WHAT THEY AREN'T ''Matrix'' or ''Hellboy'' figurines that sci-fi nerds
cream over in musty comic-book stores.
WHAT THEY ARE Playthings for discerning film fans (okay, geeks), like ''Ghost World'' slackerette Enid (pink-, green-, or black-haired), an ''Adaptation'' figure set (above right; Charlie is the sweaty one), and Medicom's line of limited-edition Kubrick minifigures from films like ''Reservoir Dogs.'' We're also partial to Dark Horse's homage to '50s cheesecake queen Bettie Page, complete with photo studio and leering photog (darkhorse.com).
TURNING JAPANESE Most of these figurines are made in Japan. ''Asia's way ahead on the retro-cool thing for toys,'' says Giant Robot owner Eric Nakamura (giantrobot.com), who counts Matt Groening as a fan. ''If you're into design and packaging, that's what makes [them] cutting edge.''