OPINION: What To Do When Your Favorite Line Ends
An Inevitable Dilemma for the Collecting Enthusiast...
To insure your action figure collection, get in touch with Collectibles Insurance, the official insurance company of the Figures.com network. Say "Figures.com" to get 5% off your first term premiums.
To buy action figures, take a look at BigBadToyStore.com, AlterEgoComics.com, Toynk.com, BriansToys.com, ToyWiz.com, and MonkeyDepot.com.
For hobby miniatures and all your gaming needs, visit MinatureMarket.com.
By C.J. Stunkard
We’ve all had it happen. A toy line comes that you did not expect or, at least, did not expect to like. Somehow, some way, you fell into it. Maybe a friend recommended one of the figs; maybe someone gave you a set as a gift; or perhaps you read a review and decided to give the line a shot. For whatever reason, you got hooked.
As the line grows, so too does your affinity for it, and before you know it, the line is one of your new favorites. You begin to hunt for chase figures or read forum comments on variants. You storm the figure shelves each time you enter a department store, jubilant to find the next wave fresh from the case! You write a wishlist, start predicting the next wave, and become elated at announcements of what next figure or item is to come.
And then it doesn’t.
The line ends. Some have an abrupt exit as re-branding takes a license in a new direction; others die the slow death of retailer remorse, peg-warming, and casual movement to clearance. And we, the collectors, are left feeling like things were left incomplete—that the line (regardless of its longevity or success) was left unfinished, because it did not contain that one character we truly wanted or because we believe more could and should have been mined from the concept.
And with empty wallets in our pockets and shelves or boxes full of an incomplete run, we ask ourselves, “Now what?” Some of us call it a day, happy with all we were able to get, such as it was. Others feel that their whole collection is a moot point considering that the line will always have gaps, so they sell much or all of it, usually at a loss. Still another group of us take the route of customization, either creating our own missing characters or new versions of the favorites we were not officially offered. And of course, we sometimes blatantly deny a line’s demise, hoping that at some point the company will give the property another go or at the very least sell a con-exclusive of that last character they teased but never released at retail. Eventually, nearly all of us shrug our shoulders with a “we had a good run” and put our attention on something else, because let’s face it, there’s always something else.
This is an inevitable dilemma for the collecting enthusiast. All lines have their rise and fall, (except perhaps 3 ¾” Star Wars and Lego City), and we’ve all been there when the line we love the most stalls or stops.
This cannot be avoided. But the world keeps turning and some new line catches our eye (and gets our money). In the end, we need to do the one thing fanboys notoriously don’t: be grateful. Yes, be thankful for whatever figures you were able to find and for however long the series lasted. The last fifteen years have been good to collectors. The fact that lines run as long as they do at times still amazes me (NECA is making HOW MANY Pacific Rim figures?). Most solid, well-managed figure lines get well beyond their 15-minutes and single wave, and we get to savor the benefits of that on our shelves (or during trips to the basement or attic) for years thereafter. Sometimes the line reminds us of the pop culture wave we rode for a few years or amazes the child in all of us that we are even holding the figure that we are (I’m not a MOTUC collector, but those fans have been given a massive gift from Mattel these last 4 years).
Bottom line when your favorite line ends? Cherish the time and figs you have, cause at least that’s better than none.
Story by C.J. Stunkard