4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Godzilla Sells

Godzilla and his Monster Island cohorts invade San Diego every summer as part of the International Comic-Con. Dealers sell Japanese toy creatures based on movie characters and television shows like Ultraman. Some of the vinyl and plastic items have hefty price tags. A couple of years ago a dealer at the Comic-Con had a clear white plastic Godzilla figure for sale. I asked him how much it was going for, and the guy told me, "Seven hundred."

"That's a joke, right?"

He gave me a mean look. "No, asshole," he said, "I am not kidding."

I guess someone did fork over the cash because two days later that toy was gone. I did some research on the Internet and discovered that only 100 of these clear-plastic Godzillas were pressed in Japan. It was a promotion for one of the movies, and they were given out at the premiere. I saw quotes up to $900. Today it's going for over a grand.

I bought my first two vinyl monsters in 1997 -- cheap ones for $12 and $20 -- a Mothra larva and a Mechagodzilla.

The next year I bought three more; the next, seven. I've been continuing to do so every summer when the Comic-Con rolls into town. In fact, it's my main reason for going: to buy Godzilla toys!

In the beginning of this collecting, I wouldn't pay more than $20 to $30 for each figure, but I started wanting hard-to-find monsters for my collection. For example, Megalon, the beast unleashed by the government of Seatopia in Godzilla vs. Megalon to destroy the land dwellers as punishment for nuclear waste and global warming. When I first spotted this action figure it was going for $45. The next year, $55, and the next, $65. I would have to break down and buy the thing at some point. Last year, I did -- and paid $75.

The Megalon is now priced at $100.

At Comic-Con 2004 I spotted, and became obsessed with, a Mecha King Kong figure. The dealer wanted $60 for him one day, $70 the next. Another dealer was asking $80. I offered the first dealer $50 cash. "Fifty-five dollars and it's yours," he said. I handed him the money.

Godzilla has changed over the years. In the 1950s he was a nuclear-powered lizard hell-bent on destroying mankind...or at least cities in Japan. In the '60s and '70s he became friendly and saved the world from space invaders and their monster slaves. As Godzilla was revamped in the 1990s, other aliens went back in time to change events and make Godzilla evil again. Many of his recent foes have been abnormalities created by fusions of his "Godzilla cells" with intergalactic creatures, frozen prehistoric baddies, and lab experiments gone postal.

I am watching Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster as I write this (I bought a Smog Monster for $40 on eBay, and it goes for $60 to $80 among sellers). The theme song to the movie is a psychedelic, '60s-style tune, "Godzilla, Save the Earth." -- Michael Hemmingson

International Comic-Con 2005

Thursday, July 14, through Sunday, July 17

10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (5 p.m. on Sunday)

One- and four-day passes available

San Diego Convention Center

111 West Harbor Drive

San Diego downtown waterfront

619-491-2475 or

www.comic-con.org

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

The Field, with a view

Gaslamp is more fun with the street shut down
Next Article

MCRD gets bad Covid review

Todd Gloria staffer's family ties to Oklahoma casinos

Godzilla and his Monster Island cohorts invade San Diego every summer as part of the International Comic-Con. Dealers sell Japanese toy creatures based on movie characters and television shows like Ultraman. Some of the vinyl and plastic items have hefty price tags. A couple of years ago a dealer at the Comic-Con had a clear white plastic Godzilla figure for sale. I asked him how much it was going for, and the guy told me, "Seven hundred."

"That's a joke, right?"

He gave me a mean look. "No, asshole," he said, "I am not kidding."

I guess someone did fork over the cash because two days later that toy was gone. I did some research on the Internet and discovered that only 100 of these clear-plastic Godzillas were pressed in Japan. It was a promotion for one of the movies, and they were given out at the premiere. I saw quotes up to $900. Today it's going for over a grand.

I bought my first two vinyl monsters in 1997 -- cheap ones for $12 and $20 -- a Mothra larva and a Mechagodzilla.

The next year I bought three more; the next, seven. I've been continuing to do so every summer when the Comic-Con rolls into town. In fact, it's my main reason for going: to buy Godzilla toys!

In the beginning of this collecting, I wouldn't pay more than $20 to $30 for each figure, but I started wanting hard-to-find monsters for my collection. For example, Megalon, the beast unleashed by the government of Seatopia in Godzilla vs. Megalon to destroy the land dwellers as punishment for nuclear waste and global warming. When I first spotted this action figure it was going for $45. The next year, $55, and the next, $65. I would have to break down and buy the thing at some point. Last year, I did -- and paid $75.

The Megalon is now priced at $100.

At Comic-Con 2004 I spotted, and became obsessed with, a Mecha King Kong figure. The dealer wanted $60 for him one day, $70 the next. Another dealer was asking $80. I offered the first dealer $50 cash. "Fifty-five dollars and it's yours," he said. I handed him the money.

Godzilla has changed over the years. In the 1950s he was a nuclear-powered lizard hell-bent on destroying mankind...or at least cities in Japan. In the '60s and '70s he became friendly and saved the world from space invaders and their monster slaves. As Godzilla was revamped in the 1990s, other aliens went back in time to change events and make Godzilla evil again. Many of his recent foes have been abnormalities created by fusions of his "Godzilla cells" with intergalactic creatures, frozen prehistoric baddies, and lab experiments gone postal.

I am watching Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster as I write this (I bought a Smog Monster for $40 on eBay, and it goes for $60 to $80 among sellers). The theme song to the movie is a psychedelic, '60s-style tune, "Godzilla, Save the Earth." -- Michael Hemmingson

International Comic-Con 2005

Thursday, July 14, through Sunday, July 17

10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (5 p.m. on Sunday)

One- and four-day passes available

San Diego Convention Center

111 West Harbor Drive

San Diego downtown waterfront

619-491-2475 or

www.comic-con.org

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

“6-Feet Supper Club” brings live music back to Panama 66

“We decided to do everything with caution.”
Next Article

Smokey’s Lake Wohlford Cafe: old-school country diner

“I always sit here,” Neil says. “Been coming for 40 years.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close