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Fandom: From the Shadows to the Lime Light

Hi everyone,

Today's piece is going to diverge a little bit away from the action figures and focus on something that is more encompassing. Fandom.

Fandom was once something confined to the shadows. You went to cons, subscribed to zines, and really only had to the chance to connect with people at those levels. While, the same, to lesser extent holds true today, the number of people you can connect with is growing. Most people who have gone to the theater in the last decade have all but certainly wondered into a Marvel film at least once. How could they not? The super hero genre has taken over theaters and it has established itself as a piece of our cultural identity.

While it is true, many people see this on a more superficial level, they are at least aware of it; more importantly they are willing to try and connect on that level as well. As an aside, Marvel has become synonymous with with super hero films, that is why when you meet a layfan you will hear things like: "I went to see 'Wonder Woman' because it was a Marvel film." DC executives are more than certainly shuddering, but at least they are aware of the character. The $412,563,408 domestic earnings for the film make up 50.2% of the total $821,847,012 which leads us to realize that the trend is not just an American one.

If the box office is an indicator of acceptance we have a pretty clear indication that fandom and franchise films are the biggest successes.

As a whole, fandom is still in the process growing, and it is very big business as mega successes like "Avengers: Endgame" (earning in its double release) and even smaller success stories like "Joker" and "Venom" have gone on to prove.

But what does that mean for us as a society?

For one, it means that the acceptance level of the fantastic is at an all time high.

From the shadows to the lime light, super hero films and those related to other fandoms have become a big source of revenue for the economy. Movie studios are not the only companies profiting from the change in trend. Today you will hear people proudly proclaim their loyalty to geekdom–where a similar statement even a decade ago would have been look down upon–can today be at least seen as a source of conversation and at best allow you to easily connect with like minded individuals.

There influence appears in every aspects of our society, for the commonly accepted domains to the once strongly traditionalist ones like weddings. Everybody accepts that a child will enjoy the attention that these popular franchise are receiving but adults have also embraced them, making them a feature in their lives. It was once unthinkable, but today you can find weddings themed with superheroes, birth announcements, christening, save the date, and any other type important event. While there are a varying number of options you can find an acceptable option for most occasions, and they cover everything from fantasy to science fiction.

Fandoms are nothing new, and fan appreciation is also not something created in the last two decades. Mr. Skygack was a character created by A.D. Condo for a comic strip staring the fictional Skygack as a Martian ehtnographer. In 1908 a couple from Cincinnati, Ohio were effectively the first people to cosplay, attending a masquerade dressed as Mr. Skygack and Dillpickles. Two years later the character appeared again when an woman won a masquerade ball in Tacoma dressed as Skygack.

At that time they were viewed as a novelty and a bit of a fad. It took them nearly a hundred years before we as a society were willing to see their value and appreciate the creativity and imagination that has gone into these characters and their stories. Today we do not view them as a novelty, rather as part of our cultural identity, they give us role models, they establish community, and they entertain us. Marvel, DC and company are no longer something only enjoyed by children and "man-children," rather they are appreciated by a diverse spectrum of our society and their acceptance is only growing.

Fandoms are now something to be proud of rather than shunned.

Spider-Man 2099 2020 Toy Fair Exclusive (HT)

Hot Toys never ceases to amaze us. Just look at this beautiful Spider-Man 2099 figure they recently unveiled for Toy Fair.

For fans of Marvel's 2099 timeline it should come as no surprise that this is one of the most iconic characters to appear in it. Create by Peter David Spider-Man 2099 was a popular comic series for Marvel in 1992 and in recent years has made a comeback unlike the other characters to get a 2099 re-envisioning. There is no wonder why the character has survided so long, out of all of the characters created for the 2099 universe it was our favorite webslinger, played by Miguel O'Hare this time, was the most grounded and tangible. Ghost Rider, Hulk, and Punisher all seemed a bit too much like parody like, better suited for the surreal universe that 2000 A.D. represents than Marvel Comics. And before we continue I don't even want to get into the mess that the 2099 X-Men series choose to explore.

If you don't know what a 1992 comic book character looked like you can see it right here. Spider-Man's costume is painstakingly recreated in such high detail by the team at Hot Toys in such a way that almost makes you believe that this is a still from a film rather than an action figure. Honestly, I feel that it is a true work of genius whenever they release a new figure.

Many companies reach a certain level and either fail to maintain it or choose to redefine themselves all together once they have reached the top. HT doesn't do that. They have made a name for themselves and they continue to honor that name whenever a new figure rolls out the door. Every time I see one I say to myself; "they can't get better than this." But somehow they can and they do. With as large of a catalog as Hot Toys has it is easy to see that quality and quantity can coexist in harmony.

This figure is not just highly detailed it comes with a large assortment of accessories that make it a value for any Spider-Man fan.

But first, when you look at this figure you will see that it has something other toys in HT's assortment don't have. A new body. While still sporting the traditional 30 points of articulation is has been redesigned from the ground up to work with the characters unique flexibility. This gives way to a large assortmen of poses that were not possible before.

Miguel O'Hare also comes complete with a wide array of hands as you would expect for a Spider-Man figure. They cover both relaxed and action poses like:

  • One pair of relax hands
  • One pair of open hands
  • One pair of web shooting hands
  • One pair of clenching hands
  • One pair of gesture hands
  • One web holding left hand
  • One right fist

Since the figure was developed for the Spider-Man game you can expect that to be the main direction the marketing material took. That is why the base sports a specially designed Marvel’s Spider-Man game logo, character name and graphic card. All of which do not detract from the early 90s design.

As for action accessories you will also get:

  • One (1) pair of web shooters
  • Six (6) strings of spider web in different shapes and lengths
  • One (1) open spider web effect accessory

All of which allow you to create beautiful and dynamic scenes as the studio photo shoot pictures clearly show. It is no wonder that film maker Patrick Boivin has used their figures in the production of stop-motion animation.

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