Its another stunning week of the League of Extraordinary Bloggers! Every week we answer a question and fly our geek flags proudly with our answers. We get to know each other, we discover new geeky things, and best of all we have loads of fun.
Let’s see what this week’s League assignment is:
We all collect something. What is a holy grail item you hope to find at a flea market, toy show, or comic convention? What else do you collect?
I collect lots of things. Much to the chagrin of my fiance there are always new things as well. Someone is giving away a box of Star Trek merchandise? Guess what, I now have a pretty large Star Trek collection. There are the items that I enjoy but I wouldn’t really call a collection yet. I love Godzilla, MST3K, UFC, and I’ll try anything under the sci-fi, fantasy and related banners. If its geeky and free I’ll take it and add it to the collection. If it costs money, well then it depends on how much but if there’s a few extra bucks chances are I’ll take it even if it isn’t one of the two main interests.
What are those two main interests you may ask? Well then one, you obviously haven’t been on my site enough to notice and two, they would be the topics of comic books and wrestling!
Comic books are easy. Not only for me, but for any friends or family members that find stuff while they’re out. There are 1000s of new comics every month, and then multiply that by all of the years they’ve been made and chances are I don’t have the comics in that stack of random crap you just found at a yard sale. I had 200 of them show up at my door a couple months ago. This stack was left at the side of the road for recycling, and thankfully rescued and brought to my door by a good friend.
So when a Batman figure or a Superman glass or a Spider-Man bank or anything else shows up for me or anyone that knows me, its an easy get.
But the real tough thing? Wrestling merchandise. Specifically wrestling stuff I didn’t know existed. The difference between comics and wrestling is that there has always been comic book related merchandise. Tin and wood toys featuring Superman, Batman, or Captain Marvel abound. But where are the wrestling ones? Why don’t I have Mego dolls with Buddy Rogers or Gorilla Monsoon?! Until Hulkamania hit there wasn’t a whole lot of wrestling merchandise. I am aware of classic wrestling magazines, but what else is there?
Thankfully there are loads of books and figures. On my first family yard sale outing I found this book that I had never knew about before.
Well this started a downfall. While I was a fan of WWF, that was all I knew at the time. Cable was in its infancy and certain channels weren’t available. There was no NWA/WCW, nor AWA, nor Memphis nor any independent company to watch. It was WWF Superstars or nothing. This book introduced me to the Road Warriors, Magnum TA and best of all the NAAAATHAAAAHHHH BOY! WOOO!! Ric Flair!
Not to say that I have every wrestling book now. Not even close. Most can be found pretty easily on eBay or similar sites. But where is the fun in that? For me wrestling is more fun when it is discovered, not when it is set right in front of your face. Take the current Ring of Honor #1 Contender – Kevin Steen – for example. I knew about him for awhile. Heard all about this great tag team of himself and El Generico. But it wasn’t until seeing him live and thus “discovering” him on my own that I became a fan. So even though I can get the next book on eBay, its going to mean a lot more to find it at a yard sale, or even at a friend’s house.
With stickers too. Has to have the stickers. Not necessarily on the original glossy insert page. In fact, it might be more fun to see where some kid placed the stickers. Four year old fantasy booking. Or, you know, TNA.
The other fun part about yard sales is these things are usually much cheaper than they would be online, because people don’t know what they have. I found this book at the library when I was a kid and have been looking for a good copy for myself ever since.
It is an amazing historical piece on wrestling. Its also very rare to find a cheap one that is also in good shape. Usually it averages at about $100. I keep an eye out every year at my local library’s book sale to see if it gets thrown in the discard bin. However, its also one of those books that could be found while clearing out a grandparent’s or parent’s old home and tossed into the for sale pile without a care.
Now if we go back to the Hulkamania days, WWF produced an amazing line of toys. Rubber dolls, that could only barely be called action figures, flooded the shelves and … I never owned one as a kid. I know! I loved wrestling back then but I think my Mom focused on one toy line at a time for me and my brother. Star Wars, then He-Man, and finally GI Joe took us through until the “you’re too old for toys” birthdays. Which I never outgrew and my family has been nice enough to still indulge.
But that means I missed out on the LJN line. Nothing says childhood like the smell of rotting rubber and paint jobs that immediately rub off on the other figures. Does anyone have an LJN loose figure that doesn’t have a smear of blue or red paint from another character? At least these are easy to find though. Its pretty obvious when something is a Hulk Hogan toy.
However, as said earlier, my local TV channels didn’t carry any other wrestling. But the department stores, like Woolworth’s did carry the toys. After seeing the differences between The Corps and GI Joe, or Transformers and Go-Bots, I assumed that these were generic toys.
I mean look at this! Of course, in comparison to the LJN toys, I thought these were some made up generic items. The “Road Warriors”, Hawk and Animal”? That sounds like they pulled names out of a hat. The Fabulous Ones? The Freebirds? These must be made up names!
So yeah, I would love to find some 80s toys like GI Joe, or Thundercats or even Sectaurs. A box of comics for ten dollars? Sold! But if you tell me there might might be some random WWF thumb wrestlers at a yard sale, I will be there!