Ramgopal Ananthakrishnan, the online marketing professional might sound like just another average guy making a living in Mumbai. All your assumptions will take a back seat after you visit his FaceBook page Skinnyalley Collectibles. This 28-year-old, who is an action figure collector is on a mission to bring the best and the inaccessible superheroes and villains alike, in plastic to city buffs with the same passion.
“I have been collecting figures for three years. When I put up some of these on Facebook, I got a good response and demand for them. That’s when I started Skinnyalley,” says Ramgopal who coined the term Toycon (from tycoon) for himself. Collectors usually post a figure they would like to own, be it of Tom and Jerry or Hellboys’ hand, and Ramgopal will source it from any corner of the globe. He feels that the emerging demand for comic books and even the number of stores selling tees with action hero prints on them is an indicator for the demand of these figures.
The figures can start from as little as Rs 1,500 and rise to Rs 1.5 lakh, depending on the availability and the number of pieces of the figure. Ramgopal has sourced various collectibles such as Ironman busts, the Avengers characters, Spiderman, and even Bruce Lee and Barrack Obama, “I even got a call for Shahrukh’s action figure from Ra.One,” he says.
So far, the most exciting and difficult series for Ramgopal to find have been figures based on Spawn television series. Also, the figures of Lord Rama, based on the comic book created by Shekhar Kapur, which are no longer in production found a lot of buyers. Ask him what sells the most in the city, the answer is The Hulk, even before the movie avengers came to our screens.
Based in the city, Ramgopal delivers across the country and has had several orders, especially from Bangalore. While several people might consider these collectibles as toys and child’s play, he says that 80 percent of the people on his group are aged between 25 and 34.