Gruff House

Everyone knows the solution to a mid-life crisis -- get your hands on a fast motorcycle and a young girl, neither of which you have any idea how to ride -- but what about the equally panicky quarter-life crisis? The answer: get some toys, literally, from Gruff House.

Founded by Portland designer/illustrator/artist Jon Knox, Gruff's a 17-strong collective of designer-toy artists, dedicated to supplying semi-adults with hand- sculpted and painted figurines made from resin, wood, clay, metal and other "hard hand-worked mediums" (just like your Underoos). Familiar-seeming work includes Knox's own "Hello, Brute", depicting Shaggy from Scooby Doo-ish characters "stuck somewhere between the best and worst moments of their lives"; the Kenny from South Park-looking GID Zipper Slug; square-headed Lucha Libre and C-3P0 figures from the appropriately named Square Head; and a ghoulish, Ninja Turtle-inspired mummy from a company called "We Kill You" -- if you're body's found spattered with pizza sauce and run through by tiny sais, don't say you weren't warned. Truly bizarre stock ranges from Horriblesweet's technicolor bird/human mutants, to a pink-tied horned demon named "Salaryman Godamnit", to "Chakta", the lead singer of the intergalactic metal band "Jizzgrenade," who, when not on stage, is generally "either doing a little bounty hunting or slingin' some grass", just like Boba Fatty.

Everything's limited edition, but a regularly updated blog'll keep you updated on new releases; there's also a resources section with info on making your own figurines, 'cause if a motorcycle's a handful, maybe you'd feel more comfortable with a hand-full of resin motorcycle.