As I'm back home for a birthday celebration, this will have to be a short one. But non the less an interesting - and for me, an extremely potent experience as a toy collector. Basically, this is the story about one that got away. Storm Shadow. The ninja.
Storm Shadow was really neither. He was, and continue to be one of the most popular characters in 80s pop culture. He sold out, even in Norway. He was a fantastic action figure in every way, he was a cool character in the comic, and as a toy he came packed with great accessories. A deliciously simple, yet detailed sculpt. Magnificent card art, and a relatively low price. Kids loved the white ninja.
So I had really no expectation of finding him in my stores by 1990, when my interest for Joes really kicked in. I had already read about Storm Shadow in the comics, and he was by far the coolest character, in my opinion. He was sort of a villain, yet still able to fight alongside his ninja buddy, Snake Eyes. After a while, he even joined the G.I. Joe team, in their battle against Cobra, his previous employer/captor.
But there we were, on a holiday in Denmark, me, my sister and my parents. Just doing a pit stop for gas and food, before heading off further down the highways of Europe. I fulfill my duties as a kid, and instinctively head straight for the nearest toy store. This wasn't even a real toy store. It felt more like the good umold fashioned multi-purpose store. They had a little bit of everything.
Near the exit, in a crate, I come over a bunch of Joes. This wasn't all that surprising. In Norway, Denmark and the rest of the western world, G.I. Joe was a pretty popular toy line. But I immediately notice that something is different. These figures are far too old to be in store. These are the discontinued figures from a couple of years back. I had never even seen these in stores. I panic. I frantically search through the lot, craving pretty much every single one of them. I know that's out of the question, but I may be able to get one or two of them from my parents...
And that's when I find him, near the bottom of the bin. Storm Shadow. On clearance sale.
I shouldn't be this lucky. And I wasn't either. I ran out, trying to find someone with the money to buy me the grail, but my father couldn't be bothered, and my mother wasn't nearby.
I was never the type of kid to cry when I didn't get a toy I wanted - because, honestly, I got a shit ton of toys. This wasn't the case with Storm Shadow either. The very next day, we stopped in Germany, and I got the two-pack with the Crimson Twins - toys I still have to this day, and I had momentarily forgotten about the Cobra assassin.
But it has always been there, the memory of the one that got away. A reminder that I should be better at jumping opportunities that arises, and that I should always have saved up a couple of coins, should a fantastic toy deal come around.
Enjoy your weekend, people!
I never got Storm Shadow as a kid. A friend had him, and I was really jealous, but at the same time, at least I got to play with him from time to time. And honestly, it adds to the mythology of the toy that I never had him myself. So what happens when I become an adult and notice that it's possible to buy old toys through the internet? I get myself a couple of pristine examples of Storm Shadow. No big deal, just getting my self the grail. Satisfying? Sure. The surge of nostalgia, the possession of a wonderful toy. It's all there. But it doesn't make me forget that I had it in my hands two decades earlier.