What is your holy grail?
June 27, 2008

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…

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Pierre "Airmax" Kalenzaga
Pierre "Airmax" Kalenzaga is the most bomb diggity customizer you will ever see, son!
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24 Comments »

  • John Cage says:

    For what it’s worth I’m a fairly rabid collector of all of the Timm-animated DC figures and have followed other lines over the years, and I don’t really have a holy grail either. For a while the JLU Grundy and the New Batman Adventures Mr. Freeze were pretty close (but I didn’t obsess over them because of how easy it is to find them on ebay, and I finally got both at pretty good prices). The New Batman Adventures Batmobile and Superman Metallo are two pieces I’d like to have, but I don’t lose sleep over them.

    Personally I’d love to have a holy grail, a white whale that makes me check ebay every day to see if it’s there. That’d be all right.

    Have a good day.
    John Cage

  • Bryan Long says:

    Hmm. I sorta just satisfied my holy grail, Pierre. I’ve never had the Super Powers Cyborg — for years I’ve dithered about ponying up the cash. I was always short three figures — Clark Kent, Orion, and Cyborg.

    A year or so ago, I lucked into a Kent for $5. He needed some work, but I cleaned him up and he looks pretty good. I picked up Orion on sale for about $15. Leaving only you-know-who.

    I got a promotion and finally decided to treat myself, but dang — anything in good condition was appallingly pricey. I finally got a beat-up Super Amigos version for an acceptable price, but it’s going to take a bit of work to get it into display condition. Hope my skills are up to the challenge.

  • Anubis8 says:

    Mego Kid Flash is my all-time Holy Grail. I recently spotted him at NYCC still carded (which was in HORRIBLE condition) and the guy wanted $1,400 for it. After I picked my jaw up off of the floor I walked away laughing & shaking my head. I don’t want one on card, I want one loose BUT in really good shape. As a Wally West Flash fan this is by far my personal Holy Grail.

  • jzachery says:

    I don’t have a holy grail that exists! BUT I do have a holy grail… I want an entire set of the JSA/All Star Squadron/Superfriends/Legion of Doom/Marvel Family/Isis/Outsiders done in either JLU Timm style or Super Powers style. BUT if I had to pick only one…
    Jay Garrick Flash, but the DCIH one doesn’t measure up, so the search continues.

    That being said, it’s ok if your holy grail changes, or if once you’ve gotten it, you have another, it’s not marriage:) LOL. I’ve had alot growing up…
    Soundwave
    Cheetarah
    Tygra (the young one)
    Reflector
    Zartan
    Secret Wars Falcon
    Super Powers Plastic Man

    My point is, there are so many out there… How can you only pick one???

  • gin says:

    I now have evry JLU figure except my holy grail : the Holiday edition JLU Hal Jordan

  • captainzero says:

    My “Holy Grail” in the action figure world doesn’t exist yet. It’s more of a hope that someday they will be made…as compared to actual figures to search for on ebay.
    I’m a Jack Kirby fan… and I’ve always hoped for Simon & Kirby’s:
    SANDMAN and SANDY
    THE GUARDIAN and THE NEWSBOY LEGION
    and… THE MANHUNTER!!
    as action figures made by the Four Horsemen/Mattel line!!
    I suppose I could live without The Newsboy Legion… but to have the other four together would be pretty satisfying.(Probably an out-of-body experience.)
    To see these guys as action figures–the reality of it– is almost as elusive and unreachable as the Grail!!

  • Scott Rogers Scott Rogers says:

    My “hasn’t been made YET” Holy Grail is an action figure of the silver age Killer Moth. There have been cars and statues and even him in Charaxes form, but nothing of the character in my favorite form.

    My “already been made” Holy Grail is either a carded Mego Fist Fighting Batman figure or a closed box Mego Batman figure. Both are prohibitably expensive for me to get.

    My “I don’t know if it exists or not” Holy Grail is the European-only Matchbox Fighting Furies “Wonder Horse” – Only one person I know of claims to have seen it – but he’s a bit of a liar and I have very little proof that it was actually produced.

  • Erik superfriend says:

    no holy grail for me either. my top wants constantly change as new things come out, pushing older wants into obscurity. and if its too expensive, I just live without it.

  • Miry Clay says:

    I have two, one realistic, one where I’m just dreamin’

    Realistically – SP Cyborg complete. They pop up on ebay every blue moon, but everytime one does I’m short on cash. Someday it will be mine.

    Dreaming – G1 Overlord, Japanese or European, MiB or Loose complete. I can’t remember I’ve seen one. And even then it was more than I could even think about getting. It would take a lottery win before wife would agree to dropping that much on a toy. But hey… I can dream.

  • John Cage says:

    I forgot about the JLU Hal Jordan figure, but thankfully I’m neither a big Hal Jordan fan nor crazy enough to cough up the cash for one, that it’s not on my radar. Although I’m totally prepared for the day when I can’t live without one of my own, which I’m sure will happen in the next decade or so, probably.

    Have a good day.
    John Cage

  • Jerkface says:

    A swank Unibrow like yours

  • Batguy1966 says:

    I would say the Mego Die cast Batman figure, I have obsessed about thie one since I missed the opportunity to buy one @ Woolworths when I was 8.
    It was between that and the Megabug Gladiator Dragonfly. I bought the dragonfly and regretted it before I got home.
    Dont get me wrong it was a cool toy, but when I went back to buy the Batman I never saw it again.

    I have come close to a few on ebay but the ones in good shape tend to go for a lot.

    Oh well.

    BTW John I have the Batmobile you are looking for if you are interested drop me a line.

  • CantinaDan says:

    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.

    Good quote. I definitely feel that way at times. The anticipation can be huge and the possession sometimes not so much.

    No real holy grail here. But that’s mostly because the things I really want either change or are prohibitively out of price range.

  • JuliusMarx says:

    I STILL have not broken down and bought a carded Super Powers Cyborg. I have a loose complete Cyborg, and I have a carded Super Amigos Cyborg… but it’s just not the same. I search Ebay… I bid… I lose..and I wait.

  • darkknight30 says:

    While I’d love a Holiday Hal, I can’t realistically pony up the bank to get one. I do have a halfway decent custom (my own) that is filling his spot nicely thanks to Glassman6 and Iron Cow’s help in finishing that one! Probably right now, the Stalker action figure from Batman Beyond is one that is just out of reach for me. I think he’s a visually striking character and would look awesome next to my 5 other Batman Beyond characters.

  • Basic says:

    Is it sad or pathetic that my grail is Cyborg Superman?

  • Brian-Man says:

    Hands down, there is only one figure that can hold this spot for me.
    The Toys McCoy- Wanted: Dead or Alive- Steve McQueen as Bounty Hunter Josh Randall.
    A 1:1 scale Mare’s Laig (his sawed off, lever action rifle) would be pretty damn sweet too.

  • David says:

    I guess for me theres those figures that are in my collection that are untouchable. my superpowers collection, Original SW and my cpmlete set of marvel legends. But there is this one toy that could be my top ten any time. Now mind you this is my own personal opinion. 12″ scout trooper on speeder bike from target MIB. It’s just a good display piece.

  • Jonathan says:

    My grail would have to be the TRU MILLENIUM FALCON EXTRORDINAIRE, I love the fact that its almost in total scale and Id love to have one. One day, one day….

    I will pick up the BMF coming out July 26, but there is something about a 4 foot x 6 foot falcon that says…HELL YEAH!!

  • man of action says:

    Add my name to the list of Super Powers Cyborg hunters. Only I found mine, although I paid the price.
    Way back when I was a really crazed collector trying to complete this line (say around 1991), I coughed up $200 for a mint carded one. I still think it’s the only time I’ve hit triple digits on a figure, maybe the only time over $50.
    Then I wanted so badly to display it, I had to spend again a couple of years later and bought a Super Amigos version for $40 from Amok Time.
    So Cyborg has his place among my carded collection and loose display at the Hall of Justice!

  • Lil Chris says:

    It was the SP Batmobile, then I found one loose for $15!!! The passenger window was missing but I don’t care I still got it!! Now to find a MEGO Batmobile…That just makes my mouth water!!!

  • jimm says:

    Would love to find a batman mignola black and white statue alot closer to issue price than current price!

  • tragedycue says:

    I just purchased my “holy grail” the other day on ebay and got it at a super low price! It is a 1990 Playmates Dick Tracy action figure “The Blank”. This figure is not only a super rare among the Dick Tracy figure line but a rare action figure period. It was only sold at Sears stores in Canada during Christmas time in 1990. They were pulled from the stores in America due to the fact that the mask comes off reveling “Breathless Mahoney” played by Madonna, which ruined the surprise twist at the end of the movie, since most movie toys come out prior to the movies release. And by the time it was ready to get thrown back on store shelves, the popularity of the Dick Tracy toys had died off so they never re-released “The Blank” in America. And it only took me a year to get one LOL. It was worth the search though. Mint on a unpunched card, perfect.

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