I am in my late thirties, and if you were to come to my home, you would see countless “toys” still in boxes, hanging from my walls. You would see lightsabers and sonic screwdrivers. You would see Batman cowls and classic generation 1 GI-JOE figures, with FULLY ARTICULATED LIMBS, PEOPLE! You would see boxed versions of Finn and Jake from Adventure Time. You would see that, on my desk, I have a little vinyl “toy” versions of many horror movie characters, as well as pop fiction pieces. Hell, right now I have a dead Kenny from South Park staring at me while I write this. But make no mistakes. All of those things mentioned may be toys to some people, but to true geeks, they are geek collectibles, and they are one of the best (and most misunderstood) things about being a geek.
So for those who think the things I mentioned were toys, please keep reading. Heck, everyone keep reading.
By Definition, everything I mentioned may have once been toys, as toys are “used and played with.” So using naturalism as logic, you are right. They are toys. But only if treated as such. The huge difference between toys and geek collectibles is that simple fact that most geeks who collect stuff they like are smart enough to keep the stuff in boxes. Not just for eventual pay-off, but there is just something sacrilegious about taking a figure or toy out of a box to play with (once you reach true geekdom).
So yes, by definition and the name on the aisles these things are often located in, they are toys. But let me ask you something. What was the last toy you sold for two hundred thousand dollars? I am asking because that is how much an original 1963 GI-Joe figure sold on eBay in 2003. That was 13 years ago. Probably worth even more now.
Would you play with two hundred thousand dollars? No, so, not a toy. Actually, so much more.
Let me make something clear at this point, if you are an adult who has and plays with toys, I am actually jealous of you. I wish I could bust out some of these (I really want Sadness from Inside Out and Spawn to hook up, but have yet to introduce the two) so please do not think I am insulting you. I just know I speak for myself and many other geeks when I say we get the geek thing because we want it, but we often keep them boxed because we KNOW this stuff doubles and triples in value over time. Plus, once it was cool for Dads to pass down cars to their sons. Those days are over. Now it is cool for a Dad to pass down his near mint toy collection and all his games and consoles. Now that is patriarchal love.Keep the car, pops. I want Batman #1. Real talk.
BUT (and there is ALWAYS a but)…..
That really isn’t why most of us do it, either. I guarantee I have collectibles and toys lying around worth thousands, but I am not selling. Why?
We Live for this Shit!
That is what non-geeks will never understand. We live for this shit, we really do. Being a geek is a lifestyle choice. And with that lifestyle choices comes certain responsibilities. One of those is to love and support the things we like, like games and animation and weird movies and relics of those very things we can hold in our hands, which is what geek collecting is. It takes you from being a passive witness in a world and makes you a member of it.
So you can be impressed and want to see them, but don’t come to my house and ever call these toys. I have a variant Joker figurine that could put on of your kids through college right now. So laugh and undermine all you want, but the basketball you’re playing with wont be worth shit in ten years. Hell, it isn’t worth shit now. Someone had to tell you.
But to the nerd, sitting inside reading Gotham Academy right now? Well, you better bag, back, and box those beauties, because one day, some day, every geek thing you own will be worth a great deal to someone who doesn’t own them. And in that moment, we rise up and take over as we are legion, and we have inherited this earth, as was predicted so many years ago.