A while ago I was contacted by a Big Nostalgia Dealer who asked if I was interested in sharing the animation material I’ve been storing since the 1990s. If so, BND said, he would be happy to sell it for me.
I wasn’t all that interested, but I liked the idea of fans of the shows I did for Fox Family and Fox Kids (networks that no longer exist. Yikes!) being able to see and read or play with or maybe even learn from the work I’d done between my First and Second Retirements. And clearing out the back corner of my garage that held it definitely made me smile.
I thought a bit – for a couple of weeks actually – and plunged into the state my Attorney/Friend Mikey called “doing due diligence,” inventorying what I had and, at ever-practical Mikey’s insistence, spending more interweb time than I’d thought I would need finding out what everything was worth.
A month or so later, I was stunned by the numbers involved. Turns out that outlines, storyboards, scripts, studio-made voice recordings and videos, show-related toys, interoffice memos, and other incidentals, sell for very good money on eBay and at conventions.
Because almost everything I was writing and editing and supervising was a Marvel media property, and today’s fans seem to have an even higher degree of Marvel Mania OCD than my peers and I had way back when. And since many of them are successful adults (contrary to what parents and teachers used to predict would be the future of comic book fans) they’ve got money they’re ready to spend.
Following Big Nostalgia Dealer’s directions, I made an itemized list and took pictures of everything and emailed him the deets. He replied the next day and told me that he’d changed his mind. He no longer wanted to sell it for me, he wanted to buy it from me.
All of it. No outline, storyboard, script, recording, video, toy, memo etc. left behind.
I admit it. I was a lot more interested now than I was when he’d first gotten in touch. I’d put a lot of time, energy, and thought into this return to some very wonderful Good Old Days and in return I had even more energy than I when I began.
I was, as we used to say in the very same 1990s when I’d worked on all these shows, jazzed.
I asked BND to make me an offer.
And he did.
Once again, I was stunned. I knew this was just the opening salvo and nothing like my stash had ever gone on the market before in such quantity, which meant that BND was taking a big risk, but the number was startlingly low.
I did find one condition of sale that seemed positive – BND’s insistence that I autograph everything before I sent it to him. For a brief moment I felt, as an old film put it “almost famous.”
But that moment was outweighed by the realization of the huge amount of time signing hundreds, maybe thousands of pages would take. Ditto dealing with the negotiations themselves.
I still felt the energy I had while sorting through everything, but no way did I have the time, strength, or need (psychological or financial) to thrash things out any further.
I’ve repacked everything and returned most of the collection to the back corner of my garage. I’ve given some scripts and storyboard pages and toys to neighborhood collectors – mostly teens and young adults – advising them to keep the toy boxes sealed and hold onto everything, and I’ve traded a few of the toys for yard and handyman work that needed to be done around the house.
I’ve signed only one of the items I’ve given/traded because I figure most people who live nearby can’t possibly imagine that LB, the guy who walks the little black Lab on local streets and trails for hours a day, could really be anything other than “the guy who walks that little black Lab.”
The one I did sign? It was a Silver Surfer storyboard page for the recently married son of my next door neighbor. The newlywed genuinely appreciated it because the Surfer was his favorite childhood TV show. And I got such delight from his father’s delight in bringing back his son’s happy memory that he’s now my favorite neighbor.