I’ve been going back and re-reading some of my oldest toy reviews lately (partly in an effort to get my reviewing mojo back, I’ll admit). In the course of doing so I came across some statements I made that, in light of more recent developments, seemed pretty amusing.
From my review of the Spawn: The Viking Age Skullsplitter figure from McFarlane Toys:
I actually find it rather interesting; if McFarlane can take these characters, change their names and cook up a new back story, why can’t I? I think action figure collectors should reject messy, half-baked biographies and come up with their own stories.
This was followed by a review of Bluetooth from the same line, where I wrote this:
[…] more importantly, why is there a need for a backstory at all? This complaint isn’t so much directed at McFarlane Toys at it is toy collectors in general. I know that McFarlane put out several lines without the backstories – it was the fans who demanded they be brought back, feeling that they had no connection with the figures without some sort of understanding of who or what they were. All I can say is, that’s a little sad. It seems collectors are ready to come up with potential storylines for their toys, but they’re incapable of characterizing them.
I can’t decide whether this is consistent with the things I’ve written since then or not. I’ve always said I make better connections with figures whose characters have some sort of story or franchise behind them, but at the same time, I’ve rejected many of the bios created for MOTUC. (I still think Gygor is good, for example. I don’t care how many people think he’s cool as a bad guy. In my universe, he was a heel who made a face turn.)
I think I like to have some sort of character bio – at least the barest outline of one – but I also want the option to create my own stories with them. That may actually be what bothers me most about the MOTUC bios. While I’d like nothing more than a brief background and some information about the character’s personality and abilities, Mattel’s effort to tell an ongoing story within the bios often shortchanges all of that.