We feel like we’re the next thing in magnetic toys.

There are very few things in life that children love more than action figures. I know I’m not the only one who spent many a childhood day waging imaginary space wars or staging a castle siege that culminated in utter devastation for a merry band of plastic figurines. Children love action figures because they embrace what children do best: playing and creating imaginary stories.

Bo Hacking has been a 3D artist for over eight years, rendering images and objects for various games and local movies. After giving in to his own artistic wishes and buying a 3D printer, Hacking began playing around with the concept of creating actions figures, bringing them to life via an imagination that had created hundreds of fictional characters over the years. 12 characters later, the Morphonauts were born.

Wanting to see if the idea would sink or swim, Hacking set up a booth at Salt Lake Comic Con to get feedback from the masses.

“I made a bunch of characters, took them to Salt Lake Comic Con and the kids there went crazy,” Hacking said. “I was just kind of testing the market, I wanted to see what kind of feedback I could get, and kids loved them.”

One of the distinct aspects of the Morphonauts is interchangeability — all body parts are connected with magnets, so anything (arms, legs, heads) can be mixed and matched at random. Not only does this mean Morphonauts can’t be broken, it means children are encouraged to use their imagination in creating the most unique action figures around.

“Comic Con was huge and it got my wife interested,” he said. “She came to Comic Con to help me out and she was like, ‘There’s a market for this, let’s invest more.’”

Riding the success of Comic Con, Hacking began exploring different options to get Morphonauts off the ground. Step one? A current Kickstarter campaign designed to raise money for molds and manufacturing the toys.

Raising money for product creation is only the beginning. Hacking plans on supplementing the Morphonauts action figures with an array of other options — video games, boards games, comics, animated series. He also is in the process of designing the Morpholab app, which allows users to create their own character and then have it produced exactly from their mind’s eye.

“The app lets people customize their character exactly how they want it,” he said. “No one else is doing that, you get to customize the character before you even buy it. When we came up with this, we wanted it be the total experience of getting your toy. We want kids to go create a story.”

Hacking is still in the very early stages of bringing Morphonauts to market, but that’s not stopping him from remaining confident on what the future holds.

“We feel like we’re the next thing in magnetic toys,” he said.

Published 6/15/2015