Sociology 100 & Art 200 – Joe Whiteford Spotlight

The University of M.U.S.C.L.E.’s inbox is most often filled with emails asking, “How much is this worth?”

Thankfully there are also a lot of great emails that come in too. The email from Joe Whiteford might be one of the best emails to ever come in.

Joe Whiteford had stumbled across the University of M.U.S.C.L.E. after finding some of his childhood M.U.S.C.L.E. figures in his mother’s attic. He painted some of his doubles, not wanting to “ruin” figures he only had one of, and wanted to share them with someone that shared his appreciate of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures.

The pictures he sent were simply stunning.

Naked Nasty Lester
is finally attractive!

I like

The best custom #193 ever?
Could be.

All three of these figures are stunning, both in originality and technique. However, the custom #193 might be one of the best custom painted M.U.S.C.L.E. figures of all-time. The coloring is so wholly unique and original. It truly makes the figure come alive. It is so enthralling that it wouldn’t be a shocking if the colors shifted and changed as the figure was rotated.

Joe's 7th Birthday Cake

Joe has more painted figures on his website, but it is there that the greatest discovery was made.

Sociology 100 features old childhood pictures of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. When the original requests were being made for people to send in their childhood pictures of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures it seemed inevitable that a M.U.S.C.L.E. birthday cake would be one of the pictures submitted. For three years not a single birthday cake was submitted. It started to look like a birthday cake picture would be Sociology 100’s white whale.

Amazingly Joe’s website had not one – but TWO M.U.S.C.L.E. birthday cakes!

Joe’s birthday cake is from his 7th birthday party. The birthday is a vague memory for Joe, but his love of M.U.S.C.L.E. is very vivid. Specifically how he came to own the little pink figures.

Joel's 4th Birthday Cake

Joe grew up in Kokomo, Indiana and, at the time, there weren’t any stores that sold M.U.S.C.L.E. figures in his town. The only time Joe could get new figures was when his mom made a special trip into Indianapolis. He shared how it was such an exciting drive knowing what was in store. His mom would go shopping and at the end of the trip they would always stop by a toy store to pick out a 4- or 10-pack.

Joe’s brother Joel was only four when he had his M.U.S.C.L.E. birthday cake. But like any good little brother he wanted what his brother had and was very susceptible to the suggestions of his older, M.U.S.C.L.E. loving brother.

A huge thank you to Joe for sharing his stunning custom painted figures, and an even bigger thank you for submitting two fantastic childhood pictures.

If you want to see more of Joe’s figures, then be sure to check out his website ( and etsy store.

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  1. #1 by Eric Nilla on August 27, 2012 - 3:28 pm

    Wow, amazing pics, and stunning paint app on #193~!

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