Monday Morning M.U.S.C.L.E. Musings #39

by Chad Perry

Red #11

Professor Terry, the regular author of MMMM, is probably in his last week of his sabbatical which means one last MMMM from me…until I do one again.

Anthropology 200 gets an update to the visual archive with a new and better picture of a red MUSCLEMANIA figure #11. I took this figure’s picture along with a bunch of other mini-figures. (A photo session that I gave a hint of in last week’s epilogue.)

Getting organized.

I have always been an unapologetic lover of MUSCLEMANIA figures. I am probably in a very small minority of an already small niche of collectors. Looking at this Red #11 reminded me why I like them – and it has nothing to do with nostalgia for the figures. I never had them as a kid. I had never even heard of them as a kid.

I discovered them as an adult collector. And at the time they were largely referred to as simple bootlegs or gumball figures. Some collectors knew they were made by Select, but that was about it. I can actually point to the date and time everybody had proof they were called MUSCLEMANIA figures.

Trying things during a shoot.

I recognize they aren’t the most stunning sculpts in the world, but I would argue they have a tremendous amount of charm. And, to me, they couldn’t be more interesting. I think that is why I continue to be interested in them. I don’t need the toy. The toy is secondary. I love seeing new figures, because it’s new information. MUSCLEMANIA figures are a tangible piece of my curiosity. It’s a line of figures I love based on curiosity.

I chased Joe Morrison for years. I think finding the “MUSCLEMANIA Joe” would be bittersweet for me. Maybe just bitter.

Fun mail delivery!

Maybe my love of MUSCLEMANIA is really equal parts curiosity and imagination. I want to know about them, but I also like imagining and daydreaming about MUSCLEMANIA. I like wondering if Select beat Mattel to the Kinnikuman punch. I like imagining once sculptor carefully trying to copy and reimagine Kinnikuman figures. I like imagining the factory saying, “We’re out of the hard plastic. Can we just use this cheap shit we’ve got?”

I could be overthinking my love of MUSCLEMANIA too. Maybe the simplest explanation to why I love these figures is that they are fun.

Which one has the bigger problem?
The warped one or the one with the slight manufacturing error?

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