Thursday, September 23, 2021

Even for's O.K. to play!

There's no doubt that society is ever changing. For better or for worse ideals and situations that were once unacceptable to the general public have rapidly been making a complete 180. No, we're not getting political here. We're staying on the track of collecting but perhaps in a bit different manner than usual. Collecting action figures hasn't always been the most accepted practice. To some it's just "collecting dolls." But what about playing with them? Surely only kids do that. Interestingly enough, adults have found a new way to "play" with toys ranging from superheroes to Star Wars to wrestling: action figure photography.

Go ahead and plug that hashtag in on Instagram. You will be amazed at what you see. Real events and matches recreated. "Dream" bouts and settings that never occurred. "Bookers" creating their own promotions and lineage. Even custom figures of wrestlers who never truly existed. It's all there. Taken with cameras ranging from professional jobs to the one packed right in your cell phone. Go ahead and look around. See what there is to see. I'll wait.

Did you see all of those cool pics? The truth of the matter is that "action figure photography" is an adult way to play with toys. And it's accepted. Did you take a gander at the "likes" and "follows" that these account receive? Escapism. Art. Fun. Whatever you want to call it, it's here to stay.

The action figure manufacturers themselves have totally helped. Figures are becoming more and more realistic every day. You're hard-pressed to find a wrestling action figure these days that doesn't have interchangeable hands included, not to mention heads and of course clothing and accessories. With varying ways to make a single figure appear visually, a crafty photographer can place that figure in any number of different situations with a variety of interesting results. Even mixing accessories and outfits from a variety of different releases can surprise the most seasoned toy photographer.

There are even some companies away from the licensed groups that are getting in on the action. Any variety of dioramas and backdrops can be found to make these photographs completely immersive. Sure, the Rebels can hop aboard a starship or Batman can surprise The Joker in a dark alley, but now wrestling rings can be set up in full-sized arenas. Need a backstage area and/or locker room? You're covered there, too. And of course there's no substitute for imagination and a little elbow grease. Heck, Mattel has supplied some fantastic interview backdrops as cardboard backing with some of their releases over the years. You didn't throw that packaging away, did you?

Believe it not, I'm of the opinion that this hobby will have a lasting effect on the collectible market itself. With more and more buyers opening their figures to have some fun, less will be left boxed. While some will argue that these modern figures are mass marketed and thus will never hold the same value as their counterparts from the past, just point out how lack of proper distribution (thought I'd avoid that word in this entry...) on some of the figures instantly cemented their collectability.

Now then, open up that Mattel King Harley and take a great pic!

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