There is a fine line between being a Collector, and being a Hoarder. The more I spend, er, invest in my ever-increasing volume of Star Wars shelf decor, I finding myself increasingly dealing with anxiety - did I spend too much? Did I really "need" that piece? As someone who hasn't purchased much from the Star Wars universe since the 1970s and 1980s, I initially found myself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of available stuff. I laughed as I walked through a local Kohl's store last week, as I thought I must've been transported to the Star Wars gift shop at the exit to Star Tours at Disneyland. From toys, to Christmas ornaments, to clothing for kids, men, and women - it was inescapable. The same was true as I journey through Target. For a moment, I almost felt sorry for those who don't enjoy Star Wars! But here's my deal: I've been swept up in the madness much more quickly and forcefully than I had ever anticipated. It started off with just one small purchase (it always does, doesn't it...). My first item was Issue #1 of the Marvel Star Wars series, and I was hooked. Mind you, it was necessarily because I was so enraptured by the story of the comic, but because I started feeling like I would be missing out if I didn't consume as much as possible. The purchase of Star Wars #1 led to a Marvel subscription to all Star Wars titles, and pursuing the variant covers. As the money went out, the questions from my wife came in: "Are you even reading them?" The truth was, no, I was not. Upon purchase, they were boarded, bagged and sealed. "They're an investment for our daughter's future," I'd reply - like a junkie deflecting the heart of the question.
I thought I'd be good with just that - a few titles and nothing more. But then, I caved to peer pressure. Even while the voice of sweet, little Nancy Reagan echoed "Just say no!" inside my head, my resistance was nil. As friends began gobbling up entire waves of Black Series 6" figures, I felt I needed in on the action. Then - then Disney released the Elite Series die cast metal figures. Dammit. The rabbit hole I fell down has just become the labyrinth in The Shining, and my heart is pounding.
The inner dialogue was nothing short of a Jedi vs. Sith grudge match. At one point, I realized it was becoming too much. Too much time, energy, and especially money. (I literally told my wife this was my midlife crisis, and we wouldn't need to worry about me buying a convertible or getting hair plugs). So, I decided to take a breath and focus. "If you could just pick one thing," I asked myself, "what would it be?" That became a dramatically challenging question to answer. Should I focus on a specific "thing" (i.e. the 6" Black Series), or a specific character, or a specific genre (i.e. comics), or maybe something else entirely?
Eventually, I settled - sort of - on a much more focused list. I decided to continue my comic collection (can't stop at this point, right!?), and focus on Captain Phasma figures. Oh, and some of the Elite Series - because there's zero chance of me passing up a die cast Darth Vader. I know, I know - it's still a pretty wide net, but at the very least, I can breathe a sigh of relief, and defend against the anxiety gorilla that rides piggyback whenever I'm strolling through the mall and pass by anything Star Wars related. Besides, this is only the first of six movies...I have to pace myself!
So...here's my review of my most recent Captain Phasma merch...
- Elite Series (Disney Store; Disneystore.com). Gorgeous figure from start to finish. She is simply flawless. I get some have been upset by the off-color screw heads in the majority of the Elite Series, but I could care less. (Some of this carefree attitude is probably because she stays in the sealed box and the screws are visible). The price for the die cast figures are $24.95, and seem exceptionally priced for the quality of the item. She's been hard to get, and there have been dirtbags trying to hock her on Amazon and eBay for 3x her retail price. Don't fall for it - Disney continues to restock, and when they do, she's usually available for a week, or so.
- Black Series (6-inch) ($19.99+/-)(Amazon, Target, TRU, etc.). Again, a well-rendered figure with tons of detail. If there was a gripe, it's that they could've produced a shiny chrome look, rather than the silver/gray she has. This would've been similar to the gold used for the original Kenner version of C3Po and the Death Star Droid. Could be that stuff from the '70s is highly toxic, to which I say so what?! Give me a chromed Phasma, and I'll risk it. Hell, I grew up drinking water out of a garden hose and riding in the bed of a pickup truck - what's a little toxic paint at this point in my life?!
- Epic Battles (12-inch; Disney/Hasbro)($14.99)(TRU Exclusive). Not as glamorous as the two above versions of Phasma, but more detailed than some of the other 12" figures within the Star Wars universe (e.g. some of the Rebels figures look exceptionally cheap). This is not the centerpiece of the Phasma Collection, but it's legit enough to make it onto the shelf, and it looks nice propped next to my Kenner 12-inch figures from back in the day.
What each of these versions of Phasma have is solid boxing. I'm a stickler for visual appeal, and have no problem not purchasing something if the packaging is crap. Each of these figures comes in a well-designed and visually appealing box, and for me, that's a huge plus since that's their home.
The question I'm working on know is to what extent is this Phasma-thing happening? There's the Pop Vinyl, the bobble head, and so many other variations that it's going to take some time to figure out what items separate me from being a collector, or a hoarder...
What are your secrets? How do you "just say no?" Or are you the person I long to be - the one who purchases everything they damn well please...?