Thursday, May 31, 2007

Amy Reads the Week (of June 1st, 2007)

It’s been a Rather Exhausting Week, Gentle Reader, as summer has come to The South, and with it, Summer School. Not that I dislike teaching summer school; far from it. It’s just a daily occurrence, with Really Big Novels, in the Heat, and in a very short expanse of time.

Since with Great Novels comes Great (teaching) Responsibility, I’ve been rather neglectful of my pop culture. Television in the Reads Household this week has been of the Food Network persuasion, and honestly, it’s about all I can bring myself to focus on. This is so much the case that when Mr. Reads asked me if I had read the latest issue of Wonder Woman, I had to, quite honestly, tell him no.

But what this week *has* brought is Great Buying Responsibility, in that I placate Mr. Reads’ addiction to the Marvel Legends line, as he placates This Humble Author’s addiction to All Things Amazonian, All The Time. That is to say, while at Wal-Mart today, I found the She-Hulk, Xorn, and Yellowjacket Mr. Reads has been waiting for, and then, at another store just an hour ago, we found Quicksilver and the Marvel Select Cloak and Dagger.

Mr. Reads is a firm believer in the Posing Power of the action figure, while I, I am rather hesitant to say, am quite an In-The-Box kind of girl. There are few, if any, of my Fun Toys out of their original packaging, and those only happen on the rarest of occasions.

But seeing Mr. Reads’ pure delight over finding these hard-to-get items in our rather small college town made me think of the (hard-to-get) Items of My Own: my Hush Catwoman, my Wasp red variant, my Marvel Select Emma Frost. I remembered back to my months-long search for the Red Son Wonder Woman which I found (finally!) on clearance in a mall a state away. Thankfully I hadn’t traveled a state away just to find said action figure. Rather, the find was fortuitous, and gratefully acknowledged.

There are other things, too, lost in the void of distance, age, and time. My Wonder Woman underoos, of course, as well as my Wonder Woman costume, immortalized in scratchy photographs of a slightly chubby, nearsighted child with too much hair and a look of wonder and hope that has gone the way of said costume. My Wonder Woman lunchbox, my Star Wars lunchbox, my Princess Leia Halloween outfit, my Jem and the Holograms dolls, my She-Ra action figures. Once in my possession, now gone, some twenty years since, but still precious for the memories they left behind.

What is it about the physicality of fandom, Gentle Reader? Why does the Reads Household purchase, still, action figures and Barbies and statues (oh my!)? I don’t think it is a reckless clinging to youth, desperate in its grasp, clutching a bit too fervently. Rather, I think, in no small part, that it is insurance for the future, the decision that despite this or that problem, there is still something solid, something there, something small and plastic and fun that Makes Us Happy.

Or, as I asked Mr. Reads once, “what to do if the future children get hold of variant Sentry?”

To which Mr. Reads said, “!!!”

(Do not worry for future Baby Readses, Gentle Reader! Pup Reads has destroyed, so far, Venom, Namor, Maestro’s crown, and Juggernaut’s helmet, and she still receives love, food, and shelter on a daily basis.)

We collect, and collect, and protect against damage, but we cannot guarantee protection. We cannot guarantee anything. Why, then, collect these things? Why, then, display these objects of fandom, these Physical Representatives of our interests, for all the world—or just ourselves—to see? Because of the memory? Because even This Humble Author remembers with fondness, some 25 years after the fact, wearing a Wonder Woman costume under her school uniform, and feeling for all the world like Diana Prince?

So we buy these things to remind ourselves, or to remind others?

It’s rather late, Friends, and I’ve a long day stretched in front of me for tomorrow, so I leave you not with possible answers but instead with questions. What do we make of our fandom collecting? How do we, as fans, comprehend those objects that mark us as such?

And where can one Such As Myself find a decently priced Hush Catwoman action figure anyhow?

2 comments:

Shelly said...

All my action figures are out of their boxes and the boxes have been tossed. So too have I tossed most of the stands because I don't like them.

I play with my action figures and want them to look as natural as possible. Stands get in the way of that usually.

I like action figures, as well as other vinyl toys, because they're fun to take photos of. And with action figures, I like them as realistic as possible.

I tell stories in photos with them. I've been hunting down doll clothes that will fit them.

I'm a firm believer that play in any form helps keep us young. As a woman in her 50s, I don't plan to get "old" anytime soon!

Amy Reads said...

Hi Shelly,
I confess, your collection was exactly one of the main things I was thinking of while writing this column. I told Mr. Reads that if I had a setup like yours, I would be much more willing to take my figures out of their boxes.
But as I am still (!!!) a student, and as we live in comfortable, but still rather lacking in display space surroundings, I may need to wait a bit yet.

All my action figures are out of their boxes and the boxes have been tossed. So too have I tossed most of the stands because I don't like them.
I play with my action figures and want them to look as natural as possible. Stands get in the way of that usually.


Yours are so much *fun*. I love the posing of them, the landscapes, the situations.

I like action figures, as well as other vinyl toys, because they're fun to take photos of. And with action figures, I like them as realistic as possible.
I tell stories in photos with them. I've been hunting down doll clothes that will fit them.
I'm a firm believer that play in any form helps keep us young. As a woman in her 50s, I don't plan to get "old" anytime soon!


Absolutely! Mr. Reads, too, poses his and creates themed shelves. Again, we are Rather Lacking In Space, so it's a bit difficult to pose everything.

I adore your collection, Friend. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.
Ciao,
Amy