Werewolf beats all: Interview with the CEO of fantasy sex toy site Bad Dragon (NSFW)
At this point, the dragon dildos have become a personal archetype. Since Bad Dragon came onto my Internet psyche, the Arizona company's vividly colored sci-fi/fantasy sex toys have lingered around the corners of my mind. The mental exertion that designers had spent on what a cockatrice's penis might look like and on how an orca's vagina would feel to stick yourself into. The craftsmanship (made in the USA.) The lovingly-written, exciting character bios and comic illustrations that let you know that your Moko the Liger toy is embodied by a feline dojo master who favors wearing revealing tunics.
At some point, we realized it was perfect for this week's Sex Issue and we made a flow chart in celebration. (You can check the chart in our digital edition, page 29.) Once again, the Bay Area has cause to fulminate on which characters from LOTR, Brian Jacques' Redwall, and outer space it'd most like to meet outside the pages of their fan fic.
But Bad Dragon's a slippery slope. Make a flow chart, and you want to know the whole story behind the company. Hence, this email interview with Varka, the mysterious CEO and founder of the company, who dips occasionally into third person in a way we found endearing. Read on for office catfights, and about the supremacy of the werewolf race.
SFBG: Who started Bad Dragon and why?
V: The initial idea to produce fantasy-themed adult toys happened in 2007, when Varka was first learning to sculpt in clay over Skype with other fantasy enthusiasts. These accidentally created fantasy cocks were amusingly well recieved when photos were posted online. At this point Varka realized that if these toys were to become available for others, significant help would be required to turn the prototypes into a viable business.
As a result, Bad Dragon was founded in June 2008 by Narse, Raith, Varka, and Athus, out of a shared love of all things fantasy. At the time there was a very poor selection of fantasy-themed toys available, and so they focused their enthusiasm and talents towards filling that niche. Since the very beginning Bad Dragon has grown at an astonishing rate, starting with just four people and growing to nearly 30 people, all working towards the goal of making fantasies real.
Varka is a computing science graduate and systems designer from Scotland that loves to tinker with prototypes, produce proof of concepts, and pursue new ideas.
Narse is an esteemed fantasy artist whose love for his favorite characters knows no bounds. His art can be seen today in the character art that accompanies most of the products that BD sells.
Raith is a talented craftsman, whose contributions in mold making and model finishing were instrumental in BD's success.
Athus was a talented and driven illustrator and 3D sculptor, who created some of BD's finest designs. He sadly passed away in 2011, and is missed by all.
SFBG: What is the most popular model?
V: Our most popular model is David the Werewolf, closely followed by Natascha the Anthro Husky. Bruiser the Fusion also gets a lot of love from customers.
SFBG: Who came up with the idea for the liger edition?
V: It was a team effort; we got a lot of requests for something feline-ish through our forums, and that combined with a lack of decent anthro feline toys on the market persuaded us that it was about time we developed something to meet that demand. We ended up deciding on a tiger-lion hybrid -- mainly because there was no clear winner in the tiger versus lion versus panther "catfight" that took place via staff emails!
SFBG: Does the Bad Dragon community exist offline? Are there gatherings for the fantasy-sexual?
V: The community exists in little pockets offline. We sell at conventions, but often our customers will meet up with one another and host their own small-scale gatherings, particularly at conventions. So far we've not seen many large gatherings mostly because of the wide geographic dispersion of our customers. We're hopeful that with wider exposure and awareness of the fantasy-sexual community (as well as other events which draw in new people such as fantasy/sci-fi conventions) that there'll be more in the future!