Thursday, August 28, 2008

Taking Collecting to a Whole New Level

I'm a collector. I like having things. Legos, action figures, glasses, statuettes, prop replicas, trading cards--there's all sorts of things that fall into my purview of "stuff I want."

Ultimately, it's an aspect of being a fan. No matter the fandom, there's collectibles attached to it. And if there's not collectibles attached to it, then that means it's solely a literary work (there's just no love for the book-fans).

That said, I fear that this urge to get stuff related to our beloved fandom has extending out past the insane and have taken us squarely into the "what are people thinking??" realm.

Need proof? Then go take a look at this article regarding collecting on I'll wait.

Back? Did you read it all?


Interesting huh? That's the Official Star Wars site, endorsing people to basically create a brand new branch of Star Wars collecting. Consider this paragraph:

But collecting Star Wars theatrical tickets is just the beginning. Star Wars has offered all sorts of extracurricular activities throughout the past -- countless conventions, scores of concerts, theme park rides, and museum exhibits around the world. Tickets to these events make fascinating mementos for fans to take away, and can also be conveniently displayed in frames or scrapbooks.

Recently, sports fans and rock-and-roll enthusiasts have started paying attention to the actual tickets purchased at specific games or concerts, since they represent a significant event in the career of a player or artist. With Star Wars firmly meshed into our social fabric, all events associated with it may become historically relevant to anyone studying the effects and influence of this iconic saga on modern culture.

Trading card collectors appear to be the forward thinkers in this relatively new hobby for Star Wars fans, which seems a natural extension to that veteran category of Star Wars collecting. Tickets, like trading cards, are traditionally small, printed on cardstock or paper, and feature a unique item of information, be it text or imagery. But tickets can appeal to other Star Wars collectors as well, such as those interested in theater-related paraphernalia or cast and crew items.

He's basically creating a guide book to this entire new branch of collecting. It's an incredibly meta-mind bending prospect. Collecting began because of love for a franchise. Geeks, the world over, saw the toys and other things and said "I must have this, because I love XYZ so much." Yet here, we have the company responsible for producing this cacophony of junk, telling us, hey, look at these things that you've not been collecting, start buying it.

Now, you might be wondering why this is such a big deal. After all, Lucas Film Licensing doesn't produce these items. They're not out there creating the actual tickets that you get when you went to see Star Wars at the theater.

Yet, it's not just about the actual items being collected. There's an entire industry built up around collectibles. Things such as guidebooks, displays, and even price guides. Not to mention the secondary markets such as eBay and collectible shops.

This is big business, and here's LFL once again telling the fans: we don't really care about you, all we want is your money, and we're not above using your collecting habits in order to separate you from it.

For other examples, see the Galactic Heroes line of figures for preschoolers. They routinely release new figures in double packs with older figures. That's torture on money-conscious collectors, especially those who want to be completists, even if it's just in a single toy-line.

I know that now that the proverbial genie has been loosed that there will now be a market for these items, but I am disturbed at the subtlety which LFL uses to push the fandom into more and more markets which they can mine for funding.

Part of me is annoyed at LFL for this. It is the part of me that rages against being used by anything or anybody.

Yet another part of me, the part that's a capitalist through and through, can't wait to see what collectible area LFL comes up with next.


Treasures By Brenda said...

You are right...collecting can get carried I am not sure if you are going to love me or hate me when I tell you I just created a page called Star Wars Christmas Ornaments and Decorations that is packed with information about collecting Star Wars Christmas items and includes pieces valued at up to $3,000! Some are very nice pieces but $3,000? It is unbelievable...


Stephen Wrighton said...

I fear that I neither love nor hate you. You're not LFL pushing the stuff

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