of an Action Figure Collector
By Avelino C. Tuason
When I was a kid, I dreamed that someday I would make lots of money so I
could purchase all the toys my parents refused to get me.
Well, I’m buying them anyway.
I consider myself a serious toy collector. I realize that sounds as silly
a term as a jovial mortician. But judging by the numerous so-called grownups
I see in toy stores, comic shops and collectors conventions, handling
Princess Leia’s like they were Mona Lisa’s, I know that I am not alone.
My toy of choice is the action figure, a category I’m convinced was
made up by some guy caught playing with his sister's dollies. I eloquently
refer to them as small symbols of things that have brought joy and
inspiration to my life. For the past six years, I’ve recruited an army of
over 100 of the world’s mightiest comic book superheroes and movie,
television and sports stars, all lined up on my dresser and ready for
I first bought Toy Biz Spider-Man and Kenner Batman action figures, just
to decorate my desk. Then McFarlane Toys blew me away with its exquisitely
crafted The X-Files and Movie Maniacs lines in 1998. Since then,
I’ve noticed a steady rise in the quality and variety of the merchandise
and a rapid decline of desk space.
When it comes to deciding what to collect, looks are everything. Forget
the kung-fu grip, just give me the details. Oddly, my best-looking figures
are my most grotesque: Sideshow Toy Universal Studios Monsters, McFarlane
Toys Movie Maniacs and Jakks Pacific World Wrestling Federation superstars.
Many enthusiasts get action figures out of nostalgia. My middle-aged
buddy Joe has been on eBay rounding up a posse of vintage Marx cowboy
figures. Not one to neglect recent technological advances in toymaking, he
also pre-ordered a Sideshow Toy James Bond, his childhood idol, from an
online toy store.
Others see action figures as an investment. My friend Marina has been
collecting the original Kenner (and now Hasbro) Star Wars figures
since Luke was in Jedi grade school. She recently sold a set to another toy
collector for a cool $300.
I’ve even heard rumors that parents get action figures for their
Hopefully, the industry is getting the message that there’s a diverse,
passionate, sophisticated crowd of consumers out there ready to spend lots
of money on high quality products. If so, we should look forward to seeing
an increase in the most wonderful figures of all. Sales figures.
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