When I first started collecting toys back around 1990 I would run into other collectors sporadically (this being in the dark days before the internet collecting community at large had coalesced around USENET, for the most part). One way I would know that they were die-hard toy hunters was that they had had “The Dream”. Usually this centered around Star Wars, but every collector who I talked with had it at one point or another after they had become totally immersed in hunting down old toys.
Make no mistake, The Dream never involved new toys. It always started with you being in a store (most likely a store that no longer existed, frequently a department store that still had a toy section) and as you wander through the store you find all the toys you wish were still there brand new on the shelves. And tons of them: the first 12-back Star Wars figures, all MOC. The original run of Master of the Universe. The 3rd wave of Super Powers. Maybe a Bionic Bigfoot, or Micronauts vehicle peeking around the endcap. And even better, toys that were never made! A vintage Tie Bomber! A Bantha playset! A whole rack of He-Ro figures!
And then you wake up.
Well, I didn’t have that dream often, but I did have it. Up until about 12 years ago, that is. And then it went away, probably because nothing was hard to find anymore thanks to eBay, and everything you wish had been made in the 1970s was now being made in the present day. But last night, I had the dream again! Sorta…
I dreamt that I was buying Marvel Universe figures. And not just the ones I’ve been passing up, but ones we haven’t seen yet, like the Lizard, and Juggernaut, and Wendigo. And even better, there were a lot of DC characters there too: Superman, Joker, Killer Croc, Blue Devil. All sculpted just like the MU figures. Now, I don’t know what this means. I’m in the process of dumping most of my toy collection for good, and I surely don’t need anything new outside of DCUC to take my money these days.
But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do some mental calculations about just how much it would cost to catch up on the MU figures as soon as I woke up…
Update – 2014: Of course, now I own about 85% of all the Marvel Universe figures! Go here to check out just how many of these things have been made so far at Daniel Lynch’s awesome MU checklist! The packaging alone on this line is just amazing, with top-level Marvel artists creating custom illustrations specifically for the toy line. You just don’t see that any more! Here’s who did what:
Wave 1-5: Frank Cho – Wave 6-11: Mike Deodato – Wave 12-13: Olivier Coipel – Wave 14-15: Simone Bianchi – Wave 16-18: Ed McGuinness – Wave 19-23: Mike Deodato
Secret Wars 2-packs: Bob Layton – Comic Pack 2-packs: Mike Deodato – Team Pack 3-packs, including SDCC 2012 Masters of Evil: Mike Deodato
Masterworks SDCC and retail released Galactus, retail released Sentinel: Mike Deodato – Masterworks SDCC Sentinel: Joe Quesada