Jul 21, 2016

Microcollections 1: Superhero Ephemera

(Crosspost from Speaking of Collecting...)

As I consider my collections, the ways I go about organizing them, adding to them, and appreciating them, I also realize that the large collections (primarily my comics, Bionicle, and Lovecraft) are accompanied by smaller collections, some intentional and some completely arbitrary. I thought it would be fun to have a few brief looks at some of the smaller collections in my collection of collections.


First up, superhero stuff.

 While clearing up our storage room the other day, I opened up a box I had labeled "Superhero Ephemera." Inside were these little treasures. I used to have some of them in the spaces between my comic boxes, but having rearranged those shelves to optimize space, the ephemera was relegated to a box. However, a few weeks back we visited the very strange and awesome Miracle of America Museum in Montana, a place where knick knacks and stuff were just spread over a warehouse-sized space to celebrate the innovation of the American nation. I have a few more thoughts about that, but I'll save it for another post. Inspired by this, I made a little bit of space to display some of my knick knacks, superhero style. The accumulation of this little collection is a random process. Many of the little figures, mostly fast-food toys, are things that came in bags of Bionicle that I get from thrift shops. There's toys that come from Kinder Egg-style candies, inserts from Wizard magazine, lantern rings that were given away during the "Blackest Night" event. The black Spider-Man toy in the bottom left corner has been the subject of one of my Horror from the Dollar Bin posts, a naughty little toy if ever I've seen one. There's a couple in there, the Wolverine at the front and the similar Captain America at the back, that are actually pens. And then there's the Fleischer Superman cartoons, on video cassette. There's a belt buckle, little tiny reproductions of comics, bracelets, zipper pulls, little figurines. The day after I took this picture, I got a Super Grover figure in a bag of Bionicle parts. He graces the shelf now too.

A fairly important part of my dissertation is going to be looking at exactly this sort of intrusion into the material realm of these kinds of fictional characters. Toys and knick knacks like these make up a sort of mythic background radiation. We see them at flea markets, garage sales, McDonald's, and pay them little attention. But they are important manifestations of fiction into reality, and I think that's something that's worth thinking about.

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