Welcome back to Collector Spotlight - a regularly irregular interview with a fellow Mezco collector where we take a deep dive into the inner workings of their brain and gawk at the geeky-goodness on their shelves!
In this volume of Collector Spotlight, we're crossing the border to Canada where we join Jason (@jasonbmichael), who reveals his well-organized collection of articulation, eh!
Scroll on and get to know Jason, and take a closer look at what's occupying his shelf space in the Great White North! 🍁
Q: Is there a particular focus on themes or types of toys in your collecting endeavors?
A: I want to preface this article by saying that I cannot show my collection in its entirety because many items are in storage. As a result, I’m going to show what I have on display at home.
Now, to answer the question, while I still enjoy comic book-related action figures, I’ve recently noticed that because my core interests are in cinema and pulp/serial-related characters my focus has slowly shifted toward those figures. Case in point, I’m looking forward to the Dick Tracy figures as well as The Shadow. Although not entirely pulp (he appeared in 1982), but based on early 30s serials, I’d love to see The Rocketeer show up in the One:12 Collective.
Q: What sparked your interest in toy photography?
A: I got into toy photography after seeing the work of Sgt. Bananas and Hot Kenobi. I really liked how they brought toys to life and because I was looking for a new hobby and had a bunch of toys lying around, I figured I could give it a shot.
Q: When did your collecting journey kick off, and which figure do you remember pursuing first?
A: I’ve been collecting many types of things since I was very young. Be it comic books, sports cards, or toys, to the point where it seems to border on hoarding 😂. I’ve slowly started to whittle down to what I actually enjoy though. The first figure I actively sought out was my 1988 TMNT 10 back Leonardo with Fan Club sheet. I was lucky to find him a few years back at a decent price. I met Kevin Eastman in 2022 and had it signed.
Q: Imagine being stranded on a desert island, and you're allowed only one toy from your collection. Which one would you choose?
A: If I were stranded on a desert island, I’d love to have my 1983 puppet Yoda with me. I’ve seen Cast Away, and as a result, I’ll need someone with whom to speak. Yoda is wise and will help me get through that tough situation.
Q: How has your outlook on collecting toys changed throughout the years? Have there been any significant insights or lessons you've acquired along the way?
A: I don’t mind sharing this because it might help someone else. I’ve been seeing a therapist for the last 4 months and I’ve talked about my collecting habits with them, among other things. They’ve helped me deal with FOMO quite a bit. It took me a while to realize that collecting isn’t as fun an endeavor as it used to be; that it’s rather stressful and occasionally guilt-ridden. Most of the time the reason I buy a figure isn’t because I really want it, but rather that I want to fit into the larger toy community, to stay relevant of sorts. What I’ve done recently is assess whether or not I really need/want a figure by sleeping on my decision. It’s so easy to get caught up in a lot of the hype especially when you have people you follow just collecting everything; it’s impossible to keep up. I was also tired of just throwing my money away on figures I’d photograph only once. Anyhow, that’s how my toy collecting has evolved. I’m slowly becoming content with missing out.
Q: Which toy in your collection do you believe would most thrill your younger self?
A: My childhood self would like all the Batman and Wolverine figures I now own. Those characters are the ones whose stories I enjoyed reading in comics.
Q: Are there specific events or milestones in your life related to toys that hold special meaning for you?
A: There are a few milestones that stand out for me. The first is winning the toy photo contest hosted by Mezco Toyz back on July 24, 2020. Getting first place led to many working opportunities with Mezco and other brands. I think the best memory, though, is the 2022 Montreal Comic-Con. I was selling prints at the convention, but nothing could prepare me for the response I received. People knew who I was, wanted to take selfies with me, they had my photos as wallpapers on their phones; I had multiple conversations about my work and how it had touched so many of the individuals who dropped by to see me in person. I sold out of prints on the second day. A truly mind-blowing experience.
Q: If your collection of toys could suddenly spring to life, which one do you believe would embody the most mischievous or adventurous spirit?
A: If my toy collection could come to life, and I hope they do not … I think my Jack Torrance figure would be the most stressful to have around … For anyone who’s seen The Shining, you know why …
Q: Who is your favorite superhero?
A: My favorite superhero has to be Batman. I don’t really know why I like that character so much, but I do know it has something to do with Mego Batman being the first toy I have memories of playing with as a very young boy. I also love his rogues gallery; Joker being a wonderful character and foil for Batman.
Q: Which part of the photography process do you enjoy the most?
A: I don’t have a favorite aspect of the process. I just enjoy the process in its entirety and the meditative and creative qualities I benefit from while I’m photographing.
Q: What aspect of being a collector do you enjoy the most?
A: I don’t have a favorite aspect of being a collector. I just enjoy seeing action figures in my everyday life.
Q: Do you have any guidance you'd like to share with newcomers to the world of collecting?
A: My advice to new collectors is not to get caught up in FOMO. Be selective and enjoy what you have.