A question, answered

I loved Kenner’s Star Wars toys when I was a kid — or at least until I discovered G.I. Joe, which was much more articulated and therefore much more interesting — and I confess to maintaining a highly specialized collection of their modern-day counterparts. For the most part, though, Star Wars toys are kinda like modern comic books, an unpleasant sort of pablum for feeding adults who aren’t quite able to grow up. (I’m typing this as I sit about five feet from the shelf where my astromechs are displayed, so yes, that unfortunately includes me.)

They’re definitely not for kids, and if you need proof look no further than the fact that Hasbro released a “Death Star conference room” collection last year; it consisted of half a dozen paunchy middle-aged white men in dress uniforms, which is, you know, not really the stuff of which childhood playtime is made. And since the line now sells exclusively to grown men with disposable income and a need to own everything, the manufacturer is freed from worrying about whether or not specific figures will sell — they basically have a built-in guarantee that anything they make will be snapped up by completists. This makes for an absolutely fascinating spectacle; I like to check on the line from time to time to see if in fact Hasbro really will turn any character with more than three seconds of screen time into a tiny plastic toy.

I’ve long had a benchmark set of figures I absolutely never expected to see, and systematically each and every of them has been turned into a child’s toy. Luke floating in a diaper? Check. Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru? Yup. The cantina bartender? Shockingly, yes. But I’ve always assumed I had one last “no way” hole card, the one character who is both so minor and so visually unappealing that they’d never actually turn it into a figure: the fat six-breasted dancer from Jabba’s Palace.

Well, Toy Fair 2008 just started, and…

Meet “Yarna,” the final proof that Hasbro absolutely will plumb any depth, and thousands of nerds will plummet right to the bottom with them. The really awful part is that she’s one of thirty figures who will come with components to create half a dozen unique new astromechs. But I’m drawing the line here, you bastards. You’re not taking me down with you.

11 thoughts on “A question, answered

  1. Man, that is so sad. Glad you decided to keep your integrity there.

    I refused to buy the Marvel Legends Blackheart figure because it came with an Onslaught leg. A leg. Nevermind the fact that I only know about Onslaught tangentially. What was I even supposed to do with a leg? Screw you, toy makers. I’m not that big a sucker.

  2. The real question is what are gonna to do with all these toys except throw them out in 10 years? If you have kids and boys at that, you will be set for awhile. When my boy gets old enough not to poke his eye out he can dismantle my Interlink 6….

  3. Juan: The leg was part of a set, and when you got the whole set, you built an Onslaught figure. If you didn’t want the leg you could have just thrown it away.

  4. Believe it or not, Hasbro generally assumes that some of these toys do go to children- it took them years to even realize that the adult collector market even existed. (Though the second pandering to the grownup set eats into their profits they will drop us like hot potatoes, I guarantee. Which shows, again, more sense than the comics publishers.)

    I’m guessing the new Clone Wars stuff will be far more kid-friendly than the mainline figures for a while. Though I know they always try to keep Darth Vader in circulation because even if his character has been greatly diminished by clumsy over-explanation, he still looks really neat to kids.

    Hmm, maybe I’ll start a new Toy Dorkery thread while Toy Fair is on…

  5. Hey, no prob. I just follow the rule that when you’re on the internet, no one’s as smart as you.

  6. How come snarky Parish only shows up in the comments section these days? I miss his old prog rock articles.

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