Collector: James SullivanJames Sullivan, known as JamesSullivan on LRG.com was gracious enough to be a participant of Sociology 300 and share his collecting perspective.
James’ introduction to M.U.S.C.L.E. came from his older brother. The pair collected and played with their figures together. The pair’s interest in M.U.S.C.L.E. was strengthened through their friendship with another set of brothers. The detail of the M.U.S.C.L.E. figures was a large part of the figures appeal to the group. However, the M.U.S.C.L.E. figures ended up doing less wrestling than the group of four boys did with each other.
Even without his brother and their friends, the M.U.S.C.L.E. figures had an incredible appeal for James. Besides the figures’ detail, James was taken with the simplicity and variety. The low price point also made it easier for James to purchase the figures from the dollar store without having to rely on his parents. While James was able to purchase the figures without his parents help, he still needed some parental support. His parents helped him built a wrestling ring for the figures, which is still one of his favorite M.U.S.C.L.E. items that he owns. James felt that it was by himself, with that ring, that the best M.U.S.C.L.E. wrestling matches took place.The detail, simplicity, variety, and low price had been some of the factors that drew James to M.U.S.C.L.E. originally. It was these same factors that brought him back as a collector. James original collecting goal had been to replace his childhood set of figures – something he quickly accomplished with the purchase of an entire Flesh set.
Those figures were placed into a locked container, which negated his need to catalog or track his collection. However, James still wanted some unique pieces that had not been part of his childhood collection. He purchased four non-poster figures: Satan Cross, Spinning Head Ashurman, Blackhole Sunshine, and Dr. Bombay. Those figures now reside in a picture frame.
Any extra figures that enter James’ home end up in a Wilson shoebox. James does not spend lots of extra time pouring over the condition of figures. He is fine with extra rubber (flashing), faded colors, or warped limbs. However there are two points that concern him: (1) writing on the figures; and (2) missing limbs/pieces. Those are the only two aspects that James’ considers important in a figure’s condition.
James’ approach to collecting could appear to be laissez-faire, but he is actually quite active with his collection. His passion is making M.U.S.C.L.E. videos and posting them on his YouTube channel.
“I try to add as much diversity to my wrestling matches, yet I insist on maintaining a M.U.S.C.L.E. history with some good lessons on life, love, and war basically favoring the idea we should all be happy train of thought.”
James ideal match would likely be the multi-green #63 with a M.U.S.C.L.E. figure created in his image. These two figures would easily be his favorites.
James sees the M.U.S.C.L.E. community as a diverse place, ideal for a person like himself. He hopes that diversity might even result in some members creating a simple online version of the M.U.S.C.L.E. Mega-Match Game board game. James feels that the most important part of the game would be the user being able to choose their preferred M.U.S.C.L.E. figures.
James advice to other collectors is quite simple – limit yourself to one set and keep non-poster figures as pristine as possible. His BHS figure still has an attached peg and it makes him nervous to even hold it. That is the kind of care, concern, and reverence James would hope to see in other M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors.
From all the M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors a huge thank you is offered to James Sullivan for sharing his collection and his personal story.
If you would like to be a featured collector, please complete a questionnaire and provide photojournalistic pictures of your collection. Again, the focus of the pictures are not to solely highlight M.U.S.C.L.E. pieces, but rather how those pieces actually exist within the collector’s life. If you: (1) have any questions about the questionnaire or pictures; or (2) would like to submit your questionnaire and pictures, please email the University of M.U.S.C.L.E..