Interview with Iron-Cow Productions’ Matt Cauley

I cannot believe you actually have something this cool in your house!

Mouth from The Goonies

I was fortunate enough to snag this amazing customized Batcave last year from the Iron-Cow Productions store on eBay. The Batcave playset utilizes a custom version of the ’89 Batcave playset from Toy Biz and also features a custom Joker card and giant penny from Batman’s Trophy Room. Naturally, this custom Batcave is one of the highlights of my Batman collection. And YES, it takes center stage in my bedroom! You could imagine how many “40-Year Old Virgin” jokes I get even though I’ve got a while to go before I reach 40!
The man behind Iron-Cow Productions is Matt Cauley, who has grabbed the attention of the industry by showcasing his amazing custom action figures, and illustrations. Matt is a featured contributer to ToyFare Magazine, and he also designed various DC Direct, Battlestar Galactica, and Marvel Comics Minimate action figures. In honor of the Dark Knight countdown Matt “Iron-Cow” Cauley granted me an interview to talk a little bit about what’s going on with his company and how he feels about the premiere of The Dark Knight.

The Batcave playset pictured here was created by Iron-Cow Productions, after all the different properties from Marvel, DC and other companies you’ve customized for do you have a favorite universe or character to work on?

Well, I’ve been a Batman fan all my life, so I’m naturally drawn to him. He’s what got me into comic books and since I drew him so many times as a kid, he’s the character on whom I really developed my art skills. In fact, the earliest surviving piece of Matt-art is a picture of Batman. Batman is easily the character that I’ve customized the most. Black, blue, animated, artist-specific, stylized… no version of the character seems too obscure for me to purchase for my collection, or for me to customize one of my own. You’d think I might get tired of customizing Batman over and over again, but I really have a blast with the character and love all the various interpretations.At least by staying primarily with one character, it gives me a lot of focus. This might explain why all my Doctor Who projects never get finished. With that line there are simply SO many characters I want to make, I’ll start on a new one before finishing up any already started project.

Whether it be illustrations or customizations, do you have any dream projects you’d like to work on?

It’s funny you say that. With the DC Minimates line, I was able to combine both my love of toys and illustrating. The S.T.R.I.P.E. Minimate was based off not only my control art, but if you remove the chest piece, you can see my illustration as well, in the form of his inner cockpit. That was definitely a fun project, creatively speaking. And, since I’m *such* a Batman fan, getting to help design a DC line really was a dream come true! Hopefully the Doctor Who Minimates will see the light of day. Ever since I was a kid, Batman and Doctor Who were my two biggest passions, and to have the opportunity to design toys for both lines? Seriously, that is my dream come true.

Are you looking forward to The Dark Knight?

That opens soon, right? I might catch it at some point. In reality, my wife and I are checking it out Friday night. Can’t wait! Obviously, I don’t know more than anyone else out there, but I have such ridiculous high hopes for this movie. I seem to remember the website having a countdown clock for when “Fellowship of the Ring” was to be released. I found myself obsessively checking that, and then unintentionally counting down the days in my head. 12 months, 6 months… 25 days, etc. The website has a similar countdown clock, and it feels like I’ve been counting down the days to Dark Knight for as long as I can remember. After this Saturday, though, it’ll be interesting to see what is next in line to obsess over. Sure, there’s Iron Man 2 and the Avengers, but for me I need to know when Batman 3 is in the works!

What are some projects Iron-Cow is working on right now?

Most of what I’m doing these days isn’t toy-related at all. I’ve been contributing art to the GREENDOG and EPIC THREADS fashion line that’s exclusive to Macy’s. That’s definitely been an interesting project, as they allow me so much creative freedom. Walking into a store and seeing my art hanging there on the rack gets me grinning from ear to ear. I’ve also been putting together a huge series of portrait paintings for an art show later this year. One of these should be appearing in the upcoming ‘Eye Candy for Strangers’ coffee table book, so look for a sneak peek this summer!

If someone was insulting New Jersey would you go along with them and come up with zingers of your own or would you defend the honor of Jersey and explain all the reasons why it’s great? Either way we won’t hold it against you!

Now WHY would anyone insult Jersey? Now, Texas, on the other hand… you do NOT mess with!

Thank you Matt! I appreciate it!

Wow, Matt is even designing art for clothing lines! And he’s comical too. He was obviously being funny when I asked about The Dark Knight and he replied “That’s opens soon right?” Haha! You can check out Matt’s work at! He’s got a great Michael Keaton/Batman customization posted there among a TON of other great stuff. Be sure to look out for his customized figures, illustrations, and free downloads to help with your own customizations!