I started putting together Auction Watch #122 and I found myself thinking about the state of M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting. More accurately the preparation for Auction Watch #122 married itself to thoughts I had been having about M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting and this entire website.
During my accidental sabbatical for most of the month of December I was often thinking about what could be better on this website. The simplest answer was everything could be better, but what did I want and what did people want?
When I started this website my goal was to provide an objective resource that collected all of the M.U.S.C.L.E. history and knowledge in one spot. Objectivity and a feeling of academia was such an important goal for me it is the main reason that I chose to write just about everything (besides Editorials and Epilogues) in third person. I actually thought I had spelled that out from the very beginning but the first mention of the rationale behind 3rd person writing isn’t found until nearly a year later in Auction Watch #46.
Part of me feels that this style has been constraining at times, and breaking away from it would be liberating. However, there is still a lot of documentation that needs to take place.
When I started the site I viewed Nathan’s MUSCLE site as a precursor to a “university” education. His site was great, so why reinvent the wheel? However, as the years have passed and collecting has continued to evolve there are new, basic terms and information that have fallen through the cracks (e.g., the number of figures in various sets).
Having closely watched the usage of the site it has no become clear that users of the site are simply looking for M.U.S.C.L.E. information, not just specialized information. This is a main reason that
Elementary M.U.S.C.L.E. Education needs to become a more routine feature of the website. And a reason why third person can’t go away just yet.
Deciding to re-focus on Elementary M.U.S.C.L.E. Education and to continue using 3rd person are not decisions that cause excitement…for anyone. So I found myself asking:
– How could Auction Watch be better?
– How can the site evolve?
– What do M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors want?
– What do I want?
– What is going to be fun?
After roughly 5 years of effort I confidently feel that this website has provided a firm bedrock of centralized M.U.S.C.L.E. knowledge. There are still things to be done, but the bedrock, the foundation is there. But providing that foundation only allows for a better understanding of the past. I continue to struggle with the future of M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting. It has evolved and changed so dramatically since I started collecting M.U.S.C.L.E. figures in 2002.
M.U.S.C.L.E. is unlike Star Wars, Transformers, or just about any other evergreen collectible. Those hobbies have a continual influx of new content and new collectors. Even if Kinnikuman suddenly exploded out of Japan and took over the rest of the world, M.U.S.C.L.E. is unlikely to benefit from it. Even a re-launch of the M.U.S.C.L.E. brand, through something like WWE M.U.S.C.L.E. figures seems unlikely to propel these tiny niche figures from the 1980’s onward.
I believe M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting will implode upon itself if the focus is only Mattel M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. The future lies in custom M.U.S.C.L.E. figures and to focus there becomes personal, no matter how ardently an individual strives to be objective. Custom M.U.S.C.L.E. figures need to be toys first and art second – no matter the amount of artistic talent.
And where are those boundaries between custom keshi, custom M.U.S.C.L.E., art, resin, rubber, and mini-figure?
2013 will continue to bring many of the features that information seekers seem to enjoy (based on the traffic). But hopefully 2013 will also see gravitation towards the future of M.U.S.C.L.E. and not just a reflection of the past.
And more ladies in the Epilogue (based on the traffic).
What else do you want to see?