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You Better Not Be Collecting Superhero Toys for “Fun”

There is a fanboy that I see a lot at my local comic shop. His name is Eric. Eric loves the Marvel Universe line. He told me that he just thinks they are fun toys, that the lower price point makes him feel more relaxed about collecting them and that the scale was easier for him to both display and store. So, basically he was making an argument for how convenient they are. Seriously? That’s how we’re going to evaluate superhero toys now; how “easy” they are to collect? And how much “fun” they are? I’m sorry but I have no time for people that want to half ass toy collecting. If you’re not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to collect toys properly, then in my opinion, you don’t derserve to collect toys. I’m sorry, I really am but that’s how I feel and nobody is going to make me say otherwise. That sort of collecting disrespects the properties themselves. If you want to gripe about figures aimed at kids, like scuba Spidey, then you can’t turn around and say, “I bought this because it’s fun to play with”. That’s a double standard I can’t abide. Collect with respect or get the F outta the way.

- Cliff Francis, Costume Contumely – The Devolution of Action Figures or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Marvel Universe Figures

Tip of the hat to CBR poster Gilda Dent for linking to this piece.

48 Comments

Yikes. I am not a collector of any toys (or action figures or dolls), so I suppose I can’t comment with any authority about the issues in the Marvel Universe line, but … sheesh. It sounds to me like someone’s spending too much time worrying about what other people do with their toys/action figures/dolls. If someone else likes it and you don’t, well then, let them buy it and enjoy it! Good for them, even if it stinks; you can save your money for the stuff you do enjoy.

Jonathan Ehrich

February 3, 2010 at 7:09 pm

It’s… it’s just gotta be a joke, right? I clicked on the link and read the whole post, and I still can’t decide.

yikes indeed. i’m happy the marvel u toys here are available in the local malls (only five minutes away!), no need to interact with ubergeek snarkiness. i love the new toys as they’re very much like the 80s GI JOEs i grew up loving. and yeah, they’re pretty cheap, too. i hope they extend the line, and include some vehicles (fantasticar, blackbird, quinjet).

He probably believes comics are meant to be sealed in plastic instead of read as well. :P Well, to each his own.

And grown up people CAN play with t- I mean Action Figures if they want to. Ever seen those “I’m a Marvel, And I’m a DC” videos on YouTube? They’re hilarious! :D

AMEN. I also hate it when kids play hopscotch for fun. If you aren’t playing to win then go the fuck home.

It’s a satire piece. The funny thing is, there’s a LOT of people over on thefwoosh that actually think that way. I just got banned over at their board (again) because they all take it all way too seriously.

Boy, now if only those stupid kids would stop buying toys to play with….They sure don’t understand, do they?

Being clever’s a fine thing, but sometimes a boy just needs to get out of the house and meet some girls.

I think it’s funny that he put this after the majority of his rant about how other people are wrong:
“that’s how I feel and nobody is going to make me say otherwise.”

It’s okay for HIM to criticize other people, but beware, if you criticize him then you’re wasting your breath.

You know what’s really fun? Getting into a conversation with collectors at your local comic shop’s counter and referring to their action figures as “dollies”.

“I’ve heard other fans of the MU line say that they love the 4 3/16” scale because that’s the size of action figures that they’ve been collecting for many years with Star Wars, G.I. Joe, etc. So you’re telling me that because you want Hawkeye to fly the Millennium Falcon or Deadpool to make out with Lady Jaye, real collectors like myself must be subjected to substandard, reduced size super heroes? ”

Man…..that´s funny!

I absolutely love the Marvel Universe toys, as well as the other 3-&3/4 inch Marvel toys by Hasbro. That has not at all been influenced by obsessive toy collectors online, enough so that I don’t think that they even deserve the dignity of a satirical response. Buying toys as an adult is enough of a controversial identity statement without worrying about the internal politics of ” collecting “.

Man, and here I thought the Comic Book Guy on the Simpsons was fictional…

a sad and pitiful being of meat and bone.

My kid got into my toys and that’s it. Jesse Custer no longer has paint on his nose.

Tom Fitzpatrick

February 3, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Ooops! Better go get rid of my Rorschach and Grendel action figures! ;-)

Daniel O' Dreams

February 3, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Wow can no one identify a piece of satire anymore? It was clear to me from the beginning. The name of the article is a play on Dr. Strangelove you know that famous SATIRICAL movie.

Oh and Eric when someone tried that “doll” line on me; I simply turned around and complimented him on his purse, Which he insists on calling a “backpack.”

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

February 3, 2010 at 9:04 pm

On the upside, it all turns out alright after he sells the toys and marries Catherine Keener.

I have no time for people who do anything BEYOND half-assed toy collecting.

Wow can no one identify a piece of satire anymore? It was clear to me from the beginning. The name of the article is a play on Dr. Strangelove you know that famous SATIRICAL movie.

I didn’t say it wasn’t satire.

I really don’t particularly care either way, as I think it’s funny both ways – intentionally or unintentionally.

It’s a satire piece.

Is there any truth to this?

Because if it IS satire, my God, the man is a genius.

But I’ve seen this piece goofed on at two different message boards, and if it is supposed to be satire’s, nobody’s caught on to that.

Oh, well, withdrawn, then. Well done, Cliff.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

February 3, 2010 at 9:41 pm

I’ve seen Dr. Strangelove’s subtitle used unironically too many times to assume the article is satire on those grounds, alas.

For example: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/education/edlife/26linguistics.html

It’s not hypocritical at all. Scuba-Spidey was retarded when I was 7 an it’s retarded now. I never wanted a dozen weird gimicky versions of the hero. I wanted a full cast and rogue’s gallery.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

February 3, 2010 at 10:13 pm

But I’ve seen this piece goofed on at two different message boards, and if it is supposed to be satire’s, nobody’s caught on to that.

The comment section under the piece doesn’t seem to think so…

Oh, well, withdrawn, then. Well done, Cliff.

So it is?

Man life was easier before the internet, when you could figure out if something was a satire or not.
Now you just can’t shake the feeling that some fourteen year old really is spilling their heart about how toys aren’t toys, but collectible action figures, and he’s sick of the haters saying otherwise.

I recently referred to the “Blackest Night” action figures at one of my local comic shops as “dolls.” The owner didn’t say anything, but he looked at me the way Carrie would just before she tosses a car and blows it up — with me still inside.

I don’t know where to start with this one. From the link:

They know we’re forced to buy whatever they put out.

And:

I’ll buy them, but I won’t buy them without a fight.

After I read those two lines I think I lost just about every bit of respect for this poor man.

I guess I should throw out all my JLU action figures I got as a kid because I had fun playing with them.

Man.. sometimes you just got to hate people…

Heres his bio from the site:

I’ve been a comic book fan all my life. Unfortunately, all things superhero seem to be in a sad state of affairs of late. I have dedicated myself to stepping forward and championing what is right when nobody else will. Sometimes I’m a voice in the wilderness, but somebody must be an advocate. These characters, these stories, these icons; they are far too important to allow their misuse. They fought for us in the darkest times. Now we must fight for them. If I’m the only one willing to take a stand, so be it.

I think he’s going about his little personal vendetta wrong. Haha!

What a loser.

The problem with this as satire is it’s played with too straight of a face. It sounds EXACTLY like someone that would take that position would say. And as Omar said, the problem with the title is people have used variations of the Dr. Strangelove title in a serious essay. The sad fact of the matter is people DO take doll collecting THIS seriously and there’s no way to tell if this is a satirical piece or if it’s completely serious.

I’m very serious about my collection of fun toys.

I think everyone is serious about their toys, that’s why you spend money with them in the first place. You’re serious about having fun with them.

Whether it’s satirical or not, it makes me want to go by my little nephew a case of action figures, recklessly tear open the packages and start making the figures “fight” and smack the hell out of each other.

Have you even looked at a box of your old action figures and other toys, and lament the fact that they’re not in great shape. I started to stop that line of thinking and realize that they look like that because you had fun playing with them!

You know, I work in the Toy Industry. I have for years.
I worked at Hasbro (during the original runs of GI Joe & Transformers) and am currently working for K’NEX (Toy Construction toys) and it’s guys who really think like this Cliff Francis wrote, that frankly, IMO, we could do without.

I’ve decided that it is satire. I don’t think I’d want to live in the same world as someone who’d write it seriously. It is funny both ways. It’s just that one way is also really sad.

By the way, Hawkeye flying the Millennium Falcon would be cool. I could definitely see Clint and Han having a beer together.

I just don’t get people who buy toys and never take them out of the packaging.

If such people really exist, what would they say about what we did in the 70′s. We actually switched costumes between the Mego action figures.

With my old Mego figures, I used to put Green Arrow’s bodysuit on Batgirl (with helmet removed) to make Phoenix. You know, back when you used to have an imagination to play with toys… erm, I mean action figures. :-)

It’s got to be satire. The way the guy replicates almost all of the talking points we’ve seen a thousand times in nerd rants about comic companies and philistine fans ruining the beloved characters, it’s just too perfect.

If such people really exist, what would they say about what we did in the 70′s. We actually switched costumes between the Mego action figures.

They exist, but they’re grown up comic collecters and the toys are the Todd McFarlane Toys statuettes.

I’ve had conversations on the CBR messageboards with people who do this.

I agree completely.

I use MINE for intricate self-flagellation rituals.

This is the sort of person who would have convulsions if he saw the state of “Marvel Superhero Squad #1″ that I bought my kids last month…

It’s currently in about four different parts in their rooms…

BUT IT HAS BEEN LOVED!!

While I appreciate the shoutout, I believe Justin D. deserves credit for linking to it.

Next this sicko will be removing those action figures from their boxes and actually PLAYIng with them! Does he not understand MIB?

Pearls before swine.

-Cliff

“If you’re not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to collect toys properly, then in my opinion, you don’t derserve [sic] to collect toys.”

Wow, I’m glad *I’m* not a joyless prick.

It always amuses me when an internet commenter uses the phrase “trust me”.

Dudes this guy isn’t real.

Its like Ann Landers. just for fun.

Course there are others out there (HELLOOOOO), who will tell you otherwise.

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