(W) Paul Cornell (A/CA) Christopher Jones In Shops: Feb 12, 2020 SRP: $3.99
James T. Kirk has had many loves during his mission among the stars, but this time he may have met his match in fellow Starfleet Captain Laura Rhone. This special story by award-winning writer of prose, comics, and television Paul Cornell (Doctor Who) takes Captain Kirk to where he has never gone before!
I was posed this question by a co-worker yesterday. He asked, “How and when do you decide what to collect?” He meant specifically in terms of figures, but I suppose you can apply it to anything. I had a multi-year period where I collected baseball cards due to an increased interest I had in baseball around junior high. I’ve been getting comics nearly my entire life. But figures is an interesting question, and I think I can break that down.
First thing, I’m going to subtract just “generally getting
toys” from the timeline. I had Fisher-Price Adventure People, for example, but
I couldn’t say that I actively “collected” them. I’m only going to include
lines that I could honestly say that I collected. (Let me clarify that the
years are when I collected these
series and not the dates that the lines necessarily ran).
Mego World’s Greatest Superheroes and Others (late ‘70s): I’m sketchy on the year, but the first Mego figure that I know I had was . . . Wonder Woman. I’m pretty sure my Aunt Jennie got me this, and I’m pretty sure it’s because I loved Super-Friends and Wonder Woman on TV. I could have been . . . 3, maybe? That would be 1976ish, which is about right, as Mego introduced the WW figure in 1974. Shortly after, I had Batman, Robin, Superman, Shazam!, Joker, Penguin, and Spider-Man. I’m honestly not sure why I didn’t have more Marvel. I DID, however, get three of the Mad Monsters: Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, and The Mummy; I’m also not sure why I didn’t have the Wolf Man, as I love werewolves. I had Captain Kirk from the Star Trek line (this is the only one that my memory is fuzzy on, as I think I might have had a couple of others), a couple from Planet of the Apes, and all of the Wizard of Oz (except the Munchkins) and the Emerald City playset. A number of these were played to death, lost to time or garage sales or younger relatives. I believe I still have the Kirk somewhere as the last survivor; that’s because he doesn’t believe in the no-win scenario.
Star Wars (1977-1984; 1995-2002ish; 2019): I’ve told this story here and elsewhere a couple of times, so I’ll keep this one brief. I was all in at the start; I even had the Early Bird Certificate. I was really consistent until I lost steam after ROTJ and stopped due to my interest in other things. When the line came back in the ‘90s, I picked up again and hung in until just after AOTC. I stopped completely until this past year when The Mandalorian re-ignited my interest, and I started filling in certain characters from the 6-inch Black Series. I kind of regret not getting on that sooner, but since I’m not approaching it as a completist, I’ll live with it.
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (1982-1987): Again, I’ve told this story, notably a much longer version in the book The Joy of Joe. I got into the 3-3/4” line early, and I was all in on both the toys and comics right up until around BattleForce 2000.
Masters of the
Universe (1982-1984): A brief run, but one I should include. I really liked
that Castle Grayskull playset.
& Dragons from LJN (1983-1984): A brief shining moment. I didn’t have
all of them, but I had quite a few. These had great detail and should have
stuck around longer.
(1984-1986): I was never a completist, and mostly done in 1985. I got a
handful in 1986, including the Aerielbots and Hot Rod (which I got after the
movie). My favorite from the line remains Jetfire.
(1984-1986): Definitely not complete (I refer you to the previously
discussed Mister Miracle and Cyborg), but I loved this line and would have
certainly gotten more if they’d gone into the proposed Teen Titans, Blue Devil,
(1987-1991): I quit collecting for a few years spanning junior high and in
to the senior year of high school or so. The absence was due to a variety of
reasons: lack of interest, concentrating on comics, lack of money, sudden
upturn in the ability to secure dates, school activities, hanging out with
bands, and so on. But the thing that really brought me back, outside of a stray
pick-up here or there, was when the Toy Biz X-Men line launched in 1991.
(1991 to Now, really): I am a nearly lifelong X-Men fan. Seeing them get
figures ahead of the animated series brought me back. And when I went in, I
went in all the way. With a brief break for the cessation of Marvel Legends a
decade ago, I’ve pretty much been in the tank ever since. I narrowed my focus
over time to the 6-inch Legends, and they comprise the bulk of my collecting
Star Trek (Playmates; 1992-1996 or so): I told the story of my girlfiend (now wife) hunting down the original Deanna Troi figure for me. I was definitely into this for a good bit, picking up a lot of ST:TNG, DS9, and TOS figures. I stopped around Voyager due to a combo of burnout, the return of Star Wars, and my ongoing focus on comics figures.
Spawn/Youngblood/Wetworks (1994-1996): Like seemingly everyone else that started getting McFarlane Toys, I was drawn in by the details and the chance to get characters from an exciting new publisher. My favorites were the Wetworks figures (again, love that Werewolf). I stepped away from these as I lost interest in the comics themselves.
Total Justice/JLA (1996-1999):
I really wanted a DC line in the ‘90s that was comparable to the Toy Biz
Marvel avalanche. This was a decent, brief attempt. It got extended into comic
shops and TRU exclusivity (loved the “hard light” evil versions of the JLA
based on the “Rock of Ages” comic arc) and actually did Connor Hawke (MIA in
action figure form ever since).
DC Direct (1998-2010ish): I loved DC Direct for a good, long while. There were some maddening bits (scale inconsistency, an unwillingness to finish teams), but there were some truly great character selections that we’ll possibly never see again (Enemy Ace? Tim Hunter? The Authority? Spider Jerusalem? Jericho?). For a kid that always wanted JSA and Legion figures, this line was a partial dream come true. I ultimately ditched it due to character repetition, increasing prices, and a more enjoyable experience collecting DCUC and doing the C+C figures with my kids.
Wrestling (WCW/Toy Biz 1998-2001; WWF/E:1998-2001ish): Like millions (and millions) of people, I was very into wrestling for a time at the turn of the century. I’d watched a lot in the mid ‘80s, gone away from it, and picked it back up watching Nitro rebroadcasts while working the late shift of a publisher. (I was working 3pm to 11:30pm, and TNT would rerun the show after I got off work.) Soon after, I was watching both WWF/E and WCW, and soon after that, the Toy Biz WCW figures hit. I got interested for a while, but my collecting of the figures faded as a I watched less and less.
Dragonball Z (circa 2000-2007): Similar time frame, similar story. Started watching DBZ on Toonami. The show had an incredible array of characters and I really enjoyed it. I got these for a good while, including the DB and GT spin-off lines, but I tapered off when they did.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel (2000ish-2006): Again, you love a show and you might buy the figures. I really feel like these could have gone on longer, as there are a number of characters that never quite made it (seriously, where the hell was Gunn? Or Connor or Gwen Raiden or Harmony or Nina?). I stopped just ahead of them releasing Kennedy and Kendra, which I never picked up.
Gundam (2001-2003): Stop me if you’re heard this one before. But I started watching Gundam Wing, and . . . yeah. I got A TON of these as I started writing for Newtype USA and watching more and more Gundam series. I didn’t list it, but I picked some up in “Japan” at EPCOT a couple of years ago.
Lord of the Rings
(2001-2005): Loved the book for years. Loved the animation. Loved the
movies. I thought that the figures were great. I didn’t get the tail-end
variants or the Eye of Sauron, but I did get the trolls, the horses and warg,
and the fell beast. I regret that a different company got the license for The
Hobbit films; I never did get any of those, and they never completed the
(2003-2009ish): One of the greatest animated series of all times turned out
a line of great-looking figures that had a really hard time standing up. I
burned out when they started doing more and more direct exclusives, etc., but I
did get the Grundy and Giganta. I gave all of these to my boys.
DC Universe Classics
(2007-2012): You know something? I loved this line. I thought it was a
worthy compliment to Marvel Legends and the Collect + Connect figures were
among the first things that my sons contributed to helping with where my
collection is concerned. The character selection overall was great and Mattel
deployed some boxed sets in clever ways to get us characters like the Crime
Syndicate. One of my favorite things ever is the Legion of Super-Heroes boxed
set. It was a drag when they had to go the subscription model, but I stuck with
it the whole time (and with Club Black Freighter, too). I know they tried to
continue the idea with DC Multiverse, and I have more than a couple of those as
a companion to these, but they just weren’t quite the same. This is a lamented
line for me.
Legends and certain Star Wars: The Black Series (6-inch scale only). I will
pick up occasional DC figures that hit a spot that’s not covering on my shelf
(come on with the classic Dawnstar, McFarlane).
All right, readers. What about you? What are your main
lines? How long? What’s the line you collected the longest that you eventually
quit, and why? Let’s talk.
(W) Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Jody Houser, Brandon Easton (A) Steve Thompson, Silvia Califano, Martin Coccolo (CA) J.J. Lendl In Shops: Feb 05, 2020 SRP: $19.99
The crew of the Enterprise left Earth four years ago. They’ve traveled to strange new worlds, defeated impossible foes, and made universe-changing decisions. But now, with the end in sight, they’ll have to face their biggest challenge yet. Step aboard the Enterprise with Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura, Sulu, Scotty, and Chekov as they begin the end of their original five-year mission and boldly go into an uncertain future in this new continuing Star Trek series! Collects issues #1-6.
(W) Mike Johnson, Kirsten Beyer (A) Angel Hernandez (CA) Sara Pitre-Durocher In Shops: Jan 29, 2020 SRP: $4.99
Jean-Luc Picard has traveled to the furthest reaches of the galaxy, defeated impossible foes, and survived in the face of unthinkable odds, but it’s the end of this one mission that will change his life forever.
The official countdown to CBS All Access’s Star Trek: Picard ends here, and things will never be the same…
IDW Publishing brings the beloved DS9 crew back to comics with a taut noir thriller: the four-part comic book miniseries Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — Too Long a Sacrifice.
Written by longtime Star Trek scribes David Tipton and Scott Tipton and illustrated by Greg Scott, the new series marks the first Deep Space Nine title published in over a decade. Debuting its first issue in April 2020, this long-awaited DS9 storyline shines the spotlight on Constable Odo, the fan-favorite shapeshifter brought to life by the late (and greatly missed) actor René Auberjonois.
The series is set during the most difficult hours of the Dominion War and focuses on the darker side of life on the station. Odo leads an investigation, with increasingly desperate conditions forcing him and others to deal with new and unexpected allies and to use unusual tactics in their efforts to stop the attacks.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — Too Long a Sacrifice #1 will be available with multiple cover variants for retailers and fans to enjoy, including Cover A by Ricardo Drumond, a Photo Edition for Cover B, and two Retailer Incentive editions by J.K. Woodward.
Every collector has one. Maybe it’s an individual figure or
a vehicle or a playset. But everyone has that one thing that has either
remained elusive or became a defining piece in their collection. I’m going to
talk about a few of mine, and I invite you to join in with yours.
My Original Quest: Jawas
I was born in 1973. The first movie I clearly remember
seeing in the theatre is Star Wars.
And I was ALL IN. My parents got me the Early Bird Certificate package. I got
the first four (Luke, Leia, Chewie, and R2). When the figures got to the Zayre
in Terre Haute, IN, they had a freaking rope-line and a 3-to-a-person limit. My
mom took me and I’m pretty sure I got Han, Vader, and C3PO first. Mom went back
later that evening and picked up Obi-Wan, the Tusken, and a Stormtrooper. The
Death Squad Commander happened later in the week, if I’m not mistaken. But . .
. there were those damn Jawas. Not only did we not get the Jawas right away, it
was weeks. When Mom finally ran across them, she bought two out of spite. Those
Jawas were my first experience with both a difficult hunt and the (honestly
unobtainable) idea that you’re one perfect figure away from a complete set.
I was pretty fortunate in terms of Star Wars playsets and vehicles. I had the Death Start playset, and a number of ships, including the Falcon. But one thing my parents drew the line at was the AT-AT. That was a disappointment, because I, like many others, loved that thing. When Star Wars figures returned in the ‘90s, I said, “If they make the AT-AT again, it’s coming home.” They did . . . and it did.
Super Powers Collection: Wonder Woman, then incompletion
Of the original 12, I had a stunningly hard time finding Wonder Woman. I remember getting Flash and Green Lantern first, and the others fell into place, but that Wonder Woman hung out there forever. I remember eventually finding it in a K-Mart, just in time for the second wave to hit. Series 2 left me Kalibak-less, and Series 3 was just a massive pain in the ass. The few I got I didn’t get until my late teens or adulthood, and Mister Miracle and Cyborg never joined the ranks.
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: Come on, you know . . .
I had A LOT of Joe stuff. I mean, A LOT. I even wrote about it in The Joy of Joe. But one thing that I, and many others, never had was the 7.5 feet of glory known as the U.S.S. Flagg. It barely would have fit in my room back then. Just the idea that it existed was fairly audacious on the part of Hasbro. I always considered this one a great lost opportunity. If you had it, good on you. And send us pictures.
Star Trek: The Next Generation by Playmates: A Love Story
It’s a familiar story (hell, I’ve told it twice in this column). You’re trying to put together a wave, and one figure remains elusive. At this point, it was the first wave of the ST:TNG figures from Playmates. I didn’t have much trouble putting together the first nine, but Counselor Deanna Troi seemed lost in the wild. In January of 1993, as a sophomore in college, I started dating Rebecca Marie Jones. A couple of weeks after that, she went home for the weekend and she and her mother ended up at a craft/antique fair at a local mall. When she came back Sunday night, she had Deanna Troi. I always say that’s how I knew she was the one; we’ve been married almost 20 years and have two teenage boys. I told that story on Twitter once, and Marina Sirtis herself liked it, which is awesome. To this day, Becky will still text me from Walgreens and what-not, checking if I have something in particular or if I’d like her to look for something. That’s love, kids. (Thank you, Becky.) There have been others over time, sure. But it’s hard to beat that one.
How about you, campers? What are your grails? You Ark-like finds and the ones that got away? Let’s hear it. And thanks for reading.
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(W) Marv Wolfman (A) Dave Cockrum, Klaus Janson (CA) Bob Larkin In Shops: Dec 18, 2019 SRP: $5.99
An alien presence of enormous power enters Federation space, destroying three powerful Klingon cruisers and neutralizing everything in its path. As it heads toward Earth, Admiral James T. Kirk returns to the helm of an upgraded U.S.S. Enterprise and sets course to meet the aggressor head-on. This spectacular adaptation, featuring work by industry legends Marv Wolfman, Dave Cockrum, and Klaus Janson, boldly re-presented in its original form!