Collector: Joseph Dunnigan
Joseph Dunnigan, known as Galacticboy on LRG.com, has volunteered to be the next collector spotlighted for Sociology 300.
Most people have landmark events in their lives, often it is an event like a first kiss or meeting their spouse for the first time. For Joseph Dunnigan his M.U.S.C.L.E. landmark event was opening a 4-pack of figures and feeling sick. Perhaps it was the collector deep inside of him gasping at the damaging of a Mint-In-Sealed-Box package, but more likely it was the distinct M.U.S.C.L.E. smell being a bit toxic to the young child. The sickness did not dissuade him, he continued on because the allure of M.U.S.C.L.E. was simply too much fun.
Joseph’s draw was deeply impacted by the marketing for M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. He was enthralled with seeing the army of strange monsters and aliens on his television
– Commerical posted by SiccxDegree
He also admitted the inexpensive nature of the toys made them an easier acquisition than some other toys. Shopping trips with his Grandmother would often result in a few 4-packs, after pawing through them to inspect what figures were available.
While the commercials and inexpensive nature were big parts of Joseph’s M.U.S.C.L.E. excitement they were not the only part. He simply found the figures to be fun to play with and equally cool to simply look at and examine their detail. Besides the toxic smell, Joseph’s first 4-pack left quite an impression:
“I still remember my first 4-pack and how sad I was that I lost one of them (#42) on the playground at school. But as luck would have it I saw another kid playing with the figure and was able to get it back! I specifically bought the pack for #124 (the Fox), it also included #178 (who I thought looked like one of the bad guys from Krull) and I think #224.”
Joseph’s play pattern with M.U.S.C.L.E. figures makes it somewhat surprising that he did not lose more figures. One of his favorite things to do was simply smash and mash them together in the dirt. M.U.S.C.L.E. figures’ appeal was certainly in the collectibility and Joseph and his friends were not immune to it. They often played together with the figures – working out various trades.
Joseph would try and unload his Color figures, which he did not care for, onto his unsuspecting friends. Unfortunately his friends did not like the Color figures either which left him with many unwanted figures. Joseph did try to use his unwanted figures as fodder for customization by drawing on them with pens, but he found that those efforts often ended badly.
Joseph’s childhood collection was simply M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. He did not own the belt, ring, or poster. In fact, it was not until he was nearly 20 years old did he learn how many M.U.S.C.L.E. figures actually existed.As an adult, when Joseph dug out his childhood M.U.S.C.L.E. collection he had an interesting connection to his past. He had never remembered destroying or mutilating M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, like many children did, when he was a child. But there in the box was a heavily mutilated Red #2 looking back at him.
With his approximately 100 M.U.S.C.L.E. figures uncovered Joseph decided he need to finish his collection. His best friend, also a collector, was instrumental in helping Joseph. He exposed him to the MPS and the poster listing all the figures. Joseph completed his set of 236 Flesh M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, plus a set of 234 Color M.U.S.C.L.E. figures plus the Green Terri-Bull figure from the board game. The belt, wrestling ring, poster, and some 4- and 10-packs round out the rest of his collection.
With many of his items currently in storage the figures are displayed in two jars next to a gumball machine filled with Non-M.U.S.C.L.E Kinnikuman sculpts. The Color set is especially meaningful to Joseph because it took him so much more time to complete than his Flesh set of figures. However it is his sealed Nestle Quik figure (Terri-Bull) that he bought a few years ago that takes its place as his favorite M.U.S.C.L.E. item.
Joseph is not looking to expand his M.U.S.C.L.E. collection. It is as complete as it needs to be for him. Something that likely makes his wife very happy. She has been supportive of his collecting and even been gracious enough to leave one room in their home for Joseph’s collectibles.However, he still wouldn’t mind finding a M.U.S.C.L.E. Mega-Match board game or his ultimate M.U.S.C.L.E. desire – the Nestle Quik Tin. He said that he does not remember the campaign from when he was a child, but it is simply an incredibly interesting advertising item.
Without a burning desire to expand his collection Joseph has not kept track of his collection for years. They have stayed safely sealed in the two jars. When he was tracking his collection and trading he kept a running tally of all the sculpts and colors he had. However, once his goals were achieved he sold off the remaining figures. He estimates that he had approximately 500 figures he used as trading fodder before selling all of his extras off.
Throughout that process condition was never a major issue for Joseph. The only thing he was concerned with was visible ink when the figure was standing or missing pieces because of damage. M.U.S.C.L.E. figures in any other condition were completely acceptable.
Joseph felt his collection was complete, which made it difficult to still remain involved in the M.U.S.C.L.E. community. He had been a member of the M.U.S.C.L.E. Preservation Society and the Kinnikuman/M.U.S.C.L.E. email group, but there was no longer a drive to participate. He also felt the focus of the overall community shifting away from M.U.S.C.L.E. to Ultimate Muscle and newer little rubber guys. He continued to occasionally purchase Kinnikuman items, but those were usually obtained through eBay. Joseph believes that LittleRubberGuys.com is still the central hub of M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors because of the remaining active collectors and opportunities to discover websites like The University of M.U.S.C.L.E.
The number one thing Joseph would like to see more of within the M.U.S.C.L.E. community is the sharing of collections. He would love to see what other fun M.U.S.C.L.E. items exist. He would also like to see specifically how collectors have chosen to display their collectionsJoseph long-time love of M.U.S.C.L.E. has shaped three suggestions for other collectors to maximize their enjoyment of collecting M.U.S.C.L.E. figures.
- Take your time
- Buy figures in lots
- Trade with other collectors
Joseph also recommended two M.U.S.C.L.E. websites for collectors:
- Nathan’s M.U.S.C.L.E. Page – Not only is it a great resource, but he loves what he has done with the site itself over the years.
- Naochin’s Kinkeshi Archive – This website was invaluable for completing his Kinnikuman collection.
Joseph’s Kinnikuman collection of Non-M.U.S.C.L.E. sculpts was completed in 2008 which has cooled his collecting overall – but not stopped it. Joseph toys with finishing his collection of Battle Beasts and Army Ants, but his main focus is higher-end 1/6 figures and some 1:1 replica props and busts. Although he does admit that there are times when randomly fun things still cause an impulse purchase.
Amazingly, not only does Joseph have pictures of his current collection but he has pictures of past incarnations of his collection. Below are Joseph’s displays with the accompanying year below each picture.
2002 was Joseph’s self-proclaimed peak of M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting.
From all the M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors a huge thank you is offered to Joseph Dunnigan 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..