Hobby Musings: Meet David Sobolov – Many fans dream of the chance to be a character in a favorite franchise like the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Trek. For actor David Sobolov, the dream has been a reality many times over.
The versatile actor has voiced characters for big franchises in those aforementioned galaxies and Transformers among others. In addition to portraying a number of characters, he’s also signed quite a few autographs over the years.
I had the chance to catch up with Mr. Sobolov to discuss his experiences with signatures and memorabilia.
KS: What was it like to get your own trading card?
DS: Oh boy I felt like when I was a kid and collected baseball cards. It was a thrill, I’m not even kidding. To have a card with my name on it, it was special.
KS: Cryptozoic gave you an exclusive card. What more can you tell me about that?
DS: I still have a number of them. It was a special Grodd card George Nadeau at Cryptozoic had made for me. It was created to help launch the card release and at first they were given away for free. During that time I probably gave away 200 of them unsigned and then I more or less vaulted them. Now I’m offering them signed again for $40 – and have them in my store.
KS: Do you collect your own cards?
DS: I don’t. I actually collect antique product packaging. I have a Tide Box from 1953, older 7-UP bottles, that kind of stuff. It’s very rare to find a lot of this stuff.
KS: Have you kept any souvenirs from any of your jobs?
DS: Yes, I have any figure that was released in public that is associated with the characters I voiced. Sometimes I’ll get figures from other people in the cast, but typically just the characters I voice. Sometimes I’ll get the cast to sign the figure. I have a Depth Charge Beast Wars figure that I got a lot of the cast to sign.
KS: What do fans typically ask you to sign?
DS: My biggest seller is Grodd-related stuff. From my past, there’s a character from Halo Wars called the Arbiter that quite a few people remember. I see a lot of completists who want everything from a certain show. I did an appearance on Star Trek Enterprise voicing a Gorn named Slar. He was a rebooted character, but there’s a card of him. I didn’t have one or even know how to get it, but fans bring it to conventions to get signed.
Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy, and all the Transformers characters are popular with fans too. Items I get asked to sign run the gamut from photos to toasters. Even a cell phone, but mostly the stuff people associate with the show. The Grodd Pop Funko and any Pop Funko in general, people want them signed.
I have my own photos on my online store that people ask to get signed. A lot of people also bring me their own items for signatures. Something special from their childhood. It means a lot to them to have the actor sign it after so much time.
KS: What is the strangest thing anyone has ever asked you to sign?
DS: The toaster was pretty weird, but that was from a fan who typically asks me to sign odd things. It’s become a running joke with us. I was asked to sign bag of Doritos. There’s only one thing I don’t sign, body parts. I’m not quite famous enough to get asked this often, but it has happened. I have friends who have been asked a lot and will do it. For me though, I think that gets a little too personal.
KS: On the flip side, what is the coolest thing anyone has ever asked you to sign?
DS: When I get those 90s Depth Charge figures, those are pretty cool. They’re getting more rare. The smiles on people’s faces when they bring them up, it’s incredible. When people bring me older comics of Lobo or Grodd, those are pretty cool to see too. Sometimes I get confused with other actors and have to tell people I didn’t player certain characters. For example, I voiced Shockwave from Transformers and people would think I did Soundwave instead.
One thing I sign that I consider to be really special is a DVD or poster where the person is trying to get the whole cast to sign it. The people who collect those do a lot of work getting the signatures at conventions or through the mail. A collector brought me a Flash poster where everybody on the show had signed it. This thing was ratty and had a lot of miles on it. My lowest signing price is for people like that who are really committed.
KS: You’ve been a part of a lot of big franchises, Transformers, Star Trek, Marvel, DC etc. Which one of them do you think has the most passionate fan base?
DS: I think they all do. When you go to Dragon Con, every fandom is there, and the passion of every fan base comes out. I was there for a big anniversary for Star Trek and my Star Trek prints were flying out the door. Marvel, DC, etc., all the different fandoms are passionate. I’ve been lucky to be a part of all of them.
KS: If fans wanted to get your autograph, what would be the best way to do so?
DS: You can go to my online store. That has prints I offer to be signed. The fan portal section includes the different pricing if you want to send items to me to be signed. That would be the best way to get an autograph from me now. The autograph business has actually increased online during the pandemic since fans can’t get out to conventions to meet the actors.