If you are into toys at all, you’ve undoubtedly thought about it. If you are into toys and have friends who are also into toys, it’s more than likely that you’ve all had this conversation with each other. What is your holy grail? It seems simple enough… but what if you don’t have a grail?
I have loved toys for as long as I can remember. I took a break in the early 90s, but never drifted very far. So, I’ve been connected to action figures – either as a kid who played with them, a teen who collected them or an adult who considered them art and makes his own – for the better part of 31 years. You’d think, with that kind of history, I’d have found something along the way that I couldn’t live without. Something that would keep me up at night patrolling Ebay, lest I miss out on that once in a decade auction for that one item that my would complete my collection. I suppose it’s a good thing that I haven’t had that experience, but as a lover of toys, I almost find it sad. Like I’m missing out on an experience that is central to loving toys in the first place – the proverbial white whale. The one toy that *needs* to be found and caught. The holy grail.
As silly as it sounds, I’ve tried to find something that would qualify – for a while it was Generation 1 Grimlock and to a certain extent the rest of his Dinobot cohorts. I ended up tracking down Grimlock and Swoop, both MiB, but lost interest in completing the “team” after that… clearly that wasn’t it. I’m happy that I have them, but honestly, I’m much happier with the new TF Animated Grimlock than I ever was with the G1 version – and I’ll be even happier with the rumored Takara 20th Anniversary version. That’s one of the things that stands in the way of establishing a true grail for me, I guess. I’ll almost always prefer the “new” to the “vintage”. I would have loved a 1984 Storm Shadow mint on unpunched card had you asked me a few years ago, but now given the choice between that and the 25th Anniversary version I’d gladly take the new one for a fraction of the price.
Sure, I have *great* memories of the 84′ version, but when I look at the figure today, as an adult, it just looks kind of dinky to me. The 25th Anniversary version is a step up in almost every way – it looks like Hasbro took my rosey colored memory of Storm Shadow and translated that into a new toy. Score!
This happens to me over and over again – Takara 20th Anniversary Prime compared to the G1, 200X MOTU compared to the 80s versions – modern always wins. For a while I thought about taking the plunge into Super Powers collecting, just so I’d have something to hunt for. But given the choice between Super Powers and JLU… well, maybe that’s unfair, I’m a huge Timm fan after all – but you see where I’m going with this.
I feel like I should be happy to say that I do not have a grail – as if finding all those toys that I’ve wanted should be a good thing… I mean, it should, right? But something about the hunt for something that continually eludes capture is so appealing to me… in a very strange and twisted way. I guess my major issue is that the hunt is always more fun than the conquest. I love wanting things, but actually having them is considerably less exciting.
So, what it my grail? Well, I don’t have one… and I feel like I should be kicked out of the toy club and forced to turn in my “fan of toys” membership card for admitting this…