Thursday, March 02, 2006


People sometimes look at you a bit odd if you admit you read comics, but I have a worse confession; I collect dolls. No, not action figures (which seem to be a legitimate form among comic fans, but dolls. And not just any dolls; I collect goth dollies.

Actually I used to collect all kinds of cool toys that I would have died for when I was a kid, but at some point I felt the need to pack them all up in a box and stuck them in the closet. But my monitor wasn't the same without a cool toy sitting on it, and when I saw these gorgeous goth dollies I had to have one. Now I just bought my seventh (selling off some of my old cool toys to pay for her) and my computer area is starting to look like it's inhabited by a small goth girl gang.

But how does this relate to comics, I hear you ask? Well doll collectors are worse than comic collectors. In the same way that the more obsessive comic collectors buy comics encased in plastic that they cannot ever read, doll collectors buy dolls and never take them out of their boxes. This whole frame of mind upsets me in some strange way that it's taken me a long while to pin down, and I think what disturbs me is that if you buy something and never touch it, can you really say you own it, or are you just acting as a caretaker for it for a while? Comics are made to be read, dolls are made to be played with. The BeGoth dollies have improved tremendously in construction since they started and the newer ones can be posed in all kinds of ways. But what's the point if they are being bought by people who never take them out of the box? They might as well be solid plastic.

Are these people just packaging fans? Do they take esthetic pleasure from the packaging and feel that this is an artform in itself, or do they see the dolls as artworks in their own right (they are very nice sculptures, it's true) and that the best way to display them is in the original packaging? Or are they playing investor, sitting there calculating how much profit they would hypothetically make if they ever actually sold them (which of course they wouldn't ever do)? I guess that for the people that like that sort of thing, that's the sort of thing they like.

Me, I buy my dollies to play with (though I haven't quite reached the point of having goth dolly tea parties), even when they are from a limited edition of 500. And if that makes the packaging fans whimper then they can console themselves with the fact that this makes one less pristine, mint condition, never removed from box doll, and thus gives that tiny bit more value to the other 499.


Anonymous said...

Did you ever get your Elektra Barbie?

Anyway, I still get the occasional action figure, and I keep all the packaging. Just don't have much time to take them out and play any more. :-p

Marionette said...

No, I never did get an Elektra Barbie. I like the idea more than the actual doll, and I think if I did get one I probably would keep it in the box because a) it works better as a statement in the packaging, and b) I don't like it enough as a doll to want to sit it on my monitor.

Plus I reckon that she'd get beaten up by Anarchy Annie and have her lunch money stolen by Fiona Fatale. I mean it's not like she's an Elektra doll; she's just a Barbie in an Elektra costume.