One afternoon I was at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver for an author signing and I spotted these Literary Action figures on a shelf. I bought both Poe and Jane on the spot, feeling like a 5-year-old who just discovered a new toy (ok, maybe a 12-year-old since the packaging says they’re not safe for children under 12).
I didn’t even know they existed, but once I did, I knew immediately that I needed to own each and every one that was ever made. When I came home, I did a search online. I discovered that the company, Archie McPhee, also makes a William Shakespeare figure. In addition, they sell a pack of 10 called “Box of Extraordinary Gentlemen” (even though there is at least one lady in it). It contains Oscar Wilde, so I will need to buy it.
The 10 are all boxed together without their original packaging, so they’re meant to be played with rather than put on a shelf in their boxes. All of the figures come with a prop. Poe's is a Raven. Jane's are a quill and a book.
If you buy Poe, Jane or Bill, you will want to keep the packaging. There is a story on the back that tells a bit about the character. The top, bottom and sides look like book pages, and the scene behind each details something related to the character. Even the bottom of the box, where they encourage you to recycle the packaging, is clever. Poe’s says, “Those that fail to recycle this package risk being taken in the night and walled up in the catacombs beneath my palazzo. Buried alive! BURIED ALIVE!” Jane’s is a bit more civilized, stating that “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who does not recycle this package, must be intolerably stupid. Recycling is the most perfect renewal of the spirit and the best recipe for happiness ever devised.”