It’s the Luck of the Draw

You’d think with the continually expanding myriad of toys on offer, there’d be more than enough to go around. Everyone’s got their own particular tastes, and more power to us for it. Diversity is the spice of life, after all. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. For all our individuality, there are certain artists who unite the collecting masses in their adoration.

At the moment, KAWS and Joe Ledbetter seem to be the artists most likely to cause an online bun fight – or should that be a server meltdown. The KAWS website got hammered so hard by the first Dissected Companion release that they had to turn the life support machine off. God rest its soul. And having spent many an hour religiously refreshing, I feel like we transcended the consumer-web store relationship to become good friends.

Anyway, with new collectors joining the toy world all the time, as well as those out to make a quick buck, these situations are only going to become more common. We all moan about them and yes, they’re a royal pain in the arse, but at the end of the day, it’s us causing them. However, there could be a light at the end of the tunnel – the lottery system, an approach that’s worked well at SDCC for toy releases for several years now.

I honestly think this is the way forward. Remove the randomness of whether the server crashes on you (or as it’s more commonly known, “it’s in the basket but I can’t check out” syndrome), by leaving it completely up to chance.
The relief of being able to apply to buy a toy, and then letting the gods decide would be such a weight off our shoulders. If nothing else, it means we wouldn’t be stuck on our computers just waiting for the bloody things to drop. We could be normal people again. We could go out and see our friends. Maybe take in a show. Or see our loved ones. Remember them?

The other added bonus is it’s probably the best way to beat the flippers. They’d have to play the game, too. Sure, they may get lucky, but them’s the breaks. You roll the dice. You take your chances.

By no means is it the perfect anti-flipper device, but to be fair, it’s the best that can be expected. If we want a more formal application and screening process, then we have to expect to pay more. It’s not like the artists themselves are directly benefiting from the secondary market.

Another approach that works well for smaller releases is the system used for the Pushead Super7 SDCC releases. Now this was handled beautifully. Priority was given to hardcore fans/collectors/stalkers via special tickets that went to them first, then everyone else could get in on the action. What flipper in their right mind would play those odds? Far too much like hard work.

What’s more, it worked. To the best of my knowledge, very few of the hand-painted PusheadXKAWS figures ended up on the ’Bay. No real shock there. You let genuine fans get their hands on a piece at a decent price, they tend to stay in collections. It’s not exactly rocket science. So hats off to Pushead and the boys and gals at Super7 for looking after the little people. And no, I didn’t benefit from the system – it’s just a prime example of how things could be done, the essence of which could be transposed to my lottery model. As a reward for keeping their favourite artists off the bread line by buying everything and anything they produce, diehard fans could be guaranteed slots. It doesn’t damage the integrity of the lottery system, it just rewards those who’ve shown their support over the years.

So that’s my pitch. A vote for lottery is a vote for common sense. Banksy is now offering his prints this way. And as I mentioned earlier, a lot of artists at the San Diego Comic Con have used a similar system for their Con exclusives, so we know it can work. Just remember to wear your lucky pants. Sawing off a rabbit’s foot isn’t big or clever in anyone’s book, though.

Drunken Master

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