Posts filed under Collectables

Spring Cleaning

"T'was a run-by auction!"


Since last posting of "Deadlines and Distractions" in May, it's been a whirlwind of a few months. Between a couple writing deadlines, some pretty intensive production projects, and a bit of a day-job shuffle, I find myself finally coming up for air. And it's interesting that in the process of feeling buried the last couple months, now that my eyes are a little more open (and I'm actually at home for an extended period of time), I'm noticing that I was also a little buried literally as well. Extra clothes, extra furniture, running out of space in the little amount that's affordable in Los Angeles.

Because of that, I've started a little spring cleaning. And a big part of that has been coming to grips with selling off several of those collectable items that I was holding onto that there just isn't the square footage to continue to house. Some of those that I've found have some monetary value are hitting eBay, some of those that I'm finding don't have much more value other than the memories that they've given me are going to Goodwill (which also means some lucky kid is going to hit a South Bay Goodwill and find a whole bunch of cool nerdy stuff for pennies on the dollar, hit your store now!).

At first it was a little difficult to part with some of the items. But after the initial sting of ripping off the bandage subsided, it actually felt pretty good. I mean, I love Kevin Smith's films. I love Mallrats. I frequently still find myself saying, "Tell 'em, Steve-Dave" even though not that many people get it anymore. But do I really need action figures of Steve-Dave and Fanboy signed by Walt Flanagan and Bryan Johnson? Probably not. There's probably someone else out there that would totally enjoy them more than I would, as I'm just letting them sit on a shelf in the closet indefinitely. Point in case of the process: I had a pretty killer rare Batman item and, while I'm a huge fan of the Bat, there really was no reason for me to have this item out and on display. I threw it onto eBay and it sold to a huge Batman fan who has an entire home theater filled with Batman goods. The perfect home for it.

Now that I'm a little into the process of the Great Giveaway of '15, I'm actually enjoying the process. Finding that I'm not missing any of the items that I've parted with and really wasn't sure what some of the attachment I had to them was in the first place. It feels like, especially in nerd culture, we're so consumed with stuff: posters, toys, this knick-knack and that. People bite and claw at the San Diego Comic-Con for free stuff. Doesn't matter what it is, it's just stuff and us geeks want it. And it adds up so quickly. Especially when you're in a small apartment. Plus it's buying me a little bit of breathing room in the combined office/guest room/nerd cave area which makes sitting and reading and getting writing projects finished a lot more comfortable. Not to mention that the sales from the auctions might finally inspire me to buy a decent chair and desk, which I'm sure my aspiring Quasimodo hunch will appreciate.

Posted on June 10, 2015 and filed under Collectables.

San Diego Comic-Con 2014... From Afar This Year

Today marks the first "preview" day of the annual San Diego Comic-Con, which runs through this weekend. And it also marks the first time in a long while that I won't be down in the midst of it all. Over the past few years, the convention has exploded to ridiculous proportions. Wall-to-wall people jockey for position on roads and sidewalks, stand in lines that make Disneyland look like a fast food drive-thru, and literally scratch and claw each other for in-demand exclusives that are near impossible to get because of the sheer amount of people.

On top of all that, SDCC has become the go-to venue for film, television, and other mainstream media to flaunt their latest wares. It's not entirely clear what a movie like Let's Be Cops has to do with comic books or any of the genres that are indigenous to conventions, but someone somewhere decided, "Hey - 13-year old and college-aged boys like comics and stuff. We've gotta get them aware of this movie!"

Which is what a lot of SDCC boils down to now: that screaming and shouting in a crowd of thousands to be noticed, to be heard, to get someone's attention just long enough to sell them a ticket and hope that they'll tell twenty or thirty of their friends. But that doesn't explain why Variety is touting Fifty Shades of Grey as a potential surprise for Comic-Con. The audience down there isn't exactly your target demographic, but hey -- hordes of people! Quick, scream and try to get everyone's attention!

The San Diego Comic-Con is about as much about comics, sci-fi and pop culture as Sundance is about independent films being screened for a niche audience. It's all become this giant-sized circus that amounts to a lot of chaos rather than the personal individualized feel that it used to have. Nothing makes introverted, socially awkward nerds more comfortable than being surrounded by masses of people that are all demanding your attention and putting you on the spot every five seconds. It's the equivalent of walking through the school halls in junior high on an inflated scale now. Surely the bubble will burst soon?

At any rate, I'm actually looking forward to observing this SDCC from a distance. In terms of the Con experience, it seems like all of the big reveals and breaks are immediately (if not before-hand) on the internet. I'm able to interact with my favorite artists and writers on Twitter and purchase prints from them online now, which gives me the same experience as meeting them at their booth in Artist's Alley and gives me the time to admire their work in detail without being jostled by those damn giant WB bags every fifteen seconds. I'm also not really one for parties unless it involves getting to go into a replica of Flynn's Arcade and getting to play classic arcade games (again... see earlier comments about social anxieties). Though I enjoyed the couple that I've been to over the years, it's not high up on the priority list.

Despite the cynicism and grimness of the above (sorry about that), I'll be covering the things that excite me coming out of San Diego this year here on SPT. All you have to do is check back here frequently or hit up the tag SDCC on SPT down at the bottom of this page to travel through the rabbit hole of SDCC goodness as it progresses.

TMNT Toys - What a Difference Nearly 25 Years Makes

Coming out of the sewers... or apparently done enough coke to make them look like you found them in the outskirts of an alley. Either way. That's why they have noses now, right?

A funny thing happened at a late-night run to Target last night. Yes, admittedly the run was made because milk (and Reese's Peanut Butter Oreos to accompany it) was needed. But as with every visit to Target, I like to cruise through the toy isle just to see what the latest trends are, what's flying off of shelves, what the Guardians of the Galaxy tie-in toys look like, and what parents can't control their screaming kids.

But last night, I stumbled across an entire endcap dedicated to the new Michael Bay-fueled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film and must have spent a good five to ten minutes quizzically inspecting such a bizarre sight.

Friendly neighborhood Foot Soldier is ready to turn something (ANYTHING) into swiss-cheese! (Courtesy

The movie itself has still yet to sell me. I've been a little vocal about it in the past here on SPT. But I found it interesting how the Turtles themselves are depicted in their action figure form. And more over, how totally weirded out (technical term) I was that the Foot Soldiers all came with assault rifles and handguns. No, I'm not bringing this up for conservative political fodder, but I bring this up because it's curious that the same company Playmates Toys refused to release toys related to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film that was released in 1990.


Because Playmates thought that the strong violence and dark tones in the film were too strong for their core audience of kids that were buying the toys. So yes, while the 1990 film featured such violent imagery as a Foot Soldier digging a staff into an electrical wire and starting a fire and showed teenage kids engaging in robbery (and smoking "regular or menthol" cigarettes which made zero sense to me at the then ripe age of nine years old) - apparently the new Michael Bay film is AOK according to Playmates Toys.

Take a trip with me back to 1990 and an article in the Los Angeles Times:

...Lieberman points out what she sees as a crucial difference. "Ten or 20 years ago, parents were around more to give kids values, to comment about the violence (children encountered)," she said. "These days, many kids are playing with these toys in a vacuum. And kids are often angry to begin with because they are left alone."

"A toy does not cause a child to be violent," countered Teigiser of Playmates Toys. "Children are going to act out their aggression whether with their toys or their fingers."

So 20 years ago in 1990, articles and psychologists were already concerned that parents weren't instilling values on their kids and the pizza-loving, "Turtles Fight with Honor" were proving to be problematic. And they referenced their perspective of 20 years prior to that, the 1970s. But it's curious that the Playmates Toys response in this article insists that the toy has nothing to do with the violence, despite the widespread conception that the company didn't release tie-ins to the original film.

But if, in 1990, the concern was that kids were showing up to preschool dressed like the Ninja Turtles, trying to replicate what they were seeing in how they played... what will happen after a new reboot with Turtles like this fun-loving, wise-cracking, right outta a Spike Lee Joint Mikey? And does this mean that, in 1990 parents were totally neglectful but in 2014 they're all over parenting and instilling values and definitely not the type to think parenting is handing their kids an iPad to shut them up? Progress! We did it! USA! USA! USA!

Michelangelo and his Dr. Rockso counterpart.

I guess the argument could be made that the Nickelodeon animated series-focused line is still running offering an alternative to the younger kids, but it's curious that since 1990 the company that found a live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles too violent is embracing this "dark, gritty, and sexy" reboot.

Again, this isn't meant to be an old man shaking his cane at the world or political discussion catalyst. But I just find the Bay Turtles fascinating and can't help just keep asking, "Why?" The whole thing will be interesting to observe, curious to see how this all shakes out. But it's worth pointing the SPT faithful toward an excellent article from and old friend, PANGEA's John Schulte, for more insight.

Ghostbusters Ecto-1 LEGO Comparison

LEGO's new Ghostbusters Ecto-1 set - original fan submission on left and the official release on right. (Courtesy has a great comparison of the original fan-submitted CUUSOO model that garnered enough attention for LEGO to take notice and agree to produce an official Ectomobile. While the original fan submission looks to be a little larger and includes one or two details that the official mass-produced model does not, it still looks like killer set for Ghostbusters fans and LEGO fans alike. Check out more comparison shots over at Collider!

Posted on May 2, 2014 and filed under Collectables.