Monday, May 27, 2024

Inside the Mind of a Toy Addict Part 2- Dawn of the Superheroes

While I do accept (And often embrace) my problem, I do enjoy placing the fault of my out-of-control Marvel Figures collection squarely on my sister’s shoulders.

Part of me feels this is well deserved payback for the multiple, "Saaaaaa...llllllyyyyyyyy" incidents over the years.

Due to the success of animated Superhero shows and the comics explosion of the Nineties both Marvel and DC were pumping out action figures by this point. I would look at them at stores but was sticking with what I had.
Then one year, when it was time for me to be the annual pain in the butt and regularly ask my sister, “What did you get me for Christmas,” she would constantly answer “Marvel Figures.”
She was so deadpan about this that I was convinced she was telling the truth.
She was not.
She found this hilarious, and for the next MANY years, that would be her answer as any gift-based holiday approached.
“Marvel Figures.”
This was her go to gag for a long while.
By the time I finished college, I was used to this.
That’s when she actually got me some Marvel Figures for my birthday.
She was right, it was hilarious.
However, I can now blame her for that gift leading to the raging addiction that stands before me now.
I do not remember which figures she got me; they were whatever she found on sale. I do know one was “Exploding Ghost Rider” because I learned falling off the top row of my bookshelves made the “explodey” feature a permanent one.
The issue was a combination of three things.
1) Marvel characters look fantastic in large groups.
2) The ones she bought were cool looking but not my favorite characters.
3) I like DC better than Marvel.
Before long, my bookshelves became full of groups of various Marvel characters I was a fan of.
Meanwhile the top of my VHS storage became full of Batman, Superman and Justice League related figures.
As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.
These figures ought to have faded into the background as the addiction grew towards larger scale and higher quality items. It did not, because by then, (2003) I had a daughter who very quickly reached an age where she played with these smaller figures regularly. I am proud to say she could name almost a dozen Green Lanterns by the time she knew her alphabet, and formed strong connections to some of those DCAU characters that extended to the comics and continue today.

Therefore I “needed” to add her favorites to the group, which spawned from watching my collection of the X-Men Cartoons and my reading her Marvel comics, leading to one ottoman full of Marvel Figures (and her inexplicable fascination with The Lizard)…
And watching the DC animated universe and me reading her DC comics, leading to another ottoman full of DC figures.

As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem… and a family environment that supports this problem.
During this transition period, I had picked up only a couple of the DC Direct figures. They were larger, better made and slightly more articulated than the G I Joe sized ones. This was boosted by the Hard Travelling Heroes group release (2000) However, while Marvel characters look fantastic in large groups, once the Iconic DC Justice League is complete, the desire to expand the collection naturally reduces…
Unless a person happens to be a big fan of supernatural and horror related comics as well…

Or is a fan of the Flash and Green Lantern “families” …
Or is a fan of the Justice Society and finds the mini-sets…

Or is a fan of the rogues’ galleries of Batman and the Flash…
Or is a fan of the villains of Superman and Green Lantern (and Wonder Woman) …
Or is a fan of the Justice League International Bwa Ha Ha years…
Or is such a big fan of Dick Grayson that he’d assemble multiple different versions and allies…

Or is a fan of Batman Elseworlds.
(oops, looks like there WAS more Star Wars.)
(Like how I worked Wally into this one since you couldn't see him in the Dick Grayson set above?)

Or is a fan of the Watchmen - both comic and film - when the DC Direct figures were still in the store on my fortieth birthday (2010) a year after they were released.

As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.

Where was I?
Oh yes, Marvel Characters looking fantastic in large groups.
The Marvel Legends were six inches, sized similar to DC direct. However, they had more articulation and were far more durable. Collecting them started as innocently as anything starts with an addict.
Aside- That durability is no joke. From when Anabelle was very small, the group of Marvel Legends that rotated onto the entertainment center shelf have been her playthings, spending most of their time upstairs living in her dollhouse when she was small. Around when she was age three, I handed my Lantern savvy child the DC Direct Kyle Rayner (2003) straight off of the card, and before I could look back, his left arm fell off. She was fairly traumatized before I even reacted, cementing the upstairs shelf to be Marvel only.
That Entertainment Center’s shelf’s theming is important to our family- to the point we brought up all the Catholic superheroes for Anabelle's Confirmation.
That shelf has been rotating Marvel Heroes, frequently chosen by Anabelle (often joining in the Christmas themes), and by Rosa as well for as long as we've lived in the house. There were only two exceptions. The first was the initial arrival of Anabelle's Muppet figure collection.
As should be crystal clear by now, I'm not the only one with a problem.

The second was when we all celebrated the Fiftieth Anniversary of Doctor Who, with the beginnings of a collection that lives over the computer in our bedroom...because all three of us are huge fans of the show.
As should be crystal clear by now, I chose the right family to have this problem in.
Hey... Kim gave us our first Doctor Who figures too. I can blame her for these as well!

The innocent beginning of collecting these figures came due to a lack of a Thor figure for Anabelle’s set. Since Thor was the start of another addiction (regular comic books) I needed one. I found a larger one, along with a Beta Ray Bill (1997) that were still living on my book shelves when Anabelle inherited all of the smaller figures. She wouldn't take the two hammer wielders, because their scale was wrong. (That’s my girl.)

Aside- And proof that I'm nothing if not consistent. The only figure of the twelve inch scale "Marvel Legends Icons" line I own (that is the wrong scale for the rest of the figures) is Thor. (2007) The Iron Man keeping him company came from the Riverview School Fun Fair and holds the record for "best sale I ever found on a superhero action figure." He was a whole quarter. Sadly there has not been a Captain America find approaching that level to complete the Avengers Big Three. (But more on them later.)

So, Thor and Bill wouldn’t be lonely when Anabelle took the rest of the smaller figures, I found some friends in the early waves of Marvel Legends and its predecessor (which has continued on sporadically), the Spider-Man Classics line. After years of regretting my Secret Wars figures choices, I finally owned a black costume Spider-Man. Daredevil is one of, if not the top spot, of my favorite Marvel characters, therefore I picked him up too. (2001- Important note for early waves, the date is the release date, rarely the purchase date. In those fun filled days of the past, one could get figures several years after release without issue.)  I figured I’d eventually find an Iron Man, meaning selecting a Marvel Legends Captain America 
(2002)to go with Thor made sense. 
And Hulk was big and cool looking, a combination that draws me to figures to this day.

As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.

Click for Part 3Part 4

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