Man and the Iron Can
Why are collectibles so much cooler today?
All we had in the old days were the Slurpee™
was back in the day when you could get a whole month’s
worth of comics off the giant spinner rack at the 7-11.
Well, it was giant to me because I was 8 years old, and
everything looked gigantic to me, but you know what I’m
talking about. About $5 would get an armload of comics,
and if I got really good grades on my report card, my dad
would spring for the Slurpee so I could get that week’s
then, it was the only other thing you could get with a super-hero
on it that wasn’t a printed comic book. I remember
the summer when I was 10 years old, I had a collection of
cups that was considered epic, if we had used “epic”
as a descriptor back then. I had all the icons like Superman,
Batman, Wonder Woman (although I never used that one --
I let my sisters, though), and they even made a set for
the Legion of Super Heroes.
then, you didn’t have your choice of flavors, so if
you wanted the cup, you had to take whatever flavor they
had in the machine that day. I loved the cherry and the
banana Slurpees, but every so often they’d have a
cup I REALLY wanted -- like the Neal Adams version of Superman
breaking the chain across his chest -- but they’d
only be serving Cola flavor that day.
this was the worst tasting Slurpee ever created, but I’d
drink it anyway, because my dad grew up in the depression
eating soap for dinner, so no consumable we ever bought
could be allowed to go to waste.
days, however, I defy you to try and escape the comics collectibles.
It’s gratifying that all my childhood heroes are now
considered mainstream, but it’s still a bit annoying.
I bought a 12-pack of Dr. Pepper the other day, and got
a cool collection of Iron Man cans, and the look of Iron
Man’s helmet on a shiny metal can is way cooler than
the cheap ink they used on the Slurpee cups. Heck, I even
had to hand wash my old cups because the dishwasher would
have stripped the ink right off them.
you don’t have to hunt all over the place for collectibles,
either. Today, there are Web sites like Things From Another
World (www.tfaw.com) that carry every kind of collectible
you can imagine, from statues to stickers to posters to
paintings to skins for your laptop and even meticulously
created action figures.
the Mego action figures from when I was a kid -- cheap hollow
plastic connected by the rubber band on the inside. But
they were hard to find, since no one really thought action
figures -- “dolls for boys” is what my dad called
them -- would be very popular. So, when I’d find them
in the odd place, like an airport gift shop or a street
vendor, I’d pledge to clean the table for a week to
get my parents to snatch them up.
they were crap, really. But it was the only crap we could
get, so we bought them and played with them until the rubber
you can get comics collectibles at Burger King, McDonald’s
and even Subway from time to time. I had to resist getting
the kid’s meal at Taco Bell last week, because I didn’t
feel like explaining away the Green Lantern poster that
came with it to my office mates.
for those of you just getting in on the amazing wave of
collectibles coming your way from Iron Man 2 and
all the other comics movies on the way, take heart. You
live in a platinum age of collectibles, and you should bask
in your geekitude, because back when I was a kid, all we
had was the Slurpee.
by the way, comes in an Iron Man, a War Machine or a Black
Widow cup this week while supplies last. I’ll take
a cherry, thank you.
Panaccio, Senior Campaign Strategist for EMSI Public Relations
, is a 25-year veteran writer, marketer and producer in
the entertainment industry, having worked with luminaries
such as William Shatner, Stan Lee and Michael Uslan. He
has been a journalist and a senior executive with several
of the world’s largest PR firms, and first befriended
Fanboy Planet as a managing director at CrossGen Comics.