Perhaps the saddest news to come out of the Maskfest weekend was the news that Don Post Studios had been shut down. The news got out very early on Thursday morning when workers at Don Post Studios were escorted out of the studio and the doors were locked up tight. Details on the purchase of DPS parent company Paper Magic Group can be read here.
It was exactly one week ago, almost to the hour as I write this post, that I first heard the news while standing in the mask room at Fantasy Headquarters in Chicago along with the Green Ghoul. The Ghoul's phone rang and a friend who was at the studio amidst the chaos relayed the awful news. I remember feeling shocked, saddened, and confused....
Shocked... because of the suddenness of the whole event. After all, I was expecting to see Don at his booth at Maskfest the very next day. It was obvious that this would no longer be the case. It had been almost a year and a half since Don had debuted the Halloween 3 mask prototypes at Maskfest 2011. Headhunters were waiting patiently for the 2012 show where the masks had long been rumored to be for sale to the public for the first time.
Sad... because of the loss of jobs for some long time
and loyal DPS employees. A move like this puts people out of work and their jobs
are shipped over seas to low cost labor in China. No matter your political stance, it's hard to
shallow this type of corporate action and the thousands of instances like it over the past several
decades that have gutted the American manufacturing work force.
Confused... because I initially felt the need to blame someone for this. But, in the end, it was Don who sold the company several years ago. This move could have come at any time for the studio, and I'm sure Don was aware of that possibility when he made the deal. Such is the case when a parent company is involved.
Confused... because while I'll miss the idea of having Don Post masks in the stores come Halloween, will I actually miss the masks? I'm not sure. It's no secret that the quality of the products that have come out under the studios name haven't been the same for many years since the production moved to China. With that said, the quality and the lineups have been pleasantly surprising and over the past 2-3 years. In fact, I was looking forward to picking up a handful of DPS masks this
year. Just like last year when I bought a Sewage, and a Robbin Graves.
For 20 bucks each, they're fun masks. Not great, but fun. Are they worth
$20 each, absolutely! So, I suppose the answer is, yes, I will miss the masks.
There was a lot of buzz and excitement over the 2012 line-up. Especially the H3 re-releases. I'm quite sure this excitement will be short lived. The H3 masks that are due to be released are of far lesser quality than what was expected and what was promised last year. In fact, the quality of the copies I saw over the past weekend were poor. Very VERY poor. That is being kind.... they looked like shit, and that is perhaps the worst part of the whole scenario. In 2012 Don Post Studios was set to relive a bit of glory from one of the high points of it's long history. Instead the doors were shut and masks that will be released are masks that barely resemble the originals. A sad end indeed to the greatest mask company there ever was...