I have not been a collector of Marvel Legends for too long now. During the ToyBiz days, when I was much younger, I was more of a pick and choose kinda guy. If there was a cool character I was familiar with, I’d pick it up. At this time, however, I wasn’t much of a collector of anything. I loved Star Wars and Toybiz’s Lord of the Rings line, so I picked those up more frequently, but at this point in my life, these weren’t additions to a collection, they were toys that after a few days or a week, went into a bin or just sat on my bookshelf to collect dust. The closest thing that resembled a collection at all, besides my bins of Star Wars, were Pirates of the Caribbean 3.75” figures, all of which were displayed on a black pearl playset on my dresser.
As I got older, I became a bit more picky with what I picked up, and back then, in the early days of Hasbro’s Marvel stuff, often times Mattel had better quality with their D.C. stuff. I was big into Batman for a while, and was able to form a small collection of random Batman characters that fitted my liking. But I still wasn’t a collector, I was just a guy that liked action figures.
I discovered eventually that figure collecting was something that I was going to be doing well into adulthood (I’m currentlt in my early 20’s) when I first ever got a few NECA figures and realized there was more quality out there than just kids toys. The Clash of the Titans Persues they made (from the remake) and the original police station assault T-800 blew me away at the time.
There were actually 2 different franchises you might not expect that really got me into the collecting habit. The first was Character Option’s Doctor Who line. I was never a major fan of the Doctor Who, but I did go through a phase where I really enjoyed it, and especially enjoyed the figures. They were cheap, but had a high quality and were something other than the familiar franchises I was used to buying from.
The other franchise was McFarlane’s 5” The Walking Dead comic and tv lines. I know everyone has their opinions on McFarlane, but I absolutely loved those figures at the time. I still love them when I look at them, simply because of the reminders of the good times collecting and remembering the days when the show was worth watching. This line was a wonder to collect for me. I didn’t become a fan of the franchise until the show was on its season, when I binge watched it on Netflix, then bought all of the compendiums of the comics and read them swiftly. Then came the toy collecting. At this point, there were 3 or 4 waves already out, with new waves coming once or twice a year between the comic and tv waves. So I was able to track down the old and the new, making it some of my first real hunting experiences, aside from looking for one particular figure.
Dont get me wrong, these weren’t the only lines I was collecting. I was a casual buyer of the early Star Wars Black Series, and was going back and buying a bunch of the Toybiz Lord of the Rings stuff I had missed, but it was The Walking Dead stuff that turned me into the type of collector that was a completionist, and introduced me to hunting for new stuff and old in various stores.
By this point, I was full on collecting the Black Series, and a lot of NECA’s Aliens, but TWD was my lady love at the time. Star Wars was always my soul mate, but TWD was a years long passionate love affair. But then McFarlane decided to come up with the nonsensical Color Tops wave which would mix various brands into one 7” scale series. This brought an end to the comic line entirely, and turned the tv line into a 7” static crap festival. And while they began to evolve into better figures over time, I didn’t want them, I had an almost complete collection in a different scale. Eventually, the brand lost almost all of its popularity and now McFarlane doesn’t even touch it.
But it was because of the death of my favorite line that I decided to reach out and see what exactly else was out there for me. Now, I could’ve just stuck with what I had, continued buying Star Wars and Aliens and the occasional Batman figure if the desire struck, but I had a taste for collecting and didn’t want to stop.
This is what drew me to Marvel Legends. This was around the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, so I was kind of high off of my first impression of that, and decided to buy the AoA Captain America. I was kind of hooked, but not hook line and sinker just yet. I decided to get the movie characters only. That lasted for a little bit, until my girlfriend bought me the comic Black suit spidey and that was the end. I had to get my favorite characters in various suits, both comic and movie versions, and I had to build my favorite teams. From the moment I knew I was all in, I knew that I was never going to be a completionist. If I don’t care about the character, or can’t fit it into my display, I see no use in buying. If they weren’t on my list, then the only reason I would buy them is to finish a BAF or because I was surprised by how cool the character was despite me not originally wanting them (Bullseye, Black Bolt).
When I first started collecting Legends 5 years ago, I had a list, a very daunting list that I thought would go on for years and wouldn’t be finished in all likelihood. But this year and the last were such amazing years for legends, and with the 80th collections and all of these fantastic 90’s X-Men coming out so fast, my list has gotten into the single digits. Doctor Doom is on the horizon of 2020, and aside from some characters like Thunderbird and Warpath and a true 90’s Emma Frost, and a damn classic Doctor Strange, Power Man, and Iron Fist, my marvel legends days seem to be numbered. The movies will continue to pump out, so they may keep me interested in new figures, but the list as I knew it is getting very small.
So when, exactly, am I to stop? Ought the list I set out for myself be the end of what I have built? Should I set up rules for myself and limit my hobby and passion? It’s not like I’m going to stop collecting other lines? Or should I? With Star Wars coming to an “end” similar to the MCU coming to and “end” or at least the end of an era, my big tent-pole franchises are ending fast. Soon, my Star Wars list will be shorter and shorter until it too has ended. So should I stop collecting entirely? I mean, I’ve just finally gotten into imports and anime stuff, so maybe those will be the new focus. It’s a very strange time in the entertainment industry, and that equates to the toy industry. Big franchises are “ending”:: game of Thrones, avengers, Star Wars. It feels cathartic in a way. Would I ever even consider limiting collecting if these eerejrb weren’t ending?
I know that more brands are coming. I know more lines are always coming. Maybe I shouldn’t stop collecting, but should stop this era of collecting. Look to new brands, diversify. Get anime stuff and Harry Potter stuff, go head first into McFarlanes new DC stuff, go where I haven’t gone before so that the hobby is in uncharted territory for me. I know avengers and Star Wars and all those franchises aren’t really over. No one’s ever really gone. I guess I wonder how you folks feel? If you even got this far. When is it a right time to end? When is it time for a change. To keep the passion alive...