Monday, August 23, 2010

Play With Your Toys Damn It!!!

Every time I pass by my local newsstand and see a Toy Fair magazine on the rack, I get depressed.

It sparks waves of loathing and sadness in me.

The reason is because there is a large number of toy fans that have given up their geek love for love of money.

Let me explain.

In the early 90’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was like kid crack.

I was a huge Turtles fan and I would make my poor mother scour the toy stores to buy every single action figure for my collection. It was like O.C.D, I could not stop myself from buying a action figure, I just had to have the most complete collection or I would somehow lose my fan card.

The one figure I searched for the most was The Shredder.

It was like my Moby Dick, all I spoke about for months was this action figure, all I thought about was this action figure and hell all I dreamed about was this stupid action figure. Somehow my mother and I wound up at a crummy store on a Saturday as the shell-shocked store clerks began to open the new shipment of Turtle toys. It turns out there was only one Shredder per box. As the clerk opened up the box and pulled out my holy grail, I reached out to touch the holiest of holy toys, when suddenly

…A 30 year old fat,smelly collector shoved me into a wall grabbed the figure and ran to the check out line.
My White Whale

We wound up wasting 3 hours of my Mother's life that she will never get back to finally get my Shredder action figure.

Now was the collector a Turtle fan?

I'm not sure, but I doubt it.

Most likely he never even opened the damn box the figure came in.

It is probably up on a shelf or in the back of the closet, collecting dust as the collector scours eBay to see if his “investment” has paid off.

And this my friends is why I hate collectors.

It's not the love of a show, cartoon or comic that drives these people, its greed pure and simple.

The mid 90’s was the height of this craze.

Image Comics was at its peak, having just launched, selling record numbers of comics; Other comic publishers were scrambling to compete by releasing gimmick covers and then Todd McFarlane started to put out toys based on his Spawn comic series.

It changed the toy industry forever.

Back then toys were pretty crude, and McFarlane's toys were revolutionary, full of detail and came with a lot of accessories. Everyone and their mother were rushing to the store to pick up the latest figure. Even though a lot of fans bought the figures because they followed the comic, I think there was a bit of a majority of folks who thought they would retire to the Bahamas on the money they made on their toys.

Retailers loved it, small stores would jack up the price of the latest action figure and the bigger chain stores would lower the prices on certain figures to move merchandise. I actually got into the craze and I began to buy the toys, never opening the box and putting it in the back of my closet expecting to hit the jackpot a few years down the line.
One day I remember running in front of a mother and son to grab a Medieval Spawn action figure.

It was then that I had a realization. I was buying something I would never enjoy. I would never open the boxes out of fear of losing the mint condition value. I was chucking out my hard earned cash for something that didn’t even give me joy.

In fact, it was just a high of feeling like I was ahead of everyone else by getting the figures first. It didn’t mean anything but in my deluded mind it was somehow a accomplishment.

The joy of collecting...All smiles

So I went straight home, opened the closet and ripped opened the boxes with not a care in the world. I then began to play with the toys, just like when I was 12. It was fun and just took me back to a more innocent time when all that mattered was the battles you created in your minds eye with these toys.

Toys are meant to be played with. I think that’s a fact that we all forget. We have deluded ourselves into not even touching our toys out of fear that we may break them. It's stupid. These toys are not made out of China, a G.I. Joe or Wolverine is not going to shatter if it falls on the floor.
They were made to be durable, but we forget that. We focus on the mint value of the toy and lose track of the reason why we bought it in the first place; it looked cool.

Why do you spend money on eBay looking for the toy you never got as a kid if you're just going to put it on the shelf and not touch it? Why did you even buy it in the first place?

Protecting his collection from his grandchildren

To this day I refuse to bag any comic book and keep any toy sealed. I got these things for a reason and it was too enjoy it and by God I am going to do just that. I don’t care if something I got will be worth 10 grand down the line, there is no money in the world that could make up for the joy of feeling like a kid again. Take my advice enjoy what you have, you cant take this crap with you when you die and shouldn’t you indulge yourself?

Don’t be a collector, be a fan.

As for what happened to my Shredder action figure I fought so hard for?

It wound up in the bottom of my pool. Yeah apparently he was defeated by Leonardo in a duel and was thrown into the ocean i.e. my pool. Do you know how much a original action figure of the Shredder goes for online?

About 10 bucks give or take. Man, did I lose out.


  1. People ask me all the time about my comics: Are you going to sell them? No. I've been collecting for over 25 years now, and one day, I'll pass them to my daughter. I bag and board each one, but that's only because I want to keep them because I read them all the time. Sometimes, I just go into my X-Books from the mid 80s, pull out a story arc, and go to town. They're not in plastics for monetary value, but rather to increase the lifetime so I can increase my enjoyment lifetime with them!

    Like you, I do not get the collecting for collecting's sake, especially if, most importantly, you're not getting any joy out of it. Toys were meant to be played with. That's what their purpose is! And part of what helps cultivate this practice of "buy but don't open" is companies that intentionally only create certain amounts of characters so as to create a "need" or a "shortage."

  2. I do keep many of my toys carded/boxed, but it's not to re-sell later on; I keep the ones carded/boxed that are special to me. Most of my toys I open up, and display; I honestly haven't played with my toys since I was 10...I wish I could make that up, but I can't.

    I've had this itch to be a collector since I was a kid, and I love doing it now.

    No, the collectors aren't the ones that throw them in their closet hoping the investment will pay off, it's the SCALPERS that do that.

    Shredder? Really? When Turtles first came out, he was the first figure I ever got...and I got him like immediately.