Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How to Score Chicks...Or, So You Want to Collect Action Figures? (Part Two of Three)

Hi, and welcome to Part Two of guest blogger Gary Hochreiter’s three-part post on action figure collecting. In case you missed it, here's Part One. Enjoy!

An Introduction To Action Figure Collecting, Part Two
By Gary Hochreiter

I bought my first Transformer from the local (and overpriced) Ma & Pa owned toy store. It was the Autobot, Hound. My favorite memory is of a trip to Toys 'R Us with my grandmother. I was given the choice of getting either Megatron or Optimus Prime.

What to do? Poor Mom-Mom hadn't realized that she had just presented me with a childhood version of Sophie’s Choice. After a seeming eternity of internal strife and debate, I picked Prime.

It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as it was, and still is (in my opinion) the best action figure ever made. See what I'm talking about later this year when Hasbro re-releases him.

I had a brief flirtation with Thundercats, getting only a few of the figures before I lost interest with the way all of my favorite toy lines were going. I had discovered the Marvel Universe and the X-Men in comics, and I was drawn more towards them. But, that’s a story for another time.

I did pick up a Batman figure from the movie line (the one with the belt that doubled as a grapple line). And, later on, my interest was piqued by the first Toy Biz Marvel figures. I got the Wolverine figure with the mask that became a ring and the light-up action Cyclops figure.

That was it throughout Junior High and High School. There is one line that I regret not getting into during that time. That was the expansive Playmates Star Trek line. Being a big TNG (The Next Generation) and DS9 (Deep Space Nine) fan, there were lots of great toys that would have appealed to me.

By the time I went to and got out of college, I had given up comics and rediscovered them again. This time, I got back into comics because of my discovery of the DC Universe. Soon after, DC started to release toys based on their comic characters. And I just couldn't say no when I saw figures of The New Teen Titans and the JSA. And, like Al Pacino in Godfather III, “Just when I thought I was out, they're pulling me back in.”

I revisited the Transformers franchise when I purchased Beast Wars Transmetal Optimus Primal and Megatron. When I got a job at KB Toys, I started to get some of the Star Wars stuff coming out at the time, as well. Yes, I even got some of the Episode I toys. When I saw the movie, though, I decided never to buy another Star Wars toy again.

Then Toy Biz came out with the Spider-Man Classics line and then the Marvel Legends line, and I was ecstatic. I now collect the Hasbro Marvel Legends and some of the Marvel Select figures, the DCU Classics line and, most recently, the G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary line and the Transformers line from both the Universe and Animated Series.

So, all this leads me to a very basic question. Why should you collect toys?

Perhaps you want to recapture your youth, or rather never let go of it. I know that I missed out on the super hero toy lines when I was a kid and that's why I enjoy similar lines now. Perhaps you remember old lines of toys and were disappointed in them. With the sculpting and articulation of today, toys are generally better looking and more realistic than before.

The current lines might remind you of what you wished your old toys should have been like, and maybe that’s why you find them interesting. Maybe you just might now have the means to collect what you wanted to get before but simply couldn't afford back then. Maybe you like the challenge of trying to buy and sell toys and make some money doing so. (Although I don't think you'll be able to retire or purchase a Mercedes with your proceeds.) Or maybe you just want to have something that is valuable and nostalgic at the same time. Whatever you want to get out of collecting is up to you.

Personally, I find that people fall into one of two categories as collectors. There are Payers and there are Players.

And that’s all for Part Two of Gary’s post. Tune in next time for the conclusion, and an explanation of what Payers and Players are!

1 comment:

Flashman85 said...

Well, as it turns out, I have a very large collection of those Playmates Star Trek action figures. It's by no means complete, but the highlight of my week used to be getting a new action figure. Perhaps I'll write a post about all that one day.