A Good Day To Buy

“Winter Is Coming” shirts are now IN THE STORE!!! [based on this comic]

Thanks to Lar, who inspired this comic via a twitter exchange a couple of weeks ago. Lar has some AMAZING prints for sale, including all 11 Doctors as totes adorbs bunnies.

There is a sort of reality distortion field for geeks that tends to envelop them and dampen their higher cognitive functions at events such as ren faires, comic-cons and… places where nerdy things are for sale. The example I always use is the one where you’re at a ren faire and you convince yourself that you REALLY NEEED an 11 foot tall driftwood wizard staff topped with a pewter dragon clutching a power crystal. I mean it’s only $200, and it’s basically one of a kind, and it would look SO BAD ASS propped up in the corner of your apartment between your alabaster Middle Earth chess set and your replica Xena shuriken/Gabrielle bowstaff. It seems like such a fantastic and fiscally responsible idea until you walk back to the parking lot and the reality distortion field fades.

I know some of you are able to get these items home and feel very good about your purchases, but for me they are just buyers remorse waiting to happen. I’ve never allowed myself to purchase something expensive that doesn’t actually do anything. I want to, believe me. I’ve just never had that kind of disposable income, or unclenched long enough to allow myself that kind of indulgence. I’ve had friends who own fantastic movie props, replica swords and lightsabers, hyper realistic costumes, etc but I’ve never been able to partake myself. I met a guy at Comicon San Diego last year that owns the largest private collection of BSG props (including most of the CIC) and I thought “GODS how awesome it must be to come home and be surrounded by that stuff… and FRAK ME that money could have payed so many bills!” I really think he’s the one that has the right idea. Him and the guy with the wizard staff and the lady with $3500 Serenity model with the blinking lights are the ones that know how to have fun.

COMMENTERS: Have you ever made such a purchase? Did you regret it or revel in it? What Bat’leth type item do you covet? I can’t go through those Harry Potter gift catalogs without having to convince myself that I don’t need Voldemort’s wand, a time turner and a golden snitch for my mantle.

A bunch of webcomic creators, including myself, donated items for the World Builders charity auction/lottery. They help families in 3rd world countries to be able to feed and clothe themselves through giving them goats, chickens, cows and such. Read more on Patrick Rothfus’s blog.

UPDATE 01/25/12: You can now purchase a super high quality 11×17″ print of any HE comic by clicking the “Buy A Print” button between the “Previous” and “Next” buttons in the navigation menu. If you don’t see it, try refreshing your browser cache.

CHICAGO and CALGARY Fancy Bastards: I am coming for you! I will be at C2E2 April 13-15 and Calgary Expo April 27-29 with Blind Ferret.

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  1. I worked at a Renaissance Faire for a summer, and MAN was that shit tempting. It was the clothes, I wanted them so bad! Beautiful dresses! The corsets! Sure, it's $90, but it makes my figure look so good, and the boning is real stainless steel! It'll last a lifetime! Thankfully I resisted – probably because I had no money – but it sure was easy to rationalize how I'd work a brocade corset into my everyday wardrobe …

    • Renaissance Faires are killer when it comes to that. I have a sterling silver torc that is a little too small for me anymore, and is too heavy for my wife to wear. There's an assortment of knives lying around. The worst part is when you're working there, you can justify it, thinking you'll work there again, especially if you're one of the actors. "Oh, it's fine if I drop $300 on this finely crafted, hand and a half broadsword. I can use it for combat next year."

      And yet my wife and I went back to the one we met at this past year, and bought kilts. That we've worn a grand total of 3 times.

      • Yes, I have the broadsword I got at the local RenFaire, along with some assorted mugs and man-rings…what I can't manage to wear is the belt that goes with the sword's scabbard, because it always catches in the door of the Honda…

        • That's why you wait to put all the belt things on until you get out of the car. I've been going to faires for 10 years now, and I never put my belt and pouch on until I'm out of the car. Either that or you move everything to the front.

    • Yeah, the question is – last a lifetime because of how well it's made? Or last a lifetime because you get it home and only wear it every few years on Halloween?

      Also, you said "boning" which makes me smile.

  2. My buyers' remorse has to be a Park Sabers Avenger (ROTJ Luke style hilt) Lightsaber that cost $250 at SDCC, back in 2005. Been trying to get rid of it, but no one wants one, unless I sell it cheaper than a used Master Replicas Lightsaber, and there's hell no chance that'll happen.
    Also, I gotta say another purchase was a Millenium FX 10th Doctor Sonic Screwdriver, that cost almost $200. Granted, it was made by the company that used to do the props for the Eccleston through Tennant era of Doctor Who. But, its a hard item to sell on, as everyone seems content with the toy version, or they are waiting on the new EFX version (which may be well after when hell freezes over, going by how slow they are going with their DW stuff, which they had promised would be available two years ago at SDCC.)

  3. Ha, I have the oh-god-I'll-have-to-move-that-and-figure-out-a-new-place-for-it filter with a less oh-god-the-money filter. I can't handle stuff that takes up space and serves no day to day purpose. We have lots of art on the walls, but that's all very low profile (less space) and if you frame it up nicely, your geeking out can look classy.

    Replicas also requiring dusting. Boo.

    • Lots and lots of dusting…even with compressed air, do you know how hard it is to keep a Borg cube with lights/sound and the DS9 model with sound and mini-Enterprise clean?
      In space, no one can hear you dust….or complain about it

  4. As a kid I remember coveting action figures. The last one I bought was this cool Spawn high tech battle armor action figure I just had to have. I got home, opened it up and stared at it for a few seconds and realized, oh right I'm 14 and don't play with these any more.

    Now I'm a PC and R/C nerd so I'm constantly battling with myself about buying this awesome new video card and that sweet new brushless motor setup.

  5. On the top of my huge movie shelf is my shrine to nerdom, including my Venture Brothers action figures, my Futurama figures, Nintendo plushies, my and my boyfriend's wands chosen to match our personalities at Alivan's online shop and my sonic screwdriver (among others)

    I regret nothing.

  6. As a child, I couldn't find anywhere to perchase toy Bat'leths (I live in the UK) so I did it in true warrior fasion. I jornied to the house of my grandfather and the two of us created the weapons from scratch useing methods handed down across countles generations.

    By which I mean we carved it out of wood. IN A MANLY FASION.

    Two hours later I had given my brother a black eye and I had a cut lip. Man, those where the days.

    • See, and that's some true badass, there. Now you've got memories and a great story to pass on to your grandchildren when they ask what the hell you're doing with an unstrung recurve bow on the wall.

    • That's probably still safer than the "real" one I got at a gaming convention, and had to carry around sealed in a box because my friends were afraid I'd go Klingon during the Smithee Awards show.

  7. My closest thing is probably my sword/weapons collection but none of them are from movies or TV as those are just for show and I only buy myself functional ones. I don't have any $1000 plus swords but I have pretty decent Hanwei pieces. I know some people think it's a weird collection, especially because of my whole must be fully functional and not just for show thing, but I just really appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of them.

    I also have pretty decent costume collection for when I go to Renaissance Faires and conventions. I have the necessary pieces to through together at least two different Renaissance outfits and probably 3-5 Victorian/Steampunk ones. My latest costume project is a steampunk version of the ST:TNG command uniform.

  8. The local film festival here in Seattle had a poster auction one year, and the best piece was an original mint-condition theatrical poster for Star Wars from Germany (you could still faintly see the folds from when it was shipped) that was professionally triple-matted and framed. I went straight from the auction's starting price to the 'buy-it-now' price of $500 without even a quiver.

    • I almost went nuts and bought a SpiderMan movie poster off ebay that featured the Twin Towers in his eye reflection. They immediately pulled the posters and reprinted them so the ones that made it into people's hands got into the $200-300 range pretty quick. I did eventually get a spanish one with the same image.

  9. You know, its weird – Im as geeky as the next guy, but I have NEVER had the desire to buy replica merc or clothes or whatever. Its not that Im financially responsible, I think its more that I respond better to actual comics or movies or whatever than props from them.

    That said, he should get a long coat or something to stash the ridiculous Star Trek sword thing in.

  10. I pulled the trigger on a Serenity replica (from QMX) and am looking forward to receiving it. I'd always resisted buying this kind of stuff but I figured if I'm going in, I'm going in big, gorram it!

  11. Have I ever made such a purchase?

    I own every Marvel Legends figure. Also most Hulk Classics, X-Men Classics, Fantastic Four Classics, several Spider-Man Classics, and at least half of the Marvel Select line.

    It's not a "$200 all at once" kind of hobby (usually . . . damn Build-A-Figures), so you don't really feel bad about picking up a figure or three every once in a while. But then you wake up one day and realize, "My God . . . I have no wall space in my room, just a whole lot of shelves with an entire year's wage sitting on them."

    But then, you hang out with Willis, so you probably already know the concept . . . .

    I actually DO have some 30+ decorative or replica weapons hanging on my walls (mostly videogames and cartoons, less movie props), but between ebay, flea markets, sales, and gifts, I never pay full price (most often, not even HALF price). I think the most expensive piece I personally bought set me back maybe $90 with shipping, and the second most expensive was $50. All the rest cost me in the $15-$30 range. They're all simple wall hangers, no functional weapons, but they're real steel and look pretty and impressive on the wall.

    • Gorram Build-A-Figures. Like I really wanted both versions of Age of Apocaylpse Wolverine… But, of course, that's the whole point of the Build-A-Figure. I'm actually very grateful that Hasbro let the Marvel Legends line die out. I probably spent a new car downpayment on the damn things. So articulated, so expensive. May the Lords of Collecting grant me the continued serenity to ignore the GI Joe-sized line of Marvel figures.What's that? A Luke Cage/Iron Fist 2-pack?! Must fight siren song of Target toy aisle….

  12. I am able to resist high priced purchases when it comes to toys, since I want to play with them, second hand will do. There have been some vintage models, and figures that are pricey that I would love to have but have controlled myself thus far. Part of the fun is the searching for deals.
    But I have made a few of "investment" puchases in antiques that add up to $1000 that I do regret….hopefully recoup the money with a bit of profit, someday.

  13. I bought a $100 replica of Lucius Malfoy's snake-headed wand-cane. I don't regret it. I also managed to score a $120 steel-boned corset for $60. I wore them both to the premiere of the last Harry Potter film…

  14. I bought Cloud's buster sword from Final Fantasy VII. While I did think that it was a little bit of a splurge, I did talk the guy down from $60 to $30 dollars. I am now equipped to fight vicious one-winged home invaders with a penchant for skewering people.

  15. If I actually bought any of the replica weapons and geek stuff I want, I wouldn't have any food money left. Also, living in germany severely impacts access to all the cool toys. So I don't own any replica weapons or action figures, only the statuettes from the LOTR collectors' editions (TTT and ROTK only, the FOTR one had those sweet Argonath book ends and was sold out in a flash).
    The one movie replica thing I do own, I won in an online contest: a limited edition Power of Stormhold pendant and chain from the "Stardust" (Neil Gaiman) movie. It is so very pretty and sparkly and huge, I could only ever wear it to a ren faire.

    • I got the Argonath bookends and they are SWEET. Didn't bother with the Two Towers limited edition, though. A polystone Gollum? No thanks. Wish I had sprung for the mail-away Minas Morgul to go with Minas Tirith, though. Problem is, I have so many books, that I don't NEED bookends. Man, life is HARD.

  16. I almost bought a Bat'leth at Dragon a few years ago. I really wanted one. But then I had to figure out how to get it home on the plane. And where to put it. And did I really want to spend $100 on a fake sci-fi weapon? And, really it didn't look that awesome. So yeah, i talked myself out of it. My wife didn't even need to help.

  17. When I was a kid, they used to sell a working Tricorder that could do things like match colors, scan temperatures and some other stuff….if I'd had the several hundred dollars it cost, I would have bought it in a heartbeat.

  18. i want ICE and LONGCLAW from the game of thrones series, and i also want Rambo's m60

    i don't know how you would tell the difference between rambo's m60 and a normal m60

    i assume that holding it causes an unbridled rage and some sort of invisible infinite ammo cheat IRL, or maybe it just has his headband and 12-pack abs

    either way, i want it

  19. Pah, a true warrior earns his bat'leth through battle. You bring dishonor to your House by purchasing one like a cowardly Ferengi.

    • No, the Ferengi ones are made out of rubber, and smell like yamok sauce.
      Going to a true Klingon weaponsmith and having them forge one in the fires of Kris'tak is still honorable.

  20. Have I ever made such a purchase? I have – several times. I have THREE bat'leths. One at work in my office window, one in the trunk of my car, and one at home for protection. They are pretty awesome – real steel wrapped in leather, although I need to sharpen them. They are fairly heavy, so in a worst case scenario they can be used as blunt weapons.

    I've used the one at work to cut a giant (40-pound) rice krispie treat that somebody made in a shipping box.

  21. Working at the Ren Faire I am constantly surrounded by the distortion field,…add to this that the booth also does some Cons [Necronomicon in Tampa/St Pete or DragonCon in Atlanta for example] so its there too,…. I finally have learned a slight lesson on it,…. I put a percentage of my pay aside for such items or I do barter for them [my product for yours type thing]. What makes it funny is that I am almost constantly at Faire/Show from Jan through July [lots of shows in that time] then rarely July through December [few shows but big shows] I have realized that I have to also save my money during off season so that during season i can buy stuff,……and I end up spending more of my "off season" money than I do my Faire/Con money for stuff since barter is easier during Faire/Con season.

  22. A bought life sized versions of the Master Sword from Ocarina of Time and the Kingdom Key from Kingdom Hearts. (both very high quality) My only regret is that I didn't spend the extra $80 for the Hylian shield.

  23. The informal classes at UT once included a class in Klingon Self Defence. There was an additional fee with registration for a wooden training Bat'Leth. Oddly enough, a Google search has turned up no reference to this class.

  24. I have on replica, a rather nice version of the dagger, Sting. I won it as a door prize at a back-to-back trilogy showing. My wife at first thought they were auctioning off a replica of the singer. "It's my old world-beat musician, Sting. He glows blue when benefit concerts are about, and it's times like that, my lad, when you have to be extra careful."

  25. When I was younger my family went on vacation in L.A., did Disneyland and all that. When we went to Medieval Times my mom asked me if I'd liked to get a sword from the store they had there. It ended up costing around $400 and now I feel guilty every time I look at it because I don't really have anywhere to display it and it sits in a corner.

    • I don't think my parents spent $400 on me total, in the entire 19 years I lived with them. I mostly foraged in the yard for bugs and seeds.

  26. I came this close (imagine my finger and thumb held about a quarter of an inch apart) to buying one of the actual utility belts worn by Adam West on the 1960s Batman TeeVee series at a comic convention in San Jose, CA. It was basically a lady's shiny thick yellow belt with blocks of wood glued to it for pouches and mending braces made to look like snaps. This was '89/'90 and I was big time into Batman–Frank Miller's Dark Knight was still fairly new ('86?) and Burton's Batman had just come out–but I didn't have $300 cash on me… I actually really regret not buying it; it came with a photo of Adam West holding the belt and a letter of authenticity. As a consolation, a buddy of mine who'd been there, picked up a copy of the March 11, 1966 issue of Life Magazine and gave it to me for Christmas later that year. I framed it and it still hangs on my wall above my desk.

  27. When I was a kid I used to buy stuff like that at conventions, because I would have saved 300 dollars or so all year just looking forward to it, and of course I had to spend that money RIGHT AWAY.

    Now when I go to conventions my money is almost exclusively spent on autographs. I get to meet the actors/authors/dashingly handsome webcomic personalities, chat, take pictures with them, and I have quite the awesome autograph wall above my desktop in my home office, now. Gives me the warm fuzzies just to tilt back in my chair and look at all them. A wiser investment than the toys, I feel, though I've certainly enjoyed my crazy convention buys in the past.

  28. My buddy Mikey used to own one of the swords from Serenity. It was a plastic stunt sword that was actually used by The Operative on screen.

  29. I bought a Rambo knife at school for ten quid 'cos Rambo was cool and so was the knife. Of course an 8 inch knife with gut-rip wasn't the kinda thing one could leave lying around the bedroom as a teenager so I think it ended up in a drawer somewhere. Buggered if I know where it is now. Probably still at my folks house at the bottom of a box.

    Seeing my toddlers attack each other with fluffy toys makes me think not having a large stabby thing in the house is a good thing.

    • Although thinking about it I have lots of much sharper Japanese steel stabby things in the kitchen. If I find the Rambo knife I could stick in the knife drawer and use it to cut tomatoes, I guess.

    • Man, that knife was advertised in the back of every outdoor magazine around in the 80's. Bonus points if yours had a compass that unscrewed from the grip to reveal a piano wire garrote.

  30. I bought a set of replica firefly dogtags, signed by Gina Torres, for about £50. It was a charity auction, but it's also £50 I couldn't really afford….

      • So that'd be what?… basically a pastry in the shape of a Firefly class ship?

        …yeah, I'd by that. And eat it while feeling a mixture or satisfaction from eating something so awesome, and regret that at truly not being able to "have my awesome cake, and eat it too".
        Also, a Tadis pastry would rock, or basically any really geeky shaped baked good. The biggest question is, what is the proper filling flavor for these pastries? what IS the proper Timey-Wimey filling?

        There is SO a market for this idea.

        (note to self, find a good geeky baker and hit the con circuit)

  31. I have a collection of swords on my dining room wall, with a few other miscellaneous things tossed, and various katanas, a good quality gladius and the such around the room. Some are wood, and most are merely decorative, but I keep them looking nice. I do have a beautifully simply dagger that's quite sharp.

    Although my favourite is a morning star just resting menacingly in the corner.

  32. My life is one giant struggle against this. Given the resources, I'd have a full set of jousting armor. I work with horses and have the weapons training, so it's only my iron will that keeps me from riding down the middle of the street, banner caught high in the wind, shield blazing bright in the morning sunlight …

    And there goes the last of my savings.

    • Do it when you're a cool old guy and money no longer means much! Tilt against the police cars. Go out like that crazy guy that stole a tank from the National Guard.

  33. I'm pretty lucky – most of the things I want people don't make, so I have to make them myself. Which a) takes time and b) costs less. My hubby and I made a Dalek Angel for the top of our Christmas tree (white and gold with wings and a halo) and i've got plans for other Whovian decor for the tree.

    Although, I did end up begging for a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas so I can make things easier, and it was a little pricy.

    • Although, material costs, while cheaper, do add up eventually as well. And I have a craft room FULL of stuff to make stuff.

  34. Back in middle school I had my room decorated with a wide variety of Gundam action figures. Then my friend pointed out that no girl at our school would ever talk to me again if she saw my room. Now almost ten years later I realize any girl who doesn't appreciate my nerdiness won't be around long anyway so it doesn't matter. Unfortunately I had gotten rid of the Gundams so now I collect the megablocks halo pieces and arrange them like a battle scene in my room for decoration.

  35. Anytime I go to the Scottish Highland games here in the Puget Sound I look into the shields or swords available and end up walking away every time, sighing wishing I had more money, because bills are evil. Growing up, the temptation to go find a sword from Highlander was strong in this one, but I opted to spend the several hundred on a college education instead thankfully.

  36. To answer the question posed in the comic, my best friend employed some rusty woodshop skills and made a stand for his Bat’leth and has it on top of his book case in the living room.

    Now, being the way he is, it isn't a "prop" Bat’leth, it is a "real" one that was made by a local knife maker we met at a gun show. Not only is it prominently displayed in his living room, it's actually sharp.

  37. I bought NECA's 1/12 scale Balrog figure. Only cost me about $80, so I don't feel too bad about, BUT… Remember how big Durin's Bane was in the movie? Yeah, well one twelfth is still really frakkin' huge. He's to scale with the 5-inch LOTR figures, so I can pose him with YOU SHALL NOT PASS Gandalf, which is awesome, but where the hell do I put them? Here's a picture that gives you a good idea of size: http://www.mwctoys.com/images/review_balrog_6.jpg

    Yeah. So, he currently lives in a plastic storage bin, patiently awaiting the day the dwarves delve too deep. But then, so do all my other figures. Some day, I will have a toy displaying room. And I will tell my nephew YOU. SHALL NOT. TOUCH. Go play your Playstation 5 with your sticky hands.

  38. I have to keep people away from the bat'leth hanging on the wall, even with the special wall braces I bought to hold it.
    Something about it says to guests "Random sharp pointly thing the size of a '57 Chevy bumper; please play with me, since he doesn't have accidential dismemberment insurance".

    • Though, I would *love* a bat'leth. The closest I've come is a pair of daggers that the shop I bought them from told me were made by the guy who does the Romulan/Reman/Klingon weaponry.

  39. I have a replica Angel puppet from the episode Smile Time and I have never regretted it! We dress him up for holidays – he has a Santa suit and Easter Bunny ears and a selection of Halloween costumes (mostly impulse purchases for our cats who will never allow us to put clothes on them!) He's been sitting on my DVD shelf for a few years now, and has become an infamous fixture in our house. 🙂

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