Spider-Man never runs. Batman never smiles. Iron man never drinks. And comic book collectors rarely stop grinning at the stacks of “cool” issue #1s they just bought for pennies on the dollar. They can provide plenty of entertainment, 24/7.
I guess one of the biggest questions that may be going through your mind is “Why Even Collect Comic Books and Figures?”
First and foremost, many people have and avid interest in reading comic books. They can stimulate the hearts and imagination of the soul with a visually descriptive, emotional interaction with the reader. Go where no man has gone before. Hey, where have I heard that before? The mind can conjure up worlds of imagination and adventure. Comic books can provide the road map to these unknown destinations.
Bottom line is that most successful comic book collection owners engage in the hobby because they truly enjoy collecting and reading comic books.
Onslaught: So, when did you start this “little” collection of yours?
Adam Creighton: It all began back in 1999, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was in the cinemas and I had just started my first job. Some friends of mine at the time were buying the Episode One toys, and being easily led I was also collecting them (Yes, I had a Jar Jar Binks figure, I was young I was foolish and eventually I burnt him to a black plasticy puddle…) The more Star Wars figures I bought, the less satisfied I was with them, I would buy them and they would sit in the packaging taking up space in my room. Then, one day after school, I was browsing the toy aisle in Woolworths (sad, sad day when Woolies closed, it was the only shop in town selling toys) and stumbled upon the Transformers section.
There was a sale on so I bought a Beast Wars Transmetal Megatron. There was something irresistable about a metal dinosaur that turned into a robot, a metal dinosaur who’s feet could turn into rollar skates, a metal dinosaur who had turbines on it’s body that lets it fly (the toy couldn’t fly which was a shame, one day technology will catch up with my imagination). So I stopped collecting Star Wars toys, compared to the Beast Wars toys, they were boring. My Beast Wars collection grew at a rapid rate, I was amazed by how every figure was different, how complex and satisfying the transformations were and how accurate they were to their TV counterparts. It was around this time I made friends with a guy called James, who was also into Transformers. He had a much larger collection than me and had a lot of the older vehicle based figures from the 1980’s (I was a Thundercat and Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles fan growing up, so Transformers passed me by). He also had a few model kits called ‘Gundams’ from a Japanese anime with the same name. He let me have one of his smaller unbuilt model kits in exchange for a transformer. Admitidelly, back then I wasn’t into model building, I have no patience when it comes to waiting for glue to dry, or painting things that require a lot of detail. But here were model kits that required no glue, no painting. Snap together, pre-coloured kits that made a highly detailed robot, how could I resist.
Onslaught: Do you find it difficult to get some of the items that are US only?
Adam Creighton: The vast majority of the things I buy come from Japan. Because I buy from specialised model/toy sites I can quite easily order new and upcoming lines. Bandai frequently re-release their Gundam model kits so theres never really any rush to get things on their day of release. As for Transformers, the UK has been really neglected by Hasbro the last few years, a lot of figures released in the US never make it over here. So that means turning to ebay or one of the uk based online import stores, who import US toys and sell them at a much higher price than if they were released in the UK (and rightfully so, these guys have to make a profit) So a toy costing a tenner in the uk could cost double that if I go for US exclusives, which I can rarely afford too these days. So I tend to be more selective these days, I no longer go for every figure in a line.
Adam Creighton: The nearest comic book store is fifteen minutes away by train, and half the building is dedicated to all things Twilight…shudder. I try to go there at least once a month, but they don’t carry anywhere near as much as they used to. And let’s be honest here, shopping online is nearly always cheaper these days. Comic wise I mostly stick to trade paperbacks/collected editions, which can be nearly half the price online compared to a comic shop. But I do try to spend some money at the comic shop, I still enjoy ‘the hunt’, browsing shelves for hidden gems, making impulse buys. I miss the days when all my income was disposable.
Onslaught: What’s the piece that has the more value to you?
Adam Creighton: Once a collection gets into the hundreds, its difficult to choose a favorite, my affections change depending on what I’ve been watching or building. My pride and joy of my Gundam collection at the moment is my Perfect Grade Gundam 00-Raiser. Certainly the most expensive model kit I’ve bought over the years (the economy going arse over tit didn’t help). It’s a large, highly detailed model of my favorite Gundam from the most recent tv series. One of the things that makes it special are the clear armour parts that show off the inner detail, I waited half a year to complete it and it was worth the wait ( and the three hundred quid it eventually cost me)
As for Transformers, the best thing to happen to the franchise recently , in my opinion, was the Animated series and toyline. And Hasbro cancelled the line before they released the final few figures. Which included an Arcee that transforms into a car, which fans have been waiting years for. Thankfully, Hasbro decided to release her, as a US Toysrus exclusive… Which, for a time, I could only find on ebay, for forty to fifty quid, which is ridiculous for a figure that should cost a tenner. Eventually she appeared on amazon for twenty quid, I had to add her to my collection and that was the cheapest I had seen her go for. She’s a fantastic figure and a great addition to the collection
Onslaught: In terms of comic books, are you following anything at the moment?
Adam Creighton: Plenty of things, the vast majority I collect in trade paperbacks, easier to store on the bookshelf and cheaper than buying single issues. In the Marvel Universe I’ve been following most of Bendis’ work on the Avengers, which in turn lead me to buying the recent runs on Captain America, Iron Man and Thor books.
Onslaught: So you are a Bendis fan? Most people have mixed feelings about his work…
Adam Creighton: Yeah i know! As much as I love Bendis’ work, I feel the weakest aspect of his writing is giving individual characters their own voices, especially the big trinity of Cap, Thor and Iron Man. My biggest obsession in the DC Universe at the moment are the Green Lantern books, from Rebirth onwards. Geoff Johns is a genius, I’ve loved following the revelation of the other lantern corps and its all come together perfectly for Blackest Night. It’s brilliant seeing the DC Universe isn’t limited to whats happening on Earth. I pick up the occassional Transformers comic, it’s not been the same since Simon Furman left as its head writer, the comics now are limited to the Earth, which makes it feel like the original cartoon, which is a huge disappointment after the universe spanning masterpiece Furman was aiming for.
Adam Creighton: Vertigo’s Fables has kept me hooked for nearly 100 issues, the idea of story book characters existing in our world is still compelling. Love the characters, love the unpredictabilty, it’s a series that rarely maintains the status quo. Robert Kirkmans Walking Dead is a stunning read, no character is safe from the zombie hoards, or from other human beings. Similar to Fables, you can never predict what’s going to happen next.
Onslaught: Is that an issue of “The Boys”? That has to be my favourite at the moment! It would be quite interesting to meet Mr. Ennis!
Adam Creighton: The Boys, wrong on so many levels, has super heros but is nothing like any superhero book out there. Classic Garth Ennis (he’s a sick, sick man).
Onslaught: Over the years, is there any storylines that you enjoyed most? What about the worst?
Adam Creighton: I’ve read every book on my shelf at least half a dozen times, I try to read series like The Sandman and Preacher at least once a year if not more. Same goes for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Watchmen, these books are, in my opinion perfect and show that the comic industry isn’t just limited to superheroes. I also enjoy other/alternate universe stories like Universe X and Marvel 1602, taking established characters and doing something different with them. I’ve slowly been building my Batman collection over the last few years, from Knightfall onwards.
Onslaught: Good old Bruce, what do you think about the recent runs?
Adam Creighton: It’s been interesting to see Batman slowly distancing himself from his allies as his mission to keep Gotham safe gets increasingly difficult, leading him to make some huge mistakes. People seem to think Batman is this flawless being but its interesting to see how many of the problems are caused directly or indirectly by himself. I’ve followed all the big Marvel events the last few years, things like Secret Invasion and Siege, which in my opinion are always the weakest thing about these big crossover events. It’s what happens afterwards that interests me the most. While I enjoyed a lot of Civil War, the central series annoyed me in its inconsistent characterisation and over reliance on huge battles (which is also a problem on things like Siege).
Adam Creighton: The really compelling stuff was in the individual character books, Iron Man becoming head of Shield and loosing friends because of his decisions, Buck Barnes taking over the mantel of Captain America. In a strange way I’m sad to see the ‘Darker’ side of the Marvel Universe gone to make way for the Heroic Age, it’s strangely interesting seeing it fractured, friends fighting friends, underground groups of characters just trying to survive. I have faith in Bendis, he’s done us proud this last decade.
If you want to get in touch with Adam, you can email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Onslaught Signing out!