The GeeksverseToying Around #1

Toying Around #1
Published on Wednesday, October 27, 2010 by

Everyone has his own “thing” and toys happen to be mine. I don’t know how I got there, but this is the story of my adventure from childhood to manhood through toys.

For much of my life, toys have played an important role. As a young boy, they kept me out of trouble, bonded me with others, fostered my now extinct creativity, and improved my relationships with my siblings. This can probably be said about most people. The difference is that the role toys have played in my life continues through today.

I grew up in a lower middle-class family of seven and times weren’t always great. Looking back, I have no clue how my parents put food on the table with only one income until I was six. We rarely went out to eat, never had a new car, wore hand-me-down clothes, and rented a duplex. Yet somehow, we always had the newest and best toys. My older brothers had Star Wars figures and playsets, and my sister had Barbies and She-Ra figures galore. I can count the non-variant Masters of the Universe figures by brother and I DIDN’T have on one hand, and our GI Joe battles included a Terrordrome and Mobile Command Center. We would have hours-long battles between good and bad, and sometimes, because we would fight over which characters we wanted, we’d draft sides for our own fantasy team of Eternians or Cobra members. My brother, Lance, and I hardly had room for out necessary items like shoes and clothes because our room was so full of toys. Kids in school would come over to see our huge collections of the different brands of toys. It was unneccesary, but certainly appreciated by all 5 of us.

Being the youngest boy, I was somewhat forgotten by my brothers as I got older and after my parents separated, and eventually divorced. The hours-long battles turned into half-hour-long battles by myself. The days of setting up battles with twenty or thirty figures were long gone. I would only use my ten or fifteen favorites. For me, toys started to take a backseat to a tape player and Nintendo. For my brothers, school, girls, cars, and being an adult were major distractions. I still was getting GI Joes until the early 90s, but I was disenfranchised with the New Adventures of He-Man, so my first toy love had come to an end. My GI Joe love affair ended shortly thereafter, when WWF became my newest obsession and love. This was at the age of 11.

As I got older I dabbled in toys, but the internet, girls, alcohol, movies, and music were my obsessions. I purchased Jakks WWE toys in my early 20s and Alternators in my mid 20s. Because of my carelessness, I fell into some financial trouble and sold all of my Alternators and some of my older toys on eBay. It was such a rush to sell things for so much more than I had originally paid for them. It was so much fun to try and figure out when is the right time to sell an item. Toys, once again, were my obesession. This time, it was selling, not collecting, toys. After a year as a scalper, I decided I’d just collect the GI Joe 25th line. People were getting smarter about when figures were showing up in stores, online toy stores were offering pre-orders, my interest in selling was diminishing, and the figures were so cool!

I found that so many of my interests had crossover fans. The internet was the home to not only toy collectors and buyers, but wrestling fans, movie buffs, and wise-asses: these were my people. I found a web community in which I felt comfortable and started to take on more toy lines. Currently, I collect Masters of the Universe Classics and DC Universe Classics Collect and Connect figures. I buy the occasional Marvel Universe, Star Wars, GI Joe, and WWE figures.

Considering how two of the lines I purchase are comic based toys, I really know very little about the source material. I appreciate toys for what they are. They are miniature statues, small pieces of art to be appreciated as well as played with. I don’t need to know the history of a certain character, and I may not see the imperfections or discrepancies other collectors or fans might see, but ignorance is bliss. The purpose of this column is to analyze toy lines, companies, individual toys, and trends through my unique perspective. I look forward to entertaining every person who reads my column, teaching, and learning a whole lot along the way.

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