a Throwback Thursday post.
a 1983 Project post.
Back in 1987 my family took a trip to Disney World. I was 9, and this is the infamous trip in which I discovered comic books. It was also full of magic and memories. The awe, the legend that is everything Disney. Sights, smells, even temperatures still rekindle memories of our time there. To this day one of the most vivid is the introduction of this amazing Disney character that to my knowledge at the time appeared no where other than within one ride at the park.
Figment is a dragon built from the mind of Dreamfinder, a wizard/scientist who plays host for the Epcot ride Journey Into Imagination. We saw the countries of the world and all the science of Epcot but Figment was something else. Like Mickey Mouse invites everyone into the main park, Figment became a mascot for Epcot.
He was purple and silly and new. He was animated and animatronic and also real. There was a sense of ownership. My brother and I grew up occasionally watching the Wide World of Disney or the original pay version of the Disney Channel. We knew Mickey and his friends. We were aware of Mr Toad, It’s a Small World, and even the 20,000 Leagues ride that never worked. But no one – not us, or our parents – knew Figment was coming. We latched on immediately.
Figment debuted as a character on the ride in 1983. Toys and trinkets of himself and his costumer changes along the ride were for sale in the park. “Exit through the gift shop.” But that’s about it. There are some cartoons but they are part of other features and not very familiar to casual fans. Sometimes I look through my childhood up in the attic at my mom’s and there is a Figment plate and little PVC guy sitting on a shelf. When they were displayed more prominently there was no shortage of the question. “Who is this guy?”
Some things can be figured out. Capes and masks are usually super heroes. Star Wars figures have a certain “feel”. But Figment? What is he other than Figment? He’s a dragon that a certain generation adopted as a cool cult thing before knowing the meanings of the words. That same generation coincidently fell in love with dragons from Harry Potter in their 20’s and more from Game of Thrones in their 30’s.
It’s a long time since I’ve been to Disney but this is one Journey that has no ending.