Clash of the Toy Lines
I dragged some old stuff out of the basement during my sister’s visit with her kids last summer.
My nephew Ishmael (real name classified) had gotten a Batman figure for his birthday — I believe from the 2008 Dark Knight movie line, although I was happy to find one with a gray-&-black motif rather than the solid black seen in the films. He told me that he “really, really wished” for a Batmobile and he thought that we could find one. Aware that no Batmobile per se was in my stash but having discussed with my sister giving him my Kenner Star Wars figures, I decided to literally dust off a couple of great Mego items for him: the Batcave playset and what was officially titled the Mobile Bat Lab; I liked to call it the Batvan.
I still haven’t gifted Ishmael with all the bounty contained in my Darth Vader storage case. None of my Star Wars figures except a Yoda are still in their packaging, but all date to the respective releases of the original Star Wars trilogy and presumably are of a vintage that, even used, commands a bit of coin. I love seeing Ishmael play with my childhood toys, especially since he looks so much like me, but if the figures can be sold off and newer ones bought for him with money left over he won’t know the difference. So we just have to find the utility value, if I remember my economics class right, of the weird joy that seeing him with my old stuff gives us all versus what that old stuff might bring in going to collectors and, like I said, spending that money on equivalent toys for Ishmael.
Anyone with knowledge of Star Wars collectibles is welcome but encouraged to pipe up in the comments for where besides current EBay listings I might be able to gauge the figures’ going rates.
There was an extra Greedo. I ended up grabbing a Chewbacca figure, too, plus the Millennium Falcon, at least as beat up now as the one Han Solo won from Lando Calrissian a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. It was amusing to see Ishmael’s motley assortment of action figures in the Falcon, the Batvan, and the Batcave playset (which merits a more complete picture taken of it next time it’s unpacked). In the photo way above, you can see Batman standing guard while the Hulk apparently does some auto repair, possibly the reason the fire truck is there; Spider-Man in his black costume, the root of the Venom character who so fascinates Ishmael, and Zurg, arch-enemy of Buzz Lightyear, lay exhausted by the Bat-Signal. Other figures including the Star Wars duo, Buzz Lightyear himself, and at least one other Spider-Man are in either the Batcave or the Batvan.
I recall getting the Mobile Bat Lab at just about the age Ishmael was last summer,
which a discovery of its 1975 release online bears out. And even then I was a purist. My parents convinced me to put on all the stickers, even the ones of sound effects — no doubt courtesy as much the camp TV phenomenon as the comics — that I argued wouldn’t really appear on the vehicle. I had the same reaction, as I’ve since found many other former geek kids did, to Halloween costumes and Underoos that substituted a picture of a superhero for a replica of that superhero’s actual outfit. The Hulk doesn’t wear shirts, granted, at least not old-school, pure-id Hulk, but you get around that by using a green top to continue the illusion rather than a shirt with a picture of the Hulk on it. Hulk smash puny, stupid grown-up marketing man!
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