Collecting Marvel Legends action figures can be an incredibly fun and rewarding hobby. Marvel is one of the hottest properties around right now, and the nostalgia factor is at an all time high! The Marvel cinematic universe can and probably will make you feel like a kid again. The figures can help you celebrate your favorite Marvel movie, Marvel comic book, Marvel video game, or Marvel television show. And, if you are lucky, one day those Marvel Legends figures could become a great financial investment, as many figures already demand a hefty sum on the collectible market. Let’s not focus on making a buck off your collection though. The ultimate goal should be to enjoy the purchases you have made.
Why Do You Want to Collect Marvel Legends Action Figures?
Let’s face it, we all know that Marvel Legends are cool, but let’s dig deep for a second and ask the question, why do you want to collect Marvel Legends as opposed to, say, Star Wars: The Black Series figures, or Baseball cards for that matter? Answering this question first, will ultimately help you make smarter decisions when making purchases, and ultimately build a better collection.
Are you a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Then you may want to limit your collection to Marvel Legends figures based on those movies (e.g., collecting only figures from Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, or Guardians of the Galaxy). Maybe you are just a fan of Marvel comic books? If so, then you may want to focus your collection on your favorite character, stories, or characters written or drawn by a particular creator. Maybe you are a fan of the Netflix Marvel shows (if that is the case then you will definitely have a smaller collection), then you might want to focus on those particular figures.
Ultimately, limiting your collection to just one or two themes or sub-themes, will keep you from spending all of your hard-earned money on any Marvel Legends figure that catches your eye. Not having a focus can lead to a collection of figures that, down the road, you may consider impulse purchases and ultimately a waste of your money. You may find that one day you have amassed a collection of figures that go above and beyond what you want today. Think about the money you could have saved, or used to increase your collection theme for today!
Maybe you’re just simply a fan of the craftsmanship put into action figures. Today’s figures are light years beyond their predecessors. Therefore, you may want to focus your collection on figures that have excellent sculpts, articulation, and paint jobs. This is a tough endeavor in today’s world. Shopping at Walmart and Target may not be enough to find all the figures you are interested in. Pre-ordering from places like Amazon might not get you the figure with the best paint application.
Where Should You Look to Begin Your Collection?
Once you have nailed down the focus of why you want to collect action figures, you can start your collection by making some smart first purchases. As a beginner, you need to start out by doing a little research about Marvel Legends figures. Start by reading online action figure news sites (like this one, you are off to a good start) and social media accounts or pages dedicated to Marvel Legends. Facebook has several pages dedicated to the toy line, but I highly recommend MLC. This Facebook group has the most members and most everyone is polite and knowledgeable. The members there would be a fantastic resource to help put you on the path of what to do, and what not to do.
A Quick History of Marvel Legends
Marvel Legends action figures have been around since 2002 and debuted under Toy Biz. In fact, most collectors consider the Spider-Man Classics line before that as part of the Marvel Legends line, meaning it could be viewed as beginning in 2001. Since the line has been around in some shape or form for nearly 20 years, perhaps you’re looking to find all of those great action figures that you had as a child. This can be an expensive but greatly rewarding and nostalgic way of collecting.
Toy Biz eventually folded in 2007, and lost the Marvel master toy license to Hasbro. While Hasbro hit the ground running with the license, they did not start producing Marvel Legends figures until 2012. There was essentially a five year gap between Toy Biz’s last Marvel Legends figure and a new run by Hasbro. In 2013, the line was rebranded as Marvel Legends Infinite Series.
Initially, the Marvel Legends action figure line used the “chase” concept to introduce figures based on less popular or recognizable characters. These got their nickname by being shipped in fewer quantities than the rest of the figures, thus causing collectors to “chase” after them. These early figures also included a classic comic book to help try and sell comics to kids as well. Eventually, rather than entirely new figures, the chase concept evolved into variants (such as an alternate head or a different color scheme) of a figure released in that same series. These figures were very sought-after by collectors. Finally with series 9 from Toy Biz, figures were packaged with a piece of a bigger figure, so that if you purchased every figure in a wave, you could put them together to create a bigger than normal action figure (Galactus, Sentinel, Apocalypse, Mojo, etc…).
The current form of the figures today, Marvel Legends Infinite Series, started in 2014 and has increased in popularity each and every year!
- Toy aisle of local stores: Look up and down the action figure aisle of your local Walmart, Target, or Gamestop. For example, if you are looking for Iron Man Marvel Legends figures, only allow yourself to buy the best one or two. If you find one or two, then your collection is already off to a great start! If you don’t find anything, don’t worry, plenty of other options are available.
- Garage sales, Facebook, and flea markets: In the world of flea markets and garage sales, some people just do not know what they have, so you stand a chance of finding Marvel Legends figures for a fraction of their going rate on the collectible market. They may be in worse condition (missing paint, missing accessories, etc.), so you’ll have to decide how important condition is to you. Although if you take the Facebook route, most of the time groups exist dedicated to Marvel Legends. You will have a better chance snagging the figures you want, but expect to pay the going rate, as these collectors are knowledgeable in their subject matter.
Loose vs. Carded
The age old question! This is often a major debate among action figure collectors of any kind, not just Marvel Legends.
“Loose” refers to action figures that have been taken out of their packages, in order to display them in poses and holding their accessories (weapons, gear, etc.). Removing the figures will definitely lower the value of your figure, but by opening them up, you get to enjoy playing with the figure and displaying them.
“Carded” refers to action figures that are in the condition in which they were displayed in stores, in their original packages, with the packages (if mint) in brand new condition. During your searches, you may see terms like “MIB” (mint in box), “MIP” (mint in package), “MOC” (mint on card) or “NM” (near mint, meaning the figure is still in the package but has some wear and tear on the packaging).
Deciding which way you want to collect is purely your preference. You might want to sale your collection one day, and carded figures will definitely bring you a bigger sale than a loose collection. With loose figures you get to have more of an experience with your collection, posing them and displaying them with certain teams or waves.
The choice is purely up to you as the collector!
So you just purchased quite a few Marvel Legends figures, but you don’t want to through them in a corner. After all that hard work acquiring them, you will definitely want to display them in a prominent place in your home! A lot of thought should be put into how to display your Marvel Legend figures. This is just as important for building a satisfying collection as which figures you buy. Do you want a nice glass cabinet, or do you want bookcases?
Many furniture and department stores sell beautiful display cases with shelves and glass doors. Of course these could cost you $70 or they could cost you $3,000 depending on the quality of the cabinet that you desire.
These are ideal for displaying collections in a specific area of your home or office. Not only will they give your collection a museum type look, but they will help keep your collection from getting too much dust.
Bookcases on the other hand are relatively cheap, but being so gives you the flexibility to put more money into the figures rather than the display. Dusting will quickly become a nightmare for your collection. Most bookcases are open, leaving your figures in the open air of the home, unprotected from dust.
Ultimately, this is your collection. Most likely you are doing this to bring back some childhood memories, or that you just like collection action figures, especially Marvel Legends. The ultimate goal is to have fun with it. It’s your collection, no one can tell you how to arrange your shelves, or which figures you need to have to have the perfect collection. We are all different and you should collect the pieces that make you happy and that meet your definition of a great Marvel Legends collection.
Have fun collecting!