Skullastic school supplies for boys and ghouls
When it comes to school supplies, Transformers and sports tend to be the themes for the lads, Justin Bieber or something equally fluffy and cute for girls. It's a convention that drove advertising creative director Don Rich to distraction. "I thought, if I see one more soft-focus picture of a kitten on a notebook cover, I'll puke," he said.
Aiming to "put the cool back in school in our own creepy, offbeat, rock 'n' roll style," Rich said, he founded Skullastic on Halloween 2008. Riffing on pop culture iconography and goofy wordplay, the company produces the edgy academic products pictured above, from left: a Buffy the Vampire Stapler notebook, $7.98; the Planner of the Apes calendar, $14.98; "Elm Street" white glue, $4.98; and the Decomposition Journal, a take on the classic composition notebook, $9.98.
Made for kids, they have a cult following among adults. (Full disclosure: I bought a Planner of the Apes at the Abbot Kinney street festival last month in Venice.)
The Jekyll and Hyde notebook sells for $9.98 online and in stores that include Fred Segal; Vroman's in Pasadena; and Co-Op 28, an indie design boutique in Los Feliz, where Rich will be hosting spooky events this weekend.
Rich also peddles his wares in a vintage yellow school bus -- a drive-up, rather than pop-up, store. At street fairs, he can be found appearing as a character known as Headmaster in a white coat and goggles, part of a similarly attired crew he calls the Lab Ratz.
"Skullastic was created to celebrate the outcasts," Rich said. "The freaks. The geeks. The ones who have spent their lives being laughed at, kicked around, picked on and picked last.
"My parents were schoolteachers. I'm not sure if I'm doing this to honor them ... or to get back at them."
-- David A. Keeps
Photos: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times