Reading Tom’s marvelous (omg it’s contagious!) posts about Marvel sets & LEGO Marvel – Top 10 Minifigures made me realize something: I don’t have enough Marvel figures. I started to think about the reason behind that, and after a while I was questioning what makes me add a Minifigure to my collection. So let’s start with Marvel and go on from there.
I used to think that I was a Marvel fan when I was a teenager. Of course at that time Marvel meant X-men and Spiderman to me. The Marvel comics were translated to Turkish and very easy to find. Even after I started reading English comics, I mainly stuck with X-men. I didn’t even know the existence of Ironman or Captain America.
As for Deadpool… I remember seeing the 6866 Wolverine’s Chopper Showdown set, and not getting it because I had no idea who the weird looking red guy was. It was a little before the movie came out that I was curious enough to google him, and learned about the “Mouthy Merc” and his habit of breaking the 4th wall.
After watching the Ironman movies, I realized I really don’t like him, mostly because of his self- righteousness. Captain America seemed a bit too perfect to me, so he was eliminated too. As years passed, new movies came out, and I found myself having a hard time understanding some of the references. I went back and watched all the Ironman and Captain America films, along with what was released in between. After several days of a Marvel movie marathon, there was no change in my opinion. I still didn’t like either of them.
Even so, I remember thinking about getting the Avengers figures. I really liked how they struggled and managed to come together in the first movie, and I thought they deserved to be part of my collection. However, it was never my first priority, and after a while, I forgot about them.
After reading the extensive reviews Tom wrote, I decided to look at my collection and see which figures I have. The list was quite short. I had Wolverine, Magneto, Thor, Loki, Spiderman, Green Goblin and Hulk from the Mighty Micros sets, bought because their faces were really funny and because of my dad’s love for tiny LEGO cars. I had the Wolvie and Magneto from the Chopper Showdown set, most likely bought separately since I still don’t have “the weird looking red guy” and because they were part of the X-Men universe. I have the Hulk bigfig, because I always loved that “Hulk, smash!” line. The Spiderman from 2003, back when I still liked the guy (and the movies, for that matter). Green Goblin and Mary Jane from 2002, when they still had yellow faces. Rocket, because despite his aggressive personality, he’s so cute both in the film and as a Minifigure. Groot, baby and teenager, because come on, how can someone not like Groot? And the most recent one is Star-Lord from the Infinity War set, just to have another figure of Chris Pratt.
That’s it. 17 Marvel Minifigures. Let’s assume I forgot a few, make it an even 20. In a population of 800+, they’re very much among the minority. Even the number of Batman Minifigures I have is double that number, not counting the rest of the DC universe! So from a statistical point of view, it seems I have shifted towards DC since my teenage years.
But why is that? What makes me not get those amazing Marvel figures? So much detail, so much likeness. Yet every time I shop, I prefer getting another Batman instead of, say, Deadpool or Dr. Strange. I love the movies (most of them, anyway), I love LEGO, so why not choose Marvel for a change?!
The only reasonable explanation I could come up with was my lack of knowledge. Here, let me make a comparison to express myself better.
Ironman, Captain America, Dr. Strange. All three have their own movies, where we see how they were before, what happened, and what they have become. Put my dislike aside for a minute, and even then, I never heard (or read) about them before the movies came out. Now we all know that it’s not easy to squeeze years of details (from the comics) into a 2-hour film. No matter how great it is, there will always be someone thinking “Yeah, but that’s not how it really happened”. So apparently, the movies were not enough for me to relate to them. Of all these three, Dr. Strange is by far my favorite, and still, it wasn’t enough.
Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern
On the other hand we have Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern. While the first two have been in my life since my childhood, both in movies and TV series (yes, I’m talking about the one with Adam West!), I learned about the existence of Green Lantern when the Blackest Night book was published, so a few years after the first Ironman movie. And honestly, I never liked Superman too much, he, too, was too perfect for my taste. Even so, I have 2 of him among my collection. As for Batman… well, let’s just say I grew tired of my dad saying “You bought a Batman Minifigure? Again??!!!”
So it seems that knowing a character for a long time plays a huge role when it comes to being a part of my collection, and liking the character, even more so.
It made sense, but it still didn’t answer the question I asked myself. So I dug deeper, and found the answer.
While I really liked the movies, I wasn’t able to relate to the characters. Of course that takes us right back to knowing the character, but it becomes invalid when it comes to Dr. Strange or Green Lantern. I know very little about them, and still like them. Something in my deep deep subconscious connects to whatever it feels like connecting to at the moment, and suddenly I feel the need to express my love through LEGO. And sometimes even that’s not enough. The character needs to have some significance to be “worthy” enough to be a part of my collection.
Back to LEGO
If you’re into collecting Minifigures, you know there’s no way to “catch them all”. Brickset says they have information on 11,046 figures. That’s a huge number, and it increases every year. And then there are custom Minifigures. Yeah, let’s skip those for now, because I don’t think it would be possible to get out once we get in there…
So how does one start (or have started) a collection? What are the criteria? How do you pick what to get and what not to get?
We display our little army in the living room. We see them constantly, and it’s a life saver when you’re giving examples of a certain Minifigure. Today, my dad told me how he loves the variety in our collection (well, it’s my collection, really, but he loves it so much it became his as well). Anyways, he was talking about the different themes we have, how they were arranged, how I (insanely) know where and when each was purchased…
I’m one of the lucky ones who never lost their love for LEGO. Sure, I had to hide it from everyone I knew, but there was always a part of me that made me go and buy that set. As time passed, my collection grew, and I started buying Minifigures instead of sets. And then Instagram came into my life and I found out there were so many Minifigures I’ve never heard of. With the discovery of Bricklink (about 5 years ago) I finally lost my mind and since then the collection almost doubled. I assure you, my wallet is not happy with this development!
Even with almost an endless resource to get whichever Minifigure you like, I still find myself analyzing and comparing before I buy. LEGO is not a cheap toy, after all, and being an adult means you can’t spend all your money on Minifigures. However, I think even if I had an infinite income, I’d still choose. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I have this ginormous love for Batman. Even so, I have none of the Dawn of Justice Minifigures, because I never liked Ben Affleck as Batman. Therefore even the most favorite son (!) is put on the table, pros and cons are mentally written, and then the choice is made.
Even further back…
When my collection started, it wasn’t even a collection. It was the toys I played with. Most girls my age played with Barbies, I had my LEGO Minifigures. I created stories for them, relationships, moms, dads, etc. And in my perfect little world, there were no bad guys. Everything was really awesome, with no downsides. Sure, there were a few know-it-alls, but that was it. I mean, think about it, how can someone be bad if he always has a smile on his face?
As I look at my Minifigures, I see that this is still the case. When I pick new figures to add to the collection, I usually choose the happier ones. Of course, there are some villains, especially from the licensed sets, such as Darth Maul, Doomsday or the Joker, but not many. As for other themes, like LEGO City, LEGO Castle, or Collectible LEGO Minifigures, the ones with frowning faces are far less in number than the ones with happy faces. If a Minifigure is scowling, even if a little, it automatically enters the “don’t get” list.
Which brings me to this interesting revelation: When I’m buying LEGO, it’s not the adult me that’s buying, it’s still that little kid with her perfect world. She doesn’t want anyone to be unhappy, so when she sees someone who is, she completely ignores it. The adult me knows them all, loves them all, but is unable to convince that little girl that it’s okay to be sad or angry sometimes. She just wouldn’t listen. For her, everything is ALWAYS awesome – at least that’s what she wants to believe.
So much blabbering for such a simple conclusion, right? Yeah, I guess it takes time to fully realize the real reason behind some things…
Still with me? Great. Let me ask you this, then. How do you pick which Minifigure (or set) to add to your collection? What are your criteria? And if you dare, dig a little deeper to remember what made you choose those criteria. You never know what you may find…