Every year hundreds of thousands of people go to comic book conventions and unknown to them, like the fast food joints they eat at while at the cons, there is a secret menu of items. This is Secret Convention Items.
The Marvel Legends line of toys which began in 2002 has been a staple of toys for the comic fan and collector alike with character from a wide variety of series and even allowing more obscure characters to have a time to shine. Coupled with variant figures and special build a figure series the Legends stand as one of the great toy collections – minus a few figures.
In 2006 the Marvel Legends 14 line was released with figures such as the extremely rare Luke Cage and it’s even rarer variant, the first appearance version of Iron Man and the alwats hella confusing Psylocke. Coupled in with the set though were some less favorable figures – Falcon, Longshot and the turd of the set – Baron Zemo.
These series of toys starting with 9 also contained the build a figure pieces allowing those who purchased all of the figures in the series to create a bigger figure. Some of these like Apocalypse, Galactus, the Sentinel and Giant Man (inexplicably in the same set as Ant Man thereby meaning Ant Man has his own foot) are still sought after pieces.
The problem was somebody believed not only that people would want all of Series 14 of toys, but that they would want a Mojo, the cyber-spider tub of green fat as a reward.
As previously mentioned, the variants were also a popular add-in offering palette swaps of the characters or even fully different cosmetic changes such as Thing with a trenchcoat, Sentry Jesus, ionic Wonder Man and more. The Baron Zemo also had a variant though – a maskless Zemo.
If you are unfamiliar with the history of comics and characters, Baron Helmut Zemo was a Nazi who fought Captain America. In one of their earlier fights, the Nazi was tossed into a vat of boiling glue without his mask resulting in horrific burns which is why he wears a mask. Somebody thought – “You know what my kid wants? A Nazis with a burnt face and no mask. Oh, and we can couple that with the horrific head of Mojo for the best nightmare fodder ever.”
While the completionist and collectors begrudgingly bought the Nazi, mostly the mask on version, thousands of Zemos piled up and were sold in massive blind box toy sales where $400 would get you a cardboard boy of Marvel Legends and other figures, mostly the shitty ones. Eventually collections consolidated and the first Zemo Block was created and recorded for sale in 2007 with 480 Zemos weighing in at a total of 720 pounds and standing at a height of 5 feet high setting the standard for a Zemo Block.
Most conventions actually have a list of Zemo Block holders and their prices (it turns out that you can mention you have a block for sale) that way they can be sure to bring it with them since carrying an extra 720 pounds that might not sell is less of a hassle.
Now prices range anywhere from $700 to $3000 depending on the seller and the show but due to the immense weight for shipping and the shame that comes from owning a Zemo Block, a sign of bad salesmanship, these Blocks are not listed online. Unexpectedly if you find a variant only block, the price circles down to around the $500 -$800 area because melted Nazi faces sell horribly. The variants are seen as an impurity in the collection and cause the price to go down.
Now you might say – what can I do with 480 facially scarred Nazi figures?
I have no idea but since when was collecting based around things making sense?
Join us next week when we discuss the rare Daredevil Batroc bust.