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Looking Out My Office Window

When I lived in Dallas years ago I probably visited this Toys R Us at least 3-4 times a week. It was only about 7 miles from my office, so it was a pleasant lunchtime excursion to see what was new. Now it is literally right below me in the parking lot. I can not only see the trucks when they arrive, but I can hear them beeping as they back into the loading dock. If you would have told me back then that I would be able to walk over there every day as they unload the trucks I would have thought it was toy heaven!

But in 5 months here I’ve only been in there 4 times. A lot has changed in the past 6 years that I’ve been gone, but more than enything else is the inevitable loss of passion for the hobby that has come with age. I’ve gone through the motions of quitting collecting a few times, but I always come back to it. What I’ve realized though is that what I love about it is the items, the characters, the actual process of manufacturing. Not the hunt, not the "collection" and not the displays. I’m perfectly happy to only pick up select pieces, and most of them will go straight into a box once I open them and keep them on the desk a few days.

I’m not sure I’ll ever display them again as a group, and I definitely don’t feel the need to rush down to TRU unless I hear something is hitting the shelves. Maybe not even then. But I still love toys. Even moreso now that I’m no longer a toy designer. But as far as this blog goes, look for more about the process and the surrounding elements (cartoons, sculpture, artwork) than reviews of the actual toys themselves or tales of toy runs. Because these days, that’s the way I roll.

-Jason 


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Well, here it is- the 100% redesigned and upgraded AFI! After planning, scheming, and pulling my hair out for nearly a year trying to make it work, Action Figure Insider is finally very close to how Daniel "Julius Marx" Pickett and I first planned it to be way back in April 2005. Lots has changed since then, including a new job and a move back to Texas for me. California was interesting, but I couldn’t be happier being back home in the Lone Star State.

In addition to the cosmetic and structural changes here at AFI, one other change is that at the longtime urging of Mr. Marx I’m finally casting off my denial at being fully involved in the website and am assuming a partnership role in running the joint. Originally I was just going to create a logo and set up a simple blog for Daniel when he was thinking about leaving Action Figure Times (since after leaving RTM I didn’t think I ever wanted to do the day to day work of running another webpage). But when they uncerimoniously locked him out of the site without notice, I decided to put together a full website for him. One thing led to another and I’ve found that like it or not, I was helping to run another toy site!

And if that’s the case, we might as well make it the best site we can. All of our old content has been consolidated, the news page will now be updated much more frequently (because it’s now easier to update!) and we have a bunch of brand new blogs from some great guys that are well known to the toy community. And lots of features and sneak peeks are on the way that we’ve been holding back…

Enjoy!

-Jason

PS There isn’t any relevance to the Captain Marvel sketch; I just liked how it turned out, so I’m sticking it here. And yes, I know the anatomy is pretty wonky. It’s just a doodle. 


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I’ve been a collector for as long as I can remember. When I was around three years old, I collected sticks. Yes, ordinary branches that had fallen from trees, which came in all sorts of varieties and limited editions. After that I picked up stuffed animals whenever I could, the more unusual the critter (plush skunks, possums, hyraxes…) the better. Once 1977 hit, though, my entire collecting focus changed. I think we all know what happened in the summer of 1977. From that moment on, my life became Star Wars- Star Wars cookie jars, Star Wars bedsheets, and of course Kenner Star Wars toys. I even started collecting comics by picking up the adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back and discovering Spider-Man on my trips to the comic shop. Once I hit Jr High School my fascination with toys faded away to be replaced by a fascination with girls. But I never stopped collecting, moving on to books, music, sticks…well, maybe not sticks again. Still, I never ceased to find things that once acquired would somehow turn out to be a collection eventually.

Of course, once I was firmly settled in college the toy bug bit again and has led me down the path of both hobby and career, with a little web pioneering thrown in along the way. And so it has gone over the past 10 years; it doesn’t take me long after dropping one collection to gain another one just as quickly. Since entering the promotional premium field I have been acutely interested in Advertising Icons. These are the mascots and slogan bearers of major companies past and present, who have entered the pop culture zeitgeist throughout the decades since the concept first gained traction in the 1930s. Thanks to the wonder of eBay it has become much easier to track down various advertising merchandise made to promote specific businesses, which was great since I wanted a collection for my office only- a collection that others in my field could appreciate a bit more than the usual Spawn figures in every artist’s cubeicle. The problem with collecting these is that with the vast differences in scale, material and quality between pieces is that it never quite felt like a coherent collection. And anyone who knows me knows that I value consistency above nearly all other factors in my collections. One look at the picture on the left will show you the depth of this problem that I faced. (As always, click on each image for a larger view.)


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