In my original plans for this blog, I hoped to be able to offer insight into the action figure industry. I had dreams of insiders dropping me juicy tidbits, behind-the-scenes information, gossip–sort of a Bleeding Cool for the toy industry.
So far, that hasn’t happened. Frankly, I don’t have the contacts for it to happen, plus I have a day job, so I don’t have time to be going to conventions and making contacts and so forth. And apparently I’m not likeable or famous enough for people to just start emailing me tips randomly. Which is fine; I’m OK with me.
Nonetheless, once in a while something industry-related does pop up that seems worth highlighting. In this case, it’s a blog post on Action Figure Insider by Jason Lenzi, a self-described “seasoned television producer” and owner of the Bif Bang Pow toy company.
His post is essentially a lengthy complaint/critique about Michael Crawford’s review of the Tron Legacy Sam Deluxe Sam Flynn figure. Before we go any further, note that MWC gave the toy three out of four stars.
Full disclosure: I did something like this myself, years ago. Obviously my opinion has changed over time, and now I could spend hours writing a lengthy retort, but yo go re of OAFE has already done a better job of that than I could.
But I will pick out a few choice lines. Here’s one:
The online community of nitpickers has harshed my mellow on so much over the years, that half the time I avoid delving too deep on any geek subject, lest some anonymous ‘expert’ take the fun out of what little there is left to get excited about any more.
If you can’t stand the heat of geeky discussion and criticism, then by all means, stay out of the kitchen. (If that’s the case, stay away from these. Better just to avoid the stressors.)
Here’s what I think is the silliest part of the blog post:
What’s my point? I don’t know, maybe that we’re all taking this shit WAY TOO SERIOUSLY?? I think we can all agree when someone gets it horribly wrong in the genre world, whether it’s toys, TV, or film. But when did we start picking on the guys who get it right? Or just not notice when it’s done well? Are those souls ever going to be happy?
Saying anything to the effect of “aren’t you taking this too seriously?” to geeks should have some sort of rule, along the lines of Godwin’s Law, that states the speaker immediately loses whatever credibility he might have had with his audience. Anyone who makes geek-related stuff for a living and makes a statement like that needs to realize they’re making the toy industry equivalent of William Shatner’s infamous SNL appearance (which he has long since redeemed himself for).
Later in the comments, Lenzi backs off a bit:
Like I said, this is just my opinion about too-detailed reviews, not about reviews or review sites across the board. I know how popular MWCtoys is, so they’re obviously doing something right to get such a following. Hope you continue to enjoy what they do, and I’ll continue to pop over for info too!
MWC’s reviews serve as much as advertising for toys as anything else. I guarantee you Bif Bang Pow sells more Venture Bros. toys thanks to the publicity and pretty photos from MWC’s review. If I were MWC, I’d consider deliberately skipping reviewing toys from BBP in the future. Clearly they don’t want the publicity. (I fear MWC is too professional to do that, though–I think he does consider himself as having a certain obligation to the collecting community.)
To be clear, I do understand Lenzi’s consternation (although again, MWC’s review was actually fairly positive, which makes Lenzi’s post seem like a bizarre overreaction). It’s always tough to be someone who creates and sends something out there, only to have it criticized in excruciating detail–or simply dismissed as crap. But it’s an inevitable part of being a creator, and it’s especially part of creating geek-oriented merchandise.