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Sector 7C columnist Mikel Samson gives us some insight into the hobby of toy collecting, and allows us a glimpse at his outstanding collection. Check it out, it blows the mind!

Mikel Samson

Graphic Designer

What do you do for Anime Reactor?
Design flyers and promotional materials

How did you get involved in Anime Reactor?
I followed my girlfriend to the first meeting on accident not knowing what I was getting myself into.

What was your favorite moment at Anime Reactor last year?
Meeting Daisuke Kobayashi (toy designer for the “Kamen Rider” franchise).

What are you looking forward to this year?
Pretty much the same thing but hopefully getting more time to talk with him and Tetsuya Aoki. Oh, and meeting Toshihiro Kawamoto if i get a chance

What was it like for you meeting guest Daisuke Kobayashi at last year’s Anime Reactor?
Well, I was floored by it. I wasn’t really paying attention to what any of our guests did so when I walked by the PLEX table and saw all the Kamen Rider stuff I was like “Holy Crap! That’s Rider Faiz, Rider Ryuki and Rider Kuuga!” To see the actual illustrations firsthand was way cool! Then I went into geek mode and started asking all these questions about the Rider designs. Unfortunately, there was no translator there, so the conversation was mostly pointing and lots of thumbs up! But Kobayashi was really great and was nice enough to give me a free autographed copy of a Kamen Rider book with his designs in it. That was pretty cool.

What do you like about his and Tetsuya Aoki’s work?
Well, I like how they stayed true to the original designs of these characters but were also able to add their own unique style to them. But I also like alot of the more radical designs that totally change the look completely. Plus, I’m just a huge Kamen Rider and Ultraman fan that it’s just great to see these new designs added to both franchises legacy.

Why do you collect toys?
Geeze, that’s a tough question. I collect because I’m a fan of certain characters or franchises, or ‘cause I like the design of a certain figure. There is a certain art to toys. I think toys nowadays have crossed the line between playthings and fine art. Design and sculpting of toys have come a long way since plastic cowboys and indians. But I think the main reason I collect toys is because most of the things I enjoy exist in 2 dimensions, be it a movie, a page from a comic book, or an illustration. For me toys are a physical manifestation of those things. It makes it that much more tangible, more real. It’s another way to connect to the things I love, be it Star Wars, Godzilla, or Aquaman. Plus I’m a big geek and toys are just plain
cool to me.

How long have you been collecing?
Well, I had Star Wars figures as a kid, but at that point I thought Star Wars was just one movie so I ended up giving most of my stuff away to my cousins. But then The Empire Strikes Back came out and my mom got me Bespin Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader and that’s the snowball that started the avalanche. I had to slow down through high school and college for lack of funds but was able to get pieces here and there, but after college saw the largest growth spurt of the collection, and it shows no sign of slowing down.

How do you go about acquiring your toys?
Well, most of the major licensed franchises I acquire through the usual outlets like Toys R Us and Wal-mart. There are a few specialty shops I frequent to get harder to find items, but most of the higher-end imported collectibles I get from online retailers, eBay, or toy shows.

What type of toys do you enjoy collecting (genre, category, etc.)?
Well my 2 largest collections are Star Wars and Godzilla, but I collect most things sci-fi/horror related. I like monsters and creepy things.

How has toy collecting changed over the years since you first started collecting?
God, it’s become more competitive. Chase figures and variants have ruined the whole landscape of toy collecting. It’s not collecting anymore for a lot of the so-called “collectors” out there. It’s more about speculating and hording. Toys are suppose to be FUN. It really sucks when you can’t finish a line because one figure can only be found in 1 out of every 24 cases. And it doesn’t help that there are scalpers out there who are grabbing these chase figures up, not for their own collection, but to re-sell to people at outrageous prices. Most of the time they end up creating a false demand for certain collectibles. I really hate scalpers. They are a detriment to the

What do you consider the best and worst aspects of the hobby of toy collecting?
The great thing about the state of the hobby right now is that there are so many new franchises being made into toys right now. Many that I never would have thought I would ever see made into collectibles. And the quality and craftsmanship of most of the toys is phenomenal. Like I said before, a lot of the stuff being produced today are great pieces of
art. The worst thing about the state of the hobby right now is chase figures and scalpers. They do nothing to help the hobby.

Any plans on turning your hobby into something more? Have you considered making/designing your own toys? Owning a toy store?
Well, I’m working on it. I like customizing toys and repainting them to make them look better. And with the explosion of the Urban Vinyl craze, I hope to start working on my own designs soon. As for owning my own shop someday, that would be a geek’s dream come true... someday.



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