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Me, My Son, and Our Toys

Posted by: bnjmnrlyr at 11:17 am on Monday, August 15, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome to what is probably going to be the first in a series of blogs.  I’ve been mulling this all over in my head for a few weeks or so now and I just can’t seem to get it all down in one post in any form that feels right to me.  So its going to be an evolving type thing.  I hope you enjoy…


Some background to set the stage…

I’ve been a toy (re: action figure) collector “officially” for almost 30 years now.  Comic collecting pre-dates it, but not by much.  I’m fully a child of the late 70’s and 80’s and as such, I had it all growing up.  Some of it is still around, but not much.  Over the years I have amassed huge collections (and the massive debt that goes with it), sold off large chunks through flea markets and eBay (to pay off some of that massive debt)  and then rebuilt it all again.  I’m an action figure addict of the first degree with a heavy bias for DC Superheroes.


Surprisingly, none of that changed with the birth of my son 9 years ago.  However, despite my best efforts, he doesn’t love superhero toys in the same way that I do.

Which I thought would suck. Come to find out, its the best thing to ever happen to me and my collecting habits.

My son, Joshua.

My son, like most kids, LOVES to play, and I’ve made sure that he has a never ending parade of toys to play with.  He has Imaginext, GeoTrax, Hot Wheels, Legos, action figures in every variety, blindbox Kid Robot knick Knacks, Happy meal type toys, stuffed animals as far as the eye can see, Nerf guns … you get the picture.

And then there are my toys.  DC Direct’s figures, busts, statues, plush, minimates, Pocket Heroes, and more.  Mattel’s JLU, DCUC, DCIH, Action League, Young Justice, and others.  Kenner’s BTAS, STAS, Total Justice, and everything else they put out.  Palisades Muppets, Resurus ‘Bone’ figures, imported shadow puppets, and more.

And my son PLAYS with them all.

But not in the ways that I would have thought.

Action League and Imaginext?  Mortal enemies that habitually battle it out over the batcave.  Unless DCIH shows up and then they team up to take out the “Giants”.  Or when he has his Nerf guns in hand and American Gladiators is on… then they all become skeet targets for him to blast away with a well placed foam dart.

Joshua is setting up some figures for a bumper billiards game.

I love that Chemo is completely blocking the corner pocket.

DC Superheroes?   … if they are “pretty” they are heroes, if they’re ugly, villains.  Regardless of the role they portray in comics and animation (and that absolutely drives me nuts).

And a shooting gallery on the ping pong table to end the night (why he needed to "take cover" behind an upturned Foosball table I have no idea).

Muppets?  They seem to get along fairly well with all the stuffed animals that he sleeps with and tend to migrate under his pillow or get kicked under the covers down to the foot of the bed.

Luckily, everything gets cleaned up, put away, and accounted for at the end of the day.  Which is a great “peace of mind” moment for me.  And the reason I let him have free reign over everything “we” own.

However, he doesn’t really care about any of that.  His bigger concerns are Tom and Jerry, the Three Stooges, and Pink Panther and why he can’t seem to find any toys for those characters. (we’ve got the Palisades Pink Panther stuff but he wants more).  He wants more Angry Bird plushes so he can go in the back yard and recreate a “live” version of the game.  He wants another 3 dozen Beyblade tops and Bakugan marbles and Hexbug nanos.  He wants more Nerf guns in every color they can make.  And he actually COMPLAINS when I try to buy him more action figures.

Joshua in bed buried under SOME of his plush (I truly can't believe he has suffocated himself yet...)

So, together we find a balance.  I get superheroes, he gets Nerf.  I buy a 13″ “doll” and he battles a bakugan v a glass marble.  I get giddy over finding a new case of DCUC hanging on the pegs and he marvels at an endcap display at TRU of some rainbow striped teddy bears.  In the midst of it all, we are sharing, and playing together, creating some truly lasting memories, and bonding in ways that I never would’ve imagined.

Thanks to toys.  Thanks to not agreeing on which ones are better.


I’ll see you see with another ambling adventure (possibly through my son’s eyes) same blog time, same blog channel …


bnjmnrlyr (aka Burly Man … Jr.)


About the Author: bnjmnrlyr
It all started when I was barely 18 mos. old. Being pushed through a Gold Circle in my stroller, I reached out my little baby hands and snagged (and shoplifted) my first Winnie the Pooh doll. He was followed over the years by an intense fascination with comics, animation, and toys that I've never let go of. Nearly 40 years later I've run a comic shop, have degrees in Graphic Design, Illustration, and an MS in Art Education. I have more toys than my son and I'm damn proud of it.




  • vader says:

    Ben – I love what you wrote. I wish my kids were still as young as Joshua. Unfortunately, they’re all grown up now. Kids just grow up so fast – I’m glad (and admittedly a bit envious) that you are able to cherish every moment your son is still a child.

  • Casimir Casimir says:

    Great blog. My four-year old is following a similar path. (Especially about the Angry Birds!)

  • Lt. Clutch Clutch says:

    That was beautiful, Ben. I like that Josh collects plush toys as I used to do before figures came along. Plush is comfort food for the soul. I was still sleeping with an Uncle Scrooge doll at age 17! (It was a great form of therapy after some really hard times.) I love the bond you guys have and hope you continue to share it on here.

  • Sector1014 says:

    Didn’t see this until just now. Good stuff. I’ve had similar experiences with my daughter. It’s so fun to see what they come up with.

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