Toys / Toy Collecting

Collecting Collectibles - Part One : Collectors


By Hervé St.Louis
December 25, 2005 - 23:58

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Transformers Comic Book
This series of articles will look at the world of collecting trough the world of comic books, film, video games, books and films. In these articles, I will attempt to identify and understand all the parts that make up this industry. The Comic Book Bin is the ideal place for this series of articles. Unlike other comic book sites, it has reaches beyond the core comic book interests and incorporates news and features about related industries, like film, games and action figures.

There are two main types of action figures and collectibles. The first are those that were created initially as collectibles, such as Transformers and G.I. Joes. The second ones are those derived from existing properties from games, film, television shows and comic books. Of the second set, in North America, the source origin of the collectibles has influenced greatly which specific audience it attracted.

Who Are They?

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Classic Star Trek Action Figures
Collectibles based on comic books and games often attract a demographic group different from movie and television-based properties. Although for many this entire group consists of males aged from 15 to 45, often single, with above average education and with disposable income, if one argued that they were the same type of person who also purchased train sets, one would see that this is wrong.

I do not have quantitative data to prove the propositions set in this article, so my arguments are based only on qualitative descriptions. Comic books, films and games attract audiences who enjoy being submerged in fantasies and universes created by writers and artists. The interests of fans vary to certain degrees, one could argue based on the commitment of the audience with its medium.

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For example, being a fan of Highlander and Star Trek is easier than being a fan of Street Fighter or the X-Men. Why, because playing Street Fighter games is not a passive activity. The participant is involved in the creation of his entertainment. He follows a few guidelines and goes from there. On the opposite, a fan of Stargate SGI has fewer commitment requirements because all he has to do is tune in every week to watch the show.

How Involved Are You?

In the same vein, collecting comic books is more involved than watching television because, one must go to a specialty retailer or order books from one. As comic books are build around episodic entertainment, its audience must renew and continue to actively monitor and collect products in order to remain entertained. In a sense, reading comic books can be seen as reading science fiction books. Not so.

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Charmed Action Figures
Reading science fiction and fantasy books require more time investments, but less periodic renewing of the entertainment. The closest to a book in the comic book world is a graphic novel. However, the money investment in science fiction and fantasy books is often less than when collecting graphic novels. Similarly collecting video games is more expensive than most other form of collecting, while being less frequent.

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Street Fighter Akuma
Video game collectors must also deal with platform issues, and game selections. The contents matter of video games are more varied than that of North American comic books, but also more than that of television and film properties that are translated into collectibles. Comic books are the second most diverse form of entertainment, while films and television shows with collectibles are often related to action, adventure, science fiction and fantasy. I don’t believe there are Melrose’s Place action figures.


Be More Involved, Buy More

Based on the medium the audience interacts with, one can infer that the more likely the involvement with the source material, the more likely the audience will be inclined to purchase collectible items based on the property. That is to say, fans who read X-Men comics are more likely to purchase X-Men action figures than fans who watch Charmed on television, even if they are in all likelihood, more people who watch Charmed than people who read X-Men comics.


Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 10:57

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