My name is Bill, and I am a toy addict.
To put it more specifically, I am an action figure addict. Yes, I am a grown man, but I love little plastic versions of my favorite characters from comics and movies.
Regular readers of this site have heard me mention my collection of Doctor Who action figures, and indeed, I have plenty of those. I also have a pile of other action figures, but there is one action figure line I posses that outnumbers all my other figures by far.
I have a crap-load of Star Wars figures.
I have always loved George Lucas' original trilogy, and although I liked the original line of toys released at the time of the films' release, I didn't pick up too many of them. After all, I was in High School at them time. What would the chicks think if they saw me buying toys?! In retrospect, probably nothing, as chicks, cool or no, weren't even aware I existed. I laugh now, thinking of how I used to worry about what people thought of me. If I wanted to be well thought of by my peers, why was I president of the Drama Club? I did buy a few, of course (discreetly). How could a geek like me resist buying a Hammerhead figure, after all? For the most part, though, the whole "Star Wars Action Figure Phenomenon" passed me by. When the line petered out in 1985, I hardly noticed.
Things changed ten years later though. In 1995, Kenner Toys, the folks behind the original figures, started to release new versions of the classic characters. By this time, I had plenty of disposable income (or at least plenty by my standards) and I had humiliated myself enough that I no longer really cared what anyone thought of me. This new wave of figures, called "Power of the Force 2" figures by the toy folks, really appealed to me. A lot of die-hard fans groused about the beefy, bulked up proportions the characters sported, but I loved them, and started buying them like crazy! My cover story at the time was that I was buying them for my son, and he and I did play with them for hours, but anyone that knew me knew the truth: I was buying them for me. In true obsessive-compulsive fashion, I had to have every single one, whether I liked the character or not. I spent hours and a small fortune hunting down my little plastic pals. I amassed a huge collection. And I'm talkin' HUGE!
Eventually though, my interest waned and I stopped buying Star Wars figures. The biggest reason was that the "new" Star Wars prequel films came out, and I hated them. The figures released with the new films also sucked, in my opinion. For the next few years, I kind of drifted away from collecting toys, and my collection went into storage. Occasionally, I would see a toy I thought was cool, but really, I was done with the whole collecting thing. Actually, it felt good to free of my plastic addiction.
Things started to change around 2006, when toys based on Doctor Who started to appear. As I lad, I always wanted Doctor Who action figures, but none were available at the time. Now that they were, I had to indulge my greedy inner child and have them all. The madness started again, but this time it was tempered by the fact that the figures weren't as cheap and as readily available as the Star Wars line was. Eventually, the rising prices and availability of some of the must-have figures cooled my enthusiasm for the DW stuff. I still pick up a piece now and again (and if you are looking to buy me something, Doctor Who toys will always be much appreciated), but I thought I had the whole toy-collecting-obsession thing under control.
Or at least I thought I did.
Even though I was done with Star Wars, I still kept abreast of the new toy releases. Although once and I while I would see something that I'd find tempting, I resisted the urge to purchase new toys. After all, I was cured!
That was until Hasbro Toys (the company that took over Kenner awhile back) released a new figure: The Super Articulated Stormtrooper! I was, am, and always will be, crazy about the Stormtroopers, and I could never have enough of them. Indeed, you should see the army I have lining my shelves. Everyone who sees them lined up says they are impressed. At least, that's what I think they're muttering to themselves when they see them. As much as I loved these guys though, I was always frustrated that they weren't very poseable. They only had 6 joints, so all they could really do was stand up and sit down (Not that my Stormtroopers spend much time sitting around: There are no slackers in my army!). The new versions of the characters though, have fourteen points of articulation, so you can put in just about any pose you want!
I had to have at least one of these guys, but it wasn't that big a priority for me. If I found one, I found one. If not, I was probably better off, right?
Right! For Valentine's Day Perfect Wifey presented me with a Super Articulated Stormtrooper. It is perfect, and now I must have more. I have also noticed some major holes in the rest of my collection. Where is my Lobot? Where's a Death Star Trooper? Logray the Ewok? Admiral Ozzel? I need them all now! The obsession is back, and as bad as ever.*
If I find myself considering the purchase of a Jar Jar Binks figure though, you'll know I hit bottom.
* UPDATE 3/31/2011: To all you action figure fans out there who are keeping score: Since I posted this, I DID get a Lobot, and although I didn't get Admiral Ozzel yet, I did get a Captain Needa figure at a good price. This works well for my display, as I have at least one Imperial Commander for Darth Vader to kick around. I like to leave him lying at Vader's feet. I can still hear the line, in my head: "Apology accepted, Captain Needa". Good times...