Doll Power: Female Action Figures as Multimedia Tie-Ins

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - 7:30am to Friday, June 12, 2015 - 2:00am

Particularly since the 1970s, action figure tie-ins have served as an integral part of the merchandising strategy for cross-platform multimedia entertainment, including comics, film, television, and gaming. While initially designed for and marketed to children, many figures are now geared just as often to adult collectors. Originally conceived as an alternative to “dolls” for boys, action figures continue to be manufactured in a marketplace heavily stratified by assumptions about gender in children’s play and collector culture.

This exhibit is devoted to female action figures tied to action-centric, fantasy, and superhero narratives. The figures in this exhibit, from the collection of librarian Diana King, demonstrate a range of marketing and design features. They depict female characters and the female form itself through a variety of cultural and industry lenses. The exhibit also includes a selection of books on media paratexts, tough women in popular culture, and comics history.

A bibliography of readings on this topic, including books, articles, and blog posts, is available online.

See also a related poster presentation from the 2014 ALA Annual Conference.


Powell Library