Great Caesar’s Ghost!
As a full-out nerd, I can attest that once you leave the fringe of our culture and begin to step deeper into the darkness, that the slope becomes very VERY slippery. First, it starts with movies and TV shows. Then, maybe comics. The occasional video game. Before you know it, you’re collecting posters, memorabilia, statues, game pieces… and the one crack-like addiction that grabs hold of even the strongest of our ilk and never lets go: action figure collecting.
They come in all sizes, multiple sculpts, different paint jobs, rare mail-away promotions, short-packed in cases, with bonus build-a-figure pieces, exclusively with play sets, re-issues, store exclusives, online and/or subscription only… and it’s all you can think about. Before too long, the abyss is staring back at you, gleefully looking on as your home has been overrun by a carefully displayed wall of cardboard and PVC.
At first, it’s the thrill of the hunt- looking for that ONE figure needed to complete your set. Slowly, it evolves into spending every waking moment of your free time scouring the internet for pricing and driving to every store in town looking for that 1-in-64 cases variant figure of that obscure character that appeared in one panel of one issue of that book you really didn’t care for that came out 25 years ago.
And you can’t stop.
Eventually, you end up like Jeff- working at a retailer that regularly stocks new figures as they release- and you devise plans in order to be the first to crack the case open so you won’t miss out on anything you may want. It becomes an obsession. It’s not so much about the thrill of the hunt any more as it is about power and bragging rights; being the first to own what every other nerd covets and having the ability to throw your unwanted scraps to the unwashed masses…
Is it hot in here? Anyone else feel that nervous ticking?
Um… so, yeah.
I think I may have a problem.
Friends, we truly live in the new golden age of comics and nerdom. New figures come out with every new movie, and store clerks everywhere are making sure that they have a special little hiding spot carved out in the back room in which to facilitate the black-market accumulation and distribution of hot new action figures. If you’re reading this, chances are you ARE that guy/gal or at least KNOW him/her.
I’m gonna go take a cold shower now. The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem.