Plastic Crack - n. a term used by avid toy collectors in reference to the addictive nature of their action figure collection of choice and the desperate (often sad) lengths they will go to in order to get their fix.
The geek is a sad, sad creature. Case in point, the mad collector. Grown men will spend time, money and gas scouring every den of retail villainy in search of their next toy fix. A new figure, a rare variant, a coveted whole wave of figures… The possibilities are nearly endless. Some will go so low as to actually gain employ at a specialty toy store and pluck the choice figures from their cases for themselves and their friends before they ever make it to the shelves for the general customer (Mad props to K-Wack and Gigatoast for the hook-up. Thanks, fellas.).
And don’t think I’m pointing a finger and claiming to be somehow better than them, because I’m not. I have the same disease. I obsessed over the Wal-Mart exclusive Ares and Nemesis Marvel Legends waves (the former for over a year!). I went out of my way on the way home on my 90-minute commute from work to check Toys R Us stores for a Transformers Animated Arcee figure for months (and never found one, by the way). most recently, I spent an entire Saturday driving all over the state hitting up overstock stores like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s because I’d seen reports (and evidence) online that the incredibly hard to find Human Alliance Mudflap figure had been seen in a few of those stores around the country. Remember Mudflap? He’s the orange “twin” from Revenge of the Fallen. You know, one half the incredibly annoying jive-talking robots that made you cringe? Yeah, that guy. For the record, I don’t like Mudflap. He’s irritating and he sucked in the movie. Still, I have to have him. Why? Because i have the Human Alliance Skids figure, and what good is one without the other? They’re a set! Skids is equally terrible in the movie, so why do I have him? Because I have the awesome Human Alliance Bumblebee. And why do i have him? Mainly because I have the Leader class Optimus Prime. And why do I have him? Well… He’s made of concentrated excellence and is an engineering marvel. I’d have gotten him regardless.
The point is I’ve spent who knows how much time searching for a figure based on a character I don’t even like based solely upon other things that I have that i actually DO like. This thing feeds itself. What’s worse, there’s a weird thing in my brain that won’t let me get it on eBay because he’s really quite expensive, nevermind the money I’ve burned in gas hunting for it. And what happens when I get him? He’s going to go on a shelf with his plastic brethren. Sure, I’ll “play” with him in as much as I’ll take him down to transform him from time to time, but I’m passed the point of toy wars (mostly). Really, though, he’s going to come home, come out of the box, and then go on a shelf where he’ll stay indefinitely. The Marvel Legends figures and such get even less play time (from me, at least). They exist solely to be opened and put on display in as awesome a way as is possible. At least I open them. There are plenty of MIB collectors who buy stuff just to put it on a different shelf or peg still in the package.
And it will never stop. It will always be this way because plastic crack is a serious addiction. I KNOW I’ve got a problem, but I’m powerless to stop it. Luckily, I have a lady in my life to keep me from going too far over the deep end… and also a young one to train in the ways of my dark arts.