DesignNostalgiaSuper HeroesToys

I Had a Dream, I Had an Awesome Dream

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.

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 3.47.21 PMWell, 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

SDCC 2009 Invaders Set: Joe Quesada – SDCC 2012 Helicarrier: Joe Quesada – SDCC 2014 Infinity Gauntlet: Mike Deodato



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    Love the mental calculations!!!! I have done that some many times. Just waying the options if it is worth getting started. MU is worth it. DO IT!!! THe possiblilities are endless.

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    This is the first that I am hearing of other guys having The Dream. I thought I was alone in this.

    I have had The Dream many times since about 1979. Still do.

    Old department store with a full-blown toy department from back in the day. It’s usually Sears or JC Penney’s, or Woolworth’s. All places where real-life discoveries and purchases were made regularly. There’s always plenty of what I am collecting (at the moment, like DCUC, or from yesteryear, like the original Star Wars or Mego) including characters that had never been announced or made.

    In my version of The Dream, I am thrilled at first, but then I start going through anxiety about how much money I have on me. Apparently my dream takes place in a world without ATM/Debit Cards…just like back in 1979.

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    I had a Super Powers dream a few weeks ago…I was in a Pamida and there were tons of MOC Super Powers. I was just shoveling them into my cart. It was fantastic, until I woke up.

  • ToyOtter

    I don’t think I’ve ever talked to anyone who actually was able to complete a purchase in The Dream.

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    i’ve had this one at least four times that i can remember. usually it centres around vintage transformers. twice, as you said, in a department store that simply doesn’t exist, and the other two times in a shopping mall that i frequent for toys and comics.

    it’s very weird though, the way the toystores look in the dream are always significantly different than what they are in reality, but it never stops you making plans to go back with a stack of cash . . .

    . . . and then of course, you wake up.

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    Been there.

    Min involved Super Powers toys found, in a long defunct regional toy store.
    Aisle number 2, on the left.

    Toy Otter, is right though…. my cart was being filled when…. awake!

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    The dream was really vivid. I had one of the newer short carts, the ones with two baskets, and the store was multi-leveled and round, like a small arena. I almost, almost made a detour on a recent road trip to a Pamida as a result, but it would have been way too far out of the way.

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    Those dreams always leave me with a crushing sense of disappointment that only can only be filled by actual toy shopping … until I get into my store and feel the crushing disappointment of no new DCUC figures …

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    Interesting. I don’t dream often, and when I do, it’s not about toys. Those Marvel Universe figure are a blast, though. I’m a much bigger fan of DC than of Marvel. I’ve only purchased one Marvel Legends figure that wasn’t a gift for someone else. I still couldn’t resist the Marvel Universe line for two reasons. The first is nostalgia; they remind me too much of my Secret Wars figures from when I was a kid. The second is just how enjoyable they are. Seriously, opening a new one of these is so much fun. As someone with only a mild interest in anything Marvel, I have to recommend these figures to anyone who just loves toys. It’s easily one of the best lines on the market.

  • Jason Geyer

    You’re really not helping me here, CC…


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    So true! I still have “The Dream” at least once a year. A mysterious toy store. Vintage GI Joe, Star Wars, and Transformers lining the shelves and pegs. *sigh*

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    Ha, love it. Yes, I’m a dreamer, too. I remember most vividly the toy dreams I had as a kid. Often I knew I was dreaming so I’d grab the figure as tight as possible in the hopes that when I woke up it’d be in my hand. Woke up many mornings with an empty clutched fist!

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    I often dreamt about running loose through my local TRU back in the day when they had aisles instead of mazes. At least three were devoted to action figure lines alone. And that wonderful “new toy” smell as you walked (rushed) through the automatic doors flowed throughout the whole place.

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    I’ve dreamed of owning mint G1 Decepticons (Shockwave, Cyclonus, Soundwave) at various times and some of the rarer post-87 TFs like Headmasters and the City formers. Granted, I’m no longer into Transformers as much as I used to be, bought only 8 figures since 06′.

    But this is nothing in comparison to how much my interest dropped in Star Wars, I haven’t bought a single figure or toy from that franchise in 10 years. I think thats the longest and most current streak I have going right now with any toy line.

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