Collector: Lucas RageLucas Rage, known as fuzzbuster on LRG.com, is the next collector spotlighted for Sociology 300.
If the response to Sociology 300 questionnaire gauged the level of M.U.S.C.L.E. love and devotion, then Lucas Rage would be placed as the top, exemplar score. His adoration of M.U.S.C.L.E. appears to be deeply and thoroughly entrenched in his childhood. The infatuation started with a 10-pack given to him during Christmas. He was five years old when he received the gift said to be from his two-month old niece. The purchase was actually made by his sister.
It was just a few days left in the holiday shopping season, and my two oldest sisters were completing their holiday shopping. They had a shopping cart or two full of gifts, mostly toys for their five year old brother (I was the youngest of six,) and were waiting in a long, slow moving check out line.
There, among the various impulse items, they spotted a M.U.S.C.L.E. display, and picked up a ten pack. They thought, “Hey, weird little guys. He’ll probably like these things,” and threw them in the cart.
They have described the purchase as an afterthought, a last minute addition to a full day of gift shopping.
She could have never known the impact a seemingly simple gift would have on Lucas. He recounts his experience playing with M.U.S.C.L.E. figures as a child:
I mostly disregarded the wrestling aspect implied on the packaging, preferring my own storylines
As a child, all of my toys existed within the same turbulent universe, which, influenced by a mixture of 1980s Hollywood, network television, and cold war ideology, was a chaotic jumble of countless factions fighting endless battles and all out wars among one another. In these troubled times, it was not uncommon to see Transformers join forces with a band of renegade GI Joes to defeat Skeletor’s minions, or an elite squad of Army Ants secretly working for Jabba the Hutt to destroy a trade agreement between Storm Troopers and the A-Team.
Over time, however, one group emerged through the chaos to unify nearly all of these diverse cultures into one supreme military force. This, of course, was my favorite toyline, M.U.S.C.L.E. My collection soon greatly outnumbered all other toys and action figures I had, making them the largest fighting force by far, and impossible to defeat.
While nearly all the races of toys eventually did come to march under the M.U.S.C.L.E. banner, there was still a fair share of political and social upheaval from time to time within the society. Their great leader, Mayumi, always did his best to maintain peace, though were always cases when a show of military strength was necessary.
When Lucas’ M.U.S.C.L.E. figures weren’t engaged in mediations between Army Ants and Tatooine gangsters he enjoyed looking at the detail and variety of sculpts among the M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. He would spend hours sorting through them and studying their characteristics. The lack of accompanying information and mysterious nature of the brand further drew Lucas into the M.U.S.C.L.E. universe.Mayumi (Figure #20) was the first M.U.S.C.L.E. figure to draw him in and continues to be Lucas’ favorite part of his collection – specifically the figure he received in that original 10-pack.
He was the first figure that I saw once I opened the package, and right then I determined him to be the “Leader” of the small group. I remember thinking that his features, such as his more aged looks and stern countenance, set him apart as a seemingly older and wiser character.
Lucas’ love of Mayumi did not limit him to exclusively M.U.S.C.L.E. items. His collection grew over the years but the genesis to collector started at a surprisingly early age. His love for M.U.S.C.L.E. reawakened in his mid-teens when figures he had buried as a child begun to resurface on the grounds of his childhood home.
By my mid-teens, my M.U.S.C.L.E. collection had dwindled to about 30, due mostly to the ravages of the wars they had fought.
One day, I noticed a tiny hand jutting from a crack in the driveway of my parents’ home. After a quick excavation, I had uncovered a Dark Blue #141 who likely had not seen the light of day in several years. I wondered how many lay forgotten not far from where I stood.
From there, I set out on an expedition to recover and reclaim as many of the fallen as possible. This involved archaeological digs on sites that I could recall there being either battles fought or overgrown action figure graveyards.
After a few hours of digging and crawling under my parents’ porch, I had found about 50 M.U.S.C.L.E.s, a few disembodied limbs, as well as a smattering of other figures that had been lost in action years before. These figures, as well as the few others that surfaced on those same grounds in subsequent years, are considered undead. They, along with the originals, made up the entirety of my collection for some time.
To this day, I wonder how many hundreds of figures slumber just below the surface of the grounds throughout my childhood home.
Lucas’ rekindled love of M.U.S.C.L.E. continued to grow a few years later with the help of the internet to find M.U.S.C.L.E. and Kinnikuman related items. His love of M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting was sustainable for a relatively simple reason, “I found them to be the most interesting toys I had played with as a child. Everything I liked about them made me want more.”
Mayumi may have been a focal point; Lucas’ collection focus was much broader. His goal was to obtain, as much as possible, of all forms of Kinnikuman-based figures and information. More recently he has also become interested in different types of bootleg M.U.S.C.L.E. and Kinnikuman figures from around the world.This broad focus has helped him uncover some items to join Mayumi (#20) as his favorite pieces. They include some of his unusual bootleg figures, plus some incredibly unusual Kinnikuman items – which include the Comicara set and the Kinnikuman camera that fires BBs.
Like many collectors, Lucas’ also always has an eye out for future acquisitions. He has a special place in his heart for any M.U.S.C.L.E./Kinnikuman related item that he has never seen before, which is raising his interest level in Exogini and Cosmix figures. The hope of finding an undiscovered Super Rare M.U.S.C.L.E. figure is also a dream. At the top of his list, would be finding an original mold, or something relating to the process of M.U.S.C.L.E., Kinnikuman, or bootleg production.
With such a vast collection it would seem as if Lucas needed some detailed method to catalog or track his collection. In fact, he doesn’t use anything. He tracks his collection solely through his own intimate knowledge of the figures he owns.
The laissez-faire approach to tracking figures also applies to the condition of figures Lucas is willing to accept. He is willing to take in all kinds of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, regardless of the condition of them. There is even a small collection of mutilated M.U.S.C.L.E. figures that have suffered various major disfigurements.
Lucas’ approach to collecting appears to be very relaxed, but he does have a few self-described idiosyncrasies. The first is that he cleans every figure he receives. However, there are a few figures he refuses to clean – his childhood collection. He feels that those figures wear the dirt as a badge of honor and it sets them apart as individuals.
Ink stains are probably the most common and most frustrating of blemishes regarding figures from Lucas. Often times he has found figures numbered, usually incorrectly, with pen. Removing the ink has proven to be nearly impossible.
But the greatest flaw Lucas sees with many figures is the price. As much as he absolutely loves M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, he finds it hard to justify paying more than a dollar for a single figure. For Lucas the figures hold more of a personal value than a monetary one.Lucas’ collection of figures, if they are not being used for a particular project or display, are sorted into bags, according to toyline, color, size, and condition, and stored in large rubber bins. When Lucas is using them they appear in a variety of formats and mediums.
…the characters and the traits I attached to certain figures as a child have continued to grow and develop in my mind since their original conception. When I look at these figures, I continue to imagine new storylines that they are involved in that are simply extensions of their character-based past. There are two ways that I have expressed these characters and their stories physically since my early teen years.
The first is setting up scenes, or small scale dioramas based on the characters and their storylines. Within these scenes I would arrange the characters as if it is a snapshot of the action, and generally such a scene would stand for a few days before being rearranged to embody a moment further in the timeline.
Over the years, I have found that the arranging of figures in such scenes and displays is a most satisfying form of meditation.
The other form of M.U.S.C.L.E. play I engage in is incorporating them into my work as a multimedia artist. I have used figures as models and molds for various types of sculpture, have used M.U.S.C.L.E.-based imagery in collage work and live event projection, written songs about them, have made costumes based on them, and have used them as subjects in film and video.
– Video Courtesy of YouTube.com – p0wer0wl
(Editor’s Note: Notice the prominent role of Mayumi, figure #20.)
Lucas has been an active collector for more years than many other collectors. However, within the M.U.S.C.L.E. community he has been a quiet observer for many years. Lucas sees the M.U.S.C.L.E. community as a relatively small group, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in heart.Recently he has taken a more active role in the community; from sharing his movies, to participating in the collector spotlighted for Sociology 300, and even becoming a moderator at LittleRubberGuys.com. His greater involvement in the community has led to him having some specific views of what he would like to see more and less of within the community.
I would like to see people doing creative stuff with M.U.S.C.L.E.s and just having fun with the hobby in general.
I would like to see less scamming and scalping in regard to selling of M.U.S.C.L.E.s and other toys. People have enough of a chance getting ripped off in the course of living without it being a hazard within this hobby. Scams and ridiculously high prices ruin it for everyone.
Lucas also wants to see the University of M.U.S.C.L.E. grow as a central portal for all available information relating to M.U.S.C.L.E. toys. As an avid fan of M.U.S.C.L.E. toys he is very interested in learning anything possible relating to it and its origins.
Lucas’ collecting is not limited to M.U.S.C.L.E. or even Kinnikuman. He even collects audio and visual data and equipment of all kinds. He truly has a wide variety of interests.
I have a modest collection of Homies, Palermos, Mijos, and related lines.
I also am a fan of generic hard plastic figures, such as typical green army men one might see in a dollar store. I have various incarnations of those from over the years, as well as policemen, firemen, cowboys and Indians, farm theme, train theme, monsters, and tons more.
Otherwise, I have a wide variety of figures of all kinds, from the 1930’s to present. The vast majority of these are either toys from my childhood, the attics and basements of friends and relatives, rummage sales, thrift stores, etc., and they do not represent things I actively seek, but more that I stumble upon in my travels.
Much of these are retained in the hope that they will find new life with me through some form of reconstruction and/or art.
My home has been compared to the Island of Misfit Toys.
All of Lucas’ collecting has given him a wealth of collecting experience. However, his tip for other collectors seems simple, “If people stop paying insanely high prices for figures, eventually people would stop marking up prices several thousand percent.”
Lucas’ “Island of Misfit Toys” has been a positive influence on his life, as well as those around him. He says that people are amused by his love for “tiny stuff.” One of his sisters also collects various vintage toys, and has a small collection of M.U.S.C.L.E.s that her young son plays with. Other young members of his family have also become interested in M.U.S.C.L.E. figures and making LRG-based stop-motion videos.
For Halloween 2009 Lucas designed a stunning Sunshine (the “brick” M.U.S.C.L.E. figure) to pass out candy to neighborhood children. This is arguably the best M.U.S.C.L.E. costume ever shared with the community. There is no doubt that the neighborhood children enjoyed receiving their candy from a large man made of bricks. Perhaps the greatest aspect of the costume was the fun it provided to his 6-year old nephew. The picture provided by Lucas of his nephew wearing the costume clearly shows a child having fun. The joyous picture practically forces a viewer to imagine the child’s smile behind the mask.
Lucas not only talks about “people doing creative stuff with M.U.S.C.L.E.s and just having fun with the hobby in general,” he is a devoted practitioner.
All M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors offer a huge thank you to Lucas Rage 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..
Lucas also included some older pictures from previous displays he has set-up in his home. He had some difficulty remembering exactly when or wear the set-ups were located as it has been set-up in about four different homes. The majority of the pictures are from his collection display for sometime around 2003.