Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I actually collect a bunch of stuff.

Like a lot of Nerds Of A Certain Age, I've collected a lot of different things other than cards. There have been toys (mostly action figures), books, comic books, video games, other sports memorabilia, and other weird trinkets. From time to time, I have to dust some of it (way less often than I should; jeez, this house is a dust magnet), and tonight was one of those times. So, while I was doing some dusting and organizing on top of my dresser, I thought I'd take some pictures of it and share them. Plus, given what's happened to so many towns near where I live over the past month, it really can't hurt to have pictures of things for posterity. I can't help but think that, had it been more practical to do at the time, the boomers would've been a ton less remorseful about their mom throwing out their cards if they had pictures of them, as we're fortunate enough to have. Anyway, here's some stuff.

I didn't get one of these until about 10 years ago. Took me FOREVER, even passed on the reissue for some reason that happened at some point in the '90s. Found at Englishtown Auction for $2. When I was a youngster, a son of one of my dad's friends named Robbie had the first one of these that I ever saw, and I was in awe of it. Didn't see him much after I turned 7 or so. Eventually, Robbie got into real motorcycles, so he got to do that. He passed not too long ago, unfortunately, and for better or worse, whenever I think of him, I think of Evel Knievel, so this one's for you, Robbie.

(Ignore the Metamorpho lurking in the background, we'll get to him.)

This is a vintage replica Slinky. I got it at a Cracker Barrel (the only good thing about any Cracker Barrel I've ever been in or near) somewhere between Kansas and here, I think in Ohio. My friend Ange, who I was rescuing from Kansas, bought it for me. I don't get to use it much (which is probably for the best, because my Slinky-ruining abilities are legendary), but it certainly looks cool.

This is a sculpt of Gene Simmons that my friend Eli casted from a Japanese Gene Simmons figurine (if I'm remembering correctly), and my friend Allan painted. He usually lives atop the Slinky in the background.
This is a vase that Allan made at some point. Allan was a crafty little bugger in his youth.

This is a figurine of Red from the Tex Avery "Wolf & Red" cartoons. She is very attractive. This series came out from a French company in 1998, and as I was working for a store with a Diamond Comics account, I got these at wholesale.

This is a crazy-lookin' sea variant of Marvel's Venom, from one of the tons of Spider-Man/Venom lines they did in the '90s. Some of the Venoms they made back then were really far out, and this is one of my favorites, not only because it looks cool...

...but also because it's articulated perfectly to make it look like it's doing dirty stuff with Red!

Adam Jones bobblehead, from Adam Jones Bobblehead Night at Camden Yards in 2009. My first and only bobblehead.

Assorted members of the Justice Society Of America! From left to right: Wildcat, Dr. Mid-Nite, The Atom (2nd costume), Hourman and The Atom (1st costume). I also have a bunch of other figures of JSA members that I'll photograph eventually (these are just the loose figures, and I've got a bunch more in the way of carded ones), and eventually, I'll probably have a figure that I really like, in this scale, of every member of the pre-Crisis On Infinite Earths Justice Society. (I'm pretty close as-is.) As action figures go these days, unless I see something extraordinary, I mostly collect DC Direct and DC Direct-scale figures (like DC Universe Classics, etc.) of other DC characters.

It's The World's Mightiest Mortal, Captain Marvel! No, it's not "Shazam!". It's Captain Marvel. Get it right! This was a pre-DCU Classics, pre-DC Direct figure from a Mattel DC Super-Heroes line made sometime in the '90s, and I think it does the best job of capturing Captain Marvel of any figure in this scale. It's not too overly cartoonish or comic strip-ish, but it's also definitely recognizable as him, rather than as "a normal lookin' guy in a Capt. Marvel suit". It's also the first figure of him that got the cape and the button up side of his costume anywhere near correct.

I told you we'd get back to Metamorpho! Love this character. This figure came with interchangeable parts so you could change his hands and his lower body (the other lower body is a cyclone-ish waterspout).

The Question and Blue Beetle! Unfortunately, due to all kinds of licensing fun with the Charlton characters, DC haven't had a ton of these characters manufactured (I think there have been maybe 4 total of each guy across all scales), they've never done an original costume Captain Atom (just the second Charlton costume and a few of the modern ones), and there have never been figures of Nightshade, The Peacemaker, Judomaster, Thunderbolt, Son of Vulcan, Sarge Steel, the original Dan Garrett Blue Beetle or any of the Charlton villains as far as I can remember. (I would sell a kidney for figures of The Ghost or Punch & Jewelee.)

Killer Moth! I don't have a ton of DC Direct or DCU Classics villain figures, but I had to have him. One of the most far-out, crazy but still cool super-villain costumes ever.

Firestorm, The Nuclear Man! The original, Ronnie Raymond model, before they started dorking around with his origin way, way too much. It took me a while before his costume really grew on me, but it really is a crazy, post-Kirby classic design by Al Milgrom.

Yes. That's right. I own a B'Wana Beast action figure. I also have a lot of his rather infrequent appearances in comics. Too ridiculous not to love. This figure was only released in a two pack with an Animal Man figure that Mattel sold direct-to-fans on their web site, but I missed the two pack, and thankfully found someone who was selling the loose figure on eBay individually (even better, because I already had a better Animal Man from the DC Direct 52 figure line).

Vigilante II! Great George Perez costume.

...and then there's this guy. I found this statue at a flea market on one of the worst days of my life in 2000, and couldn't pass it up. It was a bank, but is missing the stopper. Not sure of its origin, if any. Years later, when I started using Second Life, I hung a picture of it up in my apartment in-world, then later in my club there, which is called Heck (it's largely dormant like most of Second Life, but still exists), and it became known as The Heck Dog. There are actually people in Second Life that have this little guy on t-shirts for their avatars. I think that's a pretty remarkable chain of events.

Here's the Wolf from the Wolf And Red series of statues. Were we all this suave.

Another thing I collect, though I haven't gotten any new items in ages and I only have a few things, are found items from the old Playboy Clubs. This is a mug from one of them.

Here's a coffee pot...

Here's an original ashtray.

To be fair, I don't know whether these were in-club items or gift shop items. I've never done a ton of research on the memorabilia from there. It is something I'm always happy to see, though. I'm still looking specifically for a membership key, and for something that was far above and beyond your basic Playboy Club gear. It was a shirt given out at the bicentennial party in at Playboy's Victor Lownes' home, Stocks, in England in 1976. Saw it mentioned in a biography on Hefner that I read in the '90s. Had the bunny logo on it, and said something like "Stocks 4/7/76. I was there. You weren't." on it. That, I'd consider to be the ultimate Playboy collectible, above and beyond the first issue or anything else of its nature.

Now, some baseballs.

 Al Leiter: purchased at the height of the Al Leiter error card mania in '88 by some dumb kid, no cert, not gotten in person, so it's a crapshoot that it's legit, but it looks similar to other Leiter signatures I've seen.

Darryl Strawberry: got this in Cooperstown in '07, if I'm not mistaken. Have a pic of Darryl and I kickin' around somewhere. Nice guy.

Lenny Dykstra: one of two baseballs signed for me at the Asbury Park card show at the end of October/beginning of November '86. My dad, who was awesome at selectively enforcing the rules in the house, decided that this was the weekend he was going to punish me for not cleaning the basement to his liking, so I did not get to go and meet Lenny (right after the '86 Series) or Duke Snider. My mom, who'd bought advance tickets for autographs at a hefty cost of probably around $6 a pop, was not going to see me get stiffed or let the tickets go to waste, so she paid admission, waited on line both days and got both signatures for me. My mom: cool. My dad: not cool. 

Here's the Duke Snider...

I saw Duke in person once before he passed, in Cooperstown in '01, and though I got a picture of him, I never got to talk to him.

Steve Carlton: got this in-person early in 1988 at the Freehold, NJ Sheraton, same show I got Catfish Hunter's autograph at. I'd just started reading stuff from the sportswriters at that age that hinted that maybe Lefty wasn't the greatest guy, but he seemed cordial and in good spirits to me that day. Hangin' out with Catfish probably helped. Cat was a GREAT guy.

Pete Rose: got this in-person in Cooperstown in 2001, first time I was up there. There was no line to speak of for the signature. As he often does, he put 4256 on the ball without me even asking for the inscription. Got a pic with Pete, and wished him good luck, as I often do to guys who aren't in the Hall yet but should be (reasonable chance of getting in or not). I still stand by Pete's viability as a member of the Hall of Fame, same as I do Shoeless Joe. The more I think about it, and this is starting to extend to my feelings on the steroid cases as well, if you don't want them in, you kinda have to take Ty Cobb out first and weed through a good number of others after that. You can't say anything about rules, character, gambling, throwing games, whatever if Cobb's in there. End of story.


Duke Snider Hartland Statue 1988 reissue. Came into this from a customer at the bank my mom worked at.

Early on in my current run in card collecting, I got this Neil Patrick Harris Celebrity Cuts base card, and decided it needed to be on display. It still is.

Always kinda dug Playmobil figures. This one's kinda weird.

Another Slinky, this one being the only one that survived my childhood. It's a little number, but a good soldier.

Hey, a rock! Remember back in about '86 or '87 when the New Age thing first really started kicking into high gear? Picked up this piece of quartz (I think it's quartz anyway) at a shop, and it's been with me since. Used to keep it in my rather bottomless black trenchcoat as a teen, has been around through several moves and 25 years or more.

I don't remember if I've ever shown this off here. Signed Rick DiPietro puck, the poor bastard. Got it at the first White Plains show I went to in October of '11. Bought a ton of stuff from Steve, one of the regular dealers up there, and he had a stack of these on his cheap auto table, so I talked him into throwing it in as a freebie. I can't imagine it's a decision he regrets much now. I think he said he got something like 120 of them from a dealer on Long Island at some point.

This smashed Buddha head was a prop in the 2004 Broadway play The Caretaker with Kyle MacLachlan and Patrick Stewart. A friend of mine worked on it, and as the story (spoiler alert) involved Kyle MacLachlan smashing a Buddha every night, they had a ton of these laying around at the end of the production, and she ended up with some, so I ended up with one. I think she uses one as a tree topper on her Christmas tree still.

One more Wolf And Red piece. This is a statue of Wolf in his very, very long luxury convertible. Somewhat silhouetted, because it's a bitch to photograph, but I may have another picture of it laying around here somewhere.

And, finally, here's everything back together. Also in the pic but not part of this post individually, the first-day cover of Catfish's first National Old-Timer's Day that I had him sign, a '64 Topps Giant Mantle, my Xanadu poster (owned by me since 1981), and in the left center, barely in the picture, part of the Alex Ross Joker/Harley Quinn poster.

So, yeah, stuff. I have too much of it. It gets dusty sometimes. I clean it.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

This Post Is Sort Of About Baseball Cards

Much earlier today, I was walking back from dropping my car off at the mechanic, through an area that had flooded pretty heavily during Hurricane Sandy. As I was doing so, I spotted this on the ground...

Yep, a sheet of bubble gum cards had gotten washed out and washed up where I was. I opened it up for a closer look...

'93s, Ultras and Stadium Clubs with some other set that I can't identify on sight (National Packtime?) mixed in. A few Hall of Famers (Puckett, Larkin, Boggs, Gwynn) a few who might make it (Mussina, Lofton) and a Hall of Pretty Good guy (Alou). Can't place the 2nd row left player, anyone?

Weird that they'd shown up right in the path of where I was walking, but then, comics and video games, both of which I have pretty substantial collections of, had shown up in my travels in Staten Island the Sunday after the storm, too.

Not sure whether I have any particular point to make in talking about this, but I think it was worth documenting.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This Post Is About Cards

So, I went to Dr. Wax's card show on Sunday. It was a a sparse and somewhat muted, but determined card show if I ever saw one. According to Dr. Wax (who took on water in his and his mother's houses; hang in there, guy), two of our regular dealers are still MIA, one of whom, Linda (nice lady, has sold me some great stuff), lived in Mantoloking (Google it, it ain't pretty) before the storm hit. Hopefully we hear from them soon. Everyone else and their property is anywhere from "OK" to "man, this sucks", but they're hanging in there. 

I spread around a little bit of cash to the local dealers (I've been trying not to buy much of anything lately, except in cases where local merchants can use the business after the storm; threw a few bucks at my local when they reopened, that kinda thing) and picked up a few cards. In the interest of thinking about something other than the storm relief effort for a minute, here they are...

Picked up a couple of nice, cheap Namaths, only my 2nd and 3rd playing-era Namath cards.

Got a Leaf Doc Gooden rookie! Now I have to find the damn O-Pee-Chee one and that friggin' Fleer Update one to finish off the major issues. (I think I have the Topps Super, but I'm not 100%. I'll have to check.)


I don't have a ton of f00'ball relics of my guys, so I was very glad to pick these up. The Jerry Rice, brace yourselves, was a BUCK. Ronnie Brown was even more pricey than that at $2!

I haz a 3D problem. Still need to get more of these little Lineage bastards. Or were they Archives? Who cares? They're 3D.

POKEY!!!11111 :D

Put some solid effort into set-building in Fast Eddie's dime boxes. Got myself 35 more '99 Topps, so I'm within 27 cards of the set.

Got a quality handful of '00 Gold Labels of various classes, including my main man Vladimir.

Snuck a couple of Heritage in there, including this awesome Mark Buehrle...

And this terrific card of El Duque.

(PLEASE click on the thumbnail, this image does these no justice.)

Had one more really productive go at set-building. Got within 1 card of finishing the base set on '09 Donruss Americana, and look at the names I picked up! Albert Brooks! Lorna Luft! Michael Beck! Erin Gray! Eric Roberts! Swoosie Kurtz! Ralph Macchio! Jeffrey Tambor! Awesome, awesome set. The only base card I need now is #74, Corbin Bleu, whoever the hell he is (oh, he's one of the High School Musical kids). I'll probably do a Buy It Now to get it over with this week.

Lots of bargains in this month's auction. Signed Dave Winfield and Billy Herman balls going for $20 each, a '99 Yankees World Series team-signed ball for $250, and so forth. Was SORELY tempted to bid on a Johnny Vander Meer framed autographed photo in the auction, beautiful piece (shoulda taken a picture of it, but it went just above the realm of "me eating for the rest of the month" (around $40 for something I don't have wall space for; it's also a time when people need a lot more than sports memorabilia around here, even in a situation where the proceeds were going to charity).

Oh, and I dropped off about 15,000 cards at the Toms River East Little League building, which is serving as a makeshift (but really well-organized) distribution center for aid supplies right now. They're good on most supplies, but they really need distractions for the kids (and some of the adults) so they were really happy to see the cards. If any of you were looking to hit me up for '87 Topps or '92 Fleer, you're out of luck. They went, along with about 8000 mixed f00'ball, basketball and hockey cards from all eras. Next month, if they need 'em, more of that kinda stuff is going to the kids, so last call for any trades involving ridiculously common cards!

As I mentioned in my preview post for this show, Reds outfielder Todd Frazier will be there next month (and is also helping with the auction!), and y'all BETTER come see him if you're in the area and collect bubble gum cards. It will be a great show.