“What ever happened to…?” It’s a question that gets addressed to romances, bands, people, and even toys. In 2008 Bill Raeth, known as vette88 on LittleRubberGuys.com, wondered, “What ever happened to M.U.S.C.L.E. figures?”
That simple question, paired with a Google search, took Bill to Nathan’s M.U.S.C.L.E. Page and ultimately led him back to collecting M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. Bill had originally collected M.U.S.C.L.E. figures as a child in Escanaba, Michigan. He remembers buying his first figures at a K-Mart.
The weird designs of the M.U.S.C.L.E. figures were too interesting to pass up. While Mattel may have focused on the wrestling aspect of the M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, this was inconsequential to Bill. He was one of many children that enjoyed the ambiguity of the figures. In fact, Bill and his friends barely used them as action figures at all. Instead the figures were participants in a Hide and Seek-type game. Bill and his friends would hide the figures while the lone remaining friends counted. He remembered that trees were often the favorite hiding spot for the M.U.S.C.L.E. figures.As Bill got older his attention shifted away from M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. When Bill’s attention shifted back to M.U.S.C.L.E. it was furiously focused. Instead of slowly constructing a set through small purchases and trades he immediately bought a set of Flesh figures and a Satan Cross. As Bill continued to learn more and more about M.U.S.C.L.E. figures he became more and more interested in purchasing M.U.S.C.L.E. items.
As the scope of Mattel’s M.U.S.C.L.E. line is quite limited Bill had to look to more creative means of securing new M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. He satiates his need for new figures by reaching out to creative individuals within the M.U.S.C.L.E. community – specifically the figures that are cast by Marty Hansen and the painted figures created by Luke Harris.
Mart and Luke both created two of Bill’s favorite pieces. Marty created a Red #153 with a Corvette logo and Luke painted a Rubix cube inspired #24. Bill is very passionate about #153. Those figures are the main focus of his collection, specifically the Purple #153.While Bill’s passion for M.U.S.C.L.E. and collecting focus are both laser-like, his method for tracking his collection is the polar opposite. Bill simply does not keep track of his collection. Instead his collection is prominently displayed.
The Flesh set, along with his some of his other favorite figures, are displayed in a cabinet. Alongside his figures are framed versions of the Flesh and Color M.U.S.C.L.E. posters. The remainders of his collection, mostly Color figures, have been put into Ziploc bags.
Bill’s intense interest has made him an active part of the M.U.S.C.L.E. community. Bill values having both the people and website resources that make the hobby enjoyable, but ultimately he has fun with both collecting M.U.S.C.L.E. figures and being part of the M.U.S.C.L.E. community.Bill also tries to help new collectors by guiding them to sites like The University of M.U.S.C.L.E. and Nathan’s M.U.S.C.L.E. Page . He also offers collectors tips:
1. Have fun
2. Be creative
3. Help others
4. Ask questions
And while the entire M.U.S.C.L.E. community thanks Bill for sharing his personal story, Bill also wanted to say:
Thanks to the people who have developed the sights that I visit.
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..
Bill also wanted to share some additional information about himself.