Let me get this out in front, I’m writing this because I want to give you a little more background and a little more insight about what goes on when comics and pop-culture ephemera pass through our doors.
Part of what makes my job so cool is the art of the deal and sometimes, we have to let great stuff walk away. Another great part of my job is…well…the stuff—seeing it, holding it. The comics that come in I never thought I’d see. The surprise of holding a signed book that you know is one-of-a-kind. Seeing a toy that I had in my childhood can evoke a visceral reaction. The greatest thing about my job is that people can still surprise me.
Anyone who comes in with the same sense of awe and wonder, the same collector’s enthusiasm that I have, well, we share a kinship.
So, let’s get on to it. Comic Book Men Season 2. Episode 1.
There were no comics.
That was the first thing that struck me after the credits rolled. But there were Megos, and there was a big-assed Darth Vader helmet and there were the Legion of Super Heroes toys. Comic books are our life’s blood, and all the toys, movies, cartoons and pop culture baubles that matter to me flow from them.
Megos. I love Megos. Walt loves Megos. Kevin loves Megos. These were our first action figures. These were dolls that boys played with, and what made them even cooler was that you had Spiderman who was in scale with Superman who was in scale with Star Trek characters that were in scale with Dr. Zaius and Cornelius and all those other damn dirty apes from the Planet of the Apes line. They could all play together. Scale was a big thing for me. My GI Joes could not play with my Megos because GI Joes were 13 inch action figures and Megos were 8 inches.
In this episode, we got to see The Electric Company boxed Spiderman – a very rare, cool item. The customer also had Mr. Mxyzptlk, one of the dumber Megos, and also quite rare. Just looking at the doll makes you realize how undesirable it was to a six-year old kid, so I’m sure a lot of them ended up in landfills. The last boxed Mego was the Human Torch, a member of the Fantastic Four (Marvel). And musing aside, there’s a rumor that when the Fantastic Four cartoon was developed by NBC for Saturday morning cartoons, they eschewed this character because they were afraid kids would try to emulate him and try to set themselves on fire. The truth is, that the Human Torch was actually licensed to do a separate cartoon which never got made.
Geek Notes #1: Many people hold the idea that a MIB (Mint In Box) figure fetches a much higher price than a loose figure in any condition—this is not necessarily true. The rarity of the figure plays a role in determining value, the overall condition – these count.
Geek Notes #2: George Lucas approached Mego for the licensing of Star Wars figures. Mego turned him down and focused instead on a sci-fi movie called, The Black Hole. Lucas went on to Kenner who revolutionized the action figure business with 3 ¾ inch figures, launched with their Star Wars line. Mego folded while Star Wars figures are still being produced.
The $350 we paid was more than fair, given the condition of the boxes and the figures themselves. Very cool pieces of toy and comic book history. I myself still own Kirk and Spock Star Trek Megos. Oh, and Aquaman.
Next up, Darth freaking Vader. Who didn’t love the first glimpse you get of Darth – that black boot stepping over a Rebel corpse? Star Wars, maybe more than any other movie of my generation, is common ground for everyone—especially geeks and geek culture. This was a cool piece that we got for a great price, and I hope it stays at the Stash for a long time. Not much more to add on this piece other than what you saw on the show. It just looks frigging cool.
Finally, The Legion of Super Heroes. I personally picked up this piece for the store. It was only available online through the MattyCollector store (think Mattel). This piece came from a second-time offer, as I missed it the first time around. The only difference between the two editions is, “Long Live the Legion” is printed on the box for the second edition.
LOSH is an under appreciated comic, in my opinion. Many great artists got their starts on this book: Jim Shooter was only 13 years old when he penned his first Legion story. The great artist Mike Grell cut his teeth on the Legion and he succeeded Dave Cockrum of X-Men fame. Keith Giffen had several memorable runs with the Legion, sometimes writing sometimes drawing and sometimes both. The Imperial Guard from X-Men are direct homages to The Legion of Super Heroes – Gladiator = Superboy, Mentorr = Braniac 5 and Pulsar = Wildfire and you get the drift.
The customer got a great deal and impressed the crap out of Walt. This is my favorite kind of customer, knowledgeable, opinionated and geeky. In her case, she traveled all the way from Kansas just to visit the store.
Check back next week when I deconstruct Episode 2.
And there you go.