The Reluctant Adult’s Guide to Grown-Up Fandom

There has never been a better time to be a fan. Conventions, cosplay, and the collectibles have become so ubiquitous these days.

There has never been a better time to be a fan. Conventions, cosplay, and the collectibles have become so ubiquitous these days. The days of cheap action figures and gear that bore only a passing resemblance to their inspirations are long gone; modern collectibles are works of art.

Fandom is flourishing, and that’s great. At the same time, though, you’re growing up. Maybe you’re thinking about taking down some of those posters, or maybe you’re wondering if there’s room in your house for action figures that aren’t for your own kids to play with. Well, everyone has to grow up sometime, but that doesn’t mean that you have to leave your fandom behind. Here are some tips for growing up without outgrowing your passions.

Get fancy

We mentioned earlier that fandom’s many goodies are getting more impressive even as they grow more numerous. Take the example of modern collectible figurines, say the experts at Mezco Toyz: These are not your grandpa’s action figures (and they’re not action figures at all, thank you very much!). These are valuable works of art, and they look classy and impressive in a way that the typical toys you’re used to just don’t.

So put those on display instead of your action figures. While you’re at it, upgrade your posters and swap them out for some real art. You can invest in quality goods that celebrate your fandom, from collectible figurines to coffee table books.

When you’re looking for classy, upscale markers of fandom, think about materials. An in-box action figure might be worth as much as a fancy figurine, but that cardboard and cellophane won’t look nearly as good on your shelf. When you’re replacing your posters, why not go with something cool and unusual like real film-reel cells from your favorite movies, for instance?

Go vintage

If you go buy a brand-new action figure, take it out of its box, and stick it on your shelf, it’s going to look like a kid was playing and left their toy lying around. If you have kids, you know that can be an unpleasant look.

Now imagine that you get your hands on a really old collectible, be it an action figure or anything else. Imagine that on your shelf, and consider the difference.

It’s weird, but it’s something that antique buffs have known for a long time: Old stuff looks cool and (crucially) intentional in interior design. Put brand-new watering can on your table and you’ll look like you’ve lost your mind. However, put an old metal one from the 1940s there and viola, you’ve got yourself a nice vintage flower vase. Apply this same strategy to your fandom, and you’ll find that you can display everything from collectible figurines to framed comic books while making your apartment or house look like it was professionally decorated.

Don’t take life too seriously

There are a lot of great ways to turn your collections and fandoms into things that make you feel even more like a real, classy, and dignified adult. Those things are all valid and good. Remember, though, that morphing your childhood and teenage fandoms into adult hobbies shouldn’t be about limiting your fun or pretending to be someone that you’re not. You’re an adult now, and you get to decide what that means.

Yes, you have responsibilities. You can still love the things that you’re a fan of, and you can still buy that action figure. By all means, make changes like these in order to embrace the types of fandom that suit your grown-up lifestyle, but don’t feel that you have to make any that don’t appeal to you. If you truly want to have a bin of action figures under the couch, then go for it. Nobody can stop you. You’re an adult, after all!

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