Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Getting Started

The Point of All This

While waiting for the servers to come back up from their weekly maintenance (ye gods, I hate Tuesdays), I started browsing internet shopping sites, scanning for any action figures that needed to be mine. I found two before I thought I better stop; I don't have room to display all the ones I have as it is! So to pass the time non-constructively, I started looking for various sites that dealt with female figs, and found a couple that seem to be currently unmaintained. Action Girl (AKA Sarah Dyer) compiled a kick-ass list (actually several) but the pages haven't been updated since 1999. John Fuller has a smaller list of females and non-white action figures, not updated since 2009. So I thought, if no one else is, maybe I should.

The goal of this blog is to inform and inspire grrl geeks and the boys who love us. I will write the occasional review for a figure, possibly rant at the state of women in comics, but mostly I want to maintain a record of female figures in case the two I mentioned above disappear entirely! Not entirely certain how I'm going to do that in blog format, but I do not want to take on another website at this time. So while I figure out how I'm going to manage this project, here's maybe some proof of my sincerity.

Yes, I unboxed them. Because they're toys, not an investment.
And because I wanted to play with them. :D

My Personal History with Action Figures

I started collecting figures after I ran across an article in Lee's Action Figure News & Toy Review #32 [June 1995] entitled "Deadliest of the Species: Collecting Female Figures." The writer in me cringed -- with only two genders (male/female) that should read "deadlier," but I overlooked it, mostly, and started reading. I was intrigued, and apparently so were a lot of collectors. Female figures are generally short-packed in an assortment, for a couple of main reasons. One: The line is usually built around a male hero and everyone will want to have the main hero in the assortment, so there's several of them in a case. Two: By and large, it's male children who play with action figures, and they don't want the girls. Because we have cooties or something. The end result is fewer females in an assortment, which is frustrating as a collector.

In 1995, my husband and I were young and child-free. We read comic books, went to comic book shops regularly, and that's when I encountered that issue of Lee's and started collecting. I cruised the toy stores, I went to shows, and I collected. In our small apartment, there was no place to put them, so they stayed in boxes. We we had our daughter and moved to a house in the 'burbs, they stayed in boxes, because there was still no where to put them. And while I did still pick up a few here and there after she was born, for the most part, collecting went on hold in 1997. By the end of 2000, she was diagnosed with autism, and that made me reconsider where disposable cash got spent. Only a few figures were purchased after 2000, which turned out OK, since the market was cooling considerably.

We moved again in 2010, and the finished basement finally gave me a chance to unbox my girls. O! happy, geeky day! Days, really, it took quite a while to get them unpacked and arranged on the shelves. And rearranged, and shelves moved, and rearranged again. I saved all the cards they were blistered on, and most of the tchotchkes they came with went into small zip-top bags, labeled with what figure they came from. But before I did that, I spent days photographing them in the packaging -- front and back -- using a photo table and a boom softbox strobe flash. I carefully inventoried them all, even the ones I wasn't able to display. Presently, my collection is at 307 figures. Not so many, really, there are collectors at DASH with way more than I have (but when you're collecting the boys, it's easier, eh?).

I'm far from an expert, and I haven't religiously followed the trends in figures for years, but since I'm not proclaiming to be, it's all good, right? Enjoy the ride!

My server should be back up; I have to go finish getting Loremaster of Outland now...

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