Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Aesthetics vs. Backstory, my two cents - Part II

OK, so I made the mistake of saying on my last post that it was part I. That forces me to do a part II and probably a third part if parts I and II are successful... That much I've learned from the Spider Man movies.

Yesterday I talked about a figure that was cool looking but didn't have a story behind it. I also mentioned toys from cartoons, movies, comics, etc. That have a story outside the figures themselves. But how about those toys that doesn't exist in other form but come with a background tale anyway.

I love those toys, because they are harder to sell, first it has to look great, because it needs to catch your attention, and then it has to sell you that story he's part of. And that's not easy, but if the figure succeeds in doing so, then my hat is off (and probably my credit card too)...

This is Humphrey Mooncalf, the artist is Doktor A. If you are not familiar with Dok A's work he does (mostly) Mechtorians (from the made up Latin word meaning "Victorian Robot"). He's art is amazing, you can find it here.

Most of the Mechtorians he makes are part of a world he created. Every figure has a backstory and a part they play in Retropolis.

This is an 8" vinyl piece with two points of articulation (actually one on the neck, but the key on his back is removable and turns so I'll say two). This is the Verdegris edition, the first of several colorways to come. It's made by a company called Pobber and it is a beauty.

I love Doktor A's designs. The figure it's very well done, the paint apps and the rust effect are perfect, giving the figure a very noble look but at the same time a sense of sadness (after all, what's more sad than a rusting robot?). Humphrey is nice to handle, very light and it looks awesome on a shelf (I have to get my hands in that Mechtorian garden G.N.O.M.E. the Doktor did last year...)

But that's all about how the figure looks. Let's talk about his backstory. It says in the box:

"Humphrey Mooncalf had an annoying problem with his Travithick No. 4 Nano-clockwork brain. Repeated trips to the watch-smith eventually proved a great success. The pain held at bay by simply loosening his cranial retaining rivets. This however means that he can no longer look up. Such a shame, as he does so love the Moon."

Man, that completely explains the sadness I mentioned earlier, and it also explains this other strange feature the figure has:

The back of his skull is removable and the Nano-clockwork brain is also a separate piece. The story is great and it works both with the figure and, for me, with the colorway too.

Another thing I love about a figure that tells a story on it's own is that it can only take you half of the way. The only information is the one the gave you in a paragraph or so and you have to fill the blanks.

You know how I feel about colorways, namely, I don't like them. I rather spend my money in different pieces than in the same piece with different colors. So why did I choose to buy the Verdegris Humphrey? As I said, because, in my head, it makes sense.

Humphrey went to the Watch-smith, he told him never to look up again. But (excuse me if I get a little Biblical here) like Lot with his Wife, Charlie Sheen with a cocaine covered hooker or me with a cheap toy on sale, he couldn't help himself. And when he did finally looked up, his brain fell of and he rusted away, forgotten. That's why this colorway works so well for me.

Did we get anywhere with this? Probably not, but I just want to say that if a great looking toy has a great story behind it, there's not a lot you can add to it to make it perfect.

Except probably a cocaine covered hooker. But I digress. Tomorrow, if I can, I'll post part three.

Until next time.

1 comment:

Super-Duper ToyBox said...

Ha Ha :D that IS an excellent toy!