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To open or not to open... that is the question

By Andrew Kardon     March 28, 2002

So I'm talking to my friend Jeff the other day. He's a big Simpsons fan. We both are, actually. Back in high school, we used to trade d'ohs and chemistry notes on a regular basis.


Anyway, I asked him if he picked up any of Playmates' awesome SIMPSONS figures yet. He did. Roughly two-dozen or so, plus a few playsets. But then, well, then he told me something about his collection. Something dark and sinister. He told me that he hadn't opened a single one.


Yep, the timeless should-I-open-it-or-should-I-keep-it-in-the-package debate was on once again. Me? I've got hundreds of action figures in my house, all opened and set up in various poses. Do I have issues? Yes, but that's a topic for another column.


So I tried to see things rationally from his side. What possible reason could he have for not wanting to open up a perfect CHIEF WIGGUM action figure? Heck, the tubby little guy even comes with a donut! Well, after talking things over, Jeff's apparently not as evil as I originally thought. There are some upsides to not opening a figure.


First up is the display issue. He likes the way they look in their package on his wall. Yeah, I gotta admit it does look kinda cool. It also ensures that all those crazy little accessories don't get lost. His other reason is that if he ever gets sick of them he can just sell them and get more money since they're unopened. Okay, I have no clue how you can get sick of a rake-wielding GROUNDSKEEPER WILLIE, but he's factually correct that he'd get more money for them unopened.


With that said, why would anyone open their figures? Well, for starters, how about to enjoy them?!? Open up that sucker and have some fun. Move the arms. Set them up in...uh...compromising positions. Whatever. Recreating movie or TV scenes is what action figures were created for. (No, really. Just ask them if you don't believe me.) They're also a great conversation piece. It's a lot easier to pick up and comment on a figure if it's just sitting on your desk begging for attention.


Is it wrong or evil to keep your toys eternally locked in plastic, never to breathe the sweet air of freedom? No. Not at all. When it comes to toys (and just about any collectible for that matter), there are pretty much two types of fans: those who buy figures to play with/show off, and those who collect more as an investment.


Me? I love action figures for their look, features and poseability. If I lose a few guns, donuts and little beer cans in the process, that's just fine with me. After all, there ain't much action in hanging a figure on the wall.


TOY TIDBITS


Toy collectors are seeing green again, thanks to DC Direct. If you missed out on the original HARD-TRAVELING HEROES line, you're in luck. The company is bringing back the ring-bearing hero for an encore presentation. The GREEN LANTERN HAL JORDAN action figure hits stores again this June with a mini power battery and a completely new, four-color blister package that ties more closely to the recent GREEN LANTERN CORPS packaging.

[IMG2R]

You knew it was bound to happen sooner or later. Funky fresh toy company LEGO is finally releasing its first real action figure line this July, based on Fox Kids' new CGI show GALIDOR: DEFENDERS OF THE OUTER. According to Lego, these space-age toys make up "The world's most amazing interconnecting action figure line." Apparently, you get to put each figure together once you open up the box, and even swap body parts between figures.


Toy fans will soon be able to satisfy not only their action figure cravings, but their hunger as well. Tying in to that li'l summer movie called SPIDER-MAN, fast food restaurants Hardee's and Carl's Jr. will be offering all sorts of Spider-Man based goodies, including car radio antenna figures starting in April. Then in May, kids' meals will sport one of four nifty wall-crawling toys.


Your favorite movies are getting the toy treatment this year courtesy of Sideshow Toy. Besides releasing a second wave of MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL figures this fall (yes, they're even doing a ROGER THE SHRUBBER figure), the company's releasing 12-inch action figures based on popular characters from ARMY OF DARKNESS and PLATOON. Due out this spring, ASH and EVIL ASH sport some 24 points of articulation, and some wicked accessories. Also marching to toy shelves this spring are 12-inch war torn figures of CHRIS TAYLOR (Charlie Sheen), SERGEANT BARNES (Tom Berenger) and SERGEANT ELIAS (Willem Dafoe).


ON THE SHELVES


Yo, Joe! [IMG3L]That's right, soldierHasbro's "Real American Hero" is back. Facing off against those ever-parachuting wusses called Cobra, GI JOE is raging a war on toy shelves everywhere. Available in two packs pitting a Joe vs. his Cobra counterpart, these figures are all new sculpts of some familiar characters...and a few new ones. Also be on the lookout for assorted vehicles and a really great-looking line of 12" figures.


Go Figure is our weekly Toys and Action Figure column.

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