2019 Hobby Goals

Yup, we’re gonna do this!

I haven’t written one of these in a few years, and back then, it was on another site, and just about cards. Kinda limiting, but also a lot easier. I’ll manage this, though, and hopefully I won’t put anyone to sleep while I do it, as I do have a lot of ground to cover.

Overall Goals:

  1. Have fun!
  2. Figure out which stuff I really love and enjoy, so I can stick with that, and find good homes for the other stuff.
  3. I was going to move some of the Blogspot stuff here at one point. I need to see if that still makes sense to do.
  4. Keep working on getting my house in a place where it’s set up well to store and display my stuff for years to come.
  5. Ascertain which things I really wish to pursue, and write about, as hobbies.

Now, with this last item, the site has a mission statement in the top right, and here’s how it looked when I started writing this…

“This site is the ongoing story of a man and his hobbies, which he apparently needs more of (or at least different ones), despite already collecting toys, comic books, trading cards, books, video games, t-shirts, music, musical instruments and movies, as well as playing tabletop games, traveling, following some sports and keeping entirely too busy on the Internet, mostly doing nothing there.”

First, the collecting hobbies:

Toys? (Really action figures, for the most part.) Yup. More on this in a bit!

Comic books? Definitely. We’ll go into more detail soon.

Trading cards? Yes, but I think the collection needs to evolve a little. More on that in a bit.

Books? I love books, I love actually reading books, and I need to do a lot more of that, but I have a huge backlog of books right now, not a ton of space to keep adding them, and, again, the more books you own, the less likely it is that you’re going to read them all. A 2019 goal is to finish some books, figure out which ones I haven’t read yet, figure out which ones I don’t need to read, and adjust the collection accordingly.

Video games? I played them for a couple hours tonight, in fact. I am trying to figure out what I wish to actively pursue getting, though, and I’m also going to try to figure out which things I really need to own here, too. (I had a moment in a game store about a month ago where I was looking through my game want list, and wondering why I was still planning on spending money or other resources on certain things, and I’m going to listen to it.) I’m pretty sure I’m close to being sold out of the on-the-fence and don’t-need-it stuff, but it doesn’t hurt to check regularly. I’d like to try to avoid selling off anything else I may regret selling (Panzer Dragoon Saga, anyone?), but that’s a general thing with the various collections.

T-Shirts? I wear t-shirts. I don’t know that I collect them, or really want to, but I have been trying to figure out some practical way to have proof that I’ve owned some of the cool things I’ve worn over the years, without it taking up space that serves no purpose. I haven’t settled on an ideal method yet. T-shirt quilts have been suggested to me, but that’s stuff that takes up even more space than the shirts, and we’ve got a decent amount of blankets in the house, so we’re probably not going there. I’m looking for suggestions on the best ways to clearly photograph old t-shirts and display the pictures (digitally or hard copy), I suppose.

Music? Yup. I’ve stepped up my efforts to get more CDs of artists whose entire catalog I want to own (I’m almost done with Siouxsie and the Banshees, but could really use a copy of “Downside Up”, if anyone’s got it laying around), while CDs are still somewhat widely available. I’m also still buying vinyl, but not in the frenzy that other people are. If something moves me, I’ll grab it. I got a handful of records on my holiday trip to NJ (EZO’s self-titled first record, Alphaville’s “Forever Young”, The Mighty Lemon Drops’ “World Without End”, The Tourists’ “Reality Effect”, and a sealed copy of the self-titled EP by Miracle Room, who are amazing, if you’ve never heard ’em), but way more CDs. Storage (I really hate jewel cases, but don’t wish to go full Case Logic, because it makes them easier to steal and harder to sell; also, I have a little, but not a lot more space for vinyl) is a concern, as it always is.

Musical instruments? Nothing new for a while unless an amazing deal comes up. I finally have a room just about set up to where I can play and record music again, and I even played a musical instrument for fun recently (this is kind of a big deal, because I have music-related anxiety that’s kept me away from making music for over a decade), but I have a lot here, and am not sure how much use I’ll get out of any of it. I could probably use a rack mount case for some of my synth modules and the like, but that’s also money toward storage and display for stuff I might not use. The same mild skepticism applies to any plans of having my instruments and other pro audio gear repaired and reconditioned, because repairs on synthesizers and the like are expensive and above my level of expertise, and so much of this stuff, I could be doing more efficiently on a computer, if I’m going to do it at all, but at the same time, these are museum pieces that hold value (sentimental and financial). So, lots to figure out here. People who do this stuff, talk to me!

Movies? We’re basically between formats right now. We don’t have a 4K TV in the house or a 4K disc player, but as Blu-Rays are already a generation behind, and DVDs are 2 generations behind, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep buying. I’m not ready to start unloading anything I have, but I’ve thrown the brakes on buying anything that isn’t essential.

So, that’s all the collecting stuff. Now, the “doing” stuff.

Playing tabletop games? Have a game I’m attending on Sunday, in fact! I have also been amassing a lot of old RPG stuff (1st edition D&D, Marvel, DC Heroes, etc. kinda stuff), because it shows up here all the time (a lot of colleges and a lot of fellow nerds in the area), so I do have to figure out what I can use, of what’s here. I may have some of this stuff available for sale or trade soon. I would LOVE to start up a TSR Marvel Super-Heroes campaign, locally or online, but I’d need to brush up, find interested people, and make time.

Traveling? I really like traveling, but long-distance traveling is also really hard (it can be tough for people without disabilities, and we’re two people with them) and costs a lot of money. Plans need to be made with my better half to figure out where we’re going next, individually or collectively.  Short-distance travel is plenty of fun, too, and, yes, the flea market stuff falls under this header.

Following some sports? Everyone in every part of this business makes it really hard to keep wanting to, but I’m still here. Baseball’s still my number one, despite some “about as gross as football” practices. Hockey’s my #2 sport, but I rarely watch it on television. I have the Islanders in my Twitter feed, and I see them that way. They’re better than expected this year, but I still feel like conditioning’s a problem there. The sport in general, like most professional sports, has a concussion problem that needs to be addressed. I’ve also spent about the past 2 years watching more professional wrestling than I had in the previous 15 or so, and that’s something I’m very conflicted about, because again, concussions, and again, a lot of terrible people make money off of people paying attention to professional wrestling, but at its best, professional wrestling can be incredible, and it can be pretty hard to give things up that are under your skin. I do it and have done it (I stopped being a present-day Yankee fan as soon as they moved into the mall, and I gave football the bird a good while ago), but it takes more effort and sometimes more disgust with the behavior of human beings than it should. I also do have a non-spectator sport that I’ve been out of for a while, but hope to get back to in the spring: running. I love running, but had some injuries a few years back, and life happened after I was healed. If I do start running again in the spring, you may hear some about it here.

Keeping entirely too busy on the Internet, mostly doing nothing (t)here? I’ve found myself wanting to do less of this, certainly less in front of the general public than I used to, and definitely less in venues run by Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and Google, but I’m still here. Trying to figure out the best way to go about having a private message board or social network for my friends that will actually get used by people. That’s a slog, largely because, for people to use anything in 2019, it needs a mobile app. The web browser is an antique at this point. I rarely end up talking about the Internet itself on this site, though, so let’s not mention that as a point of focus for it anymore, or at least not now.

Wow, them’s a lotta words about a short mission statement. Much shorter version: for the time being, I’m not advertising my site as covering t-shirts, books, musical instruments or movies as collecting hobbies, as I rarely talk about them and am back-burnering all of those hobbies, I think. Also changing “toys” to “action figures”. Now, obviously, because I’m a human being with a soul, I’m still going to be buying, collecting and hopefully reading books that are not comics, and if I’m finding that I should talk about them on here, I will again, but yeah, I need to actually read some, and finish some (I have like a half dozen books in progress right now, dating back over a few years).

That brings us to:

Collecting hobbies:

Trading Cards
Comics
Action Figures

Sort-of-in-the-middle hobbies:

Tabletop games (RPGs, and some board games; we got Letters From Whitechapel as a wedding gift, and I’m dyin’ to play our copy of it, as I loved playing it the first time I did)
Video Games
Music (it’s not exactly passive enjoyment)

Doing stuff hobbies:

Travel (long and short distance, with focuses on finding, documenting and sometimes buying old things, seeing museums and landmarks, eating in cool places, and seeing live entertainment)
Sports (baseball, hockey, professional wrestling, running)

There! I’ve covered what the site focuses on! What a long side trip!

Now, for what I’d like to accomplish in these arenas this year:

Trading Cards:

Here are the rough notes I put together for this piece on cards:

1. Come up with plan for current-year Topps cards
2. Decide which side sets you’re gonna keep getting
3. Try, whenever possible, to only trade for current year stuff
4. Get that fucking Bernie Williams auto already
5. Knock out the Fleer/Donruss/Score/UD sets ASAP
6. Finish Garbage Pail Kids 1-3 ASAP
7. Finish Ringside (1…more…card…)
8. Keep plugging on Dodgers
9. Keep plugging on Fleer Ted Williams
10. Start finding fun non-sport sets to pick up
11. Sell off doubles and digital stuff (decide what stays on the latter)

The last few years (basically since the seeds were planted for me to move to my home of coming up on 4 years now), I have had significantly less interest in current-year baseball cards. Really, I think it’s that I’ve had significantly less interest in paying for current-year baseball cards. They’ve never been a great value, but they’re kinda the worst lately. When new Topps blasters hit the shelves in my local big box stores, I check the card count on them, and I’m kind of stunned that it’s orders of magnitude higher than common prices per-card, all for the promise of getting something that I might not even want to keep. On the other hand, blowing them off leads to situations like the one I have right now, where I’m missing a bunch of now-expensive rookie cards, including Mookie Betts’ rookie card, from the past 4 years’ Topps cards, and I kinda want to keep being a sucker and having complete flagship sets. Kinda.

I’m definitely not interested in opening packs of everything that comes out anymore, and I’m trying to break myself of the desire to collect sets based on graphic design (which was, of course, expensive and filled my house with a number of things I wouldn’t own otherwise). I think I’d rather just look at checklists for each set, list each player whose card I’m interested in on this site and my want list, and see if I can trade for ’em, or something like that…buy singles if I can find ’em…that kinda jazz. Will I still with this? Dunno.

I’m not doing much of anything with digital cards lately, but I have no idea if there’s any practical way to unload the ones I don’t want, and I haven’t nailed down which cards I’d like to “keep” in the apps yet. Seems like the bottom fell out of the value of things on the Topps apps when they introduced secondary, cash-only currency, to the surprise of basically no one on Earth. If any of you are still doing Topps Digital stuff, by all means get ahold of me, and we’ll talk.

There’s stuff I have been, and continue to be excited about in cards. My interest in picking up playing era Brooklyn Dodgers cards has been re-invigorated lately…

I bet you thought I was never gonna put a picture in this post, didn’t you? This is a ’53 Bowman Color Billy Loes that I picked up on COMC.

And here’s a ’51 Topps Red Back Gene Hermanski that’s on its way to me, also from COMC (if the watermark didn’t give it away).

In the same shipment, I’ve got another ’59 Fleer Ted Williams coming…

Remember these? I mentioned them here. I’m still working on ’em (I’ve gotten 3 in 4 years, by golly), and I’ve got Yount on the way. There are a few expensive ones (Babe Ruth is in the set), but I’ve got a bunch of the cheap ones yet to grab, as I’m at 7 out of 36 right now.

…and yes, I’m even working on my ’72 set still! 5 down recently, thanks to my old local.

So, yeah, there’s been more focus on old stuff when I’m shopping (when I’m actually really shopping, and not just looking for the biggest lot of things I can actually use for the lowest price at flea markets), which tends to happen to people. I’ve no problem with that.

I’ve also been more excited about non-sports stuff these days than I have in, like, ever, but I’m still trying to work out what I wish to fill my house with. I have a very short list of Garbage Pail Kids series 1-3 cards that I need:

1985 Topps Garbage Pail Kids Series 1a (matte preferred, last update 04/02/18): 5 (regular back), 9, 33, 41

1985 Topps Garbage Pail Kids Series 1b (matte preferred, last update 04/02/18): 2, 8 (checklist back), 29 (checklist back), 41

1985 Topps Garbage Pail Kids Series 2a (last update 04/02/18): 49a, 58a, 63a, 75a

1986 Topps Garbage Pail Kids Series 3b (last update 04/02/18): 96b 99b 104b 106b 107b 108b 112b 116b 120b 122b 123b

…so, I guess we can start there. As for other stuff? I like super-hero cards (though they got totally out of hand after a while), and if you’ve got a bunch of 1991 Impel DC Cosmic Cards, I’m the guy to send them to, as I’m working on finishing that set off. I just finished Series 1 of ProSet Super Star Musicards (and you’ll be seeing a bunch of those here soon), so I need to track down Series 2, and possibly the UK set, as featured by Night Owl here. I have Topps Howard The Duck, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Return of the Jedi sets in progress. Beyond that? I haven’t figured it out yet.

Yes, I want to finish ’81-’98 Donruss, Fleer and Score flagship sets soon. I’m not that far on most of it. I’m not sure beyond that (Fleer and Donruss kept going, sorta), and I’ll keep the wants on my list, but I feel like those were the important years for those companies. I also want to finish Upper Deck flagship from ’94-’10, but in the immortal words of Louis Gossett, Jr., “My grandmomma wants to fly jets!”. I don’t wanna create a feeding frenzy or nothin’ here, as that would make my job harder, but past ’95, y’all have some idea of how hard it is to finish building an Upper Deck set, right? Like, not even the ridiculously huge ones from ’06-’09, I’m talking the smaller ones. If you weren’t there, buying them at the time, you’re gonna have some difficulty, as I’ve been.

And yes, I really need to get off my ass and get that fuckin’ Bernie autograph. They’re available. They’re not hugely expensive. He’s still my favorite player. I need one.

Earlier this year, I did a cool thing to my  card want list, too. I started including dates on each set I’m building, and updating those individual dates when I get something new. It’s gonna take a while for this to really bear fruit, but eventually, I’ll be able to tell if there’s stuff on my want list that I’m just *really* wasting document space on, and taking the focus off of other things with, stuff that’s not urgent for me to buy or trade for, just plain unavailable. It started on April 2nd (right around the beginning of baseball season, somewhat appropriately), so at the moment, I can tell you that there are 159 matches, or “card sets I haven’t done anything with since I started the process”. That’s still a lot, but down the line, it’ll shrink, and I’ll be able to search for “/18”, “/19”, and so forth to see which stuff’s getting neglected or not showing up, and make decisions that’ll help me focus the collection better. I should maybe do this to the non-card want list eventually, too, but it’s formatted a little differently, and the other collections work a little differently than cards, so we’ll see.

Moving on…

Comics:

My notes on the comic collection for this piece weren’t quite as meaty, just reminders to read books (I’ve spent a bunch of this week catching up on recent back issue purchases, and yes, I did read Claws Of The Cat a little while ago; fun book, really interesting early snapshot of Marvel trying to figure out how to approach the idea that women existed as independent beings and wanted things for themselves, and I wish they hadn’t bailed on the original character concept and made Greer Grant Nelson into Tigra quite as quickly as they did), find and make space for what’s here and what will be (I need to get more boxes, and clear off more shelf space), and lists of which titles I’m working on getting back issues of.

Basically with comics, I’ve decided that I’m looking to finish the back issue collection I started as a kid, with a little more focus than that kid had. With a few exceptions, that means that the back issue runs I’m looking to finish right now end with books that started in the early 1990s, but mostly are ’70s and ’80s books, with a few ’60s exceptions. Reading complete runs of books is a lot of fun, so I’m doing it wherever possible, and deciding from there if I’m keeping them. I need to read the last 20 issues or so of Blue Devil next (if you’ve never read it, it’s a lot of fun, sort of an “inside Hollywood” story masquerading as a super-hero book, vaguely similar in that regard to Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle’s Crossfire), then I’ve got Walt Simonson’s writer/artist run on Thor (#337-367) ahead of me, which I’ve wanted to read in a sitting or two for a long, long time, and also finished on the last NJ trip.

I’m also buying new comics, too, but the cycle of constant super-hero relaunches at the big two comic companies (and while I read all kinds of books, I am, and will always be first and foremost a super-hero kinda person), and the habit of “writing for the trade paperback” at the smaller ones definitely makes it harder to stay invested and interested in the ongoing stories. I want to get to know these characters and be a part of their worlds for more than 5-12 issues, and if you don’t like a few core characters that the big two are terrified of messing with long term, you’re going to have a hard time finding that. It’s also tough to figure out which of the smaller books will catch on, because if you miss something or word of mouth gets to you late, you’re looking at Walking Dead/Saga prices for back issues (or buying trades, but with that, it hurts, because I don’t like buying things twice, or waiting 6-18 months between segments of an ongoing story that people around me are discussing when we’re talking about a form that my brain processes as “monthly”), and that’s simply not in my budget.

I do have a question: do any of you reading this ever trade comics with one another, the way us card weirdos trade cards? I figure there’s a chance that the form factor (and its higher base shipping cost) may make that prohibitive, but it’s worth asking, as I do end up with doubles sometimes.

Action Figures:

Along with the “figure out how to store/display them” stuff that you’ll read throughout this, basically, when we’re talking about action figures that I’m collecting right now, we’re talking about Mego (and Mego-like figures) and DC Direct (but not usually DC Collectibles, the new name for the line, as I don’t care as much for the sculpts and designs they’re using these days), with some DC Universe Classics, Justice League Unlimited, and a few Marvel Legends figures here and there. I have legacy collections of a bunch of different types of figures (Star Wars, G.I. Joe, a ton of super-hero stuff from Super Powers to Secret Wars to all the Toy Biz stuff, some McFarlane stuff, etc.), all of which I’ve really got to make some decisions on, but the stuff I named above is really the stuff I showcase and still actually buy on the regular without second-guessing too much.

My plans for ’19 are to keep an eye on what Mego’s doing, pick up a little bit of the Figures Toy Company stuff, get what I can of vintage Mego stuff (and parts to fix what I have left of my old Megos), and if some of the DC Direct and Marvel Legends stuff comes up and is of interest, maybe that, too. I’m not in love with the quality of Legends figures, but the sculpts can be really great at times, and they’re producing figures of characters I’ve wanted figures of for my entire life. Beyond that, it’s just a matter of assessing the other stuff, figuring out if it’s staying, and documenting the fact that I had it before I sell or trade it if it’s going. I really, really need to get better at doing studio-quality photographs of all of the various types of collectibles I own, so I can just run some digital frames of these things.

Music:

I covered a bunch of this up top, but to sum up: find space for things, finish off some CD catalogs of artists I love, get better sounding playback equipment in the rooms my spouse and I use the most, and where vinyl’s concerned, pick off a few of the things I’m actively hunting (originals of Black Sabbath’s 3rd through 5th albums and “We Sold Our Soul For Rock N’ Roll” for posterity, Nina Hagen’s “Fearless”, Jobriath’s first album, all of Klaus Nomi’s albums, and any pressing of Iggy Pop’s “The Idiot” are priorities, but past that, I’m working on the Celebration, Kate Bush, KISS and Toyah catalogs and anything that catches my fancy).

That should put a cap on yet another very long post. Thanks for reading, feel free to ask questions (or answer mine from within the post), and I hope that, within your hobbies and outside of them (as best we can outside of them these days, anyway), you had a great 2018, and have an even better 2019.

My Year In Hobbies

Hi!

Yup, STILL alive. Have been free enough to start writing again for a little while now, but as I’ve had a great number of things to talk about, it was tough to decide where to jump in. Decision made: I’ll talk about as many of them as time permits in one go, in chronological order.

A screenshot from the Playstation 3 video game Skyrim in which a dark brown horse (center) is named "Dong's Horse" by the game engine, since the rogue character I was using (bottom) was named "Dong".

Despite some questionable character naming on my part (I did not know it would automatically name my horse “Dong’s Horse”, but I ended up making up a song about him and everything…oh, and naming my main fantasy baseball team “Dong’s Horse” this year, too…we won, by the way!), and a whole lot of allegorical racism in the dialogue that seemed to come a little too easy to the developers, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim for Playstation 3 was $5 that quite literally saved my life over the winter. I ended up getting the flu in early January (flu shot, which I still strongly recommend, did not exactly work for a bunch of people last year), and the secondary respiratory issues I had after the flu damn near killed me. Had this game not given me something to occupy myself with as thoroughly as it did, I may not have rested enough, and we might not be here to read about my dirty horse name. So, warts and all, thank you, Bethesda, for helping to keep me alive this year.

Mego's World's Greatest Super-Heroes and Star Trek figures sit on a desk. From left to right, Mr. Fantastic, Mr. Spock, Iron Man and The Lizard.

In late February, I unpacked a few of my old Mego figures to keep the Mr. Spock I got at Brimfield company on my desk. By December, thanks to a trade, a wedding present, and the return of Mego in July, after 3 and a half decades out of the toy business, this picture looked very different. More on that later.

I had a good day at the Digital Press store in March. Pictured are Atari 7800 Space Duel, Bally Astrocade Clowns/Brickyard and Dog Patch, XBox Blood Wake and Panzer Dragoon Orta, and XBox 360 Beautiful Katamari and Project Sylpheed.

Then, this happened.

For reasons I’m still trying to process, a near-complete (just need #95 Gene Tunney) 1951 Topps Ringside set, complete with a wrapper, was sent to me by one of my frequent benefactors. I still have not gone through my half-full Ringside set that I was working on before this happened, to see if I want to merge the sets (upgrading some, etc.) or whether I just want to keep the gift together. Whatever I end up deciding, I will likely have a bunch of Ringsides for sale or trade in 2019.

A near-complete Batman joined the crew in late March, once I dug him out and put him together from two partials.

…then, a complete Superman joined them the very next day, after a similar process!

After years of owning this oddball signed piece, I finally worked out that the signature on the baseball was not, in fact, Dave Kingman, but rather, Jimmy Key. I’d call that an upgrade.

I made it to the Hartford Yard Goats‘ opening night just in time to get this picture of New England Fisher Cats 3rd baseman Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. standing on 1st base after a walk in the first inning. I got to see an impressive legacy infield of Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., Bo Bichette and Vlad Jr. that night, and while that didn’t bode well for the Yard Goats, it was nice to see their ballpark, Dunkin’ Donuts Park, for the first time of what I hope will be many visits.

That trade I mentioned, when I posted my early Mego picture, yielded a replacement for my long-lost Falcon figure and, for the first time in my life, I got a Mego Aquaman figure!

My local comic shop (full disclosure: I host their website) had an amazing thing happening on Free Comic Book Day this year, in addition to the free comic books (not pictured).

I may have gotten a little out of hand.

May Brimfield was its usual self…

Cool, weird stuff a-plenty…

…some of which I regret not buying.

That can’t be said for everything I saw there, though, wow, this one pins the Weird-Shit-O-Meter, don’t it?

Sometimes, I left the house to go to places that weren’t stores or flea markets, and that was good.

Though, it should be said, I did still collect things while I was out.

I’m not a big car guy, but I parked next to this car that night, and a picture of it probably needs to be shared somewhere, so here.

I snuck in a yard sale or two at my house over the course of the year. Ron Guidry’s niece bought a bunch of his cards from me at this one, which was pretty cool.

I’ll be a little short on Gator doubles for a while.

(Photo Credit: Licky Oats)

A decent amount of my stuff found new and much better homes this year. My friend Licky Oats bought Bettie and King Kong Bundy from me after seeing them in pics of the garage sale, and this happened.

Another cursed object from my local flea market.

(Sorry. I had to.)

Had a few nice DC Direct adds this year, too! My better half got me my old pal Etrigan for my birthday.

The scene I happened upon at the Toys R Us closing. (Yeah, I got one.)

KRUSHER!

Ideal Toys did such great stuff. This is a replacement of an old childhood friend, by way of my friend Max (Thanks again, Max!).

July Brimfield. I don’t know, either.

Every time I post a picture of a pile of vintage lunchboxes like this, it can be anywhere from 5 minutes to a few years afterward, I get deluged with people asking me how much they are, and if I can pick them up for them.

I don’t do much in the way of fashion in my old age (I’ve kinda traded in fashion for comfort), but this piece by Mia Vesper, who was set up in Brimfield in July, is amazing.

Not my area or my era of vintage toy, but what a cool looking piece.

…and another cursed object. Actually pretty cool composition, feel bad about not getting the seller’s info now.

HA HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA PEEK-A-BOO!

Again, I do get out sometimes. Janet Jackson for free-ish because of the class action settlement against LiveNation? DONE. This was a great show.

While waiting for the new Megos to show up, I remembered that I had these fellas in a Sterilite somewhere in my basement, so…

…the posse expanded!

Had a really nice RPG/non-sport card/CCG find in August. At some point soon, I’ll get into more detail on the CCG stuff, but in the meantime, if anyone’s looking for ’90s Star Wars, Star Trek or X-Files CCG stuff (I’m starting to amass more mass-produced Magic: The Gathering stuff than I’m comfortable with, as well), talk to me before it gets sent to COMC.

First sighting of the end cap!

First full end cap!

My picks from the first batch…

…and they join the crew!

I got this awesome specimen of humanity, too (he’s a Marvel Select, just an amazing figure).

I met Oil Can Boyd in August! Nice guy, even better dresser!

I started moving some of my old cassettes on Discogs a few months ago (Sorry, the Type O’s gone now…), and that’s not been half bad. Check out my stuff if you still like/buy/collect cassettes, there’s some real gems in there.

Chekov snuck in a few weeks after the first new Mego purchases.

Another well-loved lunchbox, spotted my local market. The Angels would come up a few times this year.

Rough, but still super cool.

Added my oldest comic to the collection, with a classic Mac Raboy cover where Captain Marvel Jr. prepares to beat the crap out of some Nazis. Back cover’s toast on this, but it’s still so cool to have.

Had a nice day in September at the market, netted me a bunch of TCMA stuff and a couple of cheap update/traded/etc. sets that I needed.

Then, I headed back to Brimfield for the last trip of the year.

In looking through my pictures from this year, I realized that I photographed this beauty of a chair multiple times. I wonder if the dealer still has it (I’ll find out in May, I suppose), and what they’re asking for it.

I wish this game hadn’t been on the pricey side (I think they wanted $60-ish for it). Note the cameo from the Evel Knievel bike underneath it.

There was a dope-ass vintage Halloween vendor at the September show.

I normally don’t go in too deep for sp00p, as the kids call it these days, but this was quality merchandise.

This was from them, too. Tons of black cats and pumpkins.

Yeah, let’s!

One of the coolest, best buys I’ve seen at any of the markets here, and I’m still kinda kicking myself for not getting in on it. Sadly, even though the sign told me not to be, I was a dummy.

Brimfield, home of antique furniture that’ll bring a tear to your eye…

No, seriously.

There are also giant Playmobil pirate men there.

There were people who saw this set and got a different kind of tear in their eye, but I kinda loved it. It has that “bedroom of a teenaged girl who did a lot of psychedelics” look to it, and I spent time with those types in my misspent youth.

Another “Why didn’t I buy this?” piece. I don’t know why it spoke to me kinda loudly, but it did.

Another dealer in September had a ton of ’40s-ish magazines, lots of The Ring and such.

But also some dope-ass nerd shit!

Rough shape, but these covers are absolutely to die for.

I mean, COME ON.

There were Aurora models…

Micronauts like you wouldn’t believe…

Extremely questionable electronics…

Great shirts…

…and, as the season wrapped, the 1970s came home to roost.

Bela Lugosi did, as well.

So did Tootie.

I’m still on the lookout for one of these rascals, though, as the card on this one was all sorts of messed up.

Norm, on the other hand, showed up, as did a coffin for Bela (the first of 2).

As did Mott The Hoople (a local flea market find).

I call this picture “True Detective Season 3”.

The Gorn and Frankenstein’s Monster arrive! If you haven’t been keeping count, we’ve gone from 4 to 19 so far.

And then I got married! (Photo Credit: MacRamos Photography)

But, like clockwork (or at least a slightly malfunctioning clock), I was back at the flea market the morning after the wedding. I did not buy this beast, but figured y’all would want to see it, just the same.

A wild Samantha appears!

It’s a reissue, but it was still one of my grails. Got it as a wedding present, thanks, Rich.

Pidey-Man! Another wedding gift, this great condition figure came from Etsy. I’d been missing him since about 1981.

Here he is with the rest of the crew, along with Bela in his newer, larger coffin (which will come into play later).

We picked up this light for the wedding, which, because of the lighting in the room, was a dismal failure, but man, does it make my bedroom look pretty.

Greg Brady and Alice arrive! (I told you the coffin’d get more use. They look so happy together.)

Jo from The Facts of Life shows up to keep Tootie company! (Yes, this habit got out of hand in a hurry.)

On our last visit of the season, my local flea market was brimming with good will!

Also: Bowman Chrome! (This box is a keeper.)

So’s this card, which was in the box, despite not being Chrome.

Honeymoon time! Lest I bombard you with general honeymoon pics, as much as some of you would love them, I will do my best to keep them collecting hobby-centric, particularly as there are already 498,310 pics in this post!

Armchair Books, Edinburgh, Scotland. One of the best used book stores on Earth.

Traveled a few thousand miles, thought “I’d maybe like to get a cool edition of some Poe” before I got there (despite him being an American writer; just occurred to me before I left that I didn’t have much in the way of hard copy Poe), and there it was on the shelf. I paid more than nine shillings, but not that much more.

Look at this beauty! The first computing I ever did in school was on a PET. This was in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, which is one of the best museums ever. Again, I could bombard you with hundreds of pics just from this museum, as we spent close to 6 hours there over 2 days, but I’ll do my best to keep it collecting hobby-centric.

These platforms were not in the National Museum of Scotland (I saw them at a thrift shop around the corner), but goddamn it, they should’ve been. If these shoes could talk, they’d have some stories, let me tell you what.

Gerry Rafferty featured heavily in my mind on this trip, as part of it involved taking the train he’d take back and forth from Edinburgh to London during the period of time post-Stealers Wheel when he was fighting with his record label, and just because he’s an extraordinary, underrated musician, so his case at Rip It Up: The Story of Scottish Pop was an essential stop. (I wrote a little more about Gerry and one of his better known songs here. I am also reasonably sure that there are other Gerry Rafferty fans from the card hobby reading this.)

Alex Harvey is another pretty incredible, underrated Scottish musician (who I’m still just getting started on the music of), and while I wish more of the exhibit featured him, I was still glad to see him here.

Do not attempt to adjust your television sets. You are seeing Strawberry Switchblade featured in a museum!

Many old friends here…

…and here, near the exit.

An Apple 1 computer, if you’ve never seen one.

Here’s the monitor.

The Wall of Telephones!

The only One Laptop Per Child laptop I’ve ever seen in person (at left). Granted, that’s a good thing in a way, because these were supposed to be deployed to places where, logically, I wouldn’t have seen them yet, but still, something else to see one in person.

What, did you think I was going to a foreign country and not hit the flea market? Found a Fields of the Nephilim EP I needed here, too. (More on them in a bit.)

Yes, despite there being very little of a visible card collecting hobby in the UK, I did buy packs of trading cards there! Match Attax is still very much a going concern, so I grabbed a pack of those, and I also got a pack of Lego Incredible Inventions cards, as well. Fun stuff, and if there’s demand, I can scan some up in a separate post.

Onto London! This was a really nice, if pricier than I like my funny books, piece at Gosh Comics.

Orbital Comics are another solid store in central London, and they’ve got a great sense of humor.

I present Exhibit B on that, in the form of the section of their back issues devoted to Captain America one-shot issues.

Some of my London comics haul. First issue of Son of Satan’s Marvel Spotlight run, Captain Britain #3, some Marvel Two-In-Ones, and, while unspectacular by comparison, I was missing the first issue of Mike Allred’s Silver Surfer run, so I grabbed it.

So, we went to London (and grudgingly left Edinburgh, which is one of the most amazing places ever) for a specific reason, which was kind of the centerpiece of the trip, as planned anyway.

How’d it work out?

(Photo Credit: Alexander Milas. If you look at the picture, dead center, the person directly behind the pains in the ass with their arms up appears to be me.)

Well, the good news was that both bands were brilliant.

The bad news, not to go to another town and talk trash on the people there or nothin’, but the bad news was that the crowd was…I’ll be extremely polite and describe them as “uncooperative on all fronts”, and try to leave it at that. I’ve been going to concerts for 35 years, in multiple countries, all kinds of music (including hundreds of shows where mosh pits were the norm), all kinds of people, and while they’re lauded as loyal, devoted, intense fans, the London Fields of the Nephilim crowd was…I dunno…let’s just go with what I said above, but also use that “intense” word twice, then drop it. The band were good enough to largely overcome whatever we experienced down there in general admission.

If you feel like watching the show we saw…have at.

Back to the flea market pictures! I spotted this beauty (and even played it a bit) at Old Spitalfields Antiques Market.

This was the first time I’d seen the Lego Voltron, at Westfield mall, which we stayed near, and which we spent entirely too much time in, even though we were, in fact, in London, and probably should’ve been anywhere other than a mall, particularly one quite as Black Mirror as Westfield. In our defense, we’d done the overwhelming majority of the touristy, sightseeing kinda stuff when we were there in 2017. Anyway, they did a nice job on this.

The Space: 1999 dolls, along with the Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Mork, etc. toys, were in a place called Monkey’s Emporium in the Stables Market in Camden Town. Prices were…about what you’d expect from a place with high tourist foot traffic and probably excruciating rent, but they had some neat pieces. Camden Market in general was a lot of fun, stuff to look through everywhere, felt endless but in the good way, even though I’ve heard that they lost a lot over the course of several fires in the last decade.

Last time I was in London, I forgot to check the dice at The Orcs Nest Game Shop. I would not make this mistake twice.

Back home, I added the new Marvel Legends Thing figure (left) to my rock shelf.

I also started adding Mego Wave 3, as the Cowardly Lion showed up!

We got a PS4 as a wedding present, and I’ve been enjoying this awesome, awesome game. If you’re playing, let me know, I’d love to add you to a game, even if we start from scratch.

The Screaming Werewolf arrives!

This finally happened. When the $5.00 Blu-Rays turn into the 3 for $5 Blu-Rays and Point Break is there…well, it’s time to see Point Break. (My other 2 from that grab were Better Off Dead and Sid and Nancy.)

Serena and Endora from Bewitched join the party! Two of the best new Megos to date!

Told you there’d be more Angels! Finally got some Hasbro Angels (Sabrina, pictured here, and a pretty rough Kelly, who you’ll see later) after 40 years.

And just like that, Kelly, Jeannie, Major Nelson, and “Mirror, Mirror” Kirk and Spock join the party, too! This year just got completely out of hand on this front, and I love it. Mego collecting has turned into “make the coolest, weirdest crowd scene ever” for me, and I’m down.

I got a few CDs when I was in NJ. If you put $1-3 CDs in front of me, and it’s stuff I want to fill holes in my catalog, I can’t be responsible for my actions.

I did not, however, buy the Kenny Rogers picture disc. (The Mighty Lemon Drops record behind it, we won’t talk about. The Wiseblood record underneath it, I already had.) It is with a friend, though, and I have visitation rights!

GIANT-SIZE MAN THING

(Anyone got a spare issue 2 for me?)

It’s the blue whale in the Museum of Natural History! The lighting is weird in here, I think, because of the holiday party they were having in the whale room that day. (I barely got in to take this pic.) Thanks to my friend Sola for bringing me to see the whale, and other natural history-like things!

Figures Toy Company Catwoman arrives, as my (to date) last Mego or Mego-like figure of 2018!

So, that’s it for now. (I know, not a lot to digest or anything, right?) This is what happens when you’re working on house renovations, planning a wedding and a honeymoon, and dealing with multiple illnesses (in addition to the flu and flu-related fun, I got another one of my famous concussions the night before my wedding…the wedding was in October, and I’m only just now getting to where I’m about 90% back from it): you take a bunch of pictures of cool things to write about, and then don’t get around to writing about them. We won’t even get into the stuff I’ve scanned, or need to scan. So, my choice was to either plan to write 20 posts that I, of course, wouldn’t write, or to bomb you all out with one very long post that will melt your brains. Predictably, I chose the latter!

I will be back very soon with an update on how I did on 2018 collecting goals that I had (it was busy enough over the last year that I didn’t even write the ’17 year in review post properly, or go into my ’18 collecting goals), and what I’m looking to do (spoiler alert: put a bunch of my stuff that I’m not enjoying enough into good homes) in 2019.

Thanks for being patient with me while I’ve been off living life, and I look forward to your comments!

I’m still alive.

I’ve just been busy.

I got married a week ago, we’ve got a honeymoon happening relatively soon, and most of this year’s been eaten by the planning of either those two things or home renovations.

I’ve been out at the markets plenty (Brimfield was fun this year, as was my home market’s season; I actually brought people there the morning after the wedding), I’ve got a bunch of stuff to share from those excursions as soon as I can properly come up for air, I even somehow managed to finish 2000 Topps Football in the middle of all of this chaos, and I’ll be trading again over the winter (Bo and I are trying to sneak one in as I type this, of course).

In the meantime, feel free to talk amongst yourselves, and here’s a Mego party. They’re back in business and making new figures, you know.  As a result, it’s gotten much busier around here since this post.

Good (Albeit Cardless) Flea Market Day!

Between heat, rain, travel and the one time that the parking lot was literally too full to get into, I haven’t managed to get out to my local flea market a lot this season, but I was there today, and there was some good stuff. Here’s some of the highlights!

The 2nd Naked Eyes album! I’m sure copies of it are around, but I don’t think I’d ever seen one in person. Happy to grab it for a buck.

I think this is like my 3rd or 4th copy of Metal Gear Solid. I may actually try keeping this one. Looking forward to playing it again.

This one, I’ve never played, but people have spoken very highly of it, and the price was right.

I just recently got the awesome hardcover of this entire series, and have been buying and enjoying the revival of the title (which, unfortunately, like most Dynamite titles, is due to last long enough for about 1 trade paperback), but I’m still picking away at originals of the first series, and as the graphic novel that launched it is just amazing, I had to.

Speaking of creator-owned Marvel/Epic titles, I’ve had the only other 2 issues of Void Indigo (created by Steve Gerber of Howard The Duck fame) since way before it was really proper for me to be reading that messed up stuff. I never had the GN that launched this, either, and now I do, so it should be interesting to 1. re-read this as an adult and see if it makes more sense to me than it did when I was a kid (I feel like starting with the regular series made it really hard to follow) and 2. see exactly how much of a mess it is by 2018 standards. For some perspective, this seems to have only really gotten published, as legend has it, because Standards and Practices weren’t paying attention, and it got canned 2 issues into the regular series, as Marvel/Epic (either Archie Goodwin or the higher-ups) weren’t happy with how seriously Gerber and Mayerik had taken the word  “graphic” in “graphic novel”.

Starting to very slowly pick away at this pretty long Silver Surfer run.

Kirby of any kind, in any condition, is a good idea!

Short mini-series that I’d sold, like a fool, once upon a time, but I’ve got it again. Love me some Paul Smith X-Men art.

Working toward rebuilding my Sienkiewicz New Mutants run, too, before it becomes very difficult to afford. The Legion appearances have gotten to be a little bit of a pain in the ass, but they’re not out of reach yet. Bill’s art on these books, covers and interiors, changed not only comics but art itself. As much as people say about this run, it’s still underrated.

Love the cover for this first issue! Carmine Infantino pencils with Alex Nino inks!

Over most of my life, when I’ve come across Red Circle/Archie hero books from the ’80s, I’ve picked them up. I’m gradually getting to where having all of them, without actually putting effort into getting them, is probably a pretty reachable goal. This Comet series (with, as mentioned, Infantino pencils, inked by Alex Nino on the main feature and Rudy Nebres on the Hangman backups) was supposed to go 6 issues, and it only ran for these 2 issues. Paging Michel Fiffe

An overlooked ’80s key in multiple regards. The origin of Red Tornado (or one version of it, anyway), and also the first appearance of the All-Star Squadron!

I got one more pretty solid key from that era…the issue of (not “Superboy and the”) Legion of Super-Heroes when Superboy leaves. I’ve actually made some nice progress on old Legion books lately. I feel like, while I’m definitely not going after the Adventure Comics originals (too expensive; maybe I’ll get trades at some point), it’d be really fun to build a full run and read from about #197, through to the Baxter series and eventually the Five Years Later run, and then stopping right before the reboot.

No cards worth buying at the market today, but I did get this fella, for free, no less!

“Get some cold cuts!”

“Get some cold cuts!”

Bless you, Ickey Woods.

Now, I do not collect trains as an adult, but as a kid, I had a lot of fun with HO Scale trains (the only one I’ve kept is my Shazam! box car, which I’ll have to show off here eventually…), and let me tell you, if you were at my local flea market today, you would’ve found a TON of HO Scale stuff. I took a picture of this piece, because I can remember it 1. being fun and 2. rarely working correctly, despite being pretty fun.

I didn’t buy this, either, but I had to get a picture of it, so it could haunt you, too.

How’d y’all do this weekend?

A benching, some odds and ends from last weekend’s flea market trip, and a bonus…

So, I’m kinda benched right now.

On Wednesday, I had my gall bladder removed, and while I’ve been doing pretty well, knock wood (down to Tylenol and Advil in under 48 hours, driving solo for short distances already, minimal discomfort overall, even made it out to Free Comic Book Day, Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2 and the supermarket today), I really don’t wanna push it any more than I already have been, so tomorrow, as per my own orders, no flea market for me, and really, no anything for me aside from desk activity and bed rest.

As far as doctor’s orders go, rather than my own, I’m not supposed to lift or carry anything that’s got any real weight to it for 4 weeks (I’ve been sticking to that recommendation pretty well, at least), so a lot of my card activities are benched or at least siginficantly slowed down until until May 31st, anyway (if we’re in the middle of a trade, please keep this in mind). Taking that into consideration, it’s not a bad thing for me not to be tempted by cheap box lots full of crap so soon.

If I have an especially good recovery week, I may end up in Brimfield on Thursday, but again, I’ll be taking it very easy (probably a 1 or 2 field trip, max), not lifting or carrying anything heavy (not *that* hard there, given what I collect and who tends to bring what there), and I am supposed to get some walking in, as part of my recovery orders. Also, if I’m being honest here, most of my Brimfield trips are done for photography purposes nowadays, anyway, though I have found a big lot or two there over my couple of seasons of visiting the market.

I did, however, get to my local flea market last weekend, and I found some fun stuff (then managed to get a late day bonus adventure out of it). My layoff will finally give me some time to get a post up about it, too!

First up, I’ll give you an overhead view of the bigger of the 2 boxes that I got. It looks like there’s a lot of “the other three sports” in it, and there was, but there was a surprising amount of baseball in it, including a bunch of ’94 Upper Deck, ’01 Fleer Platinum, and ’98 Score base and Rookie and Traded that I needed. So, while most of the box is admittedly in my “getting dumped on Craigslist” pile, it ended up being ultimately worthwhile.

Then, there was a smaller, but way more useful box that I got. We’ll get back to it in a minute.

I also got a cheap box of toploaders that, while they may be pretty boring, saved me a dedicated trip to a fine topholder retailer, and at a fraction of the cost!

Hey, it’s a cheap copy of Halo! Ever since my partner found out that I had an original XBox, they’ve been hinting that they’d like to play some Halo, but I am probably the only XBox owner who’s never owned a copy. Now, you would think that tracking down a copy of what had to have been one of the biggest-selling console games of all time in 2017 would be fairly easy, with the glut of cheap disc console games at flea markets and garage sales (along with CDs, DVDs and PC software, flea markets are choked with Playstation 2-3 and XBox/360 stuff anymore), but nope, finding a clean copy of it took months of hunting. Thankfully, it was only a couple bucks!

NICE

Pro Tip: this is a good album.

I took a gamble on this, as well. I love Cadaco stuff (more the baseball game than the football one), it was cheap, and the box looked OK. I just checked it out. It is complete, and the lightbulb still works, too! Man, are the game rules obtuse, though.

Here’s one I didn’t pick up (or ask a price on), but I figured I’d show y’all a picture of…

As I’ve come to find out, this is an RCA Radiola 25, circa 1925 according to The Radiola Guy. It’s missing its antennae, but the tubes were all there, and my word, was the cabinet in gorgeous shape. I mean, look at that thing. That’s a 91-92 year old piece. Not my area of expertise at all, but a lot of other people who had no idea what they were looking at stopped and gawked at this beauty.

Anyway, back to the cards, before I pick up another bad habit. As you can see, there’s a 1997 Donruss Limited Limited Exposure card on the top of the small box, so let’s start there. Well…

There were a lot of those in there, but sadly, a lot of doubles, too (this picture is just the doubles), so I could only put together about half the set. There’s no way I’m gonna try to build it (they’re fun and shiny, but the double face thing combined with my not having a great frame of reference for it, and my already being in the middle of 439384292 sets rules it out), so I’ve got some for trade. (I think that was the only Rivera card, though, so that’s mine.)

Hey, remember ’08 Own The Game? Yeah, I hated it, too. Some decent players in there, though, and I got a bunch of them. I have to check through my stuff when I can, because I’m David Ortiz and Mike Lowell away from a set of it. The pile here, with good ol’ Adam Dunn on top, is my doubles pile. Ask if you’re looking for any of it.

Hey, it’s a pile of Mantle inserts! This is #46-55 of whichever Topps Mantle insert set this was, plus a handful of doubles from those numbers. Up for grabs!

Hey, it’s another pile of Mantle inserts! This is Home Run History #502-536, with another decent chunk of doubles underneath it. I already had a bunch of HRH to unload, so hopefully this will motivate me to get on that. If you’re looking for Home Run History stuff, come find me!

 

I think I got multiples of this, too, but this was a Trading Card History insert I still needed. Got an A-Rod I needed as well, but you don’t need to see it. I may someday finish that set.

There was a bunch of other stuff in the small box, but it’s in a box I’m not allowed to lift, so let’s move onto the big box, and some of the Upper Deck haul, before we go back to the small box for something.

Needed it.

Needed it, and there was a double.

Needed it.

Needed it, and between the two boxes (found some in both), I got 3 of these.

…and needed it.

So, about the other thing in the small box.

Why the hell am I showing you an ’87 Topps Billy Jo Robidoux? I mean, aside from that he has a great name, and was, at one time anyway, a guy whose name you’d hear in the same sentence as Jose Canseco’s, when people talked about baseball prospects? Haven’t I spent most of my life complaining about ’87 Topps cards?

Well…as it turned out last weekend, by chance, I heard about a mall card/comic show not too far from me. Remember those? Some love ’em, some hate ’em, but I grew up at them, and I still have a soft spot.

As it turned out, when I looked at the web site for it, they had free signers on Sunday. Mike Trombley was one, and, yes, Billy Jo Robidoux was the other. I had thought about digging through cards to find stuff from both guys to get signed, but I didn’t end up having time to do so, so I hadn’t planned on going to the show. But then, among the flea market bounty, I found what turned out to be an unusually useful ’87 Robidoux, about 90 minutes before Billy Jo was scheduled to finish signing, so…

For whatever reason, I didn’t get a picture with him (I get weird about people sometimes; didn’t even talk to Trombley, but I didn’t wanna bother him if I had nothing for him to do), but Billy Jo Robidoux was a super nice cat. From what I gather, they both live in my general area, and do this sometimes, so I’ll probably see more of them.

I didn’t do much actual shopping while I was at the show (I had over 3000 cards waiting at home for me that I hadn’t finished sorting yet, after all), and the comic stuff was fairly pedestrian, but it was a pretty vital card marketplace, and I got to get another look at what dealers charge for stuff around here (hint: way more than I do when I do card shows, so I’ll probably do OK if I set up at one). There were a few other guest signers there, but alas, I didn’t get to talk to Marlon Starling (I’ll have to look through my boxing stuff and see what I have of his, in case he’s around again; he could be an interesting guy to talk to, having gone 25-0 to start his pro career, having fought Floyd Mayweather Sr., and having fought the fights that I first remember hearing about him from as a kid, against Mark Breland, though I can’t remember if I actually saw either of those fights), Shane Douglas (I’ve no idea why I didn’t say hi; again, I get weird about people sometimes), or Denny McLain (would’ve been nice to talk to him again, but he was doing a radio call-in show while I was there). I’d actually forgotten Denny was even supposed to be there. He was listed as a guest on the site, but for some reason, I processed his appearance as a Saturday thing, when Denny just sets up tables at card shows for the weekend now and hangs out, rather than being a one-day/guest of honor deal.

Still, it was a fun little adventure to cap off what was already a solid day.