This started out as a post in response to the DCIH Anti-Monitor points only being able for redemption at SDCC. People are pissed, even though it was known months ago. Collectors want to collect, and obstacles in their way are both frustrating and unnecessary. I wanted to chime in. As I formulated my post, I realized I had more to say about collecting current retail lines in general, so I decided to put all my thoughts down here in case others could identify with them.
I have some advice for everyone. Retail product should not be so frustrating…so don’t collect them if they infuriate you so. I know it will be difficult, but there are other ways to satisfy your collecting jones that will eventually cost out the same amount.
As my engagement fell apart back in late 2006, I needed something. Something to keep my mind off of things…something familiar…something fun to do. I returned to an old hobby of mine…collecting action figures. Specifically, given my past connection to the DCAU, Justice League Unlimited from Mattel.
To sum up without being too long-winded, I was soon caught up. Between retail and fellow collectors online, it was easy. So easy that by the time DCUC Wave 2 was starting to show at stores I decided to branch out into that line as well. Again, I was soon caught up with DCSH/DCUC as well…and at as close to retail as you could get.
Since then, it’s gotten worse. Far worse. Yet it’s gotten worse amidst fantastic news…character selection in DCUC and JLU was ramped up to a point that none of us could have imagined. A few 3-3/4" line was announced with the objective of pumping out dozens of characters at a time. More DC product at retail than ever before. Throughout it all, rising costs and endless empty searches have made public opinion of DC lines bipolar (like me). Great product (DCIH sculpting notwithstanding), impossible to find. I also tried Hasbro’s Indiana Jones line recently. I loved the Indy toys from Kenner, and this was a way to recapture that…if only they could be found at $7.99 as they should.
That’s why I had to stop. It’s frustrating to see all the cool toys…yet not be able to collect them within reason (i.e. at retail). I hated to give it up completely…so I looked at how much I was spending (or was going to spend) to locate the toys I wanted, and then looked for an alternative to satisfy myself yet with the peace-of-mind that my money was being well-spent.
I made the decision that if I was going to pay eBay prices and lots of money to collect JLU & DCSH (and to a lesser extent, Indy) that I was going to put my money into something actually *worth* that expense to me. I wanted to stay within the DC Universe to start. Enter : Super Powers. You all know how much I’ve been enjoying that, and in the near future you’ll see just HOW much.
You know, though, I was in Walmart yesterday and they actually had one DCUC figure (Superman) and a bunch of DCIH. I had a "Jeff Cope Moment" and looked at all the different DCIH figures they had…Superman, Batman, Black Lightning, Spectre, Fate, Joker, Hawkman, Supergirl, etc…and they were actually neat to see as a huge group. Suddenly the issues I had with their sculpting didn’t see so worrisome; I could only imagine having all of them on a shelf…however, upon further thought I knew to find them all and pay the prices for them is absurd. As it is retail prices are inexplicably rising…but when product can’t be found and eBay sellers are your only option, then the price borders on ridiculous.
IMHO, to pay $20 for a nice carded Super Powers Lex Luthor or Darkseid, OR to pay $35 for a DCUC Mr. Miracle or Shazam on eBay is a no-brainer to me. While Miracle and Shazam are awesome figures, I can’t justify the expense.
Any line at retail should be relatively EASY to collect, and if you want all the figures and are somewhat diligent you should be able to collect everything you want at retail prices. Even in a worst-case scenario, trading with friends online or paying above retail a few times should be a last resort.
In doing LESS searching for Super Powers than I ever did for JLU or DCUC, it’s amazing what I’ve been able to find. Extremely rare figures, carded pre-production samples, proof cards, foreign packaged figures not previously known to exist…and the list goes on. Are they expensive? Some are…and most aren’t. Given the choice to find a DCSH Two-Face for $60 on eBay or my Super Powers Green Lantern & Aquaman proof cards ($50 for both) I feel completely at ease that I made the correct choice.
If current collecting frustrates, annoys, or angers anyone as much as it did me…all I can say is take a step back and at least give some thought to the fact that there might be another alternative. Super Powers, Secret Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, hell even the early 90′s Toybiz DC and Marvel lines can all be had easily for an expense similar to what the current retail status (or lack thereof) of both Mattel AND Hasbro offer up. Even if you don’t decide to go that route, at least give it some thought.
You might be glad you did.