Pete “Killer Bootlegs” is an inspiration to the bootleg community and a ray of hope for the people slaving away at their toys everyday.
He has been at it for over a decade and is one of the biggest names in the scene. Pete just recently went mainstream with his kitbashed “bootleg“ Phantom Starkiller with a sold out release through Super 7.
After the come down of DesignerCon 2018, I went back and forth a bit with my bud, Pete “Killer Bootlegs“ Goral.
BR: Tell me a little bit about your toy collection...
KB: I collect a lot of things - 3.75" figures, latex masks, star wars popart, "real bootlegs", boba fett figures - not really so much anymore, because I have them all. I have all the paint masters and first pieces from my own work as well.
BR: Is there still a Grail piece out there for you or have you got it?
KB: I would have to say my grail is the Model Trem #64 Robot WU - Z1. I was in a bidding war for one like 10 years ago on Ebay. I'll find one someday.
BR: Sounds interesting, but what is it???
KB: An extremely rare lead Brazilian bootleg
BR:What advise do you have for beginners wanting to make their own “Bootleg Toys”?
KB: Take your time and learn the craft. Your first attempt to make a figure doesn't necessarily have to be made to sell. Practice makes perfect. Be original and develop your own style. It's better to fail in originality, than to succeed in imitation.
BR: Put that on my tombstone.... Who is coming up in the scene that you have your eye on?
Editors Note: Pete got a Cease and Desist Letter from both Campbell’s Soup and the Warhol foundation for his “Star Warhol“ shown here:
BR: Tell me about this image, Pete.
KB: Ok, so Gavriel or whatever Discordia dude's name is contacted me maybe 2 years ago in regards to this not-so-original pin idea he had. To make pins of bootleg action figures and package them like action figures on a mini backercard and in a blister. He used the Sucklord of an example of someone he was already working with on the project. So I figured, hell if Morgan is working with him - this dude has to be somewhat credible, as the Sucklord was born at night, but not last night... so I say, "sure, let's do it." We decided we were going to do the most popular of my figures- Phantom Starkiller. So, I get the pin design done and color it to the two original colorways - Orange (SDCC 2012) and Grey (NYCC 2012) and sent them to him with the corresponding cardbacks. He decided that the colorways that I had originally chosen weren't as good and since he had his finger on the pulse of the scene, he thought he could come up with something better and came up with this atrocious neon glow in the dark mess. Insulted by the whole situation and kind of dumbfounded that he thought he knew better than me what my own best selling/most popular character should look like, I told him, " If they are not going to be colored as the were originally released as, I'm out."
He decided that it wasn't worth doing if he couldn't have his way, which is INSANE! It'd be like if he was like, I wanna make a Gay Empire figure, but let's make it baby blue instead and Morgan was cool with it. Nope. Sorry.. ain't happening.
So out of spite quite frankly, I think he decided to make that pin [and figure] with a pun that only makes sense if you know the context to my original Star Warhol release.
Sorry for the long winded reply. But there's a little bit of a backstory that makes it make a little more sense. There's more, but that's the kinda cut and dry bare minimum tale.
BR: Shots fired man... Ever fire back?
KB: Not really.. it wasn't worth it. It would just give more attention to someone who's begging for it... And doesn't deserve it.
BR: Is this a good toy?
KB: Are you high?
BR: Super 7 just made your Phantom Starkiller into a big official release. That seems like the biggest achievement you can make! It appears you’ve reached the top so, where do you go from there?
That sounds like such an “ass kissy” question.
But I am curious.
KB: Thank you! I keep asking myself the same question. Haha. But, on serious note, I would like to keep developing more 3.75" figures from my universe and new characters with Super7. I would also like to start potentially working with other toy companies making my characters in different scales and forms.
Like, who wouldn't want to buy a blind bag Curse of The Cryptocrystalline Stone mini vinyl figure from Kid Robot or a hyper realistic Phantom Starkiller or Draco Knuckleduster from 1000 Toys?
I'm open to offers..
BR: What is next on the horizon for Killer Bootlegs?
KB: Just stay tuned for 3 more new and exciting colorways of Phantom Starkiller from KB × S7 in 2019 and a whole hell of a lot of independent resin releases. There's too much to discuss, the readers will just have to keep their eyes glued to @killerbootlegs
Check Pete out on Instagram @killerbootlegs and check out the rest of his rad stuff on www.killerbootlegs.com
Glow in the Dark Phantom Starkiller Super 7 Release From my personal collection.