Monday, June 17, 2024

Inside the Mind of a Toy Addict Part 5- Harbingers and Hardships

As much as I am offended by the price increases, I do have an exception to the sale rule.

When travelling, they don’t count as full priced parts of my collection, but rather souvenirs!

Trips to Disney World and Colorado netted: 
The Enchantress (2016- Villain in Secret Wars and key to the Thor run I started collecting comics with), 
Puma (2019- Featured prominently in the Spider-Man Wedding issues - a key event of my early Marvel reading time) 
Silver Sable (2019- Not really any kind of key, but she’s… really shiny!)

As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.
Normally, however, only a sale will allow a purchase for coverage of even the largest Space. The collection continues to expand due to a variety of skills I’ve developed feeding my addiction by finding those sales.
For some reason two packs and box sets tend to drop in price easier than individual figures often. This led to an impressive expansion showing up one Father’s Day. (2021) Yes, 1940’s Movie Captain America and Peggy Carter do not fit a Space or Location anywhere in my shelves, no matter how I try to spin it.

Fortunately, we also have a “Couples Table” as Rosa and I are Incurable Romantics, that contains mix of normal and geeky pairings.
Another more recent box set filled a sudden and large group of “Locations” because of my focus on oversized and burly figures. I already had a Sasquatch (2005) from the Toy Biz days. This made the stalking of the Alpha Flight box set (2019) almost mandatory.
As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.
The annoying part with this method is a complete inability to guess what will go on sale.
Don’t get me wrong, the collection still continues to grow, because I do have a problem.
But getting it to grow in the way I want to can be difficult.
Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason. Anthony Hopkins as Odin (2021) was a previous build a figure, Ulik lord of the Rock trolls
 (2022) was a (Hasbro) build a figure sized store exclusive that wasn’t available before. Both had price drops down to the acceptable range. (Which was kind of amazing as they both started in the "above the stupidly currently inflated" range.)
However, from the same Asgardian corner of Marvel-  Surtur the Fire Giant (2021- new) and the Destroyer Armor (2023 from a two pack- previously available as a chase figure 2006) have had their prices climb relentlessly.
Yes, the Odin and Ulik sale coupled with many MANY other sales has led to the "NEED" of extension yet again beyond the core for an entire half-shelf dedicated to Asgard.

As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.
Vocabulary time, “Chase Figure” - In many action figure lines, a wave will include standard versions of the figures, and much rarer variants with a different paint job or something. 

I had a Chase Figure in my possession exactly once, it was the only time I contributed to the “action figure black market” which makes this area the armpit of collecting it is, and I still feel bad about it to this day. Note- Don’t judge me too harshly- this was nowhere near the level of Walmart Employees who grab the figures off the truck and run them down to be marked up at flea markets.
Wonder Man was part of the last Toy Biz wave without a build a figure. (2005) He had a variant version that was all purple and kind of translucent to highlight his Ionic Energy form. As Simon is a founding member of the West Coast Avengers, the normal character was a huge "NEED" for a Space as was the ginormous Hulkbuster Armor in that line, and I had grabbed them off the shelf upon release, along with bunny rabbit Ultron. (The excitement of the other two finds may have led to that purchase.)
Wonder Man (Simon Williams) is a key linchpin that connects bunches of characters together. He first appeared in Avengers issue 9 in 1964... and died. But he got better many times, and permanently(ish) twelve years later. (HEY KIDS! COMICS!) His brain Engrams (while dead... the fist time. HEY KIDS! COMICS!) were used to create the Vision, making them brothers, Vision’s marriage to Scarlet Witch (2015- Thanks for the upgrade, sweetie!) connects to Magneto’s family, and Vision being created by Ultron ties in to the Pyms. (Henry Pym created Ultron in the comics in 1968 and it has haunted him to this day... when they're not merged into a single being... or Hank isn't dead... Or both. HEY KIDS! COMICS!)
Not to mention Simon's brother is the villain Grim Reaper (2015) who teamed up with Ultron in one of the earliest West Coast Avengers stories. A true “NEED” if ever there was one.
A short while later, I found the variant Wonder Man in a pharmacy. Due to the location, he was a few dollars above normal pricing, but it was a variant!!!! A variant, which was in no way a “NEED” and I had absolutely no desire for as his Ionic Form occurred well after the time period I was targeting. Not to mention I already had the figure I wanted, and the ionic one was kind of ugly.
The lure of the armpit making action figure black market was too great. I bought him, depriving some huge fan of Ionic Wonder Man an amazing find, and the toy never left my car. I drove to a different local comic shop than I usually use at lunch the next day. Choosing them was due to their impressive selection of action figures. I was hoping for a massive trade-in based return on my investment.
They were far less impressed by my acquisition than I was, but agreed to allow a swap for store credit in the amount that would cover something from the larger and slightly pricier Marvel Select line that my good Ultron (and Mephisto, The Watcher and Thanos) was destined to come from. I added to my Marvel Knights collection with the acquisition of Cloak and Dagger, (2006) by adjusting their position I could hide the scale inconsistency a little bit.
But I still feel guilty whenever I look at them.
The Winter Soldier (2020, maybe. Around then.) is there to show the slight difference in scale, and because he’s an incredibly cool looking figure I found on sale passing by the toy department. (Not even through it, he was on an endcap!) I couldn’t figure out how to highlight him any other way.

As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.
One area where I know figures almost never go on sale is Spider-Man related. (And DC figures, explaining the lack of a complete Titans team on Richard Grayson Memorial Shelves, and obvious gaps in the Marvel Family.) This is a problem as the Spidey Rogues gallery looks even better in a group than Marvel Characters in general. This is in spite of the fact that, as Anabelle pointed out, all of the classic Spider-Man villains are creepy old men. This did not stop her from using them to recreate Washington Crossing the Delaware after a trip to the MET. This has nothing to do with anything, but allows a close look at her obsessively favorite Spidey foe, the Lizard, and the Rhino, which I have an irrational attachment to as well.
Still, with both the Marvel Legends and Spider-Man Classics lines, store sales, online sales, auctions, reduced box sets and other means, while I do not count myself as a big Spidey fan, I have amassed a half shelf of his opponents.
As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.

That amassing has had many successes, like Shriek, (2021) completing my collection of figures associated with one of my favorite Spider-Man tales “Maximum Carnage.”
This came from learning to grab an on-sale Spider-Foe immediately. There have been many failures, however. I have tracked and hunted both versions of the Scarlett Spider (Ben Reilly and Kane) over multiple releases, but their prices started high and skyrocketed. An even larger problem was Doctor Octopus.

He’s one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes. He was a member of the original Secret Wars villains. He’s the organizer of the Sinister Six and has been a member of nearly every version including the Insidious Six on the cartoon. He’s a key villain from the live action movies.
And he was the foe in the Master Planner arc, the story many consider to be the height of the Lee-Ditko original run on Spider-Man.

As a collector of Marvel Figures in general and Spidey Rogues in particular he is an ENORMOUS SPACE
Doc Ock never goes on sale, and often runs well above fifty dollars unboxed. I had two opportunities to get one. The first was back as part of the “badly made hinge neck Black Widow” wave in the Toy Biz days when scarcity started to be an issue. (2004) I saw one in K-mart, but they were up marking to (what I believed then was obscene) twelve whole dollars and the ugliness of the figure stayed my hand. I never saw one at original price again. There was a later version (2018) in a nearby gaming store at full, inflated, Hasbro pricing. A short while later the store had a “going out of business sale.” This was right at the start of the plague times shut down and I refused to enter any store.

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

Holy moley this is the 1400th post. How did I miss that!

Click to continue to Part 6.


longbow said...

Some people might say you have a problem. I'm certain you have The Question and The Riddler.

Jeff McGinley said...

Thank you for playing!
And you are correct.
They can be seen in the photos featured in Part 2!

Mom said...

You work so hard and do a Great job on these Blogs. I enjoy them very much. Congratulations on hitting 1400. Love, OXZ

Jeff McGinley said...

Many thanx, it means a lot that I know at least one person reads them all as they come out.