22nd Dec2021

eBuying Comics: Week 70

by Ian Wells

With the doom and gloom all the uncertainty in the real world is bringing I thought I would try and lighten the mood. So this week I’m ditching the comics talk and diving into some toy and collectibles talk. Together we will take a trip to Christmas’s of yesteryear to look at some of my favourite toy lines from the past. A Christmas installment with a past, present and future theme!? I am so original!

I have seen photos of my first ever Christmas has I have no real recollection of it and I can report it was populated by an array of Thomas the Tank Engine toys. Even to this day it sees to be a solid go to for male tots, but it is way, way off the pop culture dominated Christmas’ that would follow. The first of what my parents would go on to call my themed Christmas’ was when I got Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles everything. I’m talking toys, pyjamas, stationary, chocolates. Everything I got that year had a turtles face slapped on it. I always thought I had memories of this one and maybe I do. But since I got back into TMNT via comics at an older age and looking at their history the dates don’t line up. The original comics launched in 1987 the same year I was born, the animated series wasn’t far behind and the toys came out of that. That Christmas I got the Party Wagon and The Blimp. I can only think that maybe in those days the UK would have been a bit behind the curve or maybe the toys got a second shelf life after the movie in 1990. But even then I would have only been nearly 4 at Christmas. Once I was old enough to not choke on toys Lego became a staple, especially Lego Pirates. Every year I still read the articles about what are the must have toys of Christmas. Although all they do nowadays is make me feel old! As a kid I never really went with the trends I stuck to what I was into. Of course some years there were exceptions. My only real brush with a panic on the toy shelfs was when I wanted the Green Power Ranger and Dragon Zord. Man they were flying off the shelfs. But I was young and naive enough to think I would never not get it. As luck would have it my parents had a friend at Tesco’s who stashed one away for me! In my early days f collecting comics I was still having themed Christmas’ despite being in my 20’s. One year outside of the trade paperbacks I was getting Wolverine socks, Wolverine Pez, Wolverine toys. I’m an easy mark. Nowadays Im happy with a few good reads and something to watch waiting for me under the tree.

Do people remember when toys and collectables used to be a fair price. Obviously I understand the increased interest in certain characters, franchises leads to companies charging more premium on items. So I know I might sound like a grumpy old man but when I first started going to cons you could pick up action figures for around £10 old or new. I was picking up Bowen busts for between £30-£40 now depending on the character your looking at over £50 just for a bust and upwards of £80 for statues. I thought I would pick out my 5 favourite items on my collection and see what they are going for on eBay now.

Dynamic Forces Weapon X 8″ bust – This was one of my more expensive purchases stretching to £60. I think it was a combination of birthday money and saving pocket money. Currently on eBay the only UK based listing is £140, though it generously has a ‘best offer’ option. International sellers are more in line with what I paid but you are paying a premium on P+P for something of such size and weight. And that is a lot of money for it to arrived damaged!

Alex Ross Wolverine mini bust – I was lucky enough to find mine for £20 on Amazon. Now you can not find them for cheaper than double that. It is such a wonderful piece and an innovative idea to do this small version of the expensive larger ones.

Bowen Designs Iron Fist original costume bust – Iron Fist has never looked cooler. I mean people give him a hard time for the ridiculous collar. But in this sculpt it looks badass and the mask has a real sense of motion. At a glance it looks like it is flowing. I paid £35 and if my description of it made you want it you won’t be as lucky as me. One listing currently on eBay coming in at a staggering £113.

Eaglemoss Marvel Fact File Series Daredevil – Again an item I found completely by chance in WH Smiths. I saw the Doctor Doom one on the shelfs and went online to see who else was upcoming in the range. I ordered my Daredevil new from the website for just £15. This is one that hasn’t gone up too much on the secondary market… Yet. Daredevil is coming to the MCU so grab one now if you can. There are listings between £10 and £20. But one was at £52 claiming a metallic paint job. I think this is more likely a miss leading listing rather than an unknown variant.

Dark Horse Deluxe Marvel Classic Statue Daredevil – I love this I have both Wolverine and Daredevil. The line started with the FF I believe then expanded the same way the comics did with Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man and DD. The second wave of X-Men was a later edition. The really a re great pieces with a vintage figure vibe. What I love about them is the tin they come in, a piece of art in itself. Complete with retro style pin badge. At once of the last ever Collectormania’s in my home town for whatever reason I guy was selling them at 50% so at £25 it was a real bargain. Currently one listing on eBay is at £77! I mean the tin is nice but it’s not that nice!

The jewel in my collection is my 2006 Wolverine maquette statue by Diamond Select as a retailer incentive exclusive. I love everything about it. Firstly it is very much styled after a John Byrne Wolverine in the classic yellow and blue costume, I like how the base is the Marvel logo. It kind of has a 3D corner box art vibe to it. I have recently seen it online in the brown and tan version but I don’t think I could stretch to the budget to have the two standing side by side. Another favourite piece because A) it looks amazing and B) I got it for free is the Marvel Milestone Frank Miller Wolverine statue also from Diamond in 2007. It is based on Miller’s cover to #4 of the very first Wolverine mini series. That’s the one where he is wielding the crossbow. The statue came in two variants. The first was the basic one and the second was copied to replicate the unique colouring of the comic art. When I ordered it I had ordered the second variant, but the basic one arrived. I informed them of the error but they said it was listed wrong online the only ever had the basic variant. Because they were then running there stock down they said I could keep it and have a full refund! Result! When I first started going to cons I was all about looking for a bust or statue, then digging into the comics. I’m very happy with my collection and am not really looking to add any high end items to it soon. Of course if something came up at the right price I could always be swayed. But there are only so many versions of Wolverine and Daredevil a person can own. In my younger days I did think about branching out to villains and side characters of the two. I am a big fan of the Bowen busts and would never turn down adding say an Omega Red of Bullseye to my collection.

Since I started collecting I have always been drawn to smaller items, as I liked attention to detail. One of my all time favourite lines in recent years was the ‘Classic Marvel Figurine Collection.’ I didn’t even know of its existence at first. Funnily enough I was at my local convention and I had to pop into WH Smiths and there was the Wolverine edition just filling up one whole shelf unit. I soon acquired all my favourite characters and some of their supporting cast and even branched out into ones that just looked call. As with everything though they are getting more and more difficult to find for a competitive price on eBay. A few years back Panini relaunched the series with a new name and new moulds. I was very surprised when I ordered the Wolverine one and it was twice the size of the original range, but for me it lacked the finer detail and was more brightly coloured. One of my joys at a con is seeing a box of loose Heroclix. I have no idea how to play btw! But they are a cheap way of assembling big battle scenes without taking up too much shelf space. Again all my favourite characters and supporting cast, lots and lots of versions of Wolverine. I have brought Heroclix as new as well. The X-Men Danger Room set is a good one, if you can find it cheap online it would be a good starting point for an X-Men fan, especially one who would like to play the game too. The few times I purchased the random blind boxes I was got lucky with the calibre of characters I got. A favourite, relatively recent online pickup was getting all four Ninja Turtles with red bandanas like in their first comic.

You really can’t go wrong with a Lego minifig, whether official or custom. Again they are a great way of assembling teams on low budgets and restricted shelf space. I have in my mind a itch to assemble a Rob Liefeld X-Force lineup after picking up a Cable last year. I don’t even know if they exist! But I’m sure when I start hitting the convention floors again I’ll find Lego versions of Warpath, Domino, Feral, Boom-Boom, Shatterstar and Cannonball. Also the other weekend I took a really cool photo of my Cable minifig with lighting effects and what not, so maybe next year I will become one of those guys who photographs Lego? Like everyone I say I don’t collect Pops but I have more than a few. I have tried to keep my Pops my eclectic though. Of course I have Wolverine, X2 Wolverine and Netflix Daredevil. The season 2 version of Green Arrow was actually the first Pop I brought. I reccommend a shop in the UK called B&M they often have a varied selction of Pops at low prices. I picked up the GiAnt-Man from Civil War for just £10. Naturally I then got the key ring version of Ant-Man so you can see the difference. Sticking in the MCU I ust had to get the Captain America wielding his shield and Mjolnir. That scene still gives me goosebumps. The toy chain Smyths is also a good Pop hotspot at good prices even for exclusives. Travis Bickle has to be my most obscure one and I also have a Sean Connery era Bond.

So what does the future hold? Like I said I am not looking to break the bank anytime soon. I am (was) looking forward to hitting the convention circuit again and going heavy on comics. If something crops up at the right price of course I’d be interested. I would like some of Daredevil in his yellow costume and a little X-23 piece after my recent enjoyment of her character development. My last big purchase was the Hasbro Marvel Legends series Wolverine. I reviewed it here. A few weeks back I saw a toy I knew I had to have. The Marvel Legends Series X-Men Wolverine 90’s Animated Series figure. It is the first ever time I have put in a pre-order for such an item. It is a 6 inch action figure and the pre-order price was £26.99 plus £2.99 for delivery. This may seem a lot for a 6 inch action figure. But when I saw it I wanted it. I knew if I waited for it to be released then looked to track one down on the secondary market I would pay nearly double that. It is slated for a May 2022 release and I will probably do an in-depth review when it arrives.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.


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