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Meet The Prank Toys & Pop-Up Superheroes Kids Will Be Asking For This Holiday Season

bang zoom design
Courtesy of Bang Zoom Design
From left: Inventor Steve Casino and Bang Zoom Design Co-Owner Steve Fink. They both collect old toys and it was Maurice the Monkey (which Casino is holding) that originally brought them together. Both owned the toy.

In the midst of a move to Over-the-Rhine, Bang Zoom Design made time for WVXU to show off the holiday toys of past, present and future. New this year are scary bugs to prank people and superheroes who come to life off comic book pages.

What propels this Cincinnati toy company to success is its ability to build on current brands like Barbie and Hot Wheels and come up with its own take like Hairdorables, Treasure X, Gleemerz and the Grossery Gang.

Pulp Superheroes is scheduled to debut at Comic Con in San Diego July 18, 2019.

Swarm Squad is already casting fear in some.


Inventor Steve Casino says he is inspired by visiting antique malls and Walmart. "I've just been obsessed with toys since I was playing with them and I've never stopped."

"We love coming up with those new and original brands as much as coming up with toys to fill in brands like Barbie and other existing brands," says co-owner Steve Fink. He is most proud of the Hokey Pokey Elmo the company developed in 2003. It was voted overall toy of the year by the Toy Industry Association.

Bang Zoom Design is already working on toys for holiday 2020 and 2021.

Ann Thompson has years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology