Superplastic is an operator of a global entertainment brand intended to create and manage animated celebrities. The company specializes in the manufacturing of animated synthetic celebrities, designer toys, and apparel. The company was founded by Paul Budnitz, with artist Huck Gee, who oversees art and production. They have collaborated together since the early years of Kidrobot (Paul Budnitz original company).
The company was founded on the principle that effort and scarcity are intrinsic components of value, which appropriates tools of mass media and mass production to create limited edition works of art for a limited audience. The company produces and sells limited-edition designer toys and apparel based on its characters Janky and Guggimon, Dayzee and Staxx, Kranky, and ShüDog. The company collaborates with brands and celebrities such as Gorillaz, Rico Nasty, J. Balvin, Steve Aoki, Addfuel, McBess, Seen, FACT, County of Milan, Volksawgen, and Oscar Meyer.
Superplastic owns an animated collaboration house of "synthetic superstars" which are characters that live on social media and are seen in partnership with celebrities, iconic fashion brands, and gaming platforms. The platform has millions of followers across its social media channels and began selling the characters as NFTs. The sale of NFTs helped the company build its Discord community, around the company's stable of violent, fashion-forward cartoon characters. This is all part of Superplastic's virtual ecosystem in which fans can interact through NFTs, animated films, retail experiences, and more, with CEO Paul Budnitz commenting that he is building the company through concepts similar to Marvel or Disney.
The two early stars of the company, Janky and Guggimon, are the characters that helped build the ecosystem, with both living more on social media and NFTs being sold of the characters. As well, different studios in Hollywood have optioned the characters for feature films, but the founders of the company said nothing was getting made, which in part led to the development of Superplastic.
These characters were used to establish the so-called JankyVerse, which has since been populated by a number of cohorts, such as Dayzee and Staxx. While many of these cartoon characters would have previously signed a deal with Netflix or Disney, they are now instead working through Superplastic and financing to produce their own feature film. The company has stated plans to open retail stores in New York City and Miami.
In response to the growing popularity of Superplastic, Gucci collaborated with the company to develop a range of NFTs known as SuperGucci. This is part of Gucci's edge into Web3 and led by Gucci's head of design, Alessandro Michele, who co-designed the NFT collection with Superplastic. Through the collaboration, Gucci and Superplastic are developing a three-part series of limited NFTs. Each NFT incorporates House codes found in the Gucci Aria collection, and comes with exclusive 8-inch tall white ceramic SuperGucci SuperJanky sculpture, crafted by ceramicists in Italy.
Paul left his company, Kidrobot, in 2012 and decided to focused on new projects: a luxury bicycle company and a social network. Huck launched his own platform in 2015 but decided to call it quits after struggling to make it a full-time career. In 2017, an Instagram account, Superplastic, posted an image with a question mark and Huck had the same image posted. This started a buzz of the return of Huck Gee to the designer toy industry. It was later confirmed that Huck would be the head of design and production.
It was launched in 2018 through Kickstarter with a goal of raising $25,000, but raised $200,000 within the first few days. The campaign ended with $547,566 and 3,899 backers.
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