The Internet: Solver of Mysteries, Eater of Souls

16 08 2013

TOSM3As kids, my brother and I had this Colorforms game called Space Warriors. It had little vinyl cutout figures you could stick on a cardboard background to enact scenes and whatnot. Hours of fun, to be sure. However, the box clearly shows the vinyl cutout characters as action figures. We had plenty of toys — Micronauts, Star Wars figures, Shogun Warriors and more, but we’d never seen any sign of the guys on this box. How could they exist in this photograph and nowhere else? It was one of the many unsolvable mysteries of childhood. Eventually we stopped playing Colorforms and I forgot all about it.

Fast forward 30+ years to deep in the information age, and someone on Facebook links to a toy review on Michael Crawford’s site. I still buy toys once or twice a year, but I had never read a toy review. So I’m messing around on the site, in the “Miscellaneous” category, looking for weird stuff, and there’s something called The Outer Space Men. And… cue rush of childhood memories… it’s the guys from the Colorforms box. But updated, reissued by this company Four Horsemen.

I get way more excited about this than can ever be justified. I do some deliberate searching, and learn that The Outer Space Men were a line of action figures roughly a decade before we were sticking their vinyl likenesses on a cardboard xenoscape. There are several web sites dedicated to the original toys. And I cannot stop obsessing over them. I’m constantly going back to the Four Horsemen page to gaze at the new figures.

Then I do something I don’t normally do. I cross the line from window shopping to actual shopping. I order the first set from Four Horsemen (the set that includes my sudden favorite for no reason, Metamorpho). With shipping it’s over $60 for four stupid action figures, but I don’t care. I am possessed. I am that guy, gaga over the most pointless of material things.

It takes a long time for the order to be processed. During that time I notice, on one of my many visits to the Four Horsemen store, the set I’ve ordered becomes SOLD OUT! So now, assuming the package arrives, I’m the proud owner of a scarce collectible. And this also gives me a charge, I’m ashamed to admit. The order ships, and I get a FedEx tracking number by email. Which I then use to follow the progress of the package! Who am I? What is going on???

zosm1Today the package arrived. The Outer Space Men are every bit as cool as I’d hoped. The next obvious question raised by this story is, do I now obsessively collect all the rest? I don’t know. Thankfully, I’m more intrigued by the question of what adventures are in store for Xodiac, Inferno, Astro-Nautilus and Metamorpho.

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