Saturday, April 26, 2008


The demise of Adventure Boy got me to thinking about an old idea of mine. The action figure world is crowded with heros and villains. In fact, in a line like Batman a run usually consists of a bunch of Batman variations and three or four villains. But heros and villains don't exist in a vacuum; there should be the ordinary people whose lives are all too often the counters in the struggle between them, whether as victims or objects of rescue and preservation. I always thought there should be a class of action figures of just ordinary people to fill this role. So I propose the creation of ExtraOrdinary Action Figures.

It should consist of six basic figures: an Old Man, an Old Woman, a Boy, a Girl, a Man, and a Woman. Their clothing should be designed to be typical, but detailed; the sculpt of their features not too bland or over-defined, but enough to show some character. They shouldn't have too many articulation points, but the joints they do have should be sturdy. They might even be manufactured in several different scales to fit your favorite formats. Because they don't belong to any particular franchise I think they could be sold two or three to a package for the price that one figure usually goes for.

If the line would prove successful, I would suggest further additions: a typical set of Medieval people to be used in historical or fantasy settings, a set of Futuristic people, and perhaps a set of WWII era people. A further line could be ExtraOrdinary Accessories, featuring common props appropriate for each set of figures.

I understand this verges dangerously on the model train or dollhouse mentality, but what of it? As a kid, some of our playings consisted of vignettes or "set-ups", as we called them, cool backgrounds or theaters of action where the adventures took place. Many action figures these days verge on the "action model", and seem never intended for play, remaining in the boxes or at most on display on top of some computer. Many collectors are interested in "army building", collecting numbers of the soldier-drone figures to make massed ranks in battle. What of civilian casualties?

I understand this line of toys might not appeal to the ordinary ten year old kid who just wants to dream about being Spiderman. But I think there is a niche that could be filled, and profitably. Heck, I'd buy them.

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