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!

A recent flea market adventure…

(Retelling this story from social media, to put it somewhere a little more static.)

Our local flea market just had its second weekend of the year, and almost immediately upon arriving, I came across this fella…

For the uninitiated (and those who can’t read the original box he’s sitting in), this is Paul Winchell’s Jerry Mahoney. I’d never seen one of these anywhere but in one of the first Sears Wish Books I’d looked at (though by that point, the Charlie McCarthy and Jerry ventriloquist dummies they sold were not as well-constructed as this one).Now, I don’t actually collect ventriloquist dummies, but I have a friend who is a huge fan, so I messaged him immediately with this picture, to see if he was interested. As it turns out, he was, and I managed to facilitate a PayPal deal between my friend and the seller, which was pretty cool (I do like the future sometimes…).

As the seller was carefully laying Jerry in his box, there was something of a bittersweet moment. The dealer wistfully said “So long, pal…” to Jerry (perhaps hinting that he’s had Jerry since he was a kid, but I didn’t ask). Without missing a beat, Jerry responded, “So long, asshole!”

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