It’s time for another round of answering reader email. (Rather than sticking with “Going Postal” or switching the too-raunchy “Poe’s Sack,” I’ve decided to split the difference and rename the column “Poe’s Bag.” Make of it what you will.)
Before we go further, I wanted to mention to all contributors to Poe Ghostal’s Pic of the Day – holiday-themed pics will get special consideration right now, so submit those visions of sugarplums, whatever the hell those are.
Hey, Poe —
In light of Rob Bricken’s recent i09 article about collecting — how do you deal with what you have in your collection? Do you display them all? Rotate? Is your setup fairly vanilla, with the figures lined-up and organized, or more dynamic?
Dr. Mrs. Ghostal and I were watching Toy Hunter the other night (for the first time, actually). At one point, Jordan Hembrough walked into a collector’s room filled with shelving that were crowded floor-to-ceiling with action figures.
I remarked to DMG, “I’d love a room like that,” and she said, “No you wouldn’t. You’d set them up like that and you’d dismantle it within a week.” And I realized she was right. For while I love toys, I also have another important character trait: I hate clutter. I’m not the type of person to have papers and pens and whatnot all over my desk – my desks at both work and home are pretty spare.
Now that’s not to say I’m a neat and clean person – my desk may look spare, but that’s because everything is absolutely crammed into desk drawers. Out of sight, out of mind as far as I’m concerned.
The few times I’ve really crowded my shelves with toys, I do tend to take those displays apart soon after. I seem to be happiest when I just have a small display or two on the bookshelf above my desk. It’s part of what makes me something of an odd action figure collector, or at least odd in that I write actually write a blog about toys; I have a lot of turnover in my collection because I have so little on display at any given time. And I think part of that is attributable to the fact that I don’t like clutter, and crowded action figure shelves just look cluttered.
As for how I set my figures up, I used to keep all my DCUC and MOTUC figures on a series of clear risers. Nowadays I’ve moved toward more diorama-type situations, with figures looking like they’re interacting somehow.
Regarding Rob’s article – I still want to try and write a longer response to it, but I’ll be honest: just thinking about it depresses me a little, and frankly I’ve been happier than usual lately and don’t feel like depressing myself.
As a fellow fan of Revell’s Power Lords line, what do you think is going on with the powerlordsreturn site? Is it really an impending revival? Or is it a mean ****** toying with my action figure hopes and dreams? Power Lords was not a successful ’80’s toy line so what could be done to make it a success 30 years later? Heard any rumors? All hail Arkus!
I know a little. I do think it’s a serious venture, and I have inklings of who’s involved. If those inklings turn out to be true, I think you’ll be happy…I think. I realize that’s incredibly cryptic but my honor and common courtesy prevent me from saying more.
We were discussing MattyCollector and the Voltron line on another site, and someone made an interesting comparison to the MOTUC line. While we keep getting new/obscure/fan pick figures in the classics line, The Voltron line basically boils down to “okay, how can we repackage Voltron this time?” And I love the big robot so much, I never gave this any thought. They’ve never made a King Zarkon, Haggar, or a Prince Lothor. Hell, how sweet would it be if they made robeast for him to fight? Meanwhile, they beg for preorders so they can make a Castle Grayskull playset!
What’s your take on this?
When I went looking into Voltron toys back when I was reviewing the Blazing Sword Voltron, I couldn’t believe no one had ever made a Robeast that was actually in-scale with Voltron himself. There was a line of the human-scale figures and there were lots of various Voltron figures, ranging from 6″-12″ or larger – but no monsters for him to fight! You can see this happening even today – what’s the percentage of Evangelion figures to Angels?
Anyway, I think Voltron just doesn’t have the fan base it needs to be as successful as Masters of the Universe Classics. Brands like Transformers, Star Wars, MOTU, G.I. Joe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were not only supported by popular media but lasted for years and featured dozens of collectible characters. Voltron was a fairly popular cartoon, but the characters (and thus toys) were limited and the franchise never became a true pop culture phenomenon like those other ones did. This was also the fate of Thundercats, BraveStarr, M.A.S.K., C.O.P.S. ‘N’ Crooks, Captain Power, Silverhawks – they were popular but ultimately they were all fighting to be second-best. Nowadays they each have their own devoted fanbases, but none on the same scale as, say, Transformers.
In any event, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I suspect Mattel is done with Voltron for now (despite how well the Lions sold). Hopefully they’ll let it die peacefully rather than letting it drag on like Ghostbusters.
I love your site, been reading it daily for several years now. I was wondering if you could tell us more about yourself – I take it you are married, from the references to Dr. Mrs. Ghostal. How long have you been married? How did you meet? What do you do for a living? Any kids?
DMG and I have been together for eight years and married for four. We met through friends – we like to say we moved in together before we started dating (I took a sublet in her apartment, which she shared with three other roommates – we began dating a month later). No kids yet.
As for my job, I work at a library (technically I can’t say I’m a librarian because I don’t have the degree, but I’m working on it).
Godzilla has always been a big part of my life since I was very young. What is your first fond memory of the King of the Monsters?
I can’t remember the very first time I watched a Godzilla movie, but I have a few specific memories related to him. The earliest is probably from when I was about three or four: I had no Godzilla toys at all, so my mother and I drew some, cut them out and pasted them to popsicle sticks. Yes, I was that desperate for Godzilla toys.
I don’t remember receiving my first Godzilla toy, which was the now-priceless Godzilla vs. Tricephalon set, but I do remember that after I got my first Bandai Godzilla, I traded the Godzilla for a Tribots MOB-L. When I was in college, my parents later surprised me one Christmas by reacquiring that same Godzilla vs. Tricephalon set for me on eBay (presumably for a small fortune).
I remember my cousin Ed handing me down his Shogun Warriors Godzilla, which was both very cool and awfully weird (the figure, not him handing it down).
Speaking of that first Bandai Godzilla, I also remember the day I learned that vinyl, when exposed to cold New England weather, becomes brittle. I learned this while whacking my King-Goji on the side of my sandbox. I don’t remember why I was doing something so shockingly dangerous to my toy, but I do remember I was laughing maniacally with a friend while doing it. Anyway, it broke, and so did my heart. Shortly thereafter my family moved to a new town (I assure you the events were unrelated – I did not go on some sort of youthful killing spree in a broken-toy blood rage, forcing my family to change its name and flee). To ease the transition to a new home, my parents replaced that King-Goji.
There are more Godzilla stories (including how Godzilla helped me get into college, and how he played a role in the day I met my wife), but those are the earliest.
1) if you could get a toyline for a property you love that hasn’t had one or isn’t getting one that meets your standards, what would that be?
2) What country would you most want to see us exploit/empower by moving toy production there once China becomes too Westernized (read: paid) to make that profitable anymore?
1.) Where to start on this one? I could write an entire post about beloved properties that don’t have toys, and what I wish existing toy lines would do. I think my dream right now would be for S.H.MonsterArts to start making Showa-era Godzilla monsters, but setting that aside, the two properties I’d choose are Doom (the videogames) and the movie The Monster Squad. And maybe a new line of H.P. Lovecraft-inspired articulated monster figures, like SOTA’s defunct Nightmares of Lovecraft. Oh, and a 6″ Marvel Legends-style Hellboy with a plastic (not cloth) coat. And for NECA to be able to finally make that second wave of TMNT figures.
2.) I tried to come up with a joke for this one, but I just couldn’t. Frankly I’m not sure American companies will ever be able to find cheap, reliable sweatshop labor like they had in the mid-to-late twentieth century. Seems like globalization is making it increasingly difficult. But I really don’t know much about this topic – I avoided Economics in college (to my detriment, as my credit card bill reminds me each month).
And that’s it for this week’s Bag. This column depends on you, dear readers, so send in those questions to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Custom Poe Ghostal Minimate by The Minimate Factory