This is a transcript of Collection Complete Episode 3, lovingly written out so you can enjoy it with your eyes, and not your ears.
Again we find Robert Meyer Burnett sitting amongst his vast collection. He’s got more to show us, and we are excited to hear it. “What I love about my collection is, to me, it’s the collective imagination of a bunch of other talented writers and artists of the industry I hope to also work in and continue to work in.”
“Growing up in the 80s we had incredible pop culture, and it was all interrelated to me. Music was interrelated to movies, which was interrelated to novels. All of it was of a piece. It’s like when The Hunger opens with Peter Murphy, and I’m like, oh my God! Then you go back, and you fall down the rabbit hole. Then you find Tones on Tail, then you find Love and Rockets, and then it becomes the whole thing and then suddenly your love of movies becomes a love of music. Which then leads you back into goth culture and then you start reading splatterpunk novels written by John Skipp and Craig Specter. So it’s sort of this continuum.” This journey is one that many of us recognize, though it takes different shapes for each of us.
“I was at the San Diego Comic-Con a couple years back, and I was looking for unusual stuff on it, as collectors do. You use your peripheral vision — when I see something crazy out of the corner of my eye. I see a dealer who has what looks like Ichi the Killer Action Figures.” The figure is in excellent condition, and the details on his iconic rain jacket are exquisite.
“I go up to the dealer, I go ‘Where did these come from?’ He says, ‘Well, they were mail order only exclusives.’ and I’m like, ‘Take my money!’”
“This is Kakihara. Kakahara? How do you pronounce him in Japanese? Kakihara.” He shows off the figure in its iridescent purple suit. The character has his telltale scars that run from his lips and up his cheeks. “He is a Japanese mobster that is featured in Takashi Miyagi’s seminal film Ichi the Killer. Before Heath Ledger’s Joker, he had his mouth sliced open, probably by some Yakuza he wronged. But look at this look at this outfit. Is he not the best-dressed action figure you’ve ever seen? If I could rock this kind of a jacket and this kind of a velvet shirt I would dress like this all the time. All the time! What an amazing character.”
“Now, of course, Ichi himself, wearing his signature crazy raincoat, this is one of the more interesting maniacal killers. He’s one serial killer — well he kinda, is, but he does it in the service of, ya know, the Yakuza, sort of, maybe– spoiler alert.” It’s a little late for that, but we accept his belated alert happily. The figure he holds is pristine, and we have to admit we’re a little jealous of it.
“If you mail-order figures, you can find beautiful gems like this crazy Ichi the Killer figure that I still can’t believe it exists. As Ferris Bueller says, ‘If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.’ So yes there you go — Ichi the Killer, right there.”
“One of the great things about a place like Gemr is that I can sit there and go geek out with a bunch of other like-minded ne’er do wells, like myself, who love this stuff as much as I do.”
“You can get a great education if you just take your favorite action figure, and then go out find out who originally created that character. What did they do? What did they like? How did it get turned into films? And then suddenly, the whole world opens up to you, and that’s kind of what collecting always sort of did for me.”