Monday, May 16, 2011


When we were at Half Moon Bay’s Pacific Coast Dream Machines event on May 1, some lady, a kid really, dropped a post card into my hand advertising a car show event at an elementary school in Daly City. They were looking for participating vendors.  Given the state of panic the California school system is in, I wasn’t entirely surprised that an elementary school PTA was willing and capable enough to throw such an elaborate event.  Leslie and I thought it was a great idea, too.  Our booth is like George Jetson’s briefcase. We can haul it anywhere, press a button, and it pops up.  Does it matter what we fill it with?

This time we filled it with my private collection of action figures, comic books and toys.  I’ve been ready to part with these treasures for some time, but after being nickeled and dimed to death at a few tag sales, I was at a loss for the right venue. What happened was kind of amazing and more fun than I’ve had in a long time.

The middle aged men came out first.  These guys were more interested than anyone; and they were discerning collectors looking for something very specific: a scary clown, KISS figures (had ‘em) or Star Trek (left ‘em home because I didn’t think there would be interest … FAIL!). 

After that, there were four kinds of booth visitors, as follows:
  1. The obsessed collector, drawn like a moth to the flame, was shiny eyed and acted kind of stupefied. These folks wanted everything, and probably spent more money than they should have.  I was cool with it.
  2. The “I have it” guy already has everything, and it's either in storage, in his garage, or at his mother-in-law’s house. Classic X-Men? He’s got it. Spawn? He has that, too. And each is certain his collection is worth at least a hundred grand.  I met one fellow who lost a collection when his house burned down.  These guys had so much to talk about and with them I indulged an apparently endless mental supply of super hero trivia.  I had no idea so much useless information was in my brain. Then, they’d leave, only to return shortly to stare at the shiny treasures again. 
  3. The third person was your average walk-in who wasn’t into action figures or comic books as much as they were attracted to one specific thing.  Do you have Green Lantern?  Do you have Godzilla?  Chucky & Tiffany was a big hit, and I sold one set of “Rocky Horror” figures.  I lost my Wonder Woman Barbie to this kind of collector (at a good price, though), and my Lady Death figures, too (sigh).  One man who collected Wolverine returned four times to gaze longingly at my Secret Wars Wolverine (didn’t buy it though).  Oddly, my Bewitched Barbie remains unclaimed.
  4. Then, there were the kids; loads and loads of mostly little boys who were absolutely and unequivocally awesome beyond words through the whole thing. They eyeballed  what they wanted, disappeared, and reappeared dragging their parents (and their parents’ cash) behind them. After that, they hung around talking animatedly about this and that or looking at the backs of hanging figures, even the smexy ones, memorizing every detail.  They were incredibly cute and a running undercurrent of excitement and possibility.

I can’t tell you how much fun I had personally at this event talking about action figures, super heroes, the goings on a Marvel and DC, and the numerous movies coming out.   People LOVED hiking that trip down memory lane with me, and I certainly didn’t mind carrying the backpack.  The day went by so quickly, too.  One minute I was setting up, and the next minute I was unloading the car into our garage.   It made me long for the days when a comic book store was a prosperous business venture. When was that, the mid-eighties? 

The good news is that there are still boxes of comic books and yet more action figures in untapped corners of the garage, and we’ve got another, bigger school carnival coming up in mid-June. 

I admit it. 

I’m 47 years old this August, and I’m a complete geek. 

Or it is nerd.

I’m not sure what it is, but I’m definitely one.


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