Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Legends of Cthulhu Action Figures, Brought to You by Warpo!
When it comes to toy collecting, never underestimate the power of nostalgia. Even though companies such as Sideshow Collectibles can produce multi-jointed, highly-detailed action figures of popular characters from comic books, movies and TV shows, there remains a subset of collectors who prefer the simpler approach that toy companies used in the late '70s and early '80s. Back then, the dominant paradigm for action figures followed the approach used by Kenner for its Star Wars toy line: 3 and 3/4th inch figures with simple sculpts and five points of articulation (neck, shoulders and hips). Such a style has been resurrected by companies like Super7 and Zica Toys as a way of appealing to toy collectors who grew up during the '70s and '80s; many of these retro action figures are even sold on blister cards, exactly the way they were packaged back in those days.
Whereas most companies are using pre-established licenses from the '70s, '80s and '90s to help sell their retro figures (e.g., Alien, Nightmare Before Christmas, Six Million Dollar Man, etc.), a new Chicago-based company called Warpo is using a Kickstarter campaign to launch a set of four action figures based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft under the "Legends of Cthulhu" brand name. However, Warpo isn't just making retro action figures based on Lovecraft's work; they hope to create a toy line that meticulously fits the look and feel of what it would have been like had a toy company in the '70s or '80s decided to make a toy line based on Lovecraft's work. In other words, Warpo doesn't want to just produce figures based on the approach used by toy companies three decades ago; it also wants to recreate the experience that went with collecting such toys during that era.
Warpo was founded by three self-proclaimed "die-hard" toy collectors--Bryan Katzel, Tommy Baldwin and Eric Lefeber--and their official Warpo site shows just how committed they are to recreating the retro feel in their products. Warpo's tagline is "Making Yesterday's Toys", and the opening paragraph on the company's site says this: "In 1981 an unknown toy company consisting of a rag-tag crew of rogue creatives embarked on developing what would come to be known as the most ‘bitchingest’ toys of forever. Unfortunately that never happened ... but we wished it did. So we’re making it happen now."
The Warpo Kickstarter page goes into much more detail about the Legends of Cthulhu toy line, including profiles of toy industry veterans that Warpo recruited to aid in getting the look and feel of the line accurate for the kinds of toys that were released during the '70s and '80s. Even Warpo's pitch video opens with what a Legends of Cthulhu toy commercial would have looked like if one were made back in 1981. So far, Warpo has over 900 backers, and bonus exclusives such as "army builder packs" and limited production figures like "Conjured Cthulhu" have been added as investor incentives. There's even the possibility of a Legends of Cthulhu coloring book!
Personally, I think that this is an awesome idea and I wish Warpo lots of luck in seeing this project through. If I were a much more avid toy collector, I'd be stocking up Remco's Universal Monsters action figures and the Lovecraftian giant monster figures from Hasbro's Inhumanoids line in order to go with the Legends of Cthulhu action figure set.