belt.) Some highlights:

The Con exclusive Ghost Key  from Joe Hill's comic  "Locke & Key" sold really well at the IDW  booth. Joe had some long lines, both to sign the key tag and his other works.  It was great to be a part of that.

Joe revealed during his Con  panel a project I couldn't talk about before that kept me busy from  January to June: building a life-sized Ghost Door from his comic. It was a  surprise birthday gift for him from his wife. Hopefully, photos to come  on Joe's site. I'll let him show it off first.

Jill Pantozzi covered his panel for Comic Book Resources, which includes a nice shout-out - thanks, Joe & Jill - and  a sweet recap of the "Lost" panel, with teases.

I've finished rough  prototypes of the Anywhere Key, with graphics help from Mike St. Germain,  and the Head Key. Check out a photo below, or come check it out in person next  month. I'll be at BangPop! again. The convention will  be bigger and better than last year: Sept. 19-20 at the Bangor Civic  Center.

If you're inclined, the Sun  Journal, my local newspaper, did a Q&A write-up on me in advance of the  Con where I share a little about how I got my start making props and my two  biggest  fears. (Thank you, Peter Benchley.)   Israel
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