Monday, July 8, 2024

Inside the Mind of a Toy Addict Part 8- Master Class in Justification

With the Minor Acquisition Path reviewed. It is time to move on. The Major Acquisition Path that began with US Agent (2022, in case anyone forgot) is connected to the idea that, as the collection expands, there is always a “Location” for a character…
And also connected to the existence of a big blue arm.
Not all build a figure parts coming into my home inspire collection expansion. This is usually because several parts are connected to characters that never go on sale… but not always.

The Orb didn’t quite fill a Space, but the Ghost Rider foe was a definite “NEED.” 
I mean… look at that big old eyeball head!  
Molecule Man filled a Space, being integral to all the Secret Wars stories. (The 1984-1985 Shooter, Zeck and Layton original, the 1985-1986 spread far too thin through other titles Shooter and Milgrom sequel, the weird 1988 "third part" in two issues of Engleheart and Pollard's Fantastic Four, and the 2015 multiverse cross over by Hickman and Ribic.) A third figure (which will be important later, yes even in this nerdly excursion, foreshadowing exists) was cool looking, fit with the gang of villains I’ve amassed, and went on sale at the same time the other two did. They all came from the “Puff Adder” wave. (2023) Puff Adder is a large bad guy, and somewhat cool looking. The other half of the wave of characters I didn’t “NEED” were sometimes on sale, but honestly, it was hard to get excited. Puff Adder is part of the “Serpent Society” snake themed baddies.
And… I don’t really care.
They’re kind of dull, only one other one has been released, (Constrictor 2012) and even them showing up in Captain America 4 (If they don’t get edited out) will not sway me.
The big blue arm that came with US Agent, however, belonged to the Controller. (2022 if anyone still cares.)
As stated, (maybe... somewhere) a Dragon Magazine article about Iron Man's statistics for the TSR Marvel game is how I started regularly collecting comics. Having a “Hall of Armor” shelf was the first “character focus subsection” part of the addiction. (They all came out different years, possibly. Be honest, you don't care.)

While not as diverse looking or famous as Spidey’s rogues’ gallery, Iron Man’s enemies tend to have exciting designs.
(Translation- they are often SHINY!)
Therefore, a gang of them have their own Location on the villain shelf. That and the Controller being a nice throwback to a honkin’ big figure initiated the temptation.
The temptation continued to grow as the entire line remained on sale. (As opposed to the “blink and you miss it” price drop that scored The Orb. Those “NEED” figures require vigilance.)
Not only that, but the prices kept dropping.
I put the entire wave in my online cart multiple times.
Then I would delete them for one simple reason.
None of the other characters in the wave were “NEED”s. 
In fact, many lived close to the “I don’t really care” arena.
However, addictions are addictions, and that big blue arm was big and blue...and kind of shiny.
Procrastination helped again, as I was able to rescue that big blue arm from the “Super Person Second Hand Market Body Parts Pile” once the price of the rest of the wave dipped below my resistance point. 

What follows is a close look at how addiction can transform any figure into having an easily placeable “Location.” This notion is especially accurate when the addiction has built the collection up to insane levels.
As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.
The Controller had a clear Location, almost a Space. 
US Agent did have a Space.
As for the rest- internal mental communication concerning rationales was required:
I had no idea who Blue Marvel was only a couple of years ago. He has a fairly unremarkable design and doesn’t fit with the core time frame of my collection.

However- He was a cool character as a key member of Al Ewing’s Defenders books, which tied back to both the original Secret Wars, but more importantly for this exercise, multiple next generation heroes whose exploits I follow. Therefore, his Location was found easily as he was placed with those Young Avengers. (Box set Wiccan  Hulking and Patriot 2006 Stinger 2018 Hawkeye 2017 America Chavez 2022 and of course, the big reason Shiklah is on the couples table with 2004 Deadpool- Jeff the Landshark 2020) Yes, Anabelle, though he didn't meet Blue Marvel, neither did every one of this team shown, meaning I did leave out Iron Lad for you.
I knew Quake much more from watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. than any printed appearance. I know she’s in some comic books I have but never as a main character. The figure was based on the comics, and, except for the gauntlets, wears a non-descript S.H.I.E.L.D. uniform.

However- Due to two pack sales, including one yielding an extra Tony Stark head in an Iron Man set (Sharon Carter, Maria Hill, Director Stark [post Civil War] 2021) the original Toy Biz days of cheap figures with comics and cool accessories (Classic Nick Fury waaaay back in 2003) and a random Walmart exclusive sale (Sam Jackson Nick Fury 2011) There is a large gathering of SHEILD Agents on the Marvel Knights shelf to serve as Quake’s Location. 
Bonus- The alternate Maria Hill head that came with Quake was far more expressive than the two-pack one I had on her before.
I have a classic Thor on the Avengers Shelf, (2006) and King Thor (2007) on the Asgard Shelf. There was no NEED for Herald of Thunder Thor that worked with Galactus. I think he showed up in one of Anabelle’s Captain Marvel comics, but in nothing I was reading.
However- Several months before, an online auction hunt turned up a loose “retro” packaged Firelord,(2022) the Herald of Galactus from when I started collecting comics. He played an important role in Secret Wars II and had a famous altercation with Black Costume Spider-Man.
Adding him to the Silver Surfer and Nova figures I’ve had since that first Beta Ray Bill from the Silver Surfer cartoon (1997) meant I had a group of Galactus’s Heralds to serve as the Herald of Thunder’s Location. However, all that justification ignores one important fact that meant I didn’t really need a Location.
The Herald of Thunder figure looks really cool!
Sadly, I know he's going to give me ageda forever, because his two ravens are in NO WAY designed to sit on him, and my continual attempts to do so will lead to many cascades of falling figures in my future.
Some day they will make a “Golden Oldie” Aunt May as Herald figure to add to this group.

Madame Hydra is a character I do know and has showed up in a fair number of my comics. Normal people will know her from the 2013 film The Wolverine. As a figure, she’s nothing special. I’m pretty sure I have a half dozen or so green haired women in my collection. 
However- Raising the female to male ratio of the collection with Anabelle around is always worthy, and there were some nice details to her design. (Like her expression and the Hydra logo on her holsters.) More importantly the third figure of the Puff Adder villain wave (2023) was none other than Hydra Leader- Baron Strucker. Madam Hydra’s Location actually expanded after the purchase when I got one of those many “Hey we think you’d like this” emails showing that the Scientist Supreme of AIM, (2021) the technical branch of Hydra in comics, was massively on sale.
And then there’s Speedball. He’s got a decent pedigree, created by Steve Ditko and Tom Defalco. Except for his infamous role in “causing” the explosion that started Civil War, (in the comics) I don’t have any comics with him, or his team the New Warriors.
OK, in all honesty there’s no however for this one. Except for the fact that he’s outstandingly and entertainingly goofy looking, and his vastly reduced sale price was the last barrier on my way to a massive and awesome looking Iron Man enemy figure.
As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.
With all the parts unwrapped, the assembly could take place.

Look at him next to 2013 Neo Classic Iron Man! (from a wave I never found all of, depriving me of an outstanding, comic book accurate super shiny gigantic Iron Monger figure... not that I'm still bitter.)
He’s HUUUUGE!!!! 
And a fitting addition to the Iron Man foes- a unplanned subsection of the unplanned villains’ shelf.
As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.
On the other hand, I also have the entire Controller wave.

Click to continue to  Part 9

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