In less than two months I’m getting married. My bride-to-be, Canongirl (as she is known on The Fwoosh), and I have been together for over five years and she has been a hugely important part of this little hobby of mine since our earliest days as a couple. For our first anniversary, she surprised me with a MoC Marvel Legends Colossus and she continues to not only support, but take part in this insane “lifestyle” in a way that is often the envy of other guys I interact with on the boards and elsewhere. Sometimes I don’t forget just how good I have it!
Because she is such a big part of what I do, I thought it would be cool to include her and to add her voice to my dumb little blog here. See, I have sorta have a big mouth when it comes to this hobby, and it’s often difficult for her to get a word in. Thus, the general impression is that all this is about me, that it’s what I do and she just puts up with it or takes a predominately passive role and that isn’t necessarily the case.
With this is mind, I prepared a few questions for her regarding collecting, reading comics, etc. to get her distinct point of view. So without further adieu, Canongirl!
1. When we met, you already had a small toy shelf you referred to your “fun stuff” shelf. That shelf was a key factor in my deciding I wanted to hang out with you then. How did that shelf evolve at the time? I remember it being very eclectic.
I don’t know if I would call it a “toy” shelf because, as you said, I had a lot of things on it. Basically it was just the things that made me happy: Spongebob, vintage metal robots, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, postcards of Chagall paintings… plus you know I have this knack for finding abandoned toys while out and about. I just wanted to keep those things out so I could always look at them and enjoy them. I never even thought about action figures at the time, well action figures in the vein of ML, because I didn’t know such a thing existed. I think if I did I would have had a head start on collecting way before I met you.
2. What were your favorite toys/cartoons/comics/etc. growing up?
Oi vey, well, when I was younger and it came to cartoons I was all over the place, much like I am now. I distinctly remember loving Inspector Gadget, but basically if it was animated I watched it. Much like now, except most of the new stuff that’s out now is crap, or on cable. Oh how I long for the day of Saturday morning cartoons! Believe it or not, I wasn’t big into toys growing up. I had my Teddy Ruxpin and my rainbow bright, but that was pretty much it. I wasn’t really into girlie toys (seriously, fuck My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake) and any of the boys toys that I did like and want to play with I didn’t because I was too self-conscious. And the only comic for me was x-men, though I didn’t get into x-men till the cartoon.
3. What are your favorites now?
Well I’m loving Beast Wars (after Megatron stopped saying yes or no after every sentence that is) and Beast Machines which I’m counting as favorites now because we haven’t seen them until now. I don’t know how far back I can go though to answer this questions because I love Spongebob and Avatar but those go pretty far back so they may not count. Otherwise I would just say Family Guy and that new one on Fox, Bob’s something-or-rather (Bob’s Burgers – CB). Cartoons these days just aren’t what they used to be, which is really a shame. For comics it’s Chew and Un-Men; I’m going through some serious withdrawal waiting for the next TPB of those to come out. As for toys, Pop! Heroes make me happy, and I don’t know if these would count as a favorite since they’re not out yet, but I can’t wait for the new ML to hit. I really can’t cross enough fingers and toes in hopes that they don’t suck.
4. How do you feel about the stereotypes surrounding this sort of hobby/lifestyle? In general, and specifically concerning females.
I don’t really pay attention to them. I mean, you know me, I tell everyone about our collection, I really don’t care what people think. Collecting makes me happy, us happy, if someone has a problem with that then the heck with them. I do find the general stereotype (fat guy, still lives with his mother, poor hygiene, parked in front of a computer all day) pretty funny though, and only because, well lets face it, it’s really true sometimes! But really if you think about it, all hobbies have stereotypes, ours just sucks. And I have no idea what the stereotype is for female collectors, there’s so few of us it seems I’m surprised we have one.
5. What is the best part about being a fangirl/collector? What’s the worst part? Is there anything you wish was different?
Um, well, to be honest, I don’t think anyone actually thinks I collect. The way you talk on Fwoosh and in your blog you make it sound like it’s something I tolerate or that I’m just being dutiful and following you to Walmart after Target after Walmart. That would be the part that sucks about being a fangirl/collector, that we do this because of or just for a boy/the boys. Ooooh, is that the stereotype you are talking about in question 4? Good grief, I’m a sharp one. Well, that would be what I wish would change, that and we seem to have more to prove which is total bull. Like the Transformers people who have never seen the cartoons or read any of the comics but still collect the figures (I can’t believe those people exist), that type of thing would never fly if you happen to be female. And I haven’t the foggiest what would be the best thing.
6. What has been the high point for you during the past five years concerning the hobby?
Not to sound schmaltzy, but the fact that I got to do it with you honestly. Being able to get into a hobby and do said hobby with someone you love just makes it that much better. That and getting my picture taken with Leonard Nimoy.
7. What’s your opinion of cons?
Short answer: Good idea, horrible in practice. The reason I say this is because it can be planned down to a fault but there is something that will always get mucked up somehow making the experience miserable or ruining a day that was going perfectly. That said though, I never want to stop going to them.
8. How do you feel about the portrayal of female characters in comics, specifically mainstream superhero comics (Marvel, DC, etc)?
Could be better but we’ve certainly come a long way. If anything it seems a little to me like we’re devolving. Women in comics basically started out as the damsel in distress but over time women became stronger, more powerful, and powerful not just by superpower standards but their character as well. From the comics I/we’ve read now (The Un-Men, Chew, Sweet Tooth) it seems more and more that the females are going back to being just the damsel in distress again. Granted it’s been a long while since I’ve picked up a mainstream comic so maybe it’s not as bad there but I somehow doubt that.
9. Of everything that makes up “the collection,” what is your #1 favorite piece?
I really don’t know why you would ask me this question; you know how indecisive I am. So surprise (!) I really can’t pick just one. I love my Speed Racer and Mach 5 (cartoon/comic accurate, not movie) and the Lockjaw Minimate and our Blackbolt ML I would grab if the apartment was on fire. Oh, and my Star Trek TNG figures.
10. You enjoy watching the old He-Man cartoon on a fairly regular basis, but you have a hard time sitting through an episode of She-Ra. Why is that?
We’ve talked about this, I hate that cartoon, there is no point to it. The whole reason it was even made is because some dip-wad thought it would be a good idea to make a spin-off “for girls” of He-Man but dumb it down and make the main character a female in a short skirt or a glorified bathing suit. If they wanted to do a spin-off that wasn’t so pandering they could have done a spin-off of Teela or the Sorceress, that actually would have been great.
And there’s a lot more, but this should create a sufficient impression. We don’t do much toy hunting these days since the shelves have dried up and I’ve taken to ordering everything from Big Bad Toy Store, but when we do, she always spots things on the shelves before I do, and the *gasp* she makes when she sees something is just the best.
We’re currently brainstorming ideas for a column or something of the like of her own for The Fwoosh, so keep your eyes peeled for more from Canongirl!