Greedo, Buzz Lightyear, and
Spider-Man Walk into the Batcave...
I'm not setting up a joke there. It's just what happens when toy lines collide.
During my sister's visit with her kids last summer we decided to drag some of my old stuff out of the basement. I had got my nephew Ishmael (real name classified) a Batman figure for his birthday — from the 2008 Dark Knight movie line, I think, but I was happy to find one in the character's traditional gray-&-black motif rather than the all-black seen in the films. He told me that he "really, really wished" for a Batmobile and he thought that we could find one. Aware that I didn't have a Batmobile per se but having already discussed with my sister giving him some of my Kenner Star Wars figures, I decided to quite literally dust off a couple of great Mego items for him, the Batcave playset and what was officially called the Mobile Bat Lab but I liked to call the Batvan.
I still haven't gifted Ishmael with all the bounty contained in my Darth Vader carrying case. None of my Star Wars figures except a Yoda are still in their packaging, but all date to the respective releases of the original Star Wars trilogy and presumably are of a vintage that, even used, commands some coin. I love seeing Ishmael play with my childhood toys, especially since he looks so much like me, but if the figures can be sold off, buying newer ones for him with money left over, he won't know the difference. So we just have to find the utility value (if I remember my economics class right) of the weird joy that seeing him with my old stuff gives us all versus what that old stuff might bring in going to collectors and, like I said, spending that money on equivalent toys for Ishmael plus more in the pocket.
(Anyone with knowledge of Star Wars collectibles is not only welcome but encouraged to pipe up in the comments for where besides current EBay listings I might be able to gauge the figures' going rates.)
There was at least one extra Greedo to spare from the days of redundant birthday gifts, however. I ended up grabbing Chewbacca, too, and, what the heck, my Millennium Falcon — at least as dinged up since 1977 as the one Han Solo won from Lando Calrissian a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. It was hilarious seeing Ishmael's motley assortment of action figures in the Falcon, the Batvan, and the Batcave playset (which I should get a more complete picture of next time it's unpacked). In the photo way above, you can see Batman standing guard while the Hulk apparently does some work on the vehicle (sadly, actually missing a wheel), possibly the reason the fire truck is there; Spider-Man in his black costume, the root of the Venom character who so fascinates Ishmael, and Zurg, arch-enemy of Buzz Lightyear, lay exhausted by the Bat-Signal. Other figures including the Star Wars duo, Buzz Lightyear himself, and at least one other Spider-Man are either in the Batcave or the Batvan.
I remember getting the Mobile Bat Lab at just about the same age as Ishmael was when he got it from me, which a discovery of its 1975 release online bears out. And even then I was a purist. One if not both of my parents convinced me to go ahead and put on all the stickers, even the ones that read "zap" and "bang" and "pow" — sound effects, courtesy as much the ever-popular TV show as the comics, that I argued wouldn't really appear on the Batvan. I had the same reaction, as I've since found many other former geek kids did, to Halloween costumes and Underoos that substituted a picture of a superhero for a replica of that superhero's actual outfit. The Hulk doesn't wear shirts, granted, at least not old-school, pure-id Hulk, but you get around that by using a green top to continue the illusion rather than a shirt with a picture of the Hulk on it. Hulk smash puny, stupid grown-up marketing man!
Photos © 2012 Brian Saner Lamken, featuring elements TM/® DC, Lucasfilm, Marvel, et al.