Review "Michigan Action Figure Expo" 2011

On May 5th, 2012, I packed up handful of my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collection and traveled to Battle Creek, Michigan for the Michigan Action Figure Expo.  We got to our hotel on Saturday, and came in to start getting things set up for the event on Sunday.  After getting things in order, we headed back to our hotel to wake up early on the 6th, so that we could get the collection on display before the crowd showed up.

We got to the show around 7:45.  The one thing that was a bit of a surprise was that it was downstairs.  Since my folks were the ones helping me, I did not want them to have to keep going up and down these stairs.  So I had my dad stayed at the top and my mom at the table, as I would go up and get the boxes from my dad and run them over to the table.  Once everything was downstairs I started to set up.  The only thing that was not up when the show opened was the TV, as I was being fussy on the layout of the toys in the display case.  This was something I kept switching around throughout the day.

The big reveal of my collection was in the first display box on the table, this is a movie prop from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Tokka’s arm.  It’s in a bit of rough shape from years of being in a plastic bag in a garage.  This fit nicely with the other items in that box, which was an Ooze Canister from TMNT II, and Michaelangelo’s arms from TMNT III.  Also in that Display box was the first printings of: Mirage TMNT #1, Palladium RPG, and First Publishing.  I feel these three books go well together, being as they contained some big parts of TMNT history.  With those I had my TMNT Dark Horse miniatures.

The other display box had TMNT toys of all the different series that I could fit in there, originals early toys, Next Mutation Toys, 2003 series and even stuff from Fast Forward along with the 2007 Movie toys and NECA.  This display case would have people standing for a long time to check out. Only a few things that were in package were added to this case, which was some Japanese TMNT Toys I have.  Next to that we had a bundle of TMNT Plushies on display, including the original first releases.   Then the Playmate Statues were displayed, which got a lot of attention.

All the tables were so full of stuff that I was having a hard time getting everything that I brought on display.  Some items had to remain in boxes below the table, like the Japanese Movie program I have.  Though we squeezed what we could onto the table, including the scripts for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1 and 3, a book of photos from the set of the Next Mutation, and my sketch book with sketches from TMNT artists like Peter Laird, Kevin Eastman, Michael Dooney, and Jim Lawson.

We were lucky to get the TV onto the table, which was  showing Cowabunga Corner episodes.  Though we had a special episode that was finished just in time to be shown here at Michigan Action Figure Expo.  That was  Cowabunga Corner Season 4, episode 89.  It will be the 11th episode of the season which is an interview with Steve Varner, a wonderful man who designed a ton of the TMNT toys including the very originals!  This interview will be up on Cowabunga Corner this September.

Once the show opened to the public, we got someone over to our table right away, a viewer of Cowabunga Corner who lived right there in Battle Creek.  Her name is Lacey and she’s one of our facebook friends!  It was great getting to meet Lacey, as we talked about the different items on display at my table, our fandoms and more.  I made sure to show her the different things that were kind of buried at the table, like the original comic art page which was in a folder on the other side of the TV set.  Lacey stayed around through the day and even took part in our TMNT Raffles, where we were raffling off old TMNT Archie and Mirage comic books!

Other people showed up soon, and for the first few hours of the day we were busy.  People coming over to see the collection, talk Turtles, and take photos of the movie props.  There were people of all different ages checking out the show, which was nice.  It was a thrill to get to have so many different types of TMNT conversations through the day with different fans as everything at the table was talked about at one point in time or another, from Farmer Don to Bonesteel to the Riply’s Believe it or Not book!  We had a lot of stories to share and people were up for hearing what was said.

Around noon though the crowd did slow down.  It got to the point where the last few hours were people that were already there, including other dealers getting a chance to come by and say hello.  I even got a few breathers to see what else was for sale at the show.  One of my favorite things I found for sale was an original Thundercats toy in package.  I didn’t have the money to pick up this amazing toy, but if I did I would have gotten it in a heartbeat!  I did buy a set of the Jim Lee TMNT toys that were in nice shape, with their weapons and comics that came with them.   Another cool thing they had going with the expo’s main raffle, which had an IDW TMNT #1 signed by Kevin Eastman and a sketch of Donatello by Kevin Eastman.  So some lucky fans got those at the end of the day.  Since I already had both of those, I did not enter the raffle, though I made sure to tell people to go check it out when they would come and talk to me at the table.

There was one friend that did drive in from my local area for the show.  He came over and talked with us for a bit and then wandered around.  He found things he liked, though sadly could not afford.  It was nice of him to come out and see the set up.  We hope to do more set ups at other events that will have us.

I think the show itself was really well done.  The dealers had great displays, the prices were good and the people were all great and very friendly!   Though I think it does hurt them being in a basement, where the elevator is not in easy access to the main door that people are coming in at.  An event like this needs a higher traffic area, where people off the street will see their sign and wander in more to keep the public coming all day long.  If they do start to get bigger and can afford a different location it may also be good to have some of the dealers who know a thing or two about collecting do some panels about what they now.  Start small and work into being a full expo with having more than just shopping.  This will get people to talk more about the show to others and help spread the word.

After the crowd was all gone besides for dealers, people started to pack up.  We got everything together and loaded the two cars we brought and started our way home, being the last ones out of the show room.  I want to thank everyone who stopped by our booth to talk with us and see what was on display!  And I hope all that got prizes in the “Cowabunga Corner” raffle enjoy their TMNT swag of comics, face masks, stickers and more!

I hope that they invite us back next year, as everyone in my family had a lot of fun!  And I’ll love to see this show keep going, hopefully growing into a new location with other events.

Did you go to the Michigan Action Figure Expo?  If so please share your review here!  Everyone please feel free to ask questions or comment below!

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