Monday, February 14, 2011

Aesthetics vs. Backstory, my two cents - Part I

Lately in several blogs, forums and online shows (such as Toybreak) popped the question about the preference of getting a toy with a story behind it or just getting a toy that looks cool. It is a very interesting question and I thought I'd chip in for the debate. With some toy examples.

I buy toys for three main reasons:

1) The Geek Factor. The toys are 3D representations of characters I love from comics or cartoons or movies. With these toys I mix my love for toys and my love for pop culture in one single item.

2) The Nostalgia Factor. I also buy vintage or homages to vintage toy lines (such as Masters of the Universe Classics) because they were the toys I had or wanted when I was a kid.

3) The Art Factor. As I grew older as a collector and started to get into the art toy world, I discovered that there are some amazing artists and designers that create new things that I enjoy.

As a critic (if you didn't know this, I am a film critic) is really hard for me to say that I like something just because I like it. There are some figures I find appealing based only on how they look.

For example:

This is the Barkin' Gun (Mono edition) from my friend and great designer Abell (who also was kind enough to design a new header for this blog!). The Barkin' Gun is, as you can see, a dog/gun hybrid molded in resin with no articulation.

Why do I like it? First of all it's got a rather cartoony look, the rounded shape of the "head" and the lines of the design are incredibly well done. I am attracted to most things that are done with that cartoony aesthetic (especially Jessica Rabbit, if you know what I mean).

This figure is super limited (only two exist in this colorway) and even if that's not the reason I wanted the Barkin' Gun, knowing it's that special makes it better every time I see it.

The figure is really heavy and it's design is very simple. Still, as I said before, you don't need to do something complicated as log as it is original and a Dog/Gun figure is something I would have never imagined.

Plus it came with a bunch of extra goodies, and that is awesome...

Stickers, buttons and an authenticity card (in case you are trying to sell a bootleg Dog/Gun resin figure, you can tell this is the real deal). I guess I could make up a story for this, after all, we kids of the 80s got our fair share of weird toys (and I'm counting He-man and Ninja Turtles alone), but the point is I got this not because of what I knew about it, but because of what it looks like.

And although I'm always gonna prefer toys that have a story behind them, I like this.

Why? Because of all the things I said before... And just because I like it, too.

Until next time.