Comic books and superheroes were staples in many young lives, but once people got over a certain age they either left them behind or were labelled “geeks” by the general public. Well those geeks have taken over the world, much like Doctor Doom always planned, and now Comic-Con is a huge event bringing thousands to San Diego every year. Tickets sell out well in advance and some attendees work for months on costumes that would have dazzled Stan Winston when he was alive.
Stan Lee of Marvel Comics fame and co-creator of some of the most famous superheroes such as Spider-Man, Hulk, Fantastic Four and Iron Man is in regular attendance at Comic-Con. Fans of all ages clamour to see him with the kind of worship usually reserved for rock icons. Not bad for a man who will celebrate his 90th birthday this year.
Those who were mocked for collecting action figures when they were younger are now having the last laugh. In their original boxes, some of these items are worth a pretty penny. Comic collections have sold for a fortune, particularly when early Superman versions are up for grabs. Just ask Nicholas Cage. His pristine Action Comics No. 1 featuring the first appearance of Superman recently sold at auction for US$2.1 million dollars. Who else is a huge Superman fan? Jerry Seinfeld, that’s who. If you watch any of his episodes, chances are you’ll either see or hear a reference to the big man with the cape at some point in the show.
Gerald Dilbert was always interested in comics, but he didn’t get many when he was a child. In his late teens he could finally afford to buy his own, and so he began a collection that now, many years later, is so vast and varied, he has decided that it should be on display to the public. He is planning to open his Action Figures Museum later this year in Grand Cayman, the first of its kind.
Searching the Net
Gerald started with comics and action figures, buying them here and there when he found them in shops. After a while he began to expand his searches to the Internet and online auctions. He branched into signed memorabilia and rare pieces, including die-cast toys and famous autographs. He learned how to repair broken items and construct action figures himself by ordering new parts or recycling used ones. As his collection grew, word got about his hobby and people came to see it all for themselves. Surely many a man told his wife he was going around to visit Gerald to borrow a power tool or something, just so he could spend some time perusing the action figures.
Gerald got married along the way, and initially his collecting habit caused some issues. Quite a few women are keen followers of caped crusaders, but not many would jump for joy at the idea of sharing their living room with the entire cast of Lord of the Rings, myriad superheroes and evil nemeses. Luckily his wife was an extremely understanding woman and thankfully the Twilight series came along. She now has her own incredible collection of Twilight pieces which will also be displayed in the museum.
Gerald plans to constantly change the scenes featuring his memorabilia and action figures so that the museum remains an interesting place to revisit over time. Items will be rotated in and out on a regular basis. He will also be bringing in the latest pieces on the market. For example, he already has a number of the Avengers action figures with the film still in the theatres. He also special-ordered models of the Cayman Airways planes that were never produced in miniature, so now everyone can see models of our local airline through the decades.
There will be an area specially assigned for children’s parties, although who knows – maybe corporate groups wouldn’t mind spending some time here as a change from the usual after-hours locations.
Gerald is presently fielding locations for his museum, and announcements of the official opening will be made once he can confirm the date. Until then, people will just have to wait to see this colourful and comical collection that will make Gerald the envy of every adult who ever wished they had hung onto that 1964 GI Joe when they were a kid.
Those who were mocked for collecting action figures when they were younger are now having the last laugh.