Geek collecting – What’s on your shelf?

Normally I try not to let the stuff I see on social media bother me too much (otherwise I’d angrily toss my computer into a dumpster). But a while back I saw two separate posts that have stuck with me, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them.

One was making fun of people who collect Funko Pops, and the other was making fun of people who collect action figures. The basic summary of these rather condescending posts was: if you’re an adult, why are you collecting kids’ toys?

As an avid collector of geek memorabilia, I don’t believe people should be shamed for collecting something fun that brings them joy. If you’re a 30-year-old who loves collecting and building Legos, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re a 60-year-old who collects classic comics, there’s nothing wrong with that either. In a year filled with a lot of frustrations and disappointments, let’s not complain about people doing something innocent and fun.

For many of us, the 2020 pandemic has meant spending more time at home alone, and I’ve found that the geek memorabilia on my shelves makes my environment feel less dreary. This year I’ve dedicated some time to slowing down and really examining what “sparks joy” in my home; I’m doing a little redecorating and also pausing more to enjoy some of the fun stuff I’ve collected over the years but had maybe forgotten about.

People that are not collectors may wonder why a plastic item sitting on a shelf brings so much joy. For me, a large driver of collecting is nostalgia. When I buy a Star Wars action figure to display, it reminds me of being a kid and all the fun times I had playing with my friends and younger brother. It’s also a means of self-expression; when people walk into my house, they know right away that a geek lives here. I love it when my collection sparks a conversation or inspires visitors to share their own geeky memories.

In this post, I’d like to share some of the highlights from my geek collection and what they mean to me. I’d also love to hear about what you collect and why, and how it brings you joy.

I don’t buy as many books as I used to, mainly because I’m running out of shelf space and also because I love to use my local library. But if one of my favorite authors is appearing at a con, I’m happy to splurge and pick up a signed copy. I got my copy of “Lost Stars” signed at Star Wars Celebration Chicago in 2019. Going to that con is one of my all-time favorite geek memories, and “Lost Stars” writer Claudia Gray is my favorite Star Wars author. I didn’t get to chat with her too much at the con since there was a long line, but having her sign my favorite Star Wars book is a special memory that always makes me smile whenever I look over and see that book on the shelf.

I know not everybody loves the Star Wars prequels, but when I was younger I was absolutely obsessed with this Gungan submarine Lego set. I wanted it so badly but didn’t have the allowance money for it. Years went by, and I forgot about it, but then for one birthday, a friend sent me a random Lego set as a gift — and it just happened to be this set (she had no idea that younger me had really wanted it). Needless to say, I was beyond excited, and regardless of how you feel about “The Phantom Menace,” it’s a great set. Having it as part of my collection brings back happy childhood memories and thoughts of my friend who gave me this special gift.

BB-8 is my favorite Star Wars droid, and this realistic remote-control model is probably the coolest Christmas gift I’ve ever gotten. My dad surprised me with it a couple years ago, and I was so happy I almost started crying. You can drive BB-8 around using a remote control, or he also recognizes voice commands. BB-8 even made a trip to my local comic con with me in 2019 while I was cosplaying as Rey, and he definitely upstaged me. (When Bob Ross Deadpool asked if he could have a photo with BB-8 at the con, of course I couldn’t say no!)

Whenever I go to a con, one of my favorite things to do is pick up a print from an artist. I like supporting creators, and whenever I look at the print hanging on my wall at home, it brings back all my memories from that particular con.

I love the simple silhouettes of these two prints (pictured above) from Matt Peppler Illustration and Graphic Design, especially since they highlight one of my favorite Star Wars characters, Rey.

I fell absolutely in love with this set by Michael “MK” Matsumoto featuring Rey and Kylo Ren but at the time didn’t have enough in my entertainment budget to buy them from the booth I’d seen at the con. My dad saw me eyeing them, and when we met up at the end of the day after the con, he surprised me by handing the prints to me (he’d bought them for me as a gift).

I actually got this print for free at the Fantasy Flight board game booth at Star Wars Celebration Chicago. I got to talk to the artist, Darren Tan, briefly, and he signed my print, making it extra special. 

Finally, everybody who knows me knows that I am OBSESSED with the porgs from the Star Wars sequel trilogy. I first saw them in “The Last Jedi” promo material and fell so in love with them that I asked for a stuffed porg for Christmas, even before I’d actually seen the movie. Whenever I see a new porg, I pretty much have to buy it, and I’ve lost count of how many I actually own (seriously, don’t ask).

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