So I wanted to post up an article I'd been working on (mostly off, lol) for ~ 1 year. Realizing that's an EXTREMELY long amount of time for a singular article, I kept rewriting it in order to get it to portray what I actually wanted to portray. The result is what you'll see below.
The goal is to bring more attention to, and to drive more interest in, what is a (relatively) niche market. I.E. There are people spending money for comics, comic collectibles, collectible memorabilia, basically anything nostalgic, however they, like my former self, have no ideas that comic statues are a thing. They have no idea how relatively inexpensive some are (Bowen Busts/garage kits), how detailed they can be (XM, Sideshow, digi-sculpts) and how broad the character range is (BD stuff anyone?), which is a travesty. So I'd approached a friend who runs the website www.tmstash.com and thus the article began. As luck would have it, my completion of the article recently is going to line up well with them beginning a new series on alternative comic collectibles.
The article itself is an attempt to capture the early days of statue collecting and encapsulate what it means to some of us. This would be the first of 2 or 3 articles on my collection alone. The goal would be to follow that article with one on various statue company offerings and the niches they fit into, then eventually move into sculptor interviews. I feel that if people could get a look at how guys like RB (if he stops being a recluse, lol), McDevitt, the Shiflett brothers, etc, approached character portrayals, why they like the sculpting medium, favorite comic eras, it'd probably generate more interest as well. Most of the guys are pretty good dudes, so that helps too.
So without further ado!
The Beginning of the end...of excess income.
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Man, I just don’t have enough comic book stuff in my life.” No? Consider yourself lucky. That realization for me was something that was very disheartening when it occurred. Sure, I had my DVD / Bluray collection filled with Blade, Batman (Michael Keaton and Christian Bale anyway), Spiderman, X-Men, and of course all the new Marvel Studios stuff. I had my old comic book collection ferreted away in the corners and closets of my house, polybagged and well loved. However, at the moment of this realization I looked around and realized: my house and preoccupations had been filled with “adult stuff.” Gone were the homages to the heroes of my childhood and teen years, in were the cabinets, family pictures and normal trendy decor. Sure, quarterly I seemed to be compelled to swing into the local comic shops for one reason or another, and look for new books that struck my fancy. Normally a compilation or a cool cover would catch my eye, but nothing I saw that felt like a game changer. That thing I’d see and think: “I want THAT in my living room!” That is, until March of 2015...
I was in Atlanta on a training trip (I fight professionally on the side), and I saw a comic shop driving home from the gym and thought, “Why not?” One U-turn later I walked in, soon to make a decision that would drastically change my hobby trajectory. After checking the inventory for my regular fare (Pitt comics, Darkness or Hulk compilations, anything that harkens back to my 90s comic heyday), something on one of the upper shelves stood out. It was a roughly 9” tall immaculately sculpted image from my youth. Muscular and imposing, with his hands above his head ready to break a Bat. Now, I’ve seen TONS of comic statues before, but never had I looked at one and thought “Damn...I want that!” Until then. A little background on me and my wheelhouse: I may not be up to date on the current happenings, but I looooove the 80s-90s comic universe. Infinity Gauntlet / Wars? Check. Superman dead? Committed to memory. Wolverine de-adamantiumed? Still tears me up. Batman Knightfall? You better believe it. So as you can imagine, as I stared at it, I wanted it: the Kelley Jones Black and White Bane in the backbreaker pose. (INSET PICTURE HERE) I consulted my girlfriend to get her buy-in, ensuring she knew it was going to be placed on display in a high-traffic area of the house, and she authorized the purchase. I checked eBay, the price was good. A quick swipe of the card, and I was now the proud owner. The addiction had officially started.
Now a word of advice to all readers out there who are thinking “Wow, that’s pretty cool, maybe I’ll look into statues.” Before your read any further ask yourself, “Do I have an addictive personality?” If the answer is “No,” then proceed, you probably have enough self control. If you answered “yes,” however, do not read any further and forget that comic statues even exist. I’m serious here, because reading further is about to get dangerous to both you and your fiscal liquidity. As you can likely surmise, I’m speaking from a position of experience.
Upon returning home from Atlanta and the business trip that followed, I eagerly unpacked the statue and proudly placed it on top of my fireplace mantle. Then a thought entered my head, “Well, I can’t leave it at just this one right?”, so I promptly began researching. For the record, researching was far more difficult than I ever could’ve imagined - the world of pop culture collectibles had drastically changed: statues were EVERYWHERE. Think about it like heading online to learn what the Infinity Gauntlet saga was all about, but not knowing its name nor having any clue there was a difference between Marvel and DC, and you wouldn’t be too far off the mark from what I felt. Fortunately, I was eventually able to stumble across a few forums (www.statuemarvels.com and www.statueforum.com ) and from there my knowledge base started to evolved, as did my insatiable desire to build my collection. I had a fever, and the only prescription was more statues…
Now the funny part about starting any kind of collecting is that in the early stages of the quest anything fills you with that kid on Christmas ecstasy. I was no different, so needless to say as I was evaluating my early “wants” I basically faced a wall and pulled the trigger...of a shotgun. As a result, soon Bane had Marvel friends. By the end of April, Faux Bronze Venom, Deadpool and Daredevil had joined Bane on the mantle. This was the first of the many pitfalls I fell into, unfocused collection…$#!&!
In my defense I had a display plan to pair each statue I acquired with a print, but I didn’t really have a plan of what characters I wanted to collect. I liked the more classic style in ⅙ scale and I knew I wanted to stick with Marvel. This at least narrowed my search to Bowen Designs as a manufacturer (more on this in a later article) so at least I had a manufacturer to narrow my search down to about 300 different options... That was unfortunately as narrow as I got in my early planning. As such, if I loved the character as kid, I was searching for the right Bowen version to procure. The year prior at Wizard Con in St. Louis I’d bought comic prints and displayed them on my wall: Bane, Venom and Thanos to be exact. So logically when the statue fire hit me, I needed to get Thanos. I also had to get appropriate prints to go with Deadpool and Daredevil. $#!&, I had some work to do! That was how the slippery slope started.
Now before you judge my immaturity and poor self control, I don’t go out and party, I don’t buy lots of clothes, I really don’t even have many expenses beyond “grown up stuff” like house payments, so it’s not like I was hemorrhaging money or outspending my abilities. Further exacerbating the fervor of my early collecting days was the fact that the timing lined up perfectly with the completion of my taxes, so I had a nice return scorching a hole in my already thinly protected pocket. That was what funded Bane’s early friends (Venom, Deadpool, Daredevil) and suddenly the fireplace started looking a bit more cluttered. Not only that, but displaying huge Venom and Bane prints, soon to be followed by Deadpool and Daredevil, then Thanos and Hulk was starting to get a bit cluttered. Looking at the fledgling collection, I decided that I needed focus and...a plan.
Nice! My experience was similar in that I didn't care about statues either but then I saw a Daredevil in a store and that was it. I was fairly selective in the beginning but kept expanding my ground rules.
I too am looking forward to reading what else you will detail about the hobby.