Monday, June 24, 2024

Inside the Mind of a Toy Addict Part 6- Introduction to Justification

While also K-Mart priced, and with an awful neck joint, Black Widow (2004) was too important to skip, being connected to both the Avengers and Daredevil. Taskmaster (2016) is a frequent villain in my comics, ensuring I grabbed him on sale much later. This was important as they both provided movie justification for when the two pack of Natasha’s on screen “parents” went on sale. (2021) Although, they both fulfilled “NEED”s anyway. The Red Guardian was hilarious and came with an action figure of himself. (As should be clear by now, “NEED” has a widely varied definition.) Melena was equally important as Rachel Weisz and I share the exact same birth date. Granted, she looks infinitely better in a white cat suit. (Again… widely varied.)

Sadly, a Florence Pugh Widow figure has not gone on sale yet to complete the set. I have hopes for Thunderbolts. However, I'd rather have one with the vest in the Black Widow movie. That was a really cool detail. They joked about it being an obsession but the idea that it was the first thing she bought for herself after a lifetime of brain-washing was sweet.
As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a few problems... including overthinking. 
Sometimes, sale discoveries come from those constant online “Hey, here’s a thing you may like” e-mails. A key one came due to an artificial Location which has now created a Space that may never be filled.
This is Avalanche 
(2023) from the X-Men Retro Line. (Meaning no extras or build parts for the same price, plbbbth!)  
Kind of dull. 

His look is nothing special outside of a bit of shininess. He has a typical, thief minded, bad guy mind set and has powers that cause structural damage and ground shakes, meaning he would come with zero accessories no matter what.
However, he was a member of Freedom Force, the government sponsored Brotherhood of Evil Mutants that played a huge role in my comics back in the West Coast Avengers days. Due to unrelated to that group reasons, I have assembled most of the team. While both the early Hasbro build a figure (2007) and the special edition oversized recent single figure Blob (2023) show absolutely no signs of their stratospheric price rise ever abating, and no version of Marvel Legends has ever hinted at making a Destiny figure, I couldn’t pass up the Avalanche sale on the off chance that changed someday. (With the recent Destiny and Mystique wedding issue, there is hope.) 
[Later Edit- They just announced a Destiny! 
In an exclusive two-pack with another Rogue which will likely never go on sale...Alas.]

As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.
Sometimes Locations appear by complete accident, due to a mixing of low-cost Toy Biz figures, and random sales over various time periods.
Suddenly and without warning, I’ve acquired a Location to add other Black Panther related characters. (T'Challa- 2005, Namor- 2007, Shuri- 2019, Nakia and Okoye- 2022)

Similarly, sometimes Spaces develop by accident. Because of being a huge Daredevil fan and having a Marvel Knights shelf, I had all of the available villains from the Netflix Defenders shows without planning toand almost all of the heroes. 
(Yes, that is an American flag design painted all over Nuke's face. 
Yes, someone who thinks they should be president of this country has used the same imagery as a mentally unstable supervillain. 
Yes, feel free to draw the obvious conclusion.)

Shortly followed by a bit of online auction hunting for the store exclusive Claire Temple (2018) from a two-pack, came a visit to a Toys R Us on the verge of closing for Jessica Jones, (2017) and then I had all of the heroes.
Note my clever use of high end photo manipulation using MSPaint to get Hellcat (2015) in the shot after I forgot to put her in the first one and flat out refused to knock down the entire Marvel Knights core shelf again to retake the picture.
Other times, it is a sale key character to fill a Space that I waited years for. In only one case, however, I did not wait for a sale since the character was only available to direct market online stores. As a child of the Eighties, I NEEDED to fill the Space to complete Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends when Firestar (2021 with Ms. Lion!!!!) came out. This is one case where time has not affected my opinion of this purchase. Frequently the ones I decided to buy have their price tank shortly after, while the ones I did not skyrocket. (Yet another case of the toy shelves mocking me.) Ms. Jones's price point has held rock solid, likely due to the exclusive direct market offering, for three years. The villains on the upstairs shelf to help celebrate this momentous occasion both appeared in the cartoon.
Doctor Doom (2007) was there…
because he’s awesome.  
Electro (2016) was there to celebrate the finding of a rare Spidey related figure auction on sale!
Rogue (2016) was almost at this level to fill in the X-Men team of my youth. I amazingly found her on sale shortly after her release before her price jumped up. Way back on Toy Biz wave four (2003) there was a brief period where Kay-Bee allowed mail orders of entire waves. I owned a Gambit… even more briefly. Since I first switched away from Marvel (the first time) before he became prominent, I returned him, generating yet another foolish moment I congratulated myself for saving money on an early cheap wave. Little did I know that Anabelle would become a big fan of my X-Men Animated Series disks and give me a hard time nearly nonstop for “giving up” Gambit, one of her favorite characters. She did make a “Gambit coming soon” post-it to fill in for him before he came out. It still lives on the shelf along with an Apokolips post-it she drew to commemorate me not getting that initial, giant build a figure (2005) after his motion picture debut. (Meaning my own shelves mock me.)

Fortunately, Gambit’s Hasbro rerelease (2019) dipped in price a bit early on like Rogue's did, and we were able to assemble the X-men ’97 cast on the upstairs shelf.

Not only that, but Anabelle could put together all the characters Kelly Thompson (her favorite writer, who she's had a couple letters published in her titles he added proudly) had in her books at the time.

They also allowed our Valentines Day display of our favorite Marvel couples, because all three of us are romantic nerds.
Many times, sales lead to accidental purchases creating more Locations and Spaces, and the existence of a build a figure expands that into intentional hunts. After Christmas sales contribute to this massively, which can then lead to a long-lasting cascade.
Both waves of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 figures dropped in price before Christmas 2017, and with a mix of online ordering, running to comic stores, and the Thanos Marvel Select figure (2005) also being on Holiday sale, the Cosmic Shelf started to get a lot more crowded.

I expected to make some money back on the initial purchase by selling the Ex Nihilo figure (loose after getting the "NEEDED" build a figure part, of course) since I had never heard of the golden, one horned monstrosity. Granted I had never heard of the oversized white tiger man that was the build a figure for one wave, but
So, he could stay. (Apparently his name is Titus. Good to know. Now I know him...sort of.)
As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.
My cash in plans were ended by Anabelle realizing that Nico Minoru, (2016) who she also didn’t know but was on sale and looked pretty, needed a dance partner. 
Who am I to argue with that kind of impeccable logic.

As should be crystal clear by now, she also has a (lesser) problem.
This group of figures led to an on-sale birthday gift of the going out of business Toys R Us Exclusive full-sized Groot. (2017) 
I also watched the sale price to add a Marvel Studios 10th anniversary Ronan (2018) to the party.

Observant folks may have noticed by this point my addiction has thrown any and all original “target time” thoughts of the collection out the window along with freely including movie versions of characters. Part of the reasoning is what an amazing job the actors have done in the roles, part is how good the likenesses on many of the figures are...
and part is the crystal clear nature of my problem.
Having those movie versions is fine though, and not only because I’m an addict. They allow for the Entertainment Center shelf to be used for recreations recognizable by many.
Rosa has stronger memories of the films better than the comics and chose what she called “The Schwarma Eating Avengers” when it was her turn to pick.
For home releases and rewatches, it allowed me to celebrate emotionally memorable moments from Endgame, such as right before:
“I went for the head.”

And the devastating:
“Can you hear me? It's Peter. Hey... we won. Mr. Stark. 
We won, Mr. Stark. 
We won, you did it, sir, you did it.”
*Peter (and the rest of us) cries*
“I'm sorry, Tony.”
Tony's spirit was apparently ferried to the afterlife by a musical Hippopotamus for Christmas. I guess the figures don't always take part in the Holiday Celebrations.

This now expanded group of Guardians figures meant I was only one Space shy, Gladiator (2018), from having the group featured in the highest powered TSR Marvel Super Heroes Module ME 1 Cosmos Cubed, which we spent many teen aged afternoons playing through.

Adding that figure continued the chain and meant I was once again only one Space away,(
see how that keeps happening?) from having all the Annihilators. Since Quasar (2021) was in Operation Galactic Storm it meant he also tied back to my original Marvel Collecting days along with more recent comic collections. Miraculously, this Walgreens exclusive had a low priced auction. (While the Baron Zemo matching my Secret Wars figure AND the Binary figure in that same wave did not. Not that I’m bitter.)
 As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.

Click to continue Part 7

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