“Action figures?!? How DARE you! I am a purveyor of fine, appreciating collectible figurines. Give me that rifle accessory. Pew, pew, pew.”
My life with toys, video games and collectibles came in stages.
Like you, of course, I played with my Star Wars action sets from 1977 to around the mid-’80s.
When anime became an enormous hit, revealing the wealth of anime-connected toys from Japan (RoboTech, Star Blazers, Gundam, etc) backed by the revelation that we were all hoodwinked with crappy English versions of popular originals — the feeling to break open a box and find time with friends coasted into learning how to preserve the item in the box it came in and cursing oneself that old toys were broken or thrown away now that they might be worth something.
This is around the late teens-mid-20’s era of scavenging meets conventions and other places online (BBS’s at the time) to get your hands on as much as you can to complete your collection. That included comic books.
Then here comes the 30’s. Maybe you have a family now. Bills are piling up. You might be interested in buying your first home. Someone is offering a thousand dollars for that Thunder Cats playset your new wife constantly mocks you for having in storage — and you might not have any children. Even if you did or plan to have children, you and I both know those collectibles weren’t for your child now — more like something you planned to hand-down.
A form of inheritance.
But those bills, though.
So, you sell something on eBay. You start getting paid. You sell some more. Before you know it, you’ve become the world’s point of view of being an ‘adult’ by doing what you had to do to keep a roof over your head. As the money comes in for the stuff you sold of your collection, only then the people around you that mocked your collective habit see the value. Suddenly it’s ‘maybe you should have kept that exclusive Darth Vader helmet.’
It’s too late, of course. And so went a piece of your heart and soul with every sale.
The stuff that made you — you. The collection of things that kept you youthful as reality and the world press you to make sure your Verizon bill is paid on time and don’t forget those taxes. Yay! Adulthood.
By the time you’re forty, with children, you might have seen and done all the adult you want to do: the vacations, the timeshare, the marriage(s), the children, the child support, the divorce, the drinking, the smoking, the sex … on and on and on.
Then one day, while surfing through endless Netflix crap, you come across a blast from your past. Original episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion that today’s kids are looking at as new when you had it on VHS from a Japanese pen pal back in your day.
Back in your day.
When you were genuinely happy.
So what now? You got a decent job. Your friend count is narrowed to either who you grew up with or the occasional drink with some office folks that just kills a few brain cells.
You go out and buy your first comic book in years.
At this point, it’s not about reading anything. You also buy the backboard and plastic sleeve, too. You seal it and lay it on the table. The comic looks back at you.
You’re thinking: “More.”
Forget what anyone thinks. You pay your bills. You have the house or apartment with the right storage space. From this point forward, my hobby is what makes me happy. The emotional rush of being an adult that can actually pay for this is heady, inviting and — what the hell — it makes me feel good.
Compared to taking meth, cocaine, and strung out on liquor in the streets, collecting fandom material and finally putting a smile on my face is probably the best thing that a true fan can do.
Plus, by now you know, it’s exactly what René Emile Belloq from Raiders of the Lost Ark said: “…But I take it, I bury it in the sand for a thousand years, it becomes priceless”. Or at least my closet.
All things collected have a value now and later. To oneself and to others.
Most importantly — to you.
No more selling anything.
This is the continuous journal of the Collector of a Certain Age; simply buying, showcasing online, and putting together a wealth of anime, video games, and collectibles for his children’s future. All new items will be posted on-site for other like-minds to enjoy along the way.
Why the hell not? We’re in a pandemic.