Monday, May 20, 2024

Inside the Mind of a Toy Addict Part 1- The Foundations

Hello, I’m Jeff, and I’m addicted to Marvel Action Figures.
(“Hi Jeff!”

“YOU GEEK!!!!”)
Greetings to the imaginary fellow addicts…
And the ghosts of middle school.

I’d imagine my life long superhero obsession is obvious to anyone who talks to me for more than a minute and a half. The action figure obsession that goes along with that is equally as old.
Yes, I know I need to dust the shelves. I did get a lot of that done as I took them down for photoshoots. However, there has been enough profanity explosions as each one I moved led to domino like collapses of hordes of nearby figures, and I need to take a break from dealing with that for a while.

When this idea started, it was supposed to be a short filler. The section I initially intended to write is now mostly in part eight of ten. I'm unsure if I have a focus problem, or a planning problem. I began this exercise posing the figures in a photogenic location under the Peruvian stuff table in the living room. However, I have also taken an equal (or greater by this point) number in front of the comic boxes in the room the figures live in to reduce going up and down the stairs and save wear and tear on my Old Man Bones. In fact, in some cases I gave up completely and took photos "in situ" on the shelves themselves. Luckily, even with this over expansion issue, I know my family has my back.

Like most of my generation, the action figure obsession began when they were still “dolls” with Mego eight-inch figures. (Starting in 1973) Also, like most of my generation, those figures were not stored packaged in their original boxes, but played with.
Heavily played with.
Heavily played with to the point of massive damage both decorative and structural.

Thus, leading to the ones of people that ensured they remained in the original packages to rise in value. I am a big fan of actually reading books or comics, playing with toys, and so forth. Therefore, to everyone who’s collections were untouched (how dull) that rose in value- You’re Welcome.
Repairs and replacements were made, but eventually, as plastic got more expensive in the late Seventies, the Mego line faded. (Last new figures 1977) Shout out to Mom for her using sewing and other skills to keep the figures going longer than they normally would have. This includes hybridizing what was left of a severely messed up Captain (SHAZAM!) Marvel and Aquaman into a Greatest American Hero figure.
In my house, the Mego years were rapidly replaced with the newest trend of smaller toys, Star Wars figures! (1977- duh.) The three and three-quarter inch scale would inspire the break out G. I. Joe line which I would delve into in my adult life for for holiday celebrations, as well as many other serieses of figures. The smaller size also meant vehicles and accessories were more practical. I can proudly say there was a moment in time where I owned every single Star Wars Figure…
Because there were only twelve of them… 
Sixteen counting the Sears exclusive Cantina alien set!
Rather than going the full playset route, I used the Fisher Price Castle as the Rebel Base. From there they would stage attacks on the Death Star. For this performance, the Death Star was portrayed by the Fisher Price Garage. (Underneath the car elevator made an excellent Garbage Masher Number 3263827.) I did (and still do) have three vehicles. The first was Luke’s Landspeeder, from back when my collection was “complete.” The second was Boba Fett’s Firespray. (Don’t give me any crap, I logged countless hours in the cockpits of the X-Wing game series. That has been the ship class name all along and it sounds much cooler.) His ship was so incredibly weird and ugly looking that it was too awesome to ignore.
And the third was a Speeder Bike, because it’s small and those scenes were so cool! Much like my Mom never wanting any real pets but instantly falling in love with Chewbacca, Fizzgig and others, there's no way I would ever want a real motorcycle. Yet a far faster, and less protected speeder bike? WOO!
The Chicken Walker doesn’t count. I bought that at the Harvest Festival strictly for display purposes. Some other happy child battered that one through play to match the wear level of all my toys.
Like the Mego figures, they were heavily utilized in personal story telling. Because of the smaller size, they could be stored in a safe, where a majority of them (or in some cases, their pieces) live to this day. Once I passed the age of (routinely) playing with those action figures, my Star Wars toy collecting days remained in the past.
Not counting after the Dark Times passed, when the first new figures in years were released in 1999 for The Phantom Menace
And maybe a few more appearing in the other prequels.
And some recent sets of PVC figures from the Disney Store.
And close to an entire series of Hot Wheels ships, that were rudely discontinued and replaced with larger, more detailed, yet only marginally more expensive ships that I now have no room for. (Not that I'm bitter.)
(Thanks again for the shelves Rosa! You're awesome!)
And I may have collected Star Wars Unleashed (2002-2005) figures to make Jedi versus Sith duels a while back.

And, of course, buying figures for my daughter’s collection because gifts don’t count.
Aside- Yes the ease of which I succumb to toy addictions has been passed down a generation as well.

And Fast Food or Theme Park collectibles and other similar items also don't really count as action figures. (Yes, the Vader bank still talks and lights up and is awesome.)

And I found Black Krrsantan (2023) on sale in a damaged box, so I “NEEDED” to buy the giant Wookie, even though I have no clue where to put him…
Plus he looks lonely now, maybe he needs Fennec Shand to stand near him…
And old man Boba Fett…
And maybe the Mandalorian…
Ooh, and a Tusken Raider, I always thought they looked cool.
As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.
And the problem is mostly focused around superheroes.
Marvel created the first major event comic book crossover, Secret Wars (1984) to sell a toy line. The release of the TSR Marvel Role Playing game that year was my introduction to full time comic book collecting, which has continued in an unabated deluge to this day.

As should be crystal clear by now, I do have SEVERAL problems.
As stated, I was past the age of (regularly) playing with my Star Wars figures, and therefore was not enticed by the similarly sized Secret Wars line.
Well… not completely enticed. I did end up looking at them quite a bit and deciding I would get one good guy and one bad guy for “display purposes.” I was really leaning towards Black Costume Spider-Man because I have always loved that design. (This will be important later.) However, I agreed with my Mom, who had driven me to the toy store, when he was not available more colorful options were a better idea. I chose Wolverine, and Baron Zemo. The two stood on my bookshelves alone for quite a few years… but not forever.

Meanwhile, a bit later (1989), Tim Burton’s Batman hit the theaters, and a million things with the Bat-signal on it hit our home. I picked up Batman and Joker figures, as well as the Batmobile, because it was awesome. They sat atop my VHS collection milk crates alone for quite a few years… but also not forever. The Batmobile is always awesome, which is why I kept that one, and the one my Mego figures used to ride in.

And then I started collecting the Corgi made comic book based Batmobiles, (~2000 not the 1966 one, I’d be retired) which Anabelle would play with while learning the history of the character…
And then I started collecting the Hot Wheels TV show and Movie Batmobiles. (2008 to now but VEEEERY Sporadically)
Hot wheels are the inner two rows, with the Corgi comic ones front and back.
As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.

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