The votes are in and it appears the draft version of the University of M.U.S.C.L.E. Figure Guide was the most important event of 2010. If collectors are this receptive to an incomplete Figure Guide, then the finished version will be amazingly well received.
A popular vote is fun, but it seems almost impossible to come to a consensus regarding the single most important M.U.S.C.L.E. event of 2010. This year, like the years before, saw plenty of spectacles – both good and bad. However, this year also saw some of the broadest community involvement in many years.
If the University of M.U.S.C.L.E. had independently selected an “event of the year” it would have been Action Figure and Space Creature Party. That movie seemed to be a tent-pole of the creativity in 2010. It was one of many creative offerings given to the M.U.S.C.L.E. community in the form of videos, drawings, and custom figures.
AF&SCP also acted as a beacon of fun for the M.U.S.C.L.E. community. Originally it was pulled down because the creator didn’t recognize the most amusing aspects of the video. Thankfully it was eventually reposted. Fun is something that seems to quickly slip away with certain events in the M.U.S.C.L.E. community. The lack of transparency in eBay auctions, the varying views of acceptable buying/selling practices, and the splintering between collectors only serve to erode at the hobby.
AF&SCP, and the eventual sequels, were simply fun. Collectors were also able to positively contribute in other ways too. There was a sizable influx of pictures for both the Frankenstein-like Amalgam Figures and the 233 Counterfeit Collection.
The conversation that has started between Kinnikuman co-creator, Takashi Shimada, and M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors certainly deserves attention too. For broader collectors of both Kinnikuman and M.U.S.C.L.E. this is similar to having access to any creator of a beloved property (e.g., George Lucas and Star Wars).
For collectors of only M.U.S.C.L.E. it is an ultimately unique experience. The M.U.S.C.L.E. brand was released without any meaningful backstory or subsequent comics, books, or television shows. Many collectors reminisce about the creativity M.U.S.C.L.E. afforded them as children. However, the specific figures were products of Takashi Shimada’s imagination.
The simple analogy might be that it is like having access to the sculptor of a generic toy – but that is too much of an over simplification. While a perfect analogy might escape the situation, it is certainly exciting to have one of the creators of Kinnikuman (and subsequently M.U.S.C.L.E.) accessible to collectors.
M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting will always have interesting discoveries and hotly debated auctions. They have been a constant in the community. Similarly the active, positive participation has also been a constant. It seems as if 2010 saw an increase in the active, positive participation. Hopefully 2011 will see even greater increases…and a market saturating influx of Super Rare figures.