Action Figure or Doll?

The age old question that plagues toy collectors the world over reared it's ugly head again this evening. This time it was the girlfriend who posited the conundrum.

Actually she called an action figure a doll, and I had to school her on the finer points of toy definitions:

Doll: [dol] - noun: If the removal of pants is a component of a toy's play factor, said toy is a doll:  Hey Chunky B, did you see Brian's Lee Majors doll? It came with two pairs of sweat pants and one swanky leisure suit!

"Holy underwear - I don't even wear pants!"

Action Figure: [ak-shuhn fig-yer] - noun: A manly toy collected by manly toy collectors. Pants are non-removable. Often carries a weapon of some sort: Hey Bubba, your epic Batman action figure collection eclipses Reis' mere handful of Batmen, which are mostly bootlegs anyways. I'd wear a mask too if I were him!

"His Robin collection ain't nothin' to sneeze at either!"

The girlfriend then asked 'Who decided upon these definitions? Who is the authority?'

Well, moi, of course!

And now it is written, and so shall it be forevermore.


(Oh yeah, toy collectors are also a fun group of folks who can really take a joke...I hope ;)  ) 


  1. GREAT post :) dollies are for gals and sissies haha real men collect ACTION FIGURES!

  2. I own two "dollies" but don't tell anyone lol. : D

  3. Mere handful?! MERE HANDFUL?! #@%#%$#^&!!!

    Actually, if we want to take this further, I wrote something up a couple of years ago in an attempt to define "action figure".


    But I like your "pants factor". Maybe I'll include that in an update of the above article. ;)

  4. Why am I always lumped into the dolly camp???

    I accept your Batman collection challenge on behalf of Reis, get your pictures shot and I will be the official judge, we will meet back here in two weeks to announce the winner! Of course I haven't spoken to Reis about this I just want to see another Batman challenge...

  5. http://www.dedeismus.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/action_figure.jpg

    I think that sums it up pretty well.

  6. I'm going to need a little more than two weeks CB, but I will start preparing now and let y'all know when I am ready!

  7. Okay... enough of this nonsense. An action figure is any poseable figurine (clothed or with plastic molded clothing), at any size produced for boys to play with... end of story. "Action" refers to the posable nature of the figure. "Figure" refers to the fact that it is a representation of the human figure (don't know where that leaves robots and transformers, etc.).

    If the guys that created the original GiJoe, rejected the term "doll," you better believe you would, too, in their company. These guys were WW2 vets and would have probably strung you up for referring to Joe as a "doll." Also, Megos use the term "action figure" right on the front of the package. So, as far as I'm concerned, it's not even a debatable issue. Clothed figures were referred to as "action figures" long before the smaller, all-sculpted versions of characters were released. So, if anything, we need a new label for non-cloth clothed figures. Maybe "Articulated Sculptures" or something like that.

    Frankly, I love them both... but to call 12" clothed figures and 8" Megos, etc. anything but "Action Figures" is just pure denial of the facts and and an attempt to revise the lineage of action figure history.

    Sure, it's fun to joke about... but facts are facts.

    Now, I think I'll go swap some pants on my action figures...

  8. Dibs on "Articulated Sculptures" as a new blog name!

  9. Brilliant post! I totally agree! Just had this discussion at my work recently.

    Action Figures FTW!

    The Irredeemable Shag