Toy Collecting: Surviving the Internet
They say no man is an island. In fact, they said that quickly in The Incredibles, and it made for an unusually clever pun. But that's beside the point. No, that's not quite right: it's actually nowhere near the point. Not even on the same island.
The point is supposed to be that The Clearance Bin does not exist in a vacuum. It exists in the internet. And it does not exist alone.
Men may not be islands, but the metaphor may have value when applied to websites, which dot the vast seas of the information superhighway like... like....
No, that doesn't remotely work either.
Let me say instead that there are many other websites of interest to the starting toy collector. A few of my favorites are mentioned below. I expect I'll add more over time:
Michael Crawford's Toy Review:
All right, I'm starting with this one for a reason. If you're collecting toys - or even just thinking about collecting toys - you need to know about this site. With a data base of hundreds of reviews, this should be your first stop for advice. Chances are, no matter what you're looking for, he's got a review posted. As far as I can tell, every other toy review site on the internet - including this one - was in some way inspired by Crawford.
If you're looking for one-stop-shopping to help you find action figure reviews... this is it. Every Thursday, this site provides a list of action figure reviews cobbled together from all over the net.
Another excellent resource for action figure collectors. The site is updated frequently with reviews, news, and articles about the hobby.
Toy News International
You want toy news? You need to visit this site. You'll find everything from reviews to sneak peaks to interviews. I stop by this site at least once a day. Sometimes more.
Shortpacked is a online comic dedicated to toy collecting. It's also one of the funniest, more intelligent comics out there. Make sure you glance underneath the comic at the creator's blog, where he posts photos, reviews, and stories about the hobby.
Jin Saotome's Dangerous Toys
Possibly the most celebrated toy customizer online, Jin Saotome's site is worth visiting at least once a week just to see what he's working on. If you have more money than I do, check out his eBay auctions: most of what he creates ends up for sale eventually. They may not always be cheap, but they're still a bargain if you can afford them. Like most customizers, he shares his knowledge: if you're interested in the hobby, spend some time glancing through his guides and tutorials.
Raving Toy Maniac
Speaking of toy customizing, Raving Toy Maniac hosts an event called 'Custom Con,' about twice a year that's worth checking out. At other times you can stop by for news, reviews, and tips about sales.
Another excellent custom toy site, Inanimate Objects specializes in figures based on the style of Batman: the Animated Series and its spin-offs.
While this is technically not a toy site, Scott Tipton regularly provides toy information at the end of his dissertations on comic characters. Further, I can't imagine there are many people reading this without at least a passing interest in comics. Personally, I stop by every Wednesday without fail.
The Blue Fairy's Workshop
In the interest of full disclosure, this toy customizing blog is run by my wife. She works in a variety of different scales and styles, and, in my opinion, is perhaps the most versatile customizer on the web.