While checking out the vendors at this year’s Days of the Dead Chicago, I was pleased to see that Jay Langley and his signature Scarebears were among them! I love sinister toys and particularly enjoy gruesome Teddy Bears which a few amazing artists out there have been crafting; and each with their own unique touches. We’ve featured a few of them on this site but, after spotting Jay and his latest batch, I realized (to my great shame) that the Scarebears had yet to be one of them. That’s pretty surprising since I was an instant fan when I first saw them a few years back; enamored with their EC Comics’ style gore and signature skulls with eyeballs! They’re also affordable by convention standards and obviously a big hit with many of my fellow horror buffs who I often see walking around with one at events. I own two of them myself and look forward to adding more of them before my Terror Dave days are over.
Their creator, Jay Langley, despite creating things of nightmares, is one of the friendliest guys you could ever meet and always gives a warm greeting whenever I stop by. He’s also a devoted family man with a heart of gold; often using his skills for charitable causes. During this event he’d brought along a special Ace Frehley Scarebear that the guitarist signed and will soon be auctioned for St. Jude’s Children Hospital.
In order to delve further into the world of Scarebears, Mr. Langley graciously agreed to an interview while granting us permission to share photos from his Facebook page (which you’re encouraged to “Like” by visiting HERE). I ended up using a LOT of his pictures because they’re so darn cool!
Dave: How did you get started making Scarebears?
Jay: Over five years ago Scarebears were inspired by my children , my little boy was hitting his sister with a teddy bear , she snatched it up from him & said “Dad can you do something with this? ” I’ve always dabbled in arts & crafts , before Scarebears I had a comic book & did other things such as tattooing, logo designing, & other mixed media .
Dave: One of the things that really stands out with your creations are their “eyes.” Can you give me a little backstory on those?
Jay: The eyes vary , some are acrylic some I make out of glass, I try to make the eyes suit the specific bear I’m creating; three types that I make and one that I purchase from a supplier . The eyes add a certain personality to each one of my morbid creations Hahahaha!
Dave: Tell us a about some of the fundraising you’ve done with Scarebears and how you got involved with that.
Jay: I’m always willing to donate a Scarebear for fundraisers & charities. Some of my bears have fetched thousands in raffles, but my favorite charity is St. Jude’s. If I create a bear I don’t want to sell I auction them on eBay and send the proceeds to St. Jude’s because there is nothing more important than our children.
Dave: I noticed photos of you holding your bears with many celebrities attending the conventions you’re at. What are some of the celebrity reactions you’ve had from your work?
Jay: I’ve had a list of celebrities that are fans of my work such as Butch Patrick, Michael Rooker, Danny Trejo, Kane Hodder, Tara Reid, and Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. Their reactions are usually very enthusiastic; they love them and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into making the bears. Michael Rooker’s reaction was priceless, he walked by my table at a convention about three or four different times before finally stopping and saying, “What the f@$#?” So I offered him one of his choice. Danny Trejo actually left his table where he was signing autographs and chased me down in the hallway to follow me back to my table to get one for his daughter, he even gave me a little endorsement on YouTube. You can see him at my table whistling and waving people over to buy one , he’s such a cool guy!
Dave: I’ve had the privilege of seeing your work at several events these past few years and always with an arsenal of all-new stuff. How do you manage to make so many bears with no two ever being exactly alike?
Jay: Most of my bears are different from each other because of the types of handmade skulls I use & I always try to do something different. I also work with an artist named Patrick Hart, whom I met at a convention in Indianapolis. He has a unique way of making particular skulls and I like his style so we’ve partnered up to make Scarebears the best in the “horror plush!”
Dave: I’m going to assume you’re a fan of horror films…what are some of your favorites and have any influenced your work?
Jay: I’m a fan of BAD horror movies; the ridiculously over the top funny ones of course. My favorite is Dead Alive…that movie is hilarious !
Dave: How would someone unable attend a fan event get their own Scarebear?
Jay: If anyone wants a bear and can’t see me at a convention, they can always visit my website scarebears1.com & email me. I all do custom orders via PayPal
Special thanks to Jay Langley for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us! And might we add, Scarebears make the perfect holiday gift?
Coming Up…Days of the Dead “Women in Film” panel!