Any movie or pop culture enthusiast has had their share of action figures through the years and they are relatively easy to come by especially if it’s a licensed item. Just go to a big box retailer, Amazon, or even Hot Topic to get your nerd on.
But what if you really want an effigy of something that isn’t massed produced in plastic. Or if there is, it’s not really “true” to the character or thing you feel it’s supposed to represent?
If you’re like some people, you make it yourself. But is that the same thing, or is it even as valuable? Surprisingly yes.
A recent New York Times article explores the question of “Bootleg” toys and their sentimental and monetary values.
The article introduces us to Aaron Moreno an avid movie buff and collector who just wanted a figurine of a Critters alien furball or a something out of Creepshow, there wasn’t anything available at the time so he went ahead and made them himself.
Since packaging is also a part of the collectible experience Mr. Moreno sought out an artist friend to do that part of it and began selling them online to hungry collectors who bought each and every last one, sometimes selling out in only a few minutes.
To be clear these aren’t the same types of toys sold through popular companies such as NECA or McFarlane Toys. No, these are considered artisanal where the artists often take pieces from other renderings and make them into something much more personal.
Buyers are at the ready too, take for instance our cover picture made by Dan Polydoris of Deathbytoys.com. Yes, that’s packaged fog from John Carpenter’s 1980 classic The Fog. And yes, people bought it.
“It’s a joke,” Mr. Polydoris said of his cotton creations. “It’s just garbage taped to other garbage.”
That trash turned out to be a lot of people’s treasure; 100 credit card commandos shelled out $30 each for the exclusive.
You’d think the people who created the original property would be pissed, but rarely has there been a cease and desist order from a copyright lawyer to stop them.
Peter Goral, 33, makes a comfortable living off of his merchandise which he began to create back in 2007. “With a lot of the guys who collect and do this, it’s all deeply rooted in their childhoods,” he says.
These homemade figures have infiltrated television too. Adam F. Goldberg, creator of the pop culture and easter egg heavy “The Goldbergs” collects them and hides them in his show.
“I look at them as pieces of art,” Goldberg said of his bootleg horde. “I don’t collect art. This is what I collect instead.”