It’s interesting where the world of toys can take you. Some times you’ll find a new figure every day for two weeks straight, while other stretches leave you figure-less for weeks on end. I’ve been in a bit of a collecting slump recently, but only because the world of toys doesn’t always line up with the world of reality. Much like parallel dimensions, a collector will get sucked from one world to the other. That’s been me.
But as of yesterday, I happily made my retreat from the world of the living and stepped back into the world of plastic. I finally bought some action figures. In fact, I grabbed a whole handful of Lego Minifigures, and I couldn’t have been happier ripping open each little package.
Despite the world of toys leaving me behind for a number of weeks, it kept on spinning. And the last few weeks had some major happenings. Here are some of my favorites.
Barbie becomes a cancer survivor. Some months ago, there were a number of groups pushing Mattel to release a “Cancer Barbie”. In what would essentially be a standard doll, minus the hair, these groups sought to use the iconic image of an “ideal woman” to both raise awareness and change the stigma which can surround those suffering through cancer. Mattel finally followed through, and now we’ve gotten a glimpse at “Cancer Barbie”. It’s a bold move for a company which rarely makes them, and a apt change from the norm for the world of toys’ most consistent woman. She’s been a nurse, a doctor, and now a patient, and she’s never looked better.
Minecraft becomes a toy. For those unfamiliar with “Minecraft”, it’s one of the biggest independent video game releases of all time. It basically involves building anything you want out of a series of blocks. Toy collectors will recognize such a style of play as being rather similar to Lego blocks. And it really is a sort of digital Lego set that’s captured the world’s imagination much like Lego throughout the years. Two things so decidedly similar were bound to cross paths eventually, and thanks to Lego Cuusoo, Minecraft and Lego are now one in the same. The Minecraft Lego set is a fitting tribute to an amazing game, and a beautiful Lego set in its own right. But the most important part of this release is that it shows how open to interpretation Lego has become, and how magical the results can be.
The Avengers happened. Whether you’re the biggest comic book nerd in the world or you have no idea who Captain America is, if you’e a toy collector, The Avengers film release was good for you. The biggest movie of all time is inextricably tied to a variety of toy lines, and that’s a wonderful sign for the future of toys. Kids everywhere are being exposed to playful plastic in an assortment of ways and styles. And even if the positive sales effect only lasts a month or two, those same kids are going to grow up and collect just like the rest of us. The characters’ motto in the film is “Avengers Assemble”. But for toy fans like us, it’s really more like “Collectors Assemble”.
Here’s to spring cleaning without a dusty figure in sight.