Category Archives: Action Figures

End of an Era?

I’ve been collecting action figures for decades, in fact, for as long as I can remember.  I’ve never been a fanatic about anything I collect, I get what I like, I keep it pristine and I put it away.  I did that when I was 10, I do it today in my 40s.  There just has never been any other way for me.

A while back on a forum, someone started asking what people collected in 2012 and I was forced to admit nothing.  My reasons for this are twofold.  First, the one that I detailed on the forum, that the figures that are coming out today are simply not cost effective.  There’s not enough value for too much buck.  It’s not because I can’t afford it, I can afford pretty much anything, it’s just that I look at these figures and the prices they’re charging and shake my head.  It’s just not worth it.

But as I start to look at it, I realize that it’s not just the cost/benefit, but the lack of anything worthwhile.  The quality of figures has been going down for a while as the cost has been going up.  Instead of figures getting better and better, they get worse.  Worse sculpts, less articulation, worse paint jobs, etc.  The manufacturers are getting cheaper and cheaper while their products are getting more expensive all the time.

Finally, it’s hard to find anything to buy, even if I wanted to.  You get wave after wave of pretty much the same figures, peppered with a few new things, but rarely anything I’d ever want to own.  Looking at Marvel Universe, for example, they haven’t released a single new figure all year and when they finally get around to it, I want less than half of the wave.  Of those figures, yet another one is Spider-Man.  I lost count on how many Spider-Man figures I have already.  Or how many Iron Man figures.  Or how many Wolverine figures.  Every single wave seems to have one of them, or someone just as common.  It’s the same thing that eventually had me quit buying Justice League Unlimited figures from DC.  Every pack had Superman, Batman, Green Lantern or Wonder Woman.  The prices kept going up and seriously, how many of the same damn figure can you really have?  I’m even looking at the Halo line and finding the same thing.  Same characters over and over and over, very rarely anything entirely new.

As I look back at it, I realize I haven’t bought a single action figure in over to 6 months.  There just hasn’t been anything worth buying, or anything on the shelves if I want to buy.  Oh sure, I occasionally walk through a toy department and see what they have and invariably, most stores haven’t stocked a thing since Christmas.  The aisles are full of empty pegs and what they do have, I don’t want.

So I made a decision.  I actually made this decision a while back but I’ve wrestled with it for a couple of weeks now.  I’m no longer collecting action figures.  It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s not that I can’t afford it, it’s that the joy I used to get finding that hard-to-find figure in a store is just gone.  It’s not exciting.  I just don’t care.

Maybe a vacation is what I need.  Ignore the action figure market for a couple of years and hopefully the situation will improve.  Hopefully the companies will start to take pride in what they produce.  Hopefully it won’t be “let’s stick this head on that body and paint it badly and hope nobody notices”.  I notice.  I expect quality.  I expect value for my collecting dollar.  So long as I’m not getting it, they’re not getting my dollars.

It’s sad but that’s the way it’s got to be.

What A Good Idea!

Saw this floating around some of the toy forums and blogs and though it was a really good idea.  I ought to make some of these up!  It might convince some of the local retailers to actually put some product on the shelves instead of leaving the pegs bare.

Nah, that might mean they’d make some money and they can’t have that, can they?

Collectors Getting Butthurt

It really bothers me that when people start asking the “hard questions”, so many people freak out.  As most know, we’ve been having a discussion over on an action figure forum regarding how collectors act and what makes one a collector.  I think I’ve made some very good points and I’ve had a lot of people agree with me, but there are some hard-core people who simply cannot handle having to define their terms, instead trying to make them as vague and generic and all-inclusive as possible in order to keep from hurting anyone’s feelings.  It feels a lot like the accomodationist nonsense we’ve talked about so much here, where anyone, no matter how absurd or demonstrably wrong, has to be coddled so they don’t feel bad.

We’ve pussyfooted around the question, but eventually, I had to ask outright, “What are the defining characteristics of a collector?”  That’s when all hell broke loose.  I was immediately declared boring by the people who simply didn’t want to deal with the implications of the question, probably for fear that they wouldn’t fall under the definition.  “You’re probably one of those people who has to have all the terms in their life defined!  How dull!”  However, it is an important question though, one that does need to be discussed. Continue reading Collectors Getting Butthurt

Collector or Accumulator

I know it’s a matter of definition, but I consider myself a collector of various things.  I’ve collected a lot of different things over the years, starting with stamps when I was much younger, moving to action figures, gashapon, comic books, regular books, DVDs, coins, etc. over the years.  I even got involved with collecting stickers for a very short time back in the late 70s/early 80s because I knew a lot of people who did and I guess I went along with the crowd.  I’ve been very open that I have the “collector gene” and I enjoy getting a variety of objects. Continue reading Collector or Accumulator

Not An Issue Of Money

Over on an action figure forum, people were complaining about the new price increase at Target for the Justice League Unlimited 3-packs from $15.99 to $19.99, just as Target announced that they were not picking up any more JLU merchandise, effectively killing the line months before it’s scheduled end.  Lots of people were upset, understandably so, that not only wouldn’t they be able to get the last couple of 3-packs because Target wouldn’t carry them, but because Target was gouging people on the last 3-packs of the line.  Most of us recognize what Target is doing, they’re raising the prices so that, in a few weeks, they can “clearance” the line at the original $15.99 price point and not lose any money.  It’s sleazy, but what can you expect? Continue reading Not An Issue Of Money