Irwin Toy resurrection in the works
In the wake of Canadian toy icon Mac Irwin’s recent death, his sons George and Peter Irwin will continue their efforts to rebuild the family business, which declared bankruptcy in December 2002. Having grown up in the toy biz and believing that Irwin Toy still carries considerable brand equity, the second generation of Irwins have registered the name and logo and incorporated as itoys inc. The reborn Irwin Toy’s 2004 lineup will include I-Top, an electronic top aimed at the tween market, and a series of Maginetics Writers drawing toys. Products should start hitting shelves this spring.
Bandai shows its hand in the collectible card game category
With the collectible card game category heating up again, Bandai America is jumping into the fray with a trio of 2004 releases. The first properties to get the CCG treatment early this year will be Superior Defender and Knights of the Zodiac, with Gundam and Digimon cards on deck to hit stores in June. Distinct game play has been created for each property, and the games will be supported by websites detailing rules, tactics, tips and upcoming tournament information. To get this category off the ground, Bandai has put together a new division and design team dedicated to producing the cards.
New teen imprints, and Ray’s kids book foray
Abrams Books for Young Readers and Simon & Schuster have both launched new publishing imprints for the teen market. Amulet Books from Abrams will put out fiction and non-fiction titles, the first eight of which will be released this spring. The books include works by Graeme Base, author of award-winning The Water Hole, as well as sci-fi writer William Sleator. Simon & Schuster is launching Simon Spotlight Entertainment, which will focus on teen pop-culture, entertainment and lifestyle content. The debut list, being prepped for a fall 2004 launch, will include books based on two as-yet-unnamed properties from Comedy Central. In other S&S publishing news, Ray Romano is the latest celebrity putting pen to paper for a kids book. Raymie, Dickie and the Bean: Why I Love and Hate My Brothers is based on Romano’s real-life experience growing up with his two brothers in all its gross-out glory. The Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers title is slated for a fall 2004 debut.