It was always devastating to lose a figure. A crushing moment! Search parties would last for days and turn up nothing. We never gave up hope however. Even years later, there was a chance they would show up.
My earliest lost figure was part of the 1980 Hoth crew, but not of the 5 that perished in the 1981 tragedy. Rather, At At Driver’s fate was on very dry land at the same location of the fate of his friends.. Kilbirnie School!
A game was devised in the 1 hour lunch break that had me digging some soft dirt up and burying my At At driver. Then he would be unearthed. This repeated for some time, my mind obsessed with how the figure would vanish without a trace and then be discovered like an ancient relic.
RRRR-RING!! The school bell! The sound of disappointment while heavily invested in a game. Well, they did time it right as it was time to unearth him again. But yes you guessed it, I was not finding him!
I dug ferociously and could not understand how he could not be found. I mean he wasn’t that deep… was he? The rung school bell confirmed there was no time and abandoning a figure was the hardest thing a child could do! I relented as I had no choice and spent the next hour highly agitated in the classroom whilst I waited out the next break where I feverishly searched again. Nothing. Days passed. Nothing. Friends were recruited to dig and once again nothing. He was lost, rather dramatically, to time.
In our mourning sprung a fascination, or obsession as we referred to it. Lost figures became stories of legend, their tales sometimes embellished around the camp fire. Certain disappearances were worked in game story lines where figures searched for the last traces of the figure, or the secret treasure they left behind. At At Driver’s demise wasn’t just lost… he was buried! and his remains lost! Further obsession!
There was many a game of figures being buried. Shrines being created and concepts based around the tomb itself. Worship of the buried figure and games centered around cults was always satisfying. But there was no permanence when it came to the buried. You wanted to get your figure back. The longer you left him in the ground was exciting and you would test yourself. Overnight was the big achievement. That was all so exciting! But much longer? Well.. I could hear At At Drivers distant cries and that curtailed my recklessness.
But what about when figures of such character development had officially perished in a game? Battle or natural causes? Resurrecting them would most definitely be considered poor technique! Unfortunately, time and time again, that’s what we did…. but permanent burial always loomed in the back of my mind.
Years later, sometime in 2001, I remembered our buried games and decided it was time to resurrect the practice, but this time with full honors and yes, this would be permanent.
In early 2001, I heard from his close friend Green Lantern that Guy Fawkes Battle survivor Superman, was very ill and weak. Days to live in fact. Now here was a legend! My Christmas present when he was just released in 1984, Superman was spectacular! By the time of the battles in the late 1980s, no amount of explosives could stop him.
However, the injury sustained to his chest via an explosive, though it had been filled with solid material in the emergency room, took it’s toll on the health of the once invincible. His final years were filled with solitude and a yearning for his younger days.
Superman passed on quietly….
I created a wonderful coffin laden with cotton wool for his body to be comfortable. There was a clear plastic covering on the top to reveal his body as it lay in its final resting place. Attached to the coffin was a pole that extended to ground level. It was here that I attached the Crucifix so the wind could not take away. The final touch was an epitaph, requested by Green lantern, to be written on a marble slab that was placed on the ground in front of the cross. It was a wonderfully solemn burial with only Green Lantern present. In the following years, other Battle survivors would stop off and pay their respects.
As of 2019, the grave markings have disappeared. The marble slab epitaph was battered by the elements and washed away Lanterns beautiful words. The slab itself then went missing under mysterious circumstances. The cross survived for over a decade, protected by overgrowth. But some gardeners came and destroyed it. But Superman still lays in there deep, protected and at rest.
God bless you Man of Steel