Some people like pro football, so they pay attention to NFL players, and not just when the players are on the field. Same goes for fans of every other sport, or movies, books, daytime television … whatever. If something interests us we study it, and the people involved, with more enthusiasm than anything our social studies teachers could have dragged out of us.
I like model kits and have learned a lot about the people who make them. One fellow I’ve always wondered about is George Stephenson, founder and former owner of GEOmetric Design.
GEO was one of the first big garage-kit companies I became aware of after re-entering the hobby in late 2001 and its models quickly captured my attention. They were wonderful, affordable kits sculpted by some of the most talented people in the hobby, including William Paquet, Mike Hill, Jeff Yagher, Joe Simon, Thomas Kuntz and Takayuki Takeya.
It didn’t take long to figure out George was the man who ran GEOmetric. It also didn’t take long to figure out George was quitting the business and slowly shutting down GEO.
Bad, bad news for this budding middle-aged hobbyist. It was a relief when Phoenix Comics owner Al Matrone made a deal to buy GEOmetric in 2003 and continue the company.
In the years since, I’ve crossed paths with many of the creative people involved in GEOmetric and have interviewed some of them for Resin the Barbarian. George … well, I briefly met him twice, once at Imagine-Nation Expo 2002, which I believe was the last hobby show he attended as GEO’s owner; and the second time at WonderFest 2005, where I found myself standing next to him in the dealers’ room. I took the opportunity to introduce myself before quickly running away for fear of being even more of a pest than I’m used to being.
Both occasions predated the creation of this blog, and so I couldn’t create an excuse to throw a bunch of fanboy questions at him. In the years since, it would have felt rude. The guy’s a judge in his day-to-day life, I had no business pestering him to talk about the hobby he departed years ago.
Imagine my delight upon hearing in 2009 that George Stephenson was returning to garage-kit production, and that his new company would be called Black Heart Enterprises.
GOODBYE GEOMETRIC, HELLO BLACK HEART
A brief confession is in order. An awful lot of what you’re about to read is the barest rewrite of an autobiography George put together himself. He’s a good writer and I know better than to mess it up just so I can say I did it myself.… Read the rest