United, We can Bind the Galaxy Together
Every day over the course of the last two weeks, the news has came fast and furious.
NBA Season. Cancelled. MLB Spring Training. Cancelled. NCAA Tournament. Cancelled. Every convention in America. Cancelled/Postponed. Schools. Closed. Businesses. Shuttered. States. Closed.
Not since 9-11 could I remember anything like it, and it seems every day there’s another terrifying reminder of what seems to be washing westward over the globe.
Food is flying off the shelves where I live, and seemingly across the country while people oddly hoard toilet paper while fighting over the last 24-pack of bottled water. It’s kind of like a scene out of your favorite disaster movie/tv show, except that now this is real life.
Daily press conferences from federal, state and local governments deliver the worst news. It’s difficult to discuss autograph collecting right now, because so many are being laid-off and out of work. We’re only a few weeks in, and when the paychecks start missing or coming in lower than expected the new reality of what we’re living in will take hold. It’s not about autographs anymore.
I talk to collectors, especially those in SWAU more than everyone on the planet save for my wife and son. I wake up to a flurry of messages in the various chats I’m in, with news about friends, or comments about whether or not a signature is real. Those messages mean more to me now than ever. Those messages are a sliver of the normalcy I’d taken for granted for so long, and now they’re like a warm blanket.
There was a time not that long ago, where it wasn’t cool to be a Star Wars fan. You had to huddle in corners discussing the latest issue of Star Wars Insider, or go on late-night toy hunts when the local Wal-Mart was putting out the newest Power of the Jedi figures. We were the Isle of Misfit toys to everyone else in society. But now with our resurgence and coming out with the international embrace of geek culture and Star Wars, we’ve all slipped into the mainstream and now unite on social media to discuss the things that we’ve always loved.
We don’t know what the future holds for collecting. Conventions are cancelled for the time being. Those aiming for a reboot in May I feel may be in for disappointment. Artists and dealers that depend of conventions for income will be struggling to find work. Lower-tiered actors that make a portion of their living signing at conventions will take a hit. Your fellow collectors will surely be looking to unload when bills come due, and the likely prices will be a percentage of what they could’ve gotten back in February.
It’s a difficult time, but as we’ve come to learn, great things can be built on hope. I don’t know where we’re going, but I know journey will be fraught with unpleasant twists and turns. Let’s support each other like we did back when we made those midnight toy runs, and we’ll get through this together.