Collecting nostalgia in a nostalgic way (and it’s as tough now as it was then).
Act 1 – The Challenge
If you were like me back in the golden age of going to the store with your Mom and Dad, I know you faced this challenge while standing in front of them with an armload of toys; “You have to pick one.” They delivered it in a way that made it sound so easy. Of course it wasn’t but you had to do what you had to do or be a brat about and loose the negotiation completely. Nobody wanted that.
It’s with that perspective and memory, I challenged myself as a parent now, to treat my collector habits like they did then. I could only pick one. Considering the choices it was just as tough now as it was then. Even though it was MY money! Still, it was a fun idea and would be a practice in self control. “What could warrant such a highly dramatic approach to buying a toy, Jim?” Four letters that followers of my online exploits know very well:
M E G O
Having went a little crazy on picking up the first series of 50th anniversary Worlds Greatest Superhero’s (Superman, Batman and Robin), the second series arrived at my local Walmart and I promised myself (and wife and daughter) that I would be a little more restrained in my impulses. But come on! There were now faithful reproductions of Aquaman and Shazam joined by new offerings (as if Mego made them back in the days of disco) of The Flash and Green Lantern to add to my block o’ nostalgia and collectors dream come true. It’s with that in mind that the challenge was born. And today was the day that I had to face the challenge.
Act 2 – What are the factors?
With the self imposed restrictions of my purchasing power agreed to, I walked into the Walmart here with a bunch of determining factors to consider:
So which one do I go with? What will the final decision be based on?
A. A faithful reproduction? Aquaman or Shazam
B. The new and exciting? The Flash or Green Lantern
C. The short packed? This was interesting too as it was a split between one of each classic vs new (2each Aquaman and The Flash’s and 4 each of Shazam and Green Lantern)
It was a serious dilemma I was facing but I was determined to make a logical (by my definition of logic that is) decision as to which one it was. One factor that was starting to come to the forefront of my selection process was to make it easier on myself by going chronologically. To go with which came first in the old days: Aquaman or Shazam. The newbies could wait. And as I was looking at them all and reverting back to my 6 year old self in 1979, something happened that was completely unprecedented in my neck of the woods:
John showed up.
Before I get to who John turned out to be, I must share the background and why his appearance had to be of some sort of dimensional enigma wrapped in a quagmire. You see dear reader, I am pretty much if not the only dyed in the wool, hardcore Mego fan in this neck of the world. I can prove this by point you back to earlier on this article of how I went a wee bit overboard with the series 1 assortment. I literally bought them all. Not at one time though. I spread the purchases out over several weeks as to not be one of “those guys” who hoards things. Sure it may look like it if you don’t know the story, but I don’t care. Those were fair shipping terms as far as I’m concerned. Plus, literally no one else was buying them here. Not one. To me that was a disrespectful shame and not an Afro t to the things I love to be allowed for too long. Hence my surprise when John walked up and politely asked me if I had grabbed the ones I wanted.
“What is happening here?” was the first question that popped into my head. “I’ve never seen this guy before. Is he a reseller? Is he looking to snatch away my precious plastic memories? What was this guys deal?!?” My rational journalistic mind snapped back into play and decided to just ask him. His answer was one for me that was of a serendipitous and maybe even divine intervention.
He was a fan.
Not only that but he was also a really good dude. I told him about my challenge and asked him if it was cool that I interview him for this most monumental encounter. He agreed and not at all awkward. You see, dear uninitiated to the collector world, we fanboys and fangirls share a kinship that knows no labels or limitations. It’s a wonderful thing.
Along with sharing his story of being from out of town but making it a point to pop into Walmarts along the way in search of these little prizes, he also shared so much about his connection to the toys and his hopes for kids to discover them as well. So many times his answers sounded like my own thoughts, words and deeds. I’m telling ya, gang, it was a fantastic exchange. That is until he posed the question back to me that I had started this journey off with; “So, which one are you going to pick?”
I had to pause due to this new x-factor which came in the form of John and the figures in his hands. I shared with him my points of consideration to which he completely understood. He also understood how the scale was now tipped with his selections. I’m not aging this was like a scene in a movie where the camera cuts into an extreme close up of the heroes eyes and we see the one bead of sweat appear and slide down his eyes… but it was close.
Scarcity. That would be my determining factor! But… it is MY money and this challenge is dumb and I might miss out on the one if I pick the other… damn it! So I grabbed them both. There was no shaming glance from John as it appeared my will power fell through and I put both Aquaman and The Flash into my handcart and we both headed toward the registers.
Before we made it all the way up though, I did need to touch base with my wife to see if there was anything else I did need to pick up before I left. Perhaps it was in this moment of responsibility, I made the internal judgement call to put one back. And I did.
*To note, John saw his three selections all the way to the end.
Act 3 The decision
So what did I do?
Who did I choose?
Why did I choose this one?
What is the moral of the story?
As I walked away from the collectibles section having returned The Flash to his spot amongst the remaining Shazam’s and Green Lantern’s, I looked down at the Aquaman in my hand basket and smiled. I had practiced self control and used (once again) my own form of collectors logic and justification in making this choice. I decided to proceed forward by staying chronological in my selection. Way back when, Aquaman was one of the original four including Superman, Batman and Robin so that made sense and also set the order of operations for my next pick ups in the coming days or weeks. I still want to give other fans a shot at them although, jumping ahead of the four Shazam’s to get to the now one lonely The Flash will be a chore I’m sure.
So the moral? Self control is still possible in an on demand, I want it now and not only that, it’s incredibly satisfying to know that in the most unexpected ways and at the most unexpected times, we all have opportunities to connect with like minded folks and share stories and moments so long as we’re willing to accept a challenge.
Now, Go Play!
If you liked this article, I’d truly appreciate it if you would take the couple seconds to time to like, comment, subscribe and share it far and wide. It would also be swell if you are in the market for Mego toys to stop by your local Walmart and pick one up there. I can’t speak from a position of authority in this but I do believe the more that sell at retail the longer the line will go on. But of course, supporting your favorite online retailer is a great thing to do too as they are truly committed to helping folks bring the magic literally home via the various shipping services available. Yet if all that fails or those avenues are out of stock, I would ask you to consider buying a Mego their official store on Amazon where I do get a piece of as an Amazon affiliate. And if you want to learn more about all things Mego consider joining the official Mego Ambassador group on Facebook for the latest news and informs straight from the source.
A story of self control and making connections 🙂 https://jimstoybox.com/2023/03/29/you-can-pick-one/ #MakeMineMego #walmartfinds #dccomics #greenlantern #aquaman #Shazam #TheFlash #Mego #jimbumgardner #jimstoybox