I’ve come across a few fanatical collectors of Spider-man memorabilia and I’ll confess that I’m nowhere on their radar, hell, not even in the same hemisphere. Yet, I still feel like a crazed collector even though I’ve spent maybe a few hundred dollars on my collection, where others have spent tens of thousands. That sounds more like a small gathering of items rather than a collection, but I disagree. I would wager that my little group of Spidey collectibles has the same effect on me as another person’s large collection would have on them; it makes me happy, is a very pleasing thing to look at and it has meaning to me.
Aside from the obvious reason that the fictional superhero is just badass, there is the notion that many readers of Spider-man connected with Peter Parker, the guy under the mask. Here was a kid that had all the same problems we had; acne, couldn’t connect with girls very well, a loner, B.O., awkward…all the stuff that adolescent males deal with was right there on the page. While I’m quite certain this was likely one of the reasons that I connected with Spidey, it wasn’t the main reason.
When I was a kid I had a minor reading disability. Well, now I think it was a minor problem, but then it was a whole other story. I couldn’t read more than one or two words at a time. So, where some kids were scanning whole paragraphs and flying through their reading assignments, I was jerkily crawling along. I dreaded oral reading, when each kid the class would read a sentence or paragraph out loud. I was terrible at it unless I figured out which sentence or paragraph I was meant to read, then I’d go over it as many times as I could and sound so smooth and polished when my turn came. Reading was awful, it was a chore; I hated reading.
My parents were pretty smart and felt that reading anything was better than nothing so, they supplied me with comic books. My favourite being, you guessed it, Spider-man. If not for Stan Lee I never would have understood reading for enjoyment or possibly reading at all. I recently wrote a thank you letter to Mr. Lee for his part in my reading happiness. Not that it’ll mean much to him, probably receives thousands of letters a week. Still, it made me feel good.
So many moons later and I still get a thrill when I pick up a new piece to the collection. For those interested in starting their own collection of Spidey goodies, point yourself to the nearest dollar store. You’ll be amazed at what you can pick up for a buck or two. Items that I’ve purchased, often for one dollar, go for much more online. I’m not suggesting that you go to the dollar stores and pick up items that you can sell for more on Ebay. Far from that. I’m telling you to keep those items, open them up and display them. Hell, you want to keep them packaged to leave them to the kids, go ahead. But, keep them. Enjoy them.
Dollar stores aren’t the only place to hunt down treasures. I visited a local Party Packagers store and picked up a Spider-man Marvel Legends (Sentinel Series) for $8.50. I found an Ebay listing for the exact same figure, mint in box, for US $50.
I love my collectibles and don’t see myself ever selling them, though I have given stuff away. You can blame my mom for that; she really was right when she said it was far better to give then receive. I enjoy the feeling of random acts of kindness (RAOK). That’s just part of the experience of collecting Spider-man memorabilia or any kind of collectible for that matter. I encourage you to join in the fun by visiting Spider-man sites, toy sites and other collecting sites. Heck, get out to a toy show, you’ll love it! You meet some very interesting folks with similar interests – face to face, too!
What’s So Cool?
I’m often asked what my favourite piece is from my collection. That is so difficult to answer since I love them all, but when pushed I come up with these three items:
A wrestling mask my wife brought back for me from Mexico.
A crocheted blanket in the shape of a spider web that a good friend made for me.
A plastic head used at retail stores to hold bubblegum that my mom got for me from a local variety store.There are countless items to collect in the world of Spider-man and countless more in so many other areas. Get out there, enjoy yourself and do a little collectible hunting face to face – you’ll be glad you did.
Here's a few more photos of items I've collected over the years.