Brad Ellis and his 10-year-old son Logan at the Vancouver Comic and Toy Show at the PNE Forum on Sunday. Arlen Redekop/PNG
Arlen Redekop / PNG
Be it cookie tins, books, friends or money, everybody collects something.For 10-year-old Logan Ellis of Maple Ridge, it’s vintage G.I. Joe action figures. Specifically, the 3 3/4″ plastic figurines that began selling on toy store shelves in the early 1980s.Logan and his dad Brad were at the Vancouver Comic and Toy Show at the PNE Forum Sunday, where they — among hundreds of others — were on the lookout for additions to their respective collections.By about noon Logan had purchased five figures to his dad’s two, including Serpentor, an all around nasty character who was created from the genetic tissues of the most evil leaders in history, then released in toy form in 1986. The green and gold figure is dressed in a serpent cape and helmet, flies on a gilded chariot, and easily fetches upwards of $50 these days.“I just love the whole snake idea, with the glider and everything, it’s just, ugh. UGH,” Logan gushed, when asked what he liked about the character.
Sam Lysne holds up He-Man behind some other items he is selling during Vancouver Comic and Toy Show at the PNE Forum.
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Logan came to the convention dressed in green and carrying a question mark-shaped cane in his purple gloved hands. He was a picture perfect Riddler, the DC Comics super villain. Brad was dressed as a futuristic take on Ghost Rider, a Marvel Comics anti-hero. Sam Lysne, with Toy Traders and Collectibles in Langley, tended one of the convention’s 200 booths. On his table were sought-after toys from some of the biggest franchises in the last 40 years like Star Wars, Transformers, and World Wresting Entertainment. Some of the pieces started as low as about $15, and others were priced upwards of $200.After selling a vintage He-Man action figure to a customer, he explained that the desirability of collectibles can wax and wane. In the case of He-Man, a recent series and documentary, The Toys That Made Us and The Power of Grayskull, respectively, re-ignited interest in the franchise, he said.“These things have kind of brought it back into the public consciousness. As a result, some of these figures … they are just shooting up in price.”
Evan Christensen with some of the comics he had on sale during Vancouver Comic and Toy Show at the PNE Forum on Sunday
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Evan Christensen, with Canadian Comics, is the promoter of the convention, which has been held since 2014.Christensen said the day’s attendance would be in the thousands. But what made his eyes light up even more than what were record crowds for the convention was a conversation about what he likes to collect — Second World War-era Canadian comics.Restrictive Canadian import rules at the time sparked a domestic industry and the creation of popular titles like Nelvana of the Northern Lights. Some good condition comics now fetch hundreds and even thousands of dollars apiece.“They’re super rare and really valuable. People didn’t really start seriously collecting them until five or ten years ago. They’re so hard to find,” he said.Among the priciest comics at the convention was an Amazing Spider-Man No. 1 at the Giant Killer Robot Comics table, staffed by Hartley Odwak and his kids. The comic originally sold for 12 cents in 1963 and Odwak had one on display that was priced at $8,500.Asked how rare they are now, Odwak said: “Exceedingly. … They were meant to be read and thrown in your back pocket. This one has quite a lot of wear.”Congratulations are in order for any then-kids who threw theirs into a safety deposit box firstname.lastname@example.org