PopLurker Interviews: Jon Bryans from Gaelstone Media (Part II)

Here at PopLurker, we’ve conducted a pretty substantial number of interviews. (And boy, have we been yelled at for some of them, you opinionated stinkers, you.) For the most part, many of these conversations have been one and done, a notch on the interview belt. But sometimes, the power force behind the company or brand we’re chatting with is so dynamic and full of life that we just have some come back for more. So today on PopLurker, we’re celebrating the one year anniversary of our last chat with Jon Robert Bryans of Gaelstone Media, a super varied and full service media company in Canada, to talk with them again and check out what’s been going on with them since our last talk.

You can check out Part I of PopLurker’s interview with Jon Bryans of Gaelstone Media right here.

Hi Jon—welcome back to PopLurker! I’m so glad to get to catch up with you and everything that has been happening over at Gaelstone Media in the year since our last interview. Let’s jump right into it because there’s a lot to discuss here.

Jon: Thank you very much, can you believe it has been one year and one quarantine later? Wow, time flies when you’re having fun…or are locked up inside your house. It is our extreme pleasure to come visit our friends at PopLurker once again.

You’ve said it, Pal—you wouldn’t believe the amount of writing I’ve accomplished here in my Phantom of the Opera style quarantine dungeon. All right, to business– you recently announced a promotion with Global Genesis Group. How does their brand tie in with Galestone Media, and what does this developing relationship mean for the future of both companies?

Jon: I did, didn’t I? It was an extreme pleasure to be offered the position, an honour that humbled me, and I feel so lucky to be working closely with Rick, Harel, Charles and the entire crew at Global Genesis Group.

As for their brand and Gaelstone Media’s, well, that is probably the easiest question I will answer all day…they are completely in sync. We at Gaelstone have had the honour and privilege to be working with GGG on a number of properties (and a few more coming) that it just made sense for me when the offer was made to take the Head of Animation Development position. This allows me to not only help GGG grow into the animation market, but it allows Gaelstone Media to have a place to explore new and exciting ideas.

For the future, I will be working closely with GGG developing out their library of animation, both big screen and small screen, and working with the amazing creators of those property to build a strong team that will guide those properties to achieve the greatest success possible. It will also allow us to do the same at Gaelstone Media, and when I am focusing on the GGG side of business, I have amazing partners at Gaelstone. Both Krista and Bryan are always there and ready to step into my shoes when I cannot, so I would say both aspects are in great hands, and together (and I mean always together because team is very important to me) we win.

Last time we spoke, Action Mice had been purchased by Amazon and a full season was in development. Currently, you guys are nailing down the trailer. You must be thrilled to see completed animation. Please discuss with us what that felt like to see your property in front of your eyes like that, and how much longer it will be before we’ll be watching full episodes?

Jon: Action Mice is really ramping up. Amazon Prime is there, and we are looking at many other avenues to bring the amazing adventures of Action Mice to kids all over the world.

The trailer is a work of art, from the script, written by Kevin Monroe (TMNT Animated movie director) or showrunner, to the animation and post work, most done by Global Genesis Group themselves, to the score, oh that score by Nicholas Rivera, as I said, it’s all a work of art.

When you are a creator and you create a property, this is always alive to you, somewhere deep inside the characters are living, breathing extensions of your thoughts. When you write, they live, but to be able to sit in front of a monitor and hear those voices, the ones that often speak to me and to see those characters move…it is a surreal moment, like your soul has just been lifted out of your body and transplanted into a world that has only existed deep inside you for so long.  I got goosebumps, I got thrills, and I cried a little, and I am proud to say that.

The biggest news as of late is enormous for you and the rest of the team at Gaelstone—the acquisition of the Panda Khan character. For those not in the know, Panda Khan was an early 90s comic book and action figure crossover character from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He is a very recognizable character (much like TMNT’s Usagi Yojimbo) but never made an appearance in the animated series. How did you feel when you learned that you won the rights to this character, and how long did this process take?

Jon: Panda Khan, where do I begin other than WOW, we were so very fortunate to meet Dave Garcie and Monica Sharp, the amazingly kind and generous creators of such a timeless character. It was enormous for us, and we worked so hard to make it happen. A very proud moment for Gaelstone Media was getting to announce that acquisition.

We had been working on this deal for about a year, on and off, and it was all about timing. And when I knew Action Mice was getting closer, the time was then. I drafted and agreement, spoke with Dave and Monica about my ideas, explained how I wanted to grow the brand of Panda Khan into something it wasn’t the first time around, but deserved to be. Again, there were some back and forth conversations and they agreed. That was a moment of extreme pride for me to hear the creators of Panda Khan say they understood my plans and where I was planning on going with their character and that they were “all in”…two amazing words.

Panda Khan comes with his own lore and backstory. What are Gaelstone Media’s plans for Panda Khan currently? Do you plan on keeping any of this original backstory or will he have a whole new origin tale?

Jon: Panda Khan does come with pre-existing lore in the comic books, but we will be taking him in a slightly different direction with the animated series. We at Gaelstone Media have created a universe (not unlike the MCU Marvel Cinematic Universe) and Panda Khan was a perfect addition to our universe, The Anthroverse.

Panda Khan, some of the other characters, and a host of new heroes and villains will exist alongside Action Mice and all the characters in the Anthroverse. We plan on using this opportunity to do a clean slate development of the property, keeping elements at the core, but bringing it to a new modern place. As we do this, Dave, Monica and Mickey Clausen will continue the original comic, not changing from that style. It is going to be amazing.

During our last conversation, you mentioned that you were writing a new six issue miniseries revolving around the classic 80s franchise, Sectaurs. As of this year, toy collectors now have Zica Toys’ new 4-inch Sectaurs action figures in their hands. Is there any fresh news regarding the Sectaurs comic book, and has the release of the toys, which was overwhelmingly positive, affected the public’s response to the news of the comic?

Jon: Zica Toy’s Sectaurs figures were so good, weren’t they? I love my set.

Sectaurs is continuing, I am doing a final draft of issue #2 and am a good way into issue #3 as we speak. We have planned out the whole story arc to issue #6 and there will be more after that, but you will have to get the 6 issues to see what will come next.

Conversations have been happening with publishers, and we have even talked about Kickstarter, but there will be more on that at a later date.

Please tell PopLurker readers more about your (as of last year, eight) other intellectual properties in development. Which have come further than you expected them to, and what do you think causes those seeds to sprout quicker than others?

Jon: As I was saying about The Anthroverse– It’s big. The Anthroverse is the universe in which Gaelstone Media’s flagship titles all exist within. Staged like the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), each title will be a standalone property, however, they will all link with and crossover with the lynchpin property, Action Mice. Building the story, Action Mice will set the tone and pace for the other properties in The Anthroverse, such as:

  • Ranger Rabbit
  • Kennel 9
  • FireFROGS
  • Agents of F.E.L.I.N.E (FEdwral Law and INtelligence Enforcement)
  • Panda Khan
  • Dire Wolves

There is one more, but that will remain a secret for a while. We have a number of other properties that are at various stages of development, including:

  • BEARRIORS: Guardians of the NightLight
  • Santa’s Spies
  • Ricky Rocket and the Rocket Rangers
  • Pangaea PD
  • UniVersers
  • FairyGlow Kingdom
    And some surprises to come.

I am a multi-tasker at heart, I am always creating. I believe an idle brain can only lead to boredom, so I keep it going. I love creating, I love telling stories. I laugh– some people have called me the new Stan Lee. I say thank you, but I have a very long way to go to even be have the creative genius of that man, but If I can only be half his genius, then I am proud of that. And maybe my greatest dream will eventually come true, the recreation of Saturday Morning Cartoons…I have plans on how to make that work, even in this era of streaming.

Off the topic of Gaelstone, let’s talk toys. I know that a passion for toys and collectibles is something we both have in common. And I know that we both agree that in the last year, Star Wars Black Series, G.I. Joe Classified Series, and the new Sectaurs toys have completely crushed it. Tell me which figures specifically have totally blown your mind.  

Jon: The Sectaurs ones were really good, Star Wars Black Series have been knocking it out of the park, but I think for me, the toy that is getting me most excited (other than Action Mice toys) is the G.I. Joe Classified Series. If you can’t tell just from Action Mice, G.I. Joe is my thing. It always has been since that day way back in 1982, when I stopped at my local corner store and looked through the comic spinner and there is was in all its glory; G.I.Joe A Real American Hero #1 from Marvel Comics. I had to ride home quick, ask my dad for the money (which he gave me) and ride back (hoping it was still where I hid it) and there it was! I bought it, rode back home, and I must have read it 20 times or more that afternoon and I fell in love with that property.

Like Star Wars, which I saw it opening night (and my dad took me to) and then my dad giving me the money to get G.I. Joe #1…they both inspired me. These stories took hold of my core and guided me to where I am today. I guess in some way, you can all blame my dad for my creative onslaught…and G.I. Joe and Star Wars, too.

And finally, I asked it before and I’ll ask it again—what is in the pipeline for Gaelstone Media now, this year, as compared to where we were last year?

Jon: This year is the year we hunker down and get Action Mice out, then we build on to The Anthroverse. 2020 and beyond will be big for Gaelstone Media.

If you are a creator, and you have an anthropomorphic character that needs to be represented and you have seen our work and believe you would fit into our Anthroverse, please reach out: you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkdIn. Also, watch for some news coming soon, we are going to have a contest…news on that after the summer.

We at Gaelstone Media would like to thank PopLurker for taking this time with us, we always enjoy being interviewed by you and look forward to sharing some exclusive bits of news as time goes on.

Until then … remember our mission statement at Gaelstone Media … #ImaginationBroughtToLife.

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