Vile…Malevolent…Adorable!

Hey. I’m Jeff Patterson, from the slowly-reawakening blog Gravity Lens. John has graciously invited me to post over here, and I’d like to take the opportunity to vent about something that’s been gnawing at me.

After 30-plus years of reading SF and attending conventions, there are whole areas of fandom I do not understand: anime-based LRPGs; amateur neo-pagan Tolkien scholars; the three Fs of Filking, Furries, and Fanfic. But at least I can, in some bizarre way, comprehend what the attraction to these strange pursuits might be, regardless of there place on the geek hierarchy.

Then there is the incomprehensible. The truly alien.

I speak of the unceasing cute-ification of action figures.

A while back our esteemed hosts here at SF Signal posted an image of an My Little Cthulhu. I chuckled at it in an ironic way, not knowing the horror that awaited. In the past few years the market for little stylized figures has exploded. Minimates, Kubricks, and Mighty Muggs, all seemingly descended from Fisher Price ancestors, fill the toystores and specialty shops. The monthly Diamond Catalog is rife with them. This plague has infected science fiction. The genre’s finest heroes, monsters, and villains are reduced to the status of horrible two-inch tall eyesores.


I’m known for my contempt of all things cute. I laughed when Sheridan purged the teddy bears from Babylon 5, the Klingon slaughter of the Tribbles makes my heart sing, and I think the Society for the Exterminaton of Ewoks is among the noblest, most heroic organizations in existence.

To see the memorable characters of Star Trek, Galactica, and Aliens suffer this fate is an atrocity. The sight of time-traveling apes, Latverian super-despots, and gloriously-weaponed killing machines like Wolverine or the Predator rendered as such makes me weep. I don’t know if I want to live in a world where such planet-slaying horrors as Cthulhu and Galactus are subjected to this unspeakable state.

What unholy brain fever or imbalance of bodily humors stirs the desire to transform a skilled and vengeful Sith assassin into a freakish bulb-headed abomination?

And now we see this repugnant trend spreading to other media.

It amounts to nothing less than a net reduction in sense of wonder.

It diminishes us as a species.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna curl up with my plush Rodan and read a book.

6 thoughts on “Vile…Malevolent…Adorable!”

  1. There wouldn’t be such a proliferation of this crap if it wasn’t making money. Creators and studios can license to manufacturers non-stop, but if no one buys the results, then that well is percieved as dry and they move on to something else. But unlike traditionally mainstream audiences, the SF&F audience has proven time and again they will throw their cash at any chunk of plastic that smells even remotely like a beloved property. Expect to see more as F&SF film and television moves further into the mainstream.

  2. Vile, yes, but I am guilty of secretly wanting Thor and Iron-Man Hasbro Super Hero Squad Action Figures!  They are so cute!

    Hey speaking of this subject, I find those Star Wars Mr. Potato Head figures over the Kessel Line!  Yam Solo!?!

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