Web Sitings

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www.aftimes.com

Yukon Cornelius?the red bearded prospector who rescues the most famous reindeer of all in the 1964 stop-motion, animated classic ?Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer??is an action figure.

In fact, Yukon is just one of many rather obscure pop-culture characters turned action figure in recent years. For example, ?Buffy the Vampire Slayer? and ?The Brady Bunch? all have corresponding action figures.

And right now, the hot spot for action-figure-related news is Action Figure Times, a veritable compendium for all collectable toys. Included are reviews, columns, opinion pieces, photo galleries and feature stories?this month one of the site?s reporters hit the Mattel Hot Wheels convention.

For the neophyte, the world occupied by Action Figure Times and its readers comes across as extremist, indulgent and childishly fanatical. These people commit large junks of their lives to collecting and talking about toys. And worse, photos of these guys reveal that many of them are easily in their 40s.

Sure, it?s a stereotype?a cheap and easy image to paint?but if you haven?t already pictured what the general Action Figure Times reader or staffer looks like, think of Comic Book Guy on ?The Simpsons.? (By the way, there?s a Simpsons Comic Book Guy action figure.)

So while there is a lot of cool stuff at this site?there is a whole line of ?The Matrix? and ?X-men? figures, for example?the level of fanaticism can be a bit of a turn off.

However, if you happen to be a really big fan of action figures?if you are the Comic Book Guy?then pull up a chair, crack open the Doritos and prepare to spend your weekend with Action Figure Times.

/www.trainupachild.com

Your favorite Holy Bible characters have come off the pages of King James and slipped into plastic dye-cast molds. Train Up a Child, Inc. has produced a whole pantheon of scripture-star action figures.

Now it?s easy?in one?s more sacrilegious fantasies?to assume that these are merely the product of parody, the diminution of the whole Judeo-Christian ethic.

But Train Up a Child, Inc., is a distributer of Christian and home schooling products. And the name of the company comes from scripture. Proverbs 22:6 reads, “Train up a child in a way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

To ensure that the kids do indeed ?not depart? from the path, the company has paid extremely close attention to detail.

The Adam and Eve figures sport fig-leaf loincloths?divinely unremovable. David and Goliath are accurately disproportionate. Solomon has a baby-slicing poker face. Job is God-and-Satan-bet battered. There?s also a doe-eyed Virgin Mary and a Raphaelean angel that?s sadly generic. The palms of the Jesus figure are open generously.

But what?s refreshing about Train Up a Child, Inc., what could almost be deemed progressive, is that all of these characters are available in African American counterpart form. Visitors have the option of clicking on a white Jesus icon, which will send them to the Caucasian Heritage Series, or choosing a black Jesus icon to go to the African Heritage Series.

Admittedly, the site is really little more than a catalogue. The visitor is expected to look at the figures he or she wants to buy for $6.95 each and then click on the corresponding icon below that says, ?Order Eve? or ?Order Goliath,? etc.

Who knew the apocalypse was a mail-order affair? Want Armageddon now? Click on ?Order Jesus.?