Apr 29, 2015

Toy Stories

Let's call this one an irregular feature.

I used to be far more into toys than I am now. Moving across the country has taught me exactly how transportable all your stuff needs to be, and toys are not.

I do have one weakness when it comes to toys, though, and that's Lego's BIONICLE series.

I love this stuff.

I've been getting it since it debuted in 2001, hitting up garage sales and thrift shops after the line ended in 2010. The line made a return in 2015, which is wonderful.

I've only just (well, in the last year or so) taken the step of really using it creatively though. For a long while it was about collecting the official models in the series (it still is to a certain extent), or about building pieces that were basically just variations on those official models. But in the last little while I've come to see it not just as a building toy, but an artistic outlet. There are insane BIONICLE-based figures all over the Internet.

I also started trying to maintain a semi-critical look at the line at my collecting blog, but this one is taking up a lot of time lately (and, y'know, school). I'll get back to the BIONICLE blogging one of these days.

Now, when BIONICLE ended, and just as the Marvel Cinematic Universe was becoming a force to be reckoned with, Lego released a series of superheroes using simpler versions of the BIONICLE elements:

Lego released Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk from the Marvel U, and Batman, the Joker, and Green Lantern from the DCU (I've got pics of IM and GL here because they're the only two of the sets that I own).

I managed to snag a double of the Iron Man set, and began to wonder, with the myriad pieces I have, what kinds of Iron Men I could build. Eventually, I settled on an Iron Man with a kind of samurai aesthetic. As I've said, I'm seeing the BIONICLE elements as artistic medium now, so here's some of my superhero inspired art:

It's not immediately obvious in that last picture, but his jets at the back swing up into guns.
Here's a clearer picture of them, though the picture's less clear, if you see what I mean.

So, that's one of my other passions. I'm currently working on a Green Lantern one, and furiously searching for the other characters.

I'll do other, sporadic "Toy Stories." My supervisor, Bart, wrote a book called Comics vs. Art, and in parts of it he considers what we consider the limits of comics scholarship. Should it solely be about 2-dimensional sequential art strips, or can it be about the vast culture, material and otherwise, that has grown up around them too? What are "comics?"

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