Have You Ever Called it Quits?
March 31, 2010

All the hub bub over the Masters of the Universe Classics Moss Man a couple weeks ago got me reminiscing about the vintage Moss Man. An original series figure I did not get. Oh, I remember quite vividly seeing him hanging on the pegs at the County Variety 5 & 10 in Kinnelon, NJ. I remember staring at him longingly and at length and on multiple occasions. So why the heck didn’t I get him? Because I had decided I had to quit buying action figures. Of course, I had some help making that decision!

It was 1985 and I was around 13 years old. My older brother, Joel, made it perfectly clear that I was getting way too old to be playing with toys. My heart didn’t think so but that’s an age when the feelings of peer pressure are strong. Lord knows, I didn’t give in right away but eventually I came to the decision that it was time to go cold turkey with the toys. And I did. In fact, the decision was so deliberate that I clearly recall the very last action figure I got. I wasn’t into Thundercats but I must have been looking at them in the JC Penney Christmas Catalog that year and I thought the bad guy, Hammerhand, was pretty freaking cool. (Uh, yeah, he’s a pirate viking with a massive claw fist!) So I put him on the list, mom assigned him to my grandma Nanny, and I unwrapped this last action figure at her apartment that year. Somehow I still have him.


So that was it, time to grow up. Psh. Before long I found myself wandering into places like the Disney Store at the mall. As they would re-release the classics, Disney often produced little PVC figurines of characters from the movie. For some reason I didn’t feel like I was disobeying my "No More Action Figures" injunction by picking stuff like this up.


Hard to believe I wasn’t able to stop with the Disney Store’s PVC offerings.


Fast forward to 1999. A little known movie called Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was on the horizon. In the weeks leading up to the premier we watched the trailers over and over again at work. I got pretty good at imitating our favorite Gungan: "Yousa people gonna die?" On a whim I stopped at a Toys R Us on the way home one day and ended up buying the Collection 1 Jar Jar Binks. Yes folks, the most maligned character in all the Star Wars universe is what’s responsible for reigniting my love for the little plastic people. (In fairness, its a pretty good figure!) I refer to it as the Jar Jar Slippery Slope. Was there a particular figure or line that got you back in the saddle?

So from Hammerhand to Jar Jar I was off the action figure sauce a good 13 years. Definitely missed some stuff in there. Like I’m sure I would have picked up lots of the Toy Biz Marvel figures. I’m curious about other quitting stories. Let me know your experiences transitioning from a kid action figure lover to an adult action figure lover.

Let’s tie this back up with Moss Man. Months ago when we first got word that old Mossy would be coming to the MOTU Classics line my heart kinda skipped a beat. Here was my chance to redo my adolescent decision not to get this awesome character’s figure. In preparation I bough a vintage Moss Man in decent shape from our local action figure haven, Toy Anxiety. Brought him home, got him acquainted with the lint roller, and set him in a convenient place to eagerly await his evolved counterpart.

And then Matty.com / Digital River intervened to repeat history. No Moss Man for you! "Ah, well," I mused, "some things just aren’t meant to be." Then I got a PM from one of AFi’s finest, a member I’ll refer to as J_A_. He noticed I was one of the many who missed out on Mossy, said he was lucky enough to get an extra, and inquired if I’d be interested! In that one stroke of "got-your-back" collector buddy kindness the space-time continuum was rent and an alternate reality formed. One where ‘ol CantinaDanny does not go without Moss Man. Thanks for my new favorite figure, J_A_! Against my better judgement, I doubt I’ll ever quit the little plastic people as thoroughly as I did back in the day. After all, my brother can’t tell me to grow up anymore!


Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann
Action figure anthropologist, Professor Cantina Dan Neumann has been a scholastic contributor to the online community studying the complex world of parumplasticus populus {little plastic people} since the turn of this millenium. His primary focus is the visual cataloging of species exhibits through photo-journalism.
Read other articles by Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann.





  • Hi-Fi Guy says:

    I had a ton of those SW Ep 1 figures with the voice chip dog-tags. Lots of fun! I can recall when I stopped collecting toys. One of the cats needed surgery and I sold all my 12″ Star Wars figures that were MIB for a maybe $1,000. It was sad and I never had the thrill to collect again. Who knows what may change that?

    • Danny CantinaDan says:

      Wow, I can’t believe I’ve never heard that story about the SW 12 inchers! Made my cry a little hearing how you had to part with them!

  • Chip Cataldo says:

    Grow up, dammit!

  • chad says:

    i got out of the game when the sorceress was orginaly released by then moved on to other things at that age till i found the super powers green lantern figure followed by the toy biz x-men line . for just when you think your out your pulled back in.

  • Erik superfriend says:

    Man, that Hammerhand guy looks like someone put their hand into a pile of parts and glued them together. “Hammerhand”? But he has a claw…

    Great story!

  • The Superfly says:

    great stuff, Dan!

  • Lt. Clutch says:

    I quit collecting toys every once in a blue moon much as I did with comics. Didn’t last long though, so as refer to them as my “dry periods” or “turning sane” if you prefer. But it’s posts like yours that remind me why I keep coming back to this stuff. Darned if I don’t start tracking down those Disney/WB PVC figurines now, Dan!

    • Danny CantinaDan says:

      Yeah, some of those figurines are nice. I’ve slowly been giving them to my little bro, Johnny. He’s been in a few school plays recently, including Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin so he’s gotten those PVCs!

  • Lt. Clutch says:

    To actually answer your question, I started my toy collecting early on while living in Spain. Aside from weekly Disney comics, I was into Playmobil and Airgam Boys which were their closest competitor. Hasbro licensed G.I. Joe as Geyper Man, a mix of their military and adventure lines. Big Jim was also present. When visiting the States, I discovered DC and Marvel Mego figures along with Star Wars. Once we returned for good, I followed Star Wars up with superhero comics, G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe. (My aunt tried to steer me towards Hot Wheels but I wouldn’t bite.) I quit comics and toys the first time in Chicago once I discovered girls, giving my toy collection to a schoolmate and my comics to a young kid who lived in our building. This was around 1985 or so. Two years later, I went back to both hobbies after moving to the suburbs. From 1989 through 1994, I was buying anything that Toy Biz released, then stopped for another few years while I tried to attend college overseas. By 1998, I was trying to buy back all of my old 80’s toys. I then began collecting DC Direct and Marvel Legends, along with the new G.I. Joes. In 2002, I sold everything off and tried college again. (Yeah, Chip. There was a woman involved on both occasions…) This time, the dry spell lasted until 2006 or so, after which I began getting everything back while selling some other stuff. I stopped selling altogether about two years ago much to my closet’s dismay, but have kept my love for all things plastic going since then.

  • Great White Customs says:

    Just to address the Jar Jar issue(Because I disliked the character as much as any as did my kids) It was that self same character who was tricked into nominating Palpatine to extend his power over the Senate..thus leading to the Galactic Empire rising to power. So he basically doomed the galaxy far far away due to his weak mind being influcenced by the powers of the darkside. I find satisfaction in that.

    BTW…I did the same thing…stopeped collecting…and then…The X-men made their debut in plastic..GAME OVER!

  • red Ricky says:

    Love the subject matter! And love the post! So now let’s see if I can contribute something.

    When did you quit?

    1- I believe my last figures were Series 3 of the Super Powers line. I loved that line with a passion, and I never got over “not finding” all the remaining figures. I only got 4 figures from that last wave and they weren’t “the good ones”. I remember my Aunt looking at the Sears Catalogue and asking me what my little brother wanted for Christmas. I swear, I came ‘this close’ to saying: “He want’s Cyborg & Captain Marvel.” But alas, I was too old for Action Figures; and my little brother was too young… to speak. In hindsight, I realize that it was all a trap!

    When did you get back?

    2- Back in college, my parents asked me to help them track down some action figures my little brother was looking for. He wanted the Michael Keaton Batman w/ removable cowl; and the original four Ninja Turtles. I remember buying them after Finals… and getting to the dorms… and there we were; my roommate and I. Two College students. Two Ladies men… debating the rights and wrongs of opening a little kid’s Christmas Present, before Christmas.

    Those figures didn’t get me back in the saddle, as you put it. (Kay Bee’s Black Friday sales of 3 Toybiz Spiderman/X-men action figures for $3 dollars, did that.) But those figures, and that College Room Dorm, made me realize an important thing!

    That was okay for a grown man to collect “action figures” every now and then.

    You know…

    Just as long as nobody else knew about it!

    (And by the way, I still have that Batman and those Turtles!
    They were annexed into my collection, when it was my Brother’s turn to go off to College!)

  • Shellhead says:

    I wasn’t a huge collector until Power of the Force debuted a couple years before the release of Episode I. Up to then I had a lot of GI Joes and a few Transformers. Surprisingly, I wasn’t big into Superpowers (more of a Marvel Zombie in the 80’s), and the Toybiz figures started coming out when I was at college (and girls were much more interesting).
    Then came Beastwars and Marvel Legends and it was game on!
    Haven’t looked back since.

  • Logan says:

    I gave up collecting figures when I was about 15 in 1994 (which was about the time when the xmen figures from toybiz started to get really lame). I got older and went on a mission for my church and my parents sold all my old figures on ebay to help fund that for me. I cam home and got married and I was at work and saw some listings on ebay for Captain America Marvel Legends and the Superman & Lois Lane 2 pack from DC Direct. I got hooked on both lines and it has just gotten bigger from there

  • UncleMarsellus says:

    Similar story only replace “older brother” with “dad” and there you go. I was 13 and had somehow started to convince people that the first wave of Toy Biz X-Men figures weren’t toys, but collectibles. My dad didn’t toally buy it and pretty much shamed me into not buying toys anymore. I did okay but I still had the bug. I think it was 4 years later that Kenner brought back Star Wars and Toy Biz had started to do some interesting things with the animated Iron Man line. We had Batman animated and random ugly movie figures. A comic inspired Superman line and an animated line followed. Damn right I was curious. Except for one trip to a Kay Bee in which I left my parents, bought some Terminator toys, opened them and stuffed them in my pockets in secret, I had to wait until I had a car to buy things again. Again, all secret though. I picked up a random Star Wars figure, animated figures, Iron Man. I couldn’t take it. But there was still so much shame! I kept them hidden and eventually threw them away. Yes, very sad. It wasn’t until Christmas ’97 with the Star Wars Special Editions come and gone, did my parents, for some reason, get me a Jabba and Han Solo set. That was it! I was free! It took a few months but I started buying figures here and there, never really intending to become a “collector.” Whatever. Episode I ended that. Been full throttle since and I stopped caring what my dad thinks.

  • Danny CantinaDan says:

    I’m really enjoying everyone’s stories. Thanks for posting, fellas!

  • Thatman says:

    I’ve actually been collecting something ever since 1983. Despite attempts from various familial forces to convince me otherwise, I’ve never been able to give it up.

    I’ve slowed down a lot, especially in the last few years. (Down to MOTUC, DCUC, JLU and Superhero Squad), but I still have every one of my vintage MOTU figures proudly displayed at home. My parents used to be very cute about how I got them – they would hide them around the house for me to find. (Webstor was hanging out, literally, in my Easter basket one year. Ninjor was behind a nighttable. Moss Man was in the dishes cabinet.) So I have a lot of fond memories attached to those guys.

    Although now that you mention it, I probably should introduce my vintage Moss Man to a lint roller.

  • […] Have you Ever Called it Quits? by CantinaDanMar 31, 2010 – 16:00 […]

  • Motulandia says:

    It’s a beautifull figure, a friend of mine calls it “The Kiwi-man”. The long haired version is the coolest one, very very smoothy…

  • John says:

    I am just about there now. With escalating prices at retail. $ 15.97 for DC Universe . And toy hoarders grabbing everything up when it does arrive. I am at a stage now where i’ll purchase just a few items for customs. But my serious collecting days are behind me. Would I love to have the new He-Man figures available at Matty collector sure. Is it going to happen at the current prices No. My question is if they are continually selling out. Why cant they be offered at retail ? And why are the prices so high? I’ve heard from the escalating price of oil. But come on some Toy exec just needs to line there pockets with more money from the people who will spend it.

  • BillH says:

    I got back into the figure collecting hobby around 95′ with Star Wars POTF2 and then quit in 1999 after Phantom Menace stank up theaters.

    Only to return about a year later with Transformers in 2001: Robots in Disguise line and 200X He-Man Masters line.

    Collected Transformers semi religiously until about 2005 and stopped before starting up again in late 2008 with DCU Classics, MOTUC and a plethora of other lines. Still collecting but at a slower pace.

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