Today’s double-barreled announcement – that The Walt Disney Co. is buying Lucasfilm Ltd. and that more Star Wars movies are going to be made starting almost immediately – has me pinching myself – but this is no dream. For me, and for countless millions of fellow Star Wars fans worldwide, this thunderclap couldn’t possibly be any better. Let me explain.
How strong was the Star Wars frenzy in 1977? That year a stylized version of the Star Wars movie poster blew past the top-selling poster of all time, that of Charlie’s Angels star and blond sex symbol Farrah Fawcett (look her up in Wikipedia, kids!). So is it any wonder that everyone wanted to be a character from a far-away galaxy that Halloween?
When last you left this little corner of the net, I’d been relating how I had gotten the much-delayed go-ahead to start writing Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection last Dec. 9—yet the deadline for the first third of the book was 10 days later. On top of that, I had been informed that the book had to be written in hidden data fields that, unbeknownst to me and many others, are part of every jpeg photo file.
As some of you know, I’ve been a writer all of my life, emphasis on all. In the summer of my eighth year, I hand printed copies of a flier called the Hobart Street News to try to sell to neighbors on my block in Philadelphia. I charged a nickel, sold two or three to friends of my folks, and decided to go out of business after the second issue—predating by decades a similar fate for too many American newspapers. But the reason that I became a writer was that first I was a reader.
There are a bunch of people who assume that I’ve built my collection over the years through the generosity of Lucasfilm or licensees. “You mean they don’t automatically send you one of everything?” Nope. I go out hunting at retail or online and pay full price for nearly everything. Oh, now and then over the years a licensee that I’ve built a strong relationship with or helped with some project will be very kind and send me product or give me a healthy discount. I appreciate that a lot, because being a collector who likes nearly everything produced worldwide doesn’t mean that I can afford everything.
At least I assume that Gremlin-esque transformation of a part of my collection happened sometime during the insanely wonderful Star Wars Celebration VI in Orlando. How else to explain the simple math: We arrived at the Orange County Convention Center with 17 pallets and crates weighing well over two tons. The returning truck has 26 pallets and crates weighing who-knows-how-much!
I didn’t set out to amass the world’s largest private collection of Star Wars memorabilia, or WLPCoSWM for you acronym fans. It just kind of happened. It’s like a baby’s first steps: First one tentative foot forward, soon followed by the second, then a quicker third step…and the next thing you know, little Carl Lewis is winning nine Olympic gold medals in Track and Field!
Geek Nation has left the building and San Diego Comic-Con International is but a jumble of memories… or an expensive reality as the boxes of goodies you shipped to yourself start arriving in the next few days.
If you’ve only experienced SDCC from afar, it’s more like preparing for combat duty than a normal convention. Just the sheer size—the exhibit hall alone is 525,000-square-feet—and the crush of the crowd—tickets are capped at 125,000—make it a somewhat daunting experience, but one definitely not to be missed. And for Star Wars fans, there is an unbreakable link between the saga and the convention—one that helped both grow.