The 2021 Flea Market Kickoff!
Well, last year was a bust for flea markets. Then again, thanks to COVID, everything was a bust. As much as I look forward to flea market season every single year, digging through dusty bins of old tapes and action figures weren't exactly on my list of things to do. That's anxiety for you. I don't think I was ready but after being vaxxed, buying a sexy( read: bland looking) mask, and noticing that I haven't bought old vhs copies of Cannon Films lately, I was beyond ready. Plus, I suppose being outside and knowing the flea market would instruct people to wear masks, kinda helped. And believe it or not, most if not all people were wearing masks, which for someone who gets paranoid, was very assuring to see.
The dealers were hot today. I think everybody was getting tired of hoarding insane amounts of crap in their house and not being able to vend for a while because I saw a lot of fresh and different stuff from familiar vendors who are always vending at this particular flea market. Everyone also seemed to be in a great mood, ready to wheel and deal and even catch up with one another.
How comforting is that image? Comics, a Mego William Shatner, a Van Halen cd, and some miscelaneous car and truck toys. Man, that really just sums up why I love doing these so much. Even if I didn't want to buy a $20 Captain Kirk Mego, it was great to see one out and about. I'm sure next time I go, it'll be gone and I'll lose sleep over passing him up. It happens. I mean, I'm still in intense therapy because I decided to leave behind a copy of Nightmare on Elm Stree 3 with a cover so torn, it looked like Freddy came out of the tape itself. That's the name of the game!
Won't lie. That "ancient" iPod Nano in the middle? Was very tempted. I totally would've bought it just for potential road trips or weekend getaways. Something about playing music on an iPod just makes those trips better. Try it next time you head to a horror con. Instead of listening to Freddy's Greatest Hits on your phone, plug your iPod in and let 'er rip! You'll be ready for spooky adventures and meeting x-list celebrities in no time!
Tapes, tapes, tapes! The flea market staple. Although, you'd be amazed at how many people think that a copy of Meet The Fockers or The Mask is worth anything more than .25. That said, you'll find out later that I gave in to that delusion and helped some carny make some nice cash...
This bad boy also caught my eye. I grew up with a father who loved his gadgets and he had one of these giant prehistoric cameras that he'd constantly follow my brother and I around with. Now obviously you don't need a camera the size of Dom Deluise anymore to capture those special moments but it really took me back to those sunny Saturday afternoons where my brother would skateboard, I'd play with my GI Joes in the dirty backyard and my mom would try and figure out whether or not it was gonna be Stouffers or Chef Boyardee for dinner.
Ok, enough of the rambling. Let's get to the goods!
Full disclosure, I did NOT expect to find all this. I never ever get my hopes up for opening day. I just feel like it's a waste to think you'll walk away with a complete Eternia or a MIB Megatron or something like that. Mainly because if you start off big in the season, there's not much of a rush to follow it up. Everything will just become old hat. However today was a very nice day for finding random stuff that I'll either forget existed or I'll trade to my friend Brandon for a Diff'rent Strokes coloring book. After all, why wouldn't I want to spend an afternoon coloring Mr. Drummond's sweater red or Arnold's bike green?
So first off, I found these foam Chuck E Cheese picture frames in a freebie container. I may be a lot of things, but a fool who turns down free Chuck E Cheese memorabilia ain't one of them. Freebies are always welcomed at a flea market and something I'll gladly partake in!
Punky Brewster DVD:
Oh sure with the advent of Peacock, I'm fully aware that I could watch the entrire Punky Brewster series (and reboot!) right on my phone, but knowing I have some of the best episodes on DVD makes very happy. Plus, hey, physical media is pretty cool.
Burger King TMNT Bike Fanny Pack:
The Burger King/Ninja Turtles promotion was a pretty big deal despite being released toward the end of Turtles Mania in 1993, we saw a whole slew of fun bike toys as the kids meal premiums. There were water bottles, horns, license plates, reflectors and naturally the old early 90's faithful: the bike fanny pack. Strap this baby on your handle bars and ride up to Wawa for a hoagie! You'll be the most radical dude on the block! Pretty fun piece, one I couldn't leave behind because I'm almost positive I can use it for change. After it gets bleached and washed about 76 times, that is.
EMPTY EIGHT IS ENOUGH PUZZLE BOX:
::Sigh:: Ok, this was the flea market version of an impulse item at the grocery store. I saw this staring at me across the aisleway and I knew I had to have it. Especially when I saw the .50 tag. It's such a great looking box, it didn't even bother me that it was empty. Does that make me a sucker? You bet but having Willie Aames stare at me from my shelf was something I was willing to own in order to make a said sucker.
Remember when I said most tapes aren't worth more than a quarter? Well, they're not. However, sometimes in the thrill of the hunt you get a little overwhelmed with excitement we ignore that. And once I saw a giant box of tapes with Where The Buffalo Roam staring at me, I knew I had to dig and give whatever the asking price was, which according to the chainsmoking hillbillies was a buck each. Thankfully, everything I found was a treasure. My personal faves? The sealed Ernest tape and the copy of Maximum Overdrive! The rest were just as fun and I was so happy to grab some tapes again!
Now for the main event...ACTION FIGURES!!!! Always my main target when out and about. No matter if it's obscure or fairly common, if you have a box of figures, I will proceed to spend what feels like the next decade digging through for something I want. And I totally found stuff I wanted. Maybe didn't need but screw it, I'm only mortal. Gimme plastic crack.
DANGER WILL ROBINSON:
From the 1998 Lost In Space movie, Will Robinson here looks like he's been through more battles and seen more things than he has any real interest in. Can't say I ever watched this movie, but I remember the merchandising bonanza that took over my local comic store when it was released. IIRC, it wasn't well received but hey it left us with figures and toys and if the world needed anything in 1998, it was Matt LeBlanc and Gary Oldman action figures.
Some of the first Marvel action figures from the fabled Toy Biz line in 1990 and a Martian Manhunter from the very popular JLU toy line. A good mix of figures, mainly for historic purposes. While not they're best representation in figure form, the Marvel Toy Biz figures remain some of most beloved and treasured toys of many geeks(myself included) childhood.
SHARK BIT STING:
Well, I've always had my eye on this Sting figure but never pulled the trigger so naturally I got excited when I found him. Then I noticed his hand looks like it was mangled by a very hungry John Tenta and got less excited. Then I realized I had enough figure parts I could easily do an arm swap. To top it off, the vendor didn't even notice his arm was screwed so he gave it to me for .50. That was indeed a roller coaster of a tale but worth it because it ended in sweet success.
You remember them! Those goofy foot soldiers that Rita Repulsa would send to just annoy the heck outta the Power Rangers before they fought some giant 90 foot tuna fish. My memory may be a bit fuzzy but I feel like these guys were everyone on toy shelves and quite frankly not that great in terms of playability. But hey, they made stupid noises when they talked and jumped around like dorks, so it's kinda hard not to love them.
Ok, now my favorite find of the day:
From the same guy I bought that Sting comes AMERICAN GLADIATOR GEMINI!!!
I've been on a massive American Gladiator high lately and have been searching high and low for good pieces of AG memorabilia. Naturally the figures are rather easy to find easy to find but I can never truly find one in decent shape for a good price. This one however? Another .50 purchase. EASILY. DONE/ TAKE MY MONEY. Best part is he had this in a box of random McDonald toys that I passed by the first time and kinda ignored. Ugh, stupid rookie mistake right there. But man, I'm so glad I returned because this, while arguably the least valuable find of the day, brought me the most joy. Now if only I can find that Jousting Set and more figures!
For my first day back, I'd say it was a rousing success and a very welcome change back to...well, kinda normal...ish? Something like that. Either way, this got me excited for more flea marketing for the rest of the season. In fact, I'm hyped to the point that Saturday nights will be spent fantasizing about digging through more dusty action figure boxes.
And after all we've been through in the past year...I wouldn't have it other way...