Monday, October 19, 2009

Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys?

We hit CGC comics just a couple of weeks ago, so let's hit something else near and dear: toys! Action figures, accessories, vehicles, and secret bases...every little kid's dream.

As a recent visitor to 3 different comic book conventions this year, I've seen the frenzy toy collectors go into when looking for "that figure". You know which one I'm talking about. It's the one they need to finish the collection, or that rare one that everybody else seems to be searching for.

To make it worse, each package has to be perfect! If there's a single dent, split, tear, or crack in any part of it, it becomes worthless to the collector. Now keep in mind, these are the exact same guys who mercilessly taunted Beanie Baby collectors years ago.

When I was growing up, I never once considered the future value of some figure my parents bought me. I didn't lovingly cradle in it in its case and think, "I'll hold on to this for years and sell it someday." Nope, as soon as I got to the car with it that package was in a hundred pieces and I was having fun the way God meant that toy to be used!

Looking back on it now, I do realize how much those Star Wars, Mego Superheroes, and GI Joe figures would sell for today...but they were worth that much to me back then as I saved the world time and again from whatever super villain I happened to create. My grandmother would carefully sew costumes for my Mego figures which allowed me to have heroes like Nomad (the blue and yellow version), Stingray, White Tiger, and a lot of other characters that still haven't seen figure form.

Today I still collect toys, and I still open them to display them (some of the time). I have a fairly nice JLU collection, along with the DC Universe stuff. Marvel isn't having the best showing recently, but that's probably because they haven't had much come down the pike. Still, even with my desire to have a good collection of cool toys (at this moment, I am surrounded by 13 different Galactus figures and statues and I'm on a constant scan of Ebay for new ones), there are some lines I won't cross.

Spending $100 on a figure just doesn't grab me. Toys rock. Toys are cool. But they are still just essentially toys. They're plastic and paint. I've seen frenzied comic con fans go crazy trying to talk down a collector who has some special Batman figure for $125, and they end up paying $100 for it anyway.

I watched a guy at the SDCC this year telling someone else that he didn't have any money left to eat on, but at least he had this year's exclusive Green Lantern figure. My friends, to me that is going too far. While I'd love to get my hands on a Hal Jordan Blue Lantern figure as much as the next collector, I do value that whole "eating and paying the bills" thing more. Toys are meant to be fun, right? Hasn't Buzz Lightyear taught us anything in 2 movies?

Don't get so uptight! Why does it have to be perfect anyway? You're just going to either sell it to someone else, or stick it in a box in the attic somewhere.

The first season of "Big Bang Theory" had a wonderful moment that poked fun at comic geek collectors everywhere. Leonard is selling off his comic collection and his friends circle like sharks trying to grab the Golden Age Flash figure so they can complete the JSA collection. He holds up a Georgi LaForge action figure and threatens to open it if they don't get out of his way. Everyone treats this as a hostage standoff at that point. It's hilarious! And unfortunately, it's true for some folks.

So what about you? Does your heroic taste move beyond comics and into another area? What's the most important figure in your collection, or the one you'd most like to have?

1 comment:

Rick said...

Collectors do go too far when it comes to collecting anything. For some reason it hits hard with action figures. Remember when people were nearly killing themselves over Cabbage Patch dolls and Power Ranger action figures? When Christmas time comes it is even worse. What are we teaching the kids? Even if Mom and Dad can't pay the bills it is all worth it as long as I get the toy that I want.

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