The History of the Collection
I’ve been collecting action figures for over 20 years, starting when I was 18 after seeing a set of Kenner’s Aliens figures. The detail of those figures was something I had never seen on a toy before and I immediately set out to buy the four “alien” characters which would become the start of my collection.
After those Aliens toys, the line that really jumpstarted my collecting habit was Spawn from McFarlane Toys (or Todd Toys, as it was known at the time). Driving from toy store to toy store to find a 1-per-case Malebolgia figure from the Series 2 set was my first real example of “hunting down” a collectible and I loved every minute of it. I actually still have a packaged Spawn Series 2 Malebolgia hanging on my wall to remind me of that wonderful experience from the early days of my hobby.
Over the years, my collection has grown and changed a number of times. Early on, those McFarlane Toys figures were my primary focus as I was attracted to the level of detail found on each figure. Later, I began to seriously collect characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas, importing the large-scale JUN Planning figures from Japan to add to my growing Halloweentown display. Toys from comics, movies, television, video games and more were added to my collection and, eventually, the sprawling display took up two full rooms in the basement of my home.
In mid-2009, my family moved into a new house, one which did not offer me the same amount of space to display my toys. This move ended up being good for the collection as a whole. Over time, it had become unwieldy. Any “cool” figure was one that I wanted to add and the collection, as a whole, had lost its focus. The impending move forced me to prioritize what I would keep and continue collecting and I ended up thinning out the collection by selling close to 700 figures (yes, my display was once even larger than what I have now).
The reduction in my collection’s size allowed me to upgrade the way that the toys were displayed. As I began to set up the toys in my new home, I fulfilled a long-held desire to do away with the wooden bookcases which I had used in the past in favor of glass display cabinets, something I had never been able to afford with the much larger collection.
Today, my collection is largely a homage to my childhood and the beloved characters that I remember playing with as a kid. Action figure technology is so much better today than when I was growing up, so much of my collection is now made up of modern versions of nostalgic toy lines including Star Wars, Masters of the Universe, Transformers, and GI Joe.
Joining these modern-day pieces of nostalgia are toys from lines that have helped shape my collection over the years, including Spawn and The Nightmare Before Christmas, as well as displays from properties like Marvel Comics, The Muppets, and figures from Four Horsemen Studios.
Another interesting aspect of my collection today is that it has come full circle with my own 10-year old son dabbling in the hobby as well. While he has plenty of figures that he sets off on adventures (after all, these are child's playthings), he also has a few shelves for "his collection." These are figures that he does not allow his friends or little sister to touch and which he proudly displays, just like his father. While part of me feels badly for getting him started down this path, knowing how expensive and consuming this hobby can be, another part of me is thrilled to be able to share it with him and see his interest in a hobby that has given me so much joy over the years.